Six years ago, children in a MineField were sentenced to lives of extreme poverty with no option of receiving an education and very little hope.  Today, their sentence has been lifted. We're praising God for providing education through 3rd grade and now...

For miraculously providing to build a 4th and 5th grade! 

It's being built right now and we're busy praying and dreaming about how to best equip the children deserving it all. Read on to learn ways you can help and follow the stories of how this all began just six years ago. 


3rd grade is not enough. 

That's why we're busy equipping the children of The MineField Village for 4th and 5th grade, and beyond that - for a future filled with opportunity. With the celebration of God providing the funds to build the new school, our staff is asking Him to provide even further. We're trusting Him for the simple ways we believe a desk and a playground could serve these children. And through these simple things, we're setting out to provide what so rightfully belongs to them: opportunity and innocence. 

*GOD HAs PROVIDED THE FUNDS FOR THE PLAYGROUND!

Praise Him with us in celebration! And we believe He is not done moving powerfully to provide for these children. Click below to consider walking closely with a child through sponsorship. There are approximately 75 children still in need of sponsors in The MineField Village, and for just $34/month, you can change their very life. 

 


Nine years ago, our little organization had our beginnings. With great hope, and a fair amount of fear, we began engaging individuals to care for orphans half a world away. Back then, the oldest child in our orphanages was in high school and the youngest, just a baby.  We were delighted to join with compassionate people who became sponsors for these children. Sponsors who had a like-minded vision for seeing them grow into adulthood to be influencers for Christ in their corner of the globe.   

Fast forward nine years and the work God has involved us in spans from Orphan care to community development, educational systems, clean water initiatives, feeding programs, health and hygiene training, and job creation. How deeply honored we are to journey with many of you, our friends, donors, champions, and sponsors, in following God’s call to care for ‘the least of these’.  

So what does success look like in our world of caring for the Orphan and the Poor? Sometimes, I’m asked that question and it often catches me off guard. To be honest, the successes we’ve seen in this work have come about frequently in spite of our best efforts…as well as our well-processed decisions, the grit of hard work, outright misunderstanding of needs, or at times poorly executed plans. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bashing the work God has done; rather, honestly appraising success. The truth of the matter is we aren’t experts in raising children (neither our own nor the orphans and poor children we care for). But, God has entrusted this work to our oversight. He has given us the vision to engage with people, like you, in carrying out this mission of caring for the Orphan and the Poor.

What does success look like? 

 In the middle of writing this post, I took a break and visited my personal FaceBook page where a slew of pictures filled my feed. Thanks to social media, I’m friends with many of our orphans in Thailand. This past Saturday, one of these sweet orphans posted pictures to my page of the special event that happened that day. These shots have become my pictures of success in finishing this post. This is Lema, beaming with pride and looking so lovely in her graduation gown. Lema just graduated from college with a bacherlor’s degree in community development. What you don’t see in these photos is the story that led up to this amazing accomplishment.

You don’t see the fact that Lema was an exploited child and came to live at Huen Nam Jai Orphanage in  Chiang Mai, Thailand when she was just nine years of age.  

* You don’t see her shame when she began 1st grade as a nine year old because she was never given the freedom to learn before she came to the orphanage.

* You don’t see her complete lack of confidence as she struggled for years with a learning disability drastically slowing her academic progress.

* You don’t see the intense effort it took her to stay the course in school, even though she was years behind.

* You don’t see the heartache at being an orphan, yet searching to understand the intense love of her Savior.   

* You don’t see the birth of her dreams to complete a degree and have a job from which she may sustain herself. 

* You don’t see the heart of an orphan who began believing God had a plan for her life. 

 

The success I see in these pictures is truly overwhelming when I remember the things you can’t see.  For it is in what is unseen that showcases the beauty and celebration of the amazing success Lema achieved last weekend.

 

For our staff, sponsors, donors and prayer warriors, pictures like Lema’s help give visions for success. Lema is just one of several LightBridge Orphans who have completed college and through whom God has worked to become armed and dangerous in their worlds. Success can be seen in lives transformed by Jesus and armed with education. I believe that the transforming work of Jesus is the key to success in any one’s life. I also believe that education unlocks the potential for incredibly dangerous individuals to impact, influence, and change their communities for the Kingdom of God.


Oh, and I have one more success story to share…take a look at the video below. How we celebrate the ways God has worked and continues to work in lives like Japu.


