Friday, 7 May 2010
YWAM Ratchaburi news - May 2010
“You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them. “ ~Desmond Tutu
We are reminded again this month of how it was that God lead our family to come and serve in Ratchaburi. We are on a journey with God of seeing Noiy’s family restored – not in a way that the world would imagine, but rather in God’s timing and way – one that we do not always understand. When Noiy’s father passed away last year, we saw Noiy’s mom become more serious about pursuing her relationship with God. She has certainly had her ups and downs over the past 10 months, but has recently been in a place where she has returned in part to her old life. This past week, her father (Noiy’s grandfather) died. He was old and fragile, but to lose a husband and a father within less than a year is something that can shake anyone’s world. We are thankful that we are still here – standing beside her as she walks through this – and helping her to make sense of her faith at a time when she really needs God.
A team of volunteers praying for Noiy's mom
It is not only because of Noiy’s family that God has called us to Ratchaburi. One of the communities that we work with is the community of Burmese laborers that live in our area. We interact with the community in many ways, but we teach the Bible to 18 of the children on a regular basis. Most of the children stop attending school when they reach 6th Grade (around 12 years old) as they can then begin to work and help to lift the family’s financial burden. Over the past 2 years Noiy has been trying to encourage the parents to allow their children to stay in school for at least a few more years so that they don’t have to continue on in the cycle of poverty that their parents have always been in. We have seen some of the girls continue on for a few years, but never a boy. Three of the boys finished 6th Grade at the end of the past school year(February) and have asked their parents about continuing on with 7th Grade when the new school year opens in mid-May. Initially one of the boy’s parents said no, but he tells us that he has been praying and when he went back to ask his parents if he could enroll, they told him yes. We are over-the-moon! So excited not only that he has the chance to continue on in his studies, but also that he learnt a great lesson in faith. He learnt that God hears his prayers, and that He answers them. His name is Chaimon - please pray with us for him as he begins 7th Grade this year.
Chaimon will start Grade 7 this month
We have been considering other ways that we can help the families in the Burmese community to make the decision to send more of their children to study further. We are hoping to perhaps start some kind of sponsorship program for them (even the youngest ones) so that the families don’t feel that it is a burden to send their children to school. Schooling is free for them, but we have worked out that to pay for their transport to and from school as well as their meal while they are at school every day, will only cost $US25 per child per month. We are still in the beginning stages of drawing up the details of this project, but if you would like to be involved from the very start, please let us know!
April was an exciting time for us as it was the month that we held our camping trip for the Burmese kids. This is something they had been dreaming of for months and it was such a delight to be a part of seeing this dream come true. They learnt more about who God is and how special they are to Him. We know that it was an encouragement to them in their faith and we are so thankful to all of you who had a hand in helping this dream come true!
We have had a number of teams of volunteers already this year and are so excited about all that God is doing in the community and the churches here. We are currently hosting a team and are excited to report that they are the first team that we have been allowed to take into the local prison to minister.
Our family is also growing up so fast. Daniel celebrated his 2nd birthday at the end of March and Naomi is now 8 months old. They love playing together, and certainly keep us on our toes. Both of them are very social and love to spend time with the teams of volunteers that join us. Daniel has taken to calling them all Aunty and Uncle and loves to hang out with them whenever he gets the chance.
Celebrating Daniel's 2nd birthday