January 27th, 2011
I write to share many of the wonderful things happening at the New Life Center Foundation over the past few weeks, and to celebrate these joys with you!
In December, NLCF staff, residents, former residents, and scholarship students spent four days together at our bi-annual camp. There’s a perfect spot in-between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai – a campground with dorms, a lake, a large hall for meetings, and a lovely field for games and barbecues. Everyone enjoyed being together, eating delicious food, and being challenged through the teaching of Rev. Chairat (“Phi Dong”) who is the director of Youth for Christ in Thailand. Rev. Chairat is uniquely gifted in his ability to connect with teenagers, and his preaching style had all of us alternatively roaring with laughter and soberly considering his more serious points throughout the sessions. The camp ended with a beautiful worship service and baptism ceremony led by Rev. Kit Ripley and residential staff, Khun Panida. The whole experience was a joy – and I remain grateful that we did not meet the scorpion in the bathroom (see picture attached) until the last day!
In January, we continued celebrating with the news that the Beter-Uit Reizen Company (based in Amsterdam, Holland) had purchased a new house in Chiang Mai for us to use as a “transitional” home. We have long needed such a home for those girls who have completed their education and are receiving vocational training, but have not yet secured employment - and are in that place between school and work. In fact, opening a transitional home has been a recommendation in several of the NLCF’s external program evaluations for many years. Despite the latter, we never really had the resources to pursue this piece of our overall programming.
Beter- Uit Reizen has purchased this house in their company name, but is allowing the NLCF to use it for at least the next decade or so – enabling us to open this needed program. We are all positively thrilled about this, and anticipate opening the house officially as of June, 2011. I attach for your perusal pictures of the house and some of our students, literally jumping with joy!
Finally, I write to share another update regarding “AhBee”, one precious emergency status resident whose case has been hovering precariously between the Thai courts and immigration police. As I shared in previous journals, AhBee (currently 15 years old, a victim of forced labor and forced prostitution from the ages of 11 - 14) was convicted of the crime of “entering Thailand illegally” and “…working illegally”, and sentenced to forced repatriation. However, at a recent meeting held with our social welfare multi-disciplinary team, the representative policeman from immigration informed us that AhBee could possibly stay at the New Life Center Foundation until she is 18 years old, provided that: a, she continues to receive counseling; and b, the NLCF reports her status and whereabouts to the immigration police every 90 days.
I am beyond grateful that the RTG immigration police have extended this mercy to her, and ask that all of you continue to pray for the present and future of this precious child.
Please write and share your joys, and prayer requests with me!