The Great Commission

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The Great Commission

I'll never forget the answer to the question I posed to Ga Bleu, director of Jury's Orphanage located in Burma.  

During a scouting trip to Burma to see where the new orphanage would be located, I asked her, "What is the future for these orphans in Burma?"

I had to ask because the realities of these orphan's lives is much different than the orphans we shared about earlier this week. In Burma, a country STILL at war, a country still dominated by authority killing ethnic tribal people, what really was the future for these kids? Aren't their lives constantly at risk? There is no guarantee for their safety, no protection, no rest in my heart that they would be okay.  

Ga Bleu's answer was simple, "They will become teachers, doctors and ministers of the Gospel.  
They will help those who are still alive in neighboring villages in Burma."

It was in this moment that I realized Ga Bleu had no other plan for these orphans than the same one Christ gave to each of us - "to go and make disciples of all nations." None of us are guaranteed tomorrow, whether we live in a first world nation at peace or a third world nation at war. Ga Bleu's heart for these children was to arm them with strength and power through education to fulfill the great commission! Her deep understanding of Christ led her to none other than Jesus' original mission for these children, which is to share His Gospel and make disciples. Ga Bleu understood that Plan A for expanding God's Kingdom on the earth is each of us, including these beautiful orphans, no matter their difficult circumstance. She never lost site of this call - all she was able to see is what God COULD DO through each of them. Arming these orphans, ones who've lost their very own mothers and fathers, with an education of reading, writing and math in addition to an education about Jesus Christ, was really the only answer to my question.    

That answer immediately changed my hopeless heart to a heart that began dreaming about the possibilities! Let's really think about this...

What happens when children, the ones with the most innocent faith, begin to be armed with education? What about when they have an understanding that their purpose is to be the very nation-changers their nation needs? What happens when these children become adults who care about their own people, the ones that are being oppressed and the ones that are oppressing? What happens when they learn to forgive and love and begin shaking the very foundation of evil in their society?  I'll tell you what happens....

THEY BECOME DANGEROUS.  

THESE VERY CHILDREN COULD CHANGE THE FUTURE STORY OF THE NATION OF BURMA; CHANGE IT'S HISTORY AND IT'S COURSE ENTIRELY.  

All we're being asked to do is build a school. A school that would arm these children to become difference makers and influencers.  

How can we not join GaBleu in this vision? The money being raised this week for Jury's orphans has HUGE implications!

This school will be built in the middle of a hot zone, exactly where we as followers of Jesus Christ want to be building schools! This school will not only bring education to Jury's orphans but it will educate village children from around theregion. It will arm each child with education that can pull that nation out of war and poverty. It starts here, with the investment of children.  

We don't send soldiers into a battle without armor. So too, we arm these children for battle: A battle for their nation's peace. Education is the first and crucial step.  

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A Clinic In A Minefield

The completed clinic just before the windows were installed

The completed clinic just before the windows were installed

I'll never forget the moment in a poor village in Cambodia when I stood with gloves on my hands holding a small tube of Cortizone cream with a line of women standing in front of me.  They anxiously waited to tell and show me what was going on with their bodies and how they needed help.  One after another came they came forward lifting up the sleeve of their shirt to show me red swollen spots covering their arms, legs & bodies.  Here I was rubbing cream on them knowing this Cortizone cream would not cure their sickness.  

Everything in me wanted to say, "I'm not a doctor. I'm so sorry. I can't help you."

Amreitha and a woman with sciatic nerve pain which makes it very difficult for her to care for her children, and even walk.

Amreitha and a woman with sciatic nerve pain which makes it very difficult for her to care for her children, and even walk.

You see, many of these women were suffering from skin rashes that occurred because they didn't have access to clean water to properly bathe themselves.  It was numbing to realize that something as basic as clean water was causing such harm to their bodies.  The reality is that skin rashes were the least of their problems.  Many of them suffered internally from the lack of clean water and proper nutrition.  Sadly, some of them had even lost children to disease and ultimately, a lack of medical care.

These villagers live on a former minefield in rural Cambodia.  Access to medical treatment is basically nonexistant. Women are giving birth to babies on dirt floors with walls around them created from bamboo.  Children who simply need an antibiotic for a fever are dieing because their parents cannot afford to travel and take them to a hospital. The elderly suffer through their pain, not being able to walk or get to a doctor who could help them.

We had to do something.

