June - July 2010
As most of you know, since the tsunami of Dec. 2004 we have been involved with the Community Development Center at Baan Namkem. This has been an amazing ministry with a tremendous outreach and impact for Christ. Our partner Jason Goh is doing a fantastic job as director of the CDC.
Recently the Lord opened up a wonderful new opportunity for expanding the gospel outreach to our community. The CDC now has the full responsibility for the Burmese Christian school with 7 Burmese teachers along with 70 Burmese children, aged 5-13 years old. (Please see Jason's letter for more details.)
The Burmese children living in Thailand are not allowed to attend the Thai public schools. The CDC is providing a Christian education for 70 students who otherwise could not attend school at all.
You may be aware of the fact that Burma (Myanmar) has one of the most repressive governments in the world. Persecution against Burmese Christians is commonplace. This is an opportunity to reach and train Burmese students for Christ who otherwise may never hear the gospel.
Now, here is the amazing part! We can financially maintain this ministry with only $1.00 per day per student. For less than the cost of a cup of coffee or a soft drink, we can provide a solid Christian education for these children.
If you would like to have a part in this gospel outreach you can designate funds for “Burmese Student Fund” and 100% of that will be used to keep the Burmese school open.
During this furlough time we have seen God do many great things for our family. Now it is time for us to return home. We certainly appreciate your prayers as we travel. Gabriel and Alena will be staying behind in the states this time as David, Joy & Jasmine return to Thailand. We continue to look forward to many years of serving the Lord together with you in Thailand.
Yours for Thailand
David M. Speights
(From Jason Goh, Director of the Community Development Center at Baan Namkem.)
In these past 4 years, CDC had enjoyed partnership with other non-government organizations (NGOs) and Christian organizations. One of them was Love In Action Thailand who was running the Burmese Christian School. But, before I explain the nature of this partnership, allow me to give you a brief background of the Burmese in Thailand, particularly in the village of Baan Namkem.
The village of Baan Namkem is a refuge for hundreds of Burmese refugees. Many of them have escaped the hostility and oppression of the Burmese government to seek solace and hope in Thailand (you may “google” on the internet for more information on this subject). The closest Thai-Burmese border from the village is only less than 2 hours away. Hence, many would either hike through the jungles of Burma or hop onto a fishing boat to enter Thailand. These refugees often end up working in rubber tree plantations, fishing trawlers, factories, construction or homes. Due to their lack or absence of papers to live in the country, they are often harassed by the police or mistreated (many times abused) by their employers. In short, they do not have the entitlements and privileges that Thai citizens enjoy. Burmese children are not given a chance to study in the public schools. They are usually found roaming the streets or confined to the four walls of their houses (or sheds). A few churches and NGOs have stepped in to offer assistance to these families. CDC is one of them. We believe that every child, regardless of background, needs education. At this point, I shall resume the explanation of our partnership with Love in Action Thailand.
The arrangement with Love In Action Thailand was that CDC would provide the classroom facilities and free meals (sponsored by Manna Worldwide, USA) for the Burmese school children. Love In Action, on the other hand, would be responsible for the academic, human resource and logistics aspects of the school. Both parties have enjoyed a wonderful partnership in the past 4 years.
In Nov 2009, Love In Action had some financial constraints which threatened to close the school. CDC offered a little financial help which provided relief to them for a month. However, on 8 Feb 2010, the leaders of Love In Action announced to us that they could no longer financially support the school and felt that the Lord was leading them to other ministries in Thailand. They asked if CDC might be interested in becoming the sole owner and operator of the school. At that very instance, human logic commanded a resounding “Yes” to the cries of the children, “Please don’t close the school”, and the unspoken plea of the Burmese teachers, “Please don’t send us back to Burma.” Yet, our CDC team made no commitment but promised to seek the Lord’s will in this matter. After two weeks of prayers and sessions of discussion, our CDC team finally decided that it was the Lord’s plan for us to take on this entire ministry.
On 26 Feb, Love In Action officially handed the ownership of the Burmese Christian School to CDC through a simple ceremony. We now have 7 Burmese teachers along with 70 Burmese children, aged 5-13 years old added to the CDC family.
Many of you have tight schedules and may find it very hard to go on mission trips; yet you have always wanted to contribute financially to something worthy. Some of you are already giving generously to your church, missions program and/or charities, but still want to contribute more. There are also some who have little to live on yet want to financially help others who are less fortunate than they are. I have good news for all of you. I would like to invite you to have a part in the CDC ministry by sharing your financial resources. I personally see this as an eternal investment that will give a very honorable yield in our future home in heaven. Please join us in prayer and in deed as you peruse and consider the following urgent needs of our CDC Burmese Christian School.
1. Sponsor a Child’s Education (we need 70 sponsors) US$30 each MONTHLY
The sponsorship of a child’s education includes school supplies, textbooks, workbooks, transportation, meals, field trips, salaries for Burmese teachers (including work permits), etc. It costs US$30 per month to sponsor a child. This works out to be ONLY $1 per day! If you need more info on this matter (please write to firstname.lastname@example.org), I would be more than glad to answer your questions.
You have been very patient and kind in sparing your precious time to read this lengthy letter. We want you to know that we deeply appreciate it. Jason Goh – Director CDC