The Blog

The Mothers of Many

i May 10th No Comments by

In honor of Mother’s Day, we want to introduce you to two mothers living across the world raising children who have been rescued out of a loveless life of fear, abuse, neglect, trafficking, and malnourishment. They openly receive these children and raise them in the love and admonition of the Lord. Through these interviews I hope you can learn a little bit about the mothers who are shaping Life Impact International’s children into future preachers, evangelists, teachers, doctors… world changers!

***With one glance at this first mother, I see a woman who exudes leadership… and a very pregnant tummy. She runs a house full of children with respect, love, and authority. Pulling up to the house, a child will inevitably run to the gate to invite you in and offer you a cup of water. It’s a house boasting creativity and excitement, and unless they are watching a movie, the children are active with either school work, washing laundry, caring for the young ones, dancing, or playing instruments. Many of her children participate in weekly outreaches to share the Gospel. She is raising the leaders of the next generation.

SO197_197E SOE

Age: 33

House Mom for Life Impact International: 2008 – present

“She is a good mother! She teaches me ‘this way is good, this way is wrong.’”

– Soe Soe’s husband

How many children do you have living in your home?

I have ten girls and one boy.

How has your life changed since becoming a mother?

Before I lived in a village, and we only did gospel missions. My church leader called me to come here, and now I have learned more about children and have done many trainings on raising children. The first time “Ajan” Lana asked me if I wanted to keep a 9 month old baby girl, I said yes. I love her!

Since marrying in May 2013, how has the presence of a father impacted your household?

He is so funny!  He teaches the children about the Bible and the guitar. At first, some of the children were happy when he became a part of our family, and some were not, but now, they are all happy to have him. They call me “ma” and him “teacher.”

How do you balance your time between God, your husband, your children, and your housework?

It’s not the same now that I am pregnant. We would eat together as a family every night, but now I do not eat. I get sick [laughing]. I pray every morning, and when the children go to school, I read my Bible. After school, the children might watch a movie, so I go spend time with my husband. The children are older now so they help with the housework. If they do not know how to clean something, I teach them.

What has been your greatest challenge?

When the older girls do not listen. It’s so hard for me. They are so sure, so sure [laughs as she smirks with teenager attitude].

In a couple words, describe your family.

Spiritually wise. Growing in the Lord.

What is your ethnicity. In your village, how old are women typically when they marry and have children? After they marry, can they work outside the home?

I am Burmese Karen. The women usually marry between 22-27 years old, but if they have no education, they will marry young: 14-18 years old. They do not go to school after they marry or have children, but they may work in a family business.

Would you like to have more children?

[With a smile she turns to her husband, laughs nervously then embraces her very pregnant belly.]

If he wants more!

***When I look at this next mother, I see a woman with confidence and a calm, peaceful presence. With a face as smooth as a child’s, I am in awe of her lack of wrinkles and inquire about her parenting secret. Jokingly, I point out my own wrinkles after only two children. She is a professional mama with many years of experience. Her parenting style is seemingly effortless, but she understands the key to good parenting is giving it all to God.  She too is raising evangelical children; many of them also participate in weekly outreaches to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

012_12 (2)MAE NOOT

Age: 37

House mother for Life Impact International: 2008 – present

“I love the way she teaches the children and loves them.”

– Mae Noot’s husband

How many children do you have living in your home?

I have 12, but 11 living here. Two are biological. There are eleven boys and one girl.

How has your life changed since becoming a mother?

Before Life Impact, I worked at a different foundation for 7 years as a childcare worker. I worked in a daycare starting at age 18. I married at 21 and started a family. We had a daughter. It was different from the daycare children, because with my baby, I had more of a strong connection… a relationship with her. I worried about her and thought about her when I was away. Now, I share my time so all of the children get the same time with me. It’s more work now, but I love them all like they are my own.

How do you balance your time between God, your husband, your children, and your housework?

In the morning I cook, while my  husband prays with the children. When the children go to school, I clean and read my Bible. We eat together as a family, and after we eat the children play and take their showers. After the showers, I go into each bedroom and spend time with the children. If a child has a special problem, I give him more time. We worship at home as a family on Wednesday nights. On our day off, we take the children to play games at Tesco (grocery) and my husband and I eat lunch together. (She laughs and agrees when I ask if it’s a better date when the children don’t come with them.)

What has been a proud moment for you?

When a child makes a mistake, I talk to them, and they try hard not to do wrong again. I am proud when they learn how to read. One of my sons came to us very angry. He was mad all of the time, but now he is happy. He is a good big brother. He is not the same boy. Another boy could not sing a song when he first came, and now he leads worship. I like seeing change in the boy’s lives.

What has been your greatest challenge?

When the boys do not obey us, and they get angry at me even though I love them so much. My husband and I humble ourselves and pray for them.

In a couple words, describe your family. How did you achieve this quality?

Peaceful.

I tell the boys, “you come from many places, but you come to this one family. You love each other and take care of each other.” I told one son when he arrived, “you are now a big brother,” and he now helps the younger boys button their uniforms and plays with his brothers if I am busy cooking. He enjoys helping his family.

What is your ethnicity. In your village, how old are women typically when they marry and have children? After they marry, can they work outside the home?

I am from a Thai Karen hill tribe. Women get married around 18, but in some villages 15 years old. After you marry, you start a family immediately unless you want to go to school first. There is a school on Saturday and Sunday for women who want to go once their children are old enough to start kindergarten. It didn’t use to be this way. The women would stay home after they were married and had children.

Would you like to have more children?

[laughs and shakes her head] No babies. I might take more if they are 3-4 years old or older, but no babies, no babies.

Room For The Rescued

i May 4th No Comments by

Room For The RescuedNearing the end of a full year here in Thailand, and I‘m amazed at how quickly it has passed. There have been some moments that have not surprised me: the promise my children will wake up at the crack of dawn, the 2″ cockroach glaring at me from my bathroom almost every morning, and most recently, when a nurse at a local hospital injected a dirty needle into my one year old.  It seems these situations would typically create a surprised reaction, but in my current environment, they feel almost… expected.

On the other hand, there have been so many moments in the last year that have knocked my socks off. After accepting our mission to Thailand, I instantly began experiencing the surprises God had planned for our lives.

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”             1 Corinthians 2:9

Becoming a missionary was never in my plans, but God knows the desires of my heart, and soon after we moved here I realized how suited we were for this mission. Several months ago I began designing a two-bedroom safe home for Life Impact International (LII), and in March, construction on that house was completed.  A family of 11 moved in, and I’m elated to know how happy the mother is with her new home. She’s so proud she can manage the household while also raising nine young children. After tweaking the two-bedroom house into a three-bedroom design, it was approved for mass production. We are now midway through construction on the first, three-bedroom home, and in two weeks we will break ground for the next. For many years, it has been my desire to design and build housing for families in need, and I truly could not imagine how quickly God has put that desire into production.

Currently, the Thai government is aligning in a partnership with LII, and as of last week arrangements were being made for the urgent placement of a 10 or 11 year old boy who has been trafficked since he was four years old. It’s abundantly evident that God has enormous plans for growing our LII family, and our role is to help make room for the rescued. Ryan and I have been helping map out the placement of over 18 more houses, which will be built in the near future, and as donations for the homes are provided, we know He will also provide the children and parents to live in them.

As this first year comes to an end, we begin looking forward to our second year here with the development of many more housing projects, a community worship center/ church, and most importantly the receiving of many more rescued children.

What an exciting time to be serving in this ministry!