WHAT WE DO
In a nut shell, we teach English and Music because we want to see the youth of Thailand realize their value and ability to transform this world. And, as we serve as vessels of Christ's Perfect Love, God continues to open doors for us to disciple youth!
We work with a Thai foundation that teaches English in rural villages in the northeast region of the country and shares the love of Christ through everything we do. For the past 12 years, we have been working under the visionary leadership of Drs. Nantachai and Ubolwan Mejudhon, both former Buddhists who encountered the love of Christ in powerful ways, and who have done significant research in the country on ministering to the Thai people in a Thai way, that focuses on the meekness of the culture. They believe that the benefit of the gospel must be felt in tangible ways, with no-strings-attached, by the Thai in order for them to come to a point of desiring to know more about the Gospel on their own terms. By no strings attached, the Mejudhons simply mean: not teaching as a cover for presenting the Gospel, but really giving our best in education, seeking to make life-change, and praying all the while that the students will be drawn to the light in our lives. The doctors’ model leans heavily on the belief that the Holy Spirit is always stirring hearts and drawing people close to Him, and, therefore, we have a chance to serve and be the catalyst to His action in their lives. The Mejudhons have planted 13 all Thai-led churches around Thailand in addition to the missional branches, that we partner with, called the Aid to Muang Thai foundation in Roi Et and Ranong, Thailand. Along with our two Thai teammates, Kat and Patdy, we travel to several villages around Roi Et supplementing the English teaching required of all students in the country, which sadly, is not taught in a way that is conducive to helping the children and youth learn to speak, but instead, soley focused on grammar. The schools invite us in knowing that we can fill a need that they struggle to fill on their own. Then, we use our time in the classrooms to intentionally build relationships with the students and the school staffs.
Our team hosts a worship event every Sunday morning at our English center, where our Thai teammates reside, for all interested students from these 10 villages that want to come and learn more about a loving and grace-filled God. All of our students come from Buddhist/animistic backgrounds where merit making and being 'good' is the focus. Sadly, in the northeast culture of Thailand, while religion is used as a motivator for developing good morality amongst children and youth, it creates a lot of fear in youth of never doing or being ‘enough.’ So, as we serve these students with no-strings-attached our students are coming to seek Christ, and then to experience Him personally when we invite them to pray for miracles and growth.
For our family, specifically, we live on the campus of a government-run welfare boarding school, where 800+ students from impoverished families reside for 9 months of the year. The former director of the school originally provided us with a home to live in on campus 10 1/2 years ago, due to the good relationship that Dr. Nantachai had already developed with her through teaching weekly in this school for years before our arrival. Though the former director is staunchly Buddhist, she often commented, “I just don’t understand why Dr. Nantachai could possibly care so much about our little school, when he is a man from Bangkok with a doctorate and high status in society?” His sacrifice on this campus truly paved the way for our family, and we are grateful! Then four years ago, the former director decided to build a new home on campus for our family to live in (since the school needed to repurpose the old home), so that we could continue our work on this campus! (More about how we are able to use our home for discipleship in a moment.) At our home school, I teach English to one class in almost each grade level (1-3, and 6-12th grades) for three full days a week, and direct the wind band here as well, while Dora homeschools our three oldest children. I then teach at three other village schools on Wednesday-Friday and our English center as well. Our children study at home half a day and at our Thai boarding school the other half a day so they can continue to develop their social skills inside the community where we serve, but that also means that Dora has to complete their entire Sonlight homeschooling curriculum in only half days!
In addition to our regular English and music teaching at our home school, Dora and I host 2 of Bible studies/Jesus story discussion nights weekly for teenagers in our home. On Monday evenings we lead a discipleship and leadership development time for 8 students leaders, and then those leaders help us to lead Bible study discussions with their peers on Tuesday evenings. Since the students all live in the dorms, and often have different responsibilities in the evenings given by their dorm teachers, the attendance can fluctuate anywhere between 25-50 students on Tuesdays nights. Then, on Friday evenings, our teammates Kat and Patdy and myself lead another Bible study group at the English center with students from nearby villages as well.
Twice a year, our foundation hosts a camp for interested students from our different schools around Roi Et, located in Bangkok, 7 hours away. We drive the students to the city, stay for a month together in the Muang Thai Church’s facilities, and teach English, other academic subjects, music, and the Word of God. These are always beautiful times of growth and connection, where newer students can get comfortable with our team and the older students can dig in deeper into their faith. The Covid years sadly forced us to cancel two camps, but also presented us with the opportunty to rennovate the English center, where Kat and Patdy live, so we could relauch our camps in Roi Et, without having to take students across province borders. Kat and Patdy are actually preparing to lead a small camp, because Covid resrictions are still quite strict in Thailand, with some of our student leaders from our home school! Grateful things are moving forward while we are on the other side of the earth!