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.
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