Special Blessings Three Weeks In

Hello Friends. We just finished week 3 at Special Blessings. There is really no way to express my complete JOY. Someone called it finding your “Sweet Spot”, and it is very sweet. The Casting Crowns song Thrive comes to mind.

We know we were made for so much more Than ordinary lives.
It's time for us to more than just survive.
We were made to thrive.

That is how I feel. My body is tired and sore from crawling around with toddlers but my heart is so very full. I am Thriving. -Carol

The facts for you who are interested:

We are serving 4 children this first year. The parents have generously allowed me to share their stories.

 

1. Aunda is a very robust 3.5 year old who is extremely smart and is correcting my Thai on most days. Aunda had premature closures of his skull sutures which caused some brain damage at the motor level. He has very little functional use of his arms and legs. He is unable to walk. feed, toilet or dress himself. We are working toward getting him some required mobility devices but they are rare and VERY expensive here. Prayer required. Our Goal for Aunda is to have him ready to attend school next year with typically developing peers.  Praying for Aunda is not difficult. God we need your miraculous touch for our precious boy.

2. Putter is a 4.5 year-old that has a diagnosis of Autism. He is bright and beautiful but locked into a difficult sensory world. His favorite activity is watching YouTube videos in English. His spoken “words” are all English even though his family speaks very little English.  (I say “words” instead of language since these “words” are parroting and have little functionality in his day to day life.) He is responding very well to picture communication and is already out of diapers and doing some nice self-calming. God is good and has been planning for him since before he was born.

3. Gamboo is a 4 years old girl. She is also diagnosed as being Autistic. She had a rough life even before her birth. The young teenage mother did not tell anyone she was pregnant and continued with very poor life style choice thoughout the pregnancy. Gamboo has trouble with sensoryregulation. She displays atypical sensory processing that interferes with everyday life. She is obsessed with Thai letters and putting them in order. She will become frustrated and will obsess to meltdown. We have had to remove all Thai letters from the public areas. We are reintroducing them slowly in small doses so she can learn how to play and work with letters without obsessing to meltdown. She is a delightful child with a great disposition until her obsessions take control. She then become difficult. However we have seen marked improvements in the short time she has been with us. Thanks be to God for his divine intervention.

4. Nammon is a delightful 4 year old boy who had a traumatic brain injury when he was 8 months old. The details of this injury are unavailable and I am not able to share his story in writing. But I can tell you prayers for this little one are coveted.  He only began walking last year and although he came to us in diapers and on a bottle he has been very teachable. He is out of diapers and is getting better nutrition. He is a slow learner and he takes a while to process information. However he is learning and participating well. We believe that we will be able to send him to school with his peers next year and he will learn and thrive at his level. God is good.

God has shown up so big in this mix of kids. We are so grateful to God for his amazing gifts.

Love to all, Vicki and Carol

 

Another Sunday Another Blessing

All my days are blessings but some doubly so. Today would be one of those days. About 25 weeks ago I decided to begin praying for each of our scholarship/English students by name daily. Although I have not been completely faithful to accomplishing this daily, God has been faithful andI have seen amazing things happening.

About 10 weeks after I started to pray for these children some began coming to Christ. Immediately after this I decided that I needed to pray that someone anyone would step-up and begin in earnest teaching the children that had confessed faith in the Lord. Church is certainly the only place they will hear about Jesus. I began falling on my knees urgently begging God to intervene. My words were something like, “God you must raise someone up to teach these children. Touch their hearts with the urgency of grounding these children in the faith.”

Well……….the next week I found a website with free bible stories made for children in both Thai and English that mirror each other. I said, “Really God, me? You want me to do this? Don’t I have enough to do already.”  But I was sure that that is exactly what he was calling me to do.

The class has grown from 10 to 33 children and PRAISE GOD some are bringing there parents. Two new families have made faith statements and are faithfully participating in all aspects of our church life. (Even the 40 days of prayer the church began this month to beseech God for the lives of the people in their community and in Thailand itself.)

I am beginning to hand over some of the activities to the older children and getting some of the women involved on a more regular basis. My prayer is that soon this class will be taught by the Thai Christians and I can teach a English class in the afternoon. I can perhaps reinforce the lesson. Baby steps. They are such new Christians.

We have about 40 children on scholarship this year and 8 of those children are attending a youth leadership program intended to develop church leadership for the next generation. 

The leader of the Group is one of our college scholarship students. None of the 8 children have parents that are interested in learning about God. 3 of the 8 have grandparents that know the Lord.

Pray for these beautiful children.

Blessed is such a inadequate word for what I feel. I am overwhelmed by the mercy of God. His grace is in the very breath I breath. I am drowning in his love.

-Carol

 

 

Boo and Nam

Meet Boo (age 12) and Nam (age 10) and their grandmother. They live in this house with no electricity or indoor plumbing. Their mother left them when they were babies when she began another family in a nearby town. No one sends support to this family. They depend on the goodness of others for food and other necessities.

