In April 2016 I was 6200 miles away from home in a country close to my heart. I was visiting Chantaburi in Thailand -150 miles from Bangkok toward Cambodia. This verdant area grows infamous durian fruit- banned in some public transport yet exported throughout Asia. Nestled near banana groves lies the home that grace built- designed to give hope for children affected by AIDS. At the House of Grace Pastor Kitisak & his wife Jariya are parents to 68 children aged 4 to twentysomething.
The story began in 1995 when Pastor Kitisak & his wife Jariya were asked to look after 2 children affected by AIDS. Rejection of children with HIV or whose parents have died of AIDS is sadly common. It’s not always possible to look after them in their local communities. So, gradually the number of children entrusted to Pastor Kitisak & Jariya’s care increased.
Initially they moved to live in an old school but soon they had a vision for purpose built facility for these children affected by HIV . In 2006 building started & one little boy in the home named Toto was the first donor – giving 15 baht.
Last year , I had the privilege of visiting Alan & Maelynn Ellard who work with ACET Thailand at House of Grace.
As I walked upstairs into the sunny green room where House of Grace church meets, names & photos from prayer letters became live in 3D!
‘Love can be spoken in any language, though it may sound a little different.’
I had read these words on the plane- in a blog written by Luke- Rob’s cousin’s husband.
So, what did love sound like at House of Grace?
Love sounded like children praising God wholeheartedly . One of the little girls had been very ill & needed hospital treatment. Watching her sing brought tears to my eyes.Listening to the older children leading worship was so encouraging.
Love was Pastor Kitisak exhorting the older children at Bible class from God’s words in Proverbs 4:4:
‘Take hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands, and you will live.’
Love sounded like happy chatter in the dining room as Jariya served food to the children after church.
Love was the excited sound of three little boys playing cars with Alan after lunch.
The week after I got home Alan & Maelynn sent some photos. As I scrolled through the digital photo album, I caught glimpses of what love looks like at House of Grace:
*Playing after school
*Having fun at camp at the beach
*Praying over a grown child as they start the next chapter
*Celebrating Christmas together
*Baptising a teenager in the sea
There was a photo of a plaque inscribed with words from 1 Samuel 7:12 :
‘Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”’
God has helped so far. He has been faithful . One powerpoint slide stated that they had never had to buy a grain of rice as God had provided for their needs.
House of Grace brings hope- the chance to belong in a family & for the children to find true life in trusting God.
“I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.”
(John 10:10 MSG)
‘Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.’
(John 17:3 NIV)
Please pray for Pastor Kitisak & Jariya as they show grace & love to the children, & look after them physically,emotionally & spiritually.
‘Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.’
Find out more information from ACET Thailand