Wally and I recently returned from Thailand to visit Kelly and Judah and all the staff/family and students at Help Save the Kids. We arrived a couple days after Christmas. The first week we were there I was put in charge of a mural project. (See my blog at http://wallexpressionsbyjulie.com/blog/2016/01/19/whats-a-gruffalo-and-what-does-it-have-to-do-with-me/ to read the details and see pictures of that).
One of the first things you notice when arriving at the “school” is the life that is going on. There seems to be no end to the activities and the smiles… no end to the meal preparations, the chores, the learning, the fun, the love given and the love received; I am sure even the students are tired by a day’s end. I know the staff is physically tired, but their hearts, minds, and souls are full.
We were given a quick tour (before our work began) on the progress of the building and gardens on the land Help Save the Kids purchased. This purchase was made possible because of a generous donation made by the people of PAG as well as other ministry partnerships. That’s why we’re so excited to bring you this update! This land will help HSTK to eventually become sustainable and no longer have a need to rent housing for dorms and classroom space. By the time we arrived in the morning there were already students that had taken care of the crops along with a group of older male students who are currently learning the trade of construction. These students are actually building the dorm facility. Their “teacher” is a father of one of the students who does this by trade and is training these young men to be exceptional in their craft! They have been working since the very beginning with digging the footers, making the re-bar for the posts, carrying brick, laying brick, and installing windows. When we were there the students were skimming the block walls with a thin layer of “cement” …much harder work than putting drywall mud on the walls. They have a cement mixer and the basic tools and they work very hard. The students that are working on the building will be able to eventually start their own construction business and this dorm will be an example of the quality of construction they do.
The gardens: The current crops were eggplant, from the small variety (very tiny), to the larger kind that we would be more familiar with. They, of course, were also growing chili peppers and had carrots planted as well. I also saw lemongrass. I know they have harvested sticky rice, mountain rice, long beans, and other crops as well.
While we were in Thailand there was a Revive Asia conference in Bangkok. Thousands of people from all over Asia came together to worship God, be encouraged, and receive the ministry of the Word. The oldest students and staff were able to attend; we were also able to go. The drive down the mountain from Mae Sot is quite twisty and hilly and can get the best of anyone’s stomach, but even more so, to those who don’t usually ride in the inside of a vehicle. I think the excitement of attending such a big event, and having the opportunity to travel outside of our own location to a big city, helped immensely and we all arrived safe and sound! The conference was a blessing to all who attended. I know the students and staff were filled, refreshed, and given a new perspective on who God is and who they are in HIM.
The day after the conference ended, all of us headed down to see, and play in, the ocean. What a treat to see these students, and many of the “national” staff, see the ocean waves and play in the sand for the first time in their lives! What a privilege to be a part of this special few days with them.
You can check out a few quick videos of the kids worshiping the Lord with all their heart!
Thank you PAG for being part of something bigger and investing in the lives of these precious kids! Thank you for your generosity to the people of Wang Pha and to worldwide missions!