By Jeff & Verna Willhoite
I first met Khun Naaw (wearing blue shirt) about 15 years ago. He was a Buddhist who had a burden for the Burmese street children who lived in the streets of Maesai, Thailand. A few years later, he accepted Christ and became a Christian. He has continued to operate the orphanage, and many of the young street children who the orphanage took in when very young have grown and are now teenagers. A few months ago, Naaw came to our center and expressed a need for help. As he spoke about the situation and need, I felt as if Jesus himself was knocking at the door and that this was an opportunity for us to be a blessing. Please continue reading this newsletter for more exiting details of what we are doing to come alongside and help these orphans transitioning into adulthood.
Congratulations to Pastor Chang and Sister Mimi, and their new arrival, Manna. Manna was born on February 12, more than 10 days after her due date. She and Mimi had some complications, but praise the Lord they are both doing well now. Chang and Mimi now have three daughters, just like Verna and me. Please continue to pray for this wonderful family as they serve the Lord at the Indochina Mission Training Center and the Lighthouse Church. If you would like to support them as they serve the Lord, you may do so by marking your gifts for the Thailand National Pastors Project # 74399P.
RETURN TO THE HOMELAND
The first group of young people that arrived at our Center looked like any other Asian teenagers. Some wore ball caps, a couple sported large gauge earrings. Almost all were shy and timid—not knowing what to expect. Though they looked like any other teenagers, their lives have been very different than most. All these young people were recused years ago while living in the streets and have lived in an orphanage ever since. Most of them are ethnic Burmese (or tribal Burmese), but have no birth records or citizenship—truly a people without a homeland—but the Lord has wonderful plans and purposes for their lives.
The Hands of Hope Women and Children Life Center has answered the call to meet these young people’s needs. We call the program “Return to the Homeland” (RTH). In Hebrews 11:14-16, we find the concept of a homeland. One’s homeland is a place of belonging, acceptance, and mutual care. Through RTH, we display love, care, and acceptance, and then guide them by focusing on three areas of life—the Word of God, daily living, and work. Please pray for these young people and this ministry. There are more than 30 orphan teenagers who could benefit from the program. We have limited the number to 8 for now until we gain a better understanding of their needs and our ability to host and serve them. The group leaves the orphanage and comes to our Center each month for four days and nights. There is an ongoing need for prayer and support for the Center. We welcome your partnership in this life transforming ministry. If you would like to assist these teenagers or the Life Center, you may do so by sending support marked for the Women and Children Life Center Project # 74016P. We also would like to welcome married couples of any age to come and be a part of one of our four-day sessions.
INDOCHINA MISSION TRAINING CENTER (IMTC)
In January 2016, we started the first official classes at the IMTC. More than a year later, things have proceeded well. We have a wonderful core group of students that regularly attend our Saturday classes. Most of our students are from unreached people groups. These are tribal groups, sometimes numbering in the millions, that need to hear the Gospel. Some of the students are already talking about returning to their remote hometown villages to share God’s Word and plant churches where there currently are none. When we see the results and the impact that the Bible School is having on the students and hear their testimonies and plans to take the Gospel and what they have learned to others, the challenges and struggles over the years to see the vision established dim in comparison. Thank you for praying and supporting the Bible School. As the school expands, so do our operational costs. A gift of any amount would help us keep the lights on—literally. Please mark your gifts for Indochina Mission Training Center Project # 74015P.
We are currently on furlough in the US. We would appreciate your prayers and financial support. We are currently facing several challenges in our lives and ministries. We have a significant gap to fill in our monthly support budget. We will not be able to return to the field until that funding gap is met. Dear friends and family, we need your support and prayers. Thank you for coming alongside us in this special time of need.