The school year in Thailand opens again this month and we are very disappointed that we will be losing a few of the children from our sponsorship program. Two of the boys have moved elsewhere with their families (they have found construction work with better pay elsewhere), and we are not certain whether they will be allowed to continue on with their education. One of the other boys has been taken out of school and has started working on the construction site here full time.
On the other hand, we have had a lot of progress with some of the girls families - 2 of which are starting 10th Grade this month.(The highest so far that anyone in the community has ever studied). Their parents even seem eager to allow them to continue on to university should they so wish. We are thrilled and are praying for Wanlee (top left) and Tuway (bottom left) and their families as they continue on in their studies.
Beginning to break the cycle of poverty in Asian culture we have discovered starts largely in the minds of the parents. We have spent many hours encouraging the children to dream, but ultimately, it is up to their parents whether they will be allowed to reach for those dreams or not. For the two girls whose parent's mindsets seem to have begun to change, we hope that they will see their dreams come true. For those whose parents do not allow them to pursue the desires of their heart, we hope that they will not give up dreaming - and that they will encourage others, especially those younger than them, to do the same. For those entering our sponsorship program for the first time this year (the young children in the community who have just reached school going age), our prayer is that in the years that their children are at school, that the minds of the parents will be changed and that the parents will be willing to make that extra sacrifice of a few more years of financial struggle to allow their children to try to reach for their dreams.
God knows the hearts and the dreams of each of the children that we work with. It is from Him that they gain the courage to look beyond their own community and ask what their purpose is. It is also to Him that they turn to when they are disappointed and discouraged by what may seem like an end to their formal education. Our prayer for each of them is that no matter how high they study, that they may grow close enough to the Lord to know His comfort, and His encouragement - and to know that with a strong Christlike character, sometimes what may appear to be the end, is really only the beginning of a different journey - perhaps not the one that they imagined, but certainly one that He will walk with them.