Mark and Bernadine are the parents of one of Life Impact’s missionaries. They visited the border of Thailand/Burma for two weeks to see what ministry and daily life is like there. The following is Mark’s account of a Muslim community where we minister through teaching English and holding a weekly Bible study.
I went with my wife, daughter and her husband to visit some families in the slums here in Thailand. There is a village of the poorest of the poor. A local farmer allows them to live on his land. They build their homes from whatever scrap materials they can find. The homes need to be elevated because a good portion of the year is rainy season and the area is filled with mud and filth. The rest of the year is very hot and humid. Imagine the worst camping conditions you may have ever experienced and you are not even close to understanding how their daily living environment is.
The homes are shacks. Roofs of leaves or paper or tin. Walls of sticks/ branches. Floors of slats. No doors or bathrooms or closets. They have one room maybe 15 x 15 for the whole family (sometimes as many as 7 kids or more). Some have an extension cord for some power for a light, but most have no power at all.
Many have been here for as many as 18 yrs. These are conditions I wouldn’t wish on the worst of humanity. In the first home we met Aalee* and his wife. Aalee pushes a cart into town each day and sells food to eke out enough to feed his family. Last week his father-in-law was in an argument and Aalee tried to break it up. He was stabbed in his hand, breaking a bone and cutting tendons. He now needs 2 months, or more, to recover. Meanwhile, he can’t push his cart or sell his food. His family is not sure where their meals for the next few months will come from. What is truly inspiring is, as we sat in their home visiting, they offered us what food they had. We politely refused, but as we left, Aalee’s wife made us “to go” bags of the meal. The family was positive and pleasant and shared what little they have with myself and my wife. We have all and more than we need and were humbled by the kindness and generosity of these fine people.
Life Impact International aids these refugees from Burma and many others like them. I am humbled to be part of their lives and proud beyond words.
*name has been changed