Praying and dreaming inside the freshly painted clinic

Praying and dreaming inside the freshly painted clinic

This past year, LightBridge International asked generous financial donors to help us care for these villagers by building a medical clinic in their village.  In their village!  A location where all can receive the medical attention they so desperately need.  In June, our LightBridge mission teams made this dream come true by building the very first medical clinic in this village!  We cannot wait for this project to be fully completed so that our villagers can receive the care they need, so that a simple skin rash doesn't turn into something more, so that a mother can safely deliver her baby in a bed with access to clean water.

We're almost finished with this project.  The next step is to outfit the clinic.  We need to purchase beds, medical supplies, shelves and more.  We need to hire a doctor that can come see patients once or twice a week.

Many of us don't even think twice about heading to the doctor when we catch a cold.  We want this same reality for our villagers and we'd like to invite you to help.

Amreitha is the Director of Advocacy for LightBridge International

Amreitha is the Director of Advocacy for LightBridge International

Would you pray for the completion of this project?  Would you be willing to give financially toward the very first opportunity for health care in this village?  If so, click "give" below to give directly towards this project.

We thank you for your partnership in such a life giving endeavor!

- Amreitha Jeevamanoharan

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Miraculous Firsts

I first met Bay when he was a nine year old orphan boy at Huen Nam Jai Orphanage in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  His story was like many of our orphans:  Abandoned by his parents, left to be raised in an orphanage.  Confused.  Deeply wounded.  Lonely.  Although forsaken, Bay was lovingly welcomed to Huen Nam Jai Orphanage.   He was cared for by Christian house parents who not only provided for his physical needs, but also shared with him the love of his Creator.  It was here that Bay came to know Jesus.  In this home, Bay learned to read God's Word.  It was here that Bay's heavenly Father began to heal the wounds in his heart.  In the place of his abandonment, Bay's gentle yet strong character was forged.  

Bay and Zach Tillapaugh - fast friends from the beginning!

Bay and Zach Tillapaugh - fast friends from the beginning!

Through the years of knowing Bay, he has become a part of our family.  Our family visits him and all the children at Huen Nam Jai each time we're in Chiang Mai.  We keep up with each other via Facebook. Those kids have truly stolen our hearts…how we love them!  My own children think of Bay as their brother. To us, Bay is like a son.  

Through a series of incredible miracles, God orchestrated a way for Bay to come to America and visit us.  He arrived on May 5 and has had a lifetime of 'firsts' in these few weeks:  First time traveling beyond the borders of Thailand; first time on an airplane; first time to see the mountains; first time to see snow and make a life-size snow bunny (yea, not exactly a snowman, but more of a snow-bunny); first time to go to an amusement part; first time to see the Air Force Academy; first time to experience an American wedding; first time to sleep in his own bedroom; first time to take an adjustable warm shower….and oh-so many more 'firsts'.  

But the 'first' that means the most to me is the way Bay is now sharing about God's work in his life.  The other day, Bay talked about the pain and sorrow of his early childhood.  He didn't stop there but went on to share that even though his early childhood was so painful, he met Jesus because he was brought to the Huen Nam Jai orphanage so many years ago.  He is now seeing the good plans God has had for him and shared:  "I think about how, in the next 20 years, God will use me in my own country to share about the love of Jesus with my fellow Thais".  

We are amazed at the ways God is working in Bay's life…and so many lives in our orphanages and ministry locations.  Like proud parents, we are delighted by the ways kids, like Bay, are recognizing God's faithfulness in their lives.  What joy fills our hearts as we see God's powerful work in the lives of dear orphans.  We continue to pray that Bay and many more will indeed become difference-makers for Christ in their corner of the world.

- Karla Tillapaugh

Director of LightBridge International

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It's only the beginning

What began in 2006 as a simple vision has grown into something we couldn't have imagined. At that time, our vision was to come alongside dear orphans in Thailand, with whom we had come to love, and help prepare them for adulthood.  The goal was not just an ordinary adulthood; rather, a sustainable adulthood in which they could flourish and become difference makers for Christ in their corner of the world.  Today, through the grace of God's goodness and the faithfulness of many champions, we are seeing that vision continue…and become reality.  

The vision is becoming reality and it has expanded to not only include orphans, but also children in need, adults living on the margins of life, and communities praying for a chance to rise above poverty.  What an honor to see God work in the lives of these precious people through the powerful prayers and generosity of so many supporters during all these years.  

As we continue this work with you, we hope to include many of the incredible stories of God's faithfulness here in this news area for LightBridge.  We hope these stories will engage you and encourage you as we continue to join with God in caring for the orphan and poor for many years to come.


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