 

Blessing Home Isan is now putting these boys on scholarship. The only requirement for receiving this support is to stay in school and attend English classes. It is summer break here and generally, we do not provide scholarship funds for meals during this time. However, the need is so great we will be providing support immediately. Money for food will be managed for them by one of the church leaders. She will bring them to Blessing Home each Sunday to attend Carol’s English/Thai Sunday School Class.

 

The BHI Foundation is committed to ensuring success in school for all of our scholarship students. In addition to money for school lunches, we buy school uniforms, class polo shirts, jump drives for computer classes, and glasses for those who need them. For these boys, we bought bicycles so they can attend school because they walk 2.5 miles to school and back each day.

 

Please pray, pray, pray for this family. Their situation is ominous. Once male students in Isan are able to drop out of school at age 13-14 they go to work in the fields, thus ending all hope of a better future and breaking this cycle of poverty. Our goal is to keep these kids in school until they graduate.

--Vicki Brown

 

It is Sunday again...

It is Sunday again. Seemed like work to get to Non Somboon this morning. But as I sit surrounded by my Thai family loving and praising our common Father, I find my peace. No, I find His peace. 

February 1st we began maintaining two residences. We now have a very small house in Non Sonboon and a house in larger town about 1 1/2 hours away so we can all attend language classes has been great. We are also working in preparation for the new ministry called Special Blessings Korat. It has been a tremendous blessing. But now we are tired. We have committed to participate in many extra activities but still have the responsibilities of teaching and overseeing the scholarship program and English classes in Non Somboon. 

So it is Sunday morning and I am tired. We got here just in time for me rush in the house to print my activity page for the bible class I facilitate on Sunday mornings. My printer is in a foul mood. I got 2 of the 4 pages I intended to use printed before it was absolutely time to go find my kids. 

So there I sit catching only the last 5 minutes of worship before it's time to  take the kids over to the classroom to teach.  

Then it happens, the church leader begins talking about one of my precious kids. She is 13, is receiving a Blessing Home Isan scholarship, and has been in our English class for 2 years. I don't understand every word that is said but this much I get. "She went to teacher Carol's Sunday class and learned that God made the world. She went to the leaders of the church because she wanted to know more." Opening up the Bible they taught her about Jesus and now she has given her life to Him. 

It is still Sunday morning. Suddenly, I am not so tired anymore. I feel the love and promises of God wash over me like streams of living water, never ceasing. He is alive and as powerful as ever. I stand on His promises. Now and forever. Amen. 

Inviting Jesus into her life. 

Inviting Jesus into her life. 

Special Blessings Korat

Praise God our ministry is growing. We have been praying and earnestly seeking God in a new and exciting direction. As many of you know we have been sharing our home with KaoHawm, a 5-year-old girl who is deaf and has Down syndrome. God was so generous to share her with us during the last year and four months. We have learned so much about God’s faithfulness to His promises. But equally as valuable we have learned the challenges of raising a special needs child in Thailand. Some large cities in Thailand now have schools that provide education for special needs children. It is this that led us to begin looking for a part time place to rent in a large city about 2 hours from Blessing Home Isan. We had three major objectives. First, to find sign language classes for KaoHawm. Second, to find one-on-one Thai language classes for us.  Third, to do some investigative work. We were wondering if the special education community in Korat would be receptive to an early intervention program in this area.

The facilities working on early intervention and preparing parents to help their children are almost nonexistent. Many of these parents are poor and uneducated, but desire the best for their children all the same.

We are thankful. God in His faithfulness has met all three objectives in the most miraculous way. First, KaoHawm is now attending a 1 hour one-on-one session for Thai sign language 3 days a week. Second,  we have been blessed with a wonderful Thai language teacher who is miraculously a Christian. And Third, we have met with the special education department at a major university in Korat. They are thrilled with the possibilities of free training for the poor of Korat and with the possibilities of receiving children in their program that would have fallen through the cracks previously. And BTW the director of the special education program at the University is also a Christian. This is nothing short of miraculous since the percentage of Christians in Thailand is >1%. 

Then God made the passage promising he would do beyond what we ask, think or even dream real to us. He has supplied a house in Korat. We are renting for it a very reasonable price. This home will be perfect to use as a start up facility for Special Blessings Korat and Blessing Home Korat. We will be able to live in the upstairs and use the bottom floor for working with special needs children during the week and we are praying that God will make it possible for a new church plant to meet in the area on Sundays. Plus next year Vicki will begin teaching English to young teens in this home in the evenings. We will still have the responsibility of Blessing Home Isan. We are splitting our time between the two homes now. Because we are from Texas, the 1 1/2 hour drive is just a hop, skip, and jump away. We feel incredibly blessed by these opportunities.