Dr. Maxfield, Kirk Bookout and Aaron Varner Interviewed Children Near the Myanmar Border

So many things come to mind when you think of Thailand:

Beautiful beaches

Tasty Thai food

Martial arts

Beautiful Bangkok

Yes, there are many things to discuss when one thinks of Thailand.

But, none of those were upmost in my mind this past week.  While the food was delectable (especially the pomelo – my favorite Asian fruit) and Bangkok was as colorful and exciting as always, it was the children in rural areas that had my attention.  You see, the Children of Promise team visited the sponsored children there under our care this past week.

We visited the western side of Thailand, near the Myanmar border – two communities – Khun Yuam and Mae Kong Pae.

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Khun Yuam sits in the mountains amidst beautiful farmland.  Rice fields with verdant green surround the community.  All sorts of vegetables – cabbage, ferns, soy beans, celery, carrots, mushrooms, potatoes, and beans – grow in the fields and the hillsides.  It is an area of rich beauty.

Over the past few years, the children have struggled in this place.  Families face the challenge of finding the next meal.  Those hillsides covered with vegetables – they are not theirs.  These families provide the labor for those large farmers.

The church is one beacon of hope.  The loving pastor, his wife, and the church people are caring for the children with compassion, consistency, and joy.  The children are looking healthier, stronger, and they engaged with us readily.  I was so encouraged.

One of the thrilling things was to see how the kids are engaged in the life and ministry of the church.  At one point in our time together, they informed me that they wanted to sing for us.  All the sponsored kids got up and proceeded to the front of the church where they organized themselves.  One of the older boys led the group, playing the guitar – which has learned from adults at the church.  They did it all without adult involvement (well, at least the performance – I’m sure there was adult guidance somewhere along the way).  I was so proud of them.  I see future church and community leaders emerging – and I told them so.  They just smiled broadly.

As I prayed over them, I asked God to bless them, to protect them, to encourage them, to keep them healthy, and to lead them into lives of service and significance in their community and church.

I am excited about the kids in Khun Yuam!

Kirk Bookout and Aaron Varner (missions pastor, Central Community Church, Wichita, Kansas), along with our Children of Promise director, Dow Chanwichaipote, and an emerging young leader in the church, Chot, joined me.

Stay tuned as we visit more children in Thailand – our next stop will be the village of Mae Kong Pae.

Dr. Paul Maxfield