Survive to thrive

By Sarah Addy

I’ve never seen anyone look more tired or downcast. Chang How’s mother, Som Kim, would often come to us in despair, with tears streaming down her face. She was tortured by the reality she was helpless to get her son the medical care he needed for a rare blood disease that was slowly killing him. Doctors said he was too weak to survive the surgery he needed to repair his tiny body. Even if he could survive the surgery, the family did not have enough money for gas to get all the way to the hospital. The situation was hopeless with the added horror of having to watch a child die. Chang How’s disease had all of our hearts in a vice grip. We cried with him, we prayed with him, and we believed that God had more in store for this little boy.

 ChangHow and his mother Som Kim

ChangHow and his mother Som Kim

And God did. Finally Chang How was proclaimed strong enough for surgery. God moved our hearts for this boy and his family, and through compassionate donors we were able to provide them enough funds to get to and from the hospital, and meals for the time they were there. Though Chang How had been cleared for surgery, the doctors still were not 100% optimistic. He had been sick for a long time, and they weren’t sure he would make it, but if they didn’t try the end was certain. We prayed fervently for Chang How as he was in surgery, and waited anxiously to hear the result. When the news came that he had made it through without complications, we headed to the hospital to rejoice with Som Kim, and to see still sleeping Chang How with our own eyes. I marveled at the reality God loves little Chang How enough to move Heaven and Earth to pull him through a blood disease, and even more than that, to connect our hearts to this precious family in the process.

If this was the end of the story, I think we’d all agree - it’s a good one. But it isn’t the end.

When Chang How returned to his village and regained his strength, the first thing he did was put on his backpack and march on his seven year old legs through the mud to school. Throughout his sickness, the thing that made him most excited was the thought of being able to attend school, just like his older sister.

I saw Chang How some time after this surgery - and I realized that I had never even seen him walk around. He had always been too tired. But now, his distended belly is a normal size, and he runs around with his classmates in front of the school getting into mischief, and making toys out of the mud.

 ChangHow

ChangHow

The dream for the MineField Village is not simply that people would be able to survive - for the most part, they’re already doing that. I believe that God inserted us into this village so that the people He loves would have a chance to thrive.

Without education Chang How would have survived his disease, but his future would be somewhat bleak - struggling each day for enough food and money, defending his family against crooked debt collectors, and collapsing, exhausted into bed each night only to do the same thing all over again the next day. Because of Chang How’s access to education, he has a chance to thrive unlike anyone in his family ever has. He has a chance to be educated from a young age, which will open up a world to him that just five years ago was an impossibility.

God ensured that Chang How survived, and now, we get to join together to ensure that he thrives.

 

Third grade is not enough, survival is not enough. This week, we’re sharing about how God is working to advance the education of kids in this small village.  He is mightily at work and we are so very thankful to join with you as we join Him in this work!  Together, we are seeing kids lives, like Chang How’s, radically changed and impacted for generations to come.

 


The Story Began with COLORING

By Karla Tillapaugh

An exploratory trip, our goal was to discover if this village was where God was leading us to begin working as an organization.  We decided to host a little lesson for the 30-or-so children who starred wide-eyed at us from the moment we arrived.  It was the first time white people had visited their remote village.  

After our short Bible story, a coloring project seemed a fitting craft — a simple paper printed with the outline of a little person to color.  We explained the craft, handed out the printed paper, crayons and markers, and then watched as the children sat and stared blankly back at us.  We looked around and decided to explain the craft again demonstrating how to color their paper.  Again, dark eyes just stared blankly back at us.  I questioned our translator:  

“Why aren’t they coloring? Do they not understand?”  His response floored me:  “Oh, they have never seen markers or crayons before; they don’t know how to color and they are afraid.” 

Now I was the one starring blankly back at our translator.

How was it possible that this group of children, ranging in age from 3-12 years, had never seen...or held...or used a marker or crayon before?  How could this actually be a reality in a world as advanced as ours? 

It was a reality check, and was a pivotal point that God used to help us decide to follow His leading to begin working in the village.  

That same trip, we held a 'town hall' meeting where we simply listened to the villagers share about the things they wanted help with the most.  In a place that has no electricity, no running (or clean) water, little food, bamboo huts and dirt floors, their primary answer had nothing to do with the needs I saw most glaring.  Instead, the villagers unanimously asked if we would come and educate their children.  

They implored us: “Without education, our children have no hope for their futures.  We long for them to have a future better than our own.”

What I realized during that trip was that I did not know a lot about community development, but I did know how to help a kid learn to hold and use a crayon. While I didn’t know how to set up a formal education system, I did know how to help teach a child how to write their name.

It was a simple crayon that held a contagion of hope in that first visit to the MineField Village.  Six years later, God has provided for the establishment of a school to educate Kindergarten through 3rd grade.  This week, we’re delighted to share the stories of how God worked to not only provide through third grade, but also how He is providing beyond.  Follow along and join with us in thanking the Giver of such good gifts!