Freedom Sunday 2011 featured our first anti-trafficking project, the Lahu Hostel in Thailand. For five years, 20 vulnerable children have lived together in safety, learned about life and God, attended school and experienced a future and a hope they would not have known without our care.
This was my first visit to meet the children and get better acquainted with the house parents, Pastor Anan and Nanci. I was accompanied by Belle Villanueva, ICCM Regional Coordinator for Southeast Asia, and Americans Corey and Connie Persing, who live and work in Thailand.
The children greeted us by performing beautiful songs and presenting us with gifts of woven bags, handmade by Nanci, which involved several months of painstaking work.
Nanci is also a great cook. When I asked what the kids love about being at the hostel, they said “The food!” And … “Singing!” Nanci loves to cook and Pastor Anan loves to lead singing with his guitar, so their gifts suit their roles well.
Everyone chipped in — older kids helped to prepare the meal. Younger kids lined up to get their photos updated to send to sponsors — and they smiled! We all got in on the feasting, picture-taking, gift-giving, soccer-playing and all-around fun of a day together as family.
FMWM personnel Corey and Connie Persing and their daughter Ikaiasha have visited the hostel several times over the years. Corey will now begin his role as Acting National Coordinator for ICCM Thailand. They are excited to be a part of this great work of blessing and protecting children.