« Previous   |   Main   |   Next »

Kids Helping Kids

By Lydia Gingerich

This story comes from Claire (15) and Eliza (13), daughters of Tom and Candice. Their family has served for the past 12 years as RMM workers in Bangkok.

Every Saturday Claire and Eliza’s family takes a taxi through the city of Bangkok, Thailand, to teach English at a Thai church. Their students are children of Cambodian construction workers who are in Thailand to take advantage of the employment opportunities.

The growing economy in Bangkok provides a wealth of jobs that are often unavailable in the surrounding countries. Even a low-paying and dangerous job, such as construction work, is better than no job at all. Many workers send money to families back in their home countries. Some have visas to work, while others crossed borders illegally, knowing there would be employers who would hire them anyway.

A Thai pastor, Vino, and his wife Vicki noticed that many of these children do not attend school because they move around too much, or they can’t because they are in the country illegally. Hoping to remove children from the unsafe conditions around many construction sites, the couple opened up their church to these children.

Another RMM worker, Anna, first became involved with this ministry a few years ago and asked Claire to join her. Claire soon got her whole family involved. She explained that while their family helps out one day a week, there are activities at the church every day. “The pastor and his wife give so much of their time,” she said. “Every day they are there taking care of these kids. They do crafts with them and he mentors the older boys and teaches them more about God and taking care of the younger ones.”

When Claire, Eliza, their brother Silas (10), and their parents arrive at the church on Saturdays, they begin by teaching an English lesson. They report that the children are attentive, bright, and respectful – for the most part. While the number of children fluctuates, there can be up to forty children ranging in age from five to nineteen.

“Before we leave in the taxi, they all gather around us and pray for us. Multiple ones will put their hands on us and pray that we'll have a safe trip and thank God that we could come and teach them.”After the lesson they eat lunch together, spend some time getting to know each other better, and then they say goodbye. “Before we leave in the taxi, they all gather around us and pray for us,” Claire said. “Multiple ones will put their hands on us and pray that we'll have a safe trip and thank God that we could come and teach them.”

While most of these children do not have Christian parents, they were introduced to God through the work of Vino and Vicki. Many of them have responded positively to the story of Christ and are even sharing their faith with others.

Eliza told the story of one little boy’s report during a weekly sharing time: “He got up and he was really excited and he was talking about how he went to the market on Tuesday and how he was sharing with the people there. He said he was talking about God to this one man who sold him groceries. And that was just... wow. He's younger than me and he was so excited to be able to do that. I would be way too scared to talk to anyone about that.”

Claire and Eliza both said that they feel a deep connection with these children. They enjoy playing, learning, and praising God together. The biggest difference between them and these children, the girls noted, is that the children have less material possessions. “But they are still really content and joyful for what they have,” said Eliza.

“You can see that the joy they have is from God.” said Claire.

While it is exciting and encouraging for Claire and Eliza to see the faith of these children, it can be hard to know what will happen when they inevitably have to leave the area. They shared the story of one twelve-year-old girl they got to know, Dot Mai. “She is so enthusiastic and smart; she would win a lot of the games,” said Eliza, “But then her family moved back to Cambodia. We are not sure what the reasons were, but hopefully they are with the rest of their family now.”

“Where is she? What is she doing? Is she okay?” Claire asked, knowing she might never get any answers.

It is a lesson in trust for Claire and Eliza. But they see the effects that God has on the lives of these children, and they pray that God’s love will remain in their hearts wherever they go.

As you pray for Claire and Eliza’s family to continue showing the love of God to these children, ask God to reveal to you ways in which your family can minister together.