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Posted on June 10, 2024 Missionary Kids are Witnesses to God’s Love in Thailand
Missionary kids are witnesses to God’s love in Thailand.
Missionary kids are witnesses to God’s love in Thailand.

Sydney smiles as she holds a baby of one of the preschool teachers.

Missionary kids are transforming lives across the globe as witnesses of God’s love.

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’” Matthew 18:2-4

Children are precious to God, and they serve a fundamental role in God’s mission to the world. Missionary kids (MKs) are integral to cross-cultural ministry as witnesses of God’s love to their peers. When you support International Ministries (IM), your giving makes an impact across generations to come. Sydney (14), Gavin (12), and Kolin (9) Juanes are three of our MKs in Thailand. Their parents, Alise and Mark Juanes, are global servants who focus on evangelism and discipleship.

7 THINGS THE JUANES KIDS WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT FOLLOWING GOD IN MISSION:

  1. You’ll say a lot of goodbyes. “One of the hardest things is leaving your friends,” Gavin told us. The good news, however, is that you get to make new friends from all over the world!
  1. The trip is long. It took the Juanes family twenty-four hours to travel from California to Chiang Mai. No one slept on the plane. “I was crying by the time we arrived because I was so tired,” Sydney reported.
  2. God’s timing is everything. Gavin, Sydney, Kolin, and their parents landed in Thailand right before the COVID-19 shutdown. “It was definitely hard,” Gavin said, “but it was all in God’s timing.”
  3. You can love someone even if you don’t know the word for “love” in their language. The Juanes family serves at House of Love (HOL), which protects at-risk hilltribe children and families, and at House of Blessing (HOB), a preschool for underprivileged hilltribe children. Sydney, Gavin, and Kolin spend every Friday at HOB teaching English and playing with the preschoolers. Once a week, they connect with the HOL kids, playing games like tag and hide-and seek.

 We don’t know how to tell them about God in Thai yet,” Sydney shared, “so we show them God’s love through our actions.”

  1. Not everyone knows what a family is, but you can show them! Abuse, abandonment, and risk of trafficking are all serious problems in Thailand. Many children who come to HOL don’t know what it’s like to experience living with a healthy family. “Once a week, college students who have been raised in the House of Love come over to our home for dinner just to experience what it’s like to be in a family,” Gavin said.
  1. God will change your heart. Sydney knows God is moving in her life now because when she sees someone who is sad or has a disability, she’s moved to reach out to them with compassion, care, and friendship.
  1. You’ll see God do amazing things. HOL began as a ministry to HIV-positive women and their children, but the focus has shifted to helping families work through challenges and foster a safe environment where their kids can thrive. “It’s nice to know this is making an impact in Thailand,” Gavin said. “Even if it means just uniting a few families, that’s still a huge success.”
Missionary kids are witnesses to God’s love in Thailand.

Sydney and Kolin play with the HOL kids after a long day of rice harvesting.

The childlike faith of MKs like Sydney, Gavin, and Kolin paints a picture of what it’s like to serve others so that it may be “on earth as it is in heaven.” IM’s global servants come alongside local communities and global partners to plant seeds that, with patience and care, will grow into flourishing ministries with eternal impact.

MKs lead special lives, but they are still kids, and the lack of stability can be quite challenging. That’s why IM invests in our global servants and their families. Every year, IM hosts a conference for global servants on home assignments. Last summer, we focused specifically on our MKs! MKs and their families from all over the world came together, played games, and participated in workshop activities. The Juanes kids enjoyed sharing their common experiences with other MKs who understand the often-unstable life that is required when you follow God’s mission.

IM Global Coordinator for MK and Family Care Debby Witmer explains the importance of MKs engaging deeply with one another. “The concepts of home and belonging are tough for highly mobile MKs, but with other MKs, they find a community that truly understands them. Targeted conferences are an opportunity for relationship building and providing space for MKs to grow in understanding who they are.”

 

HOW CAN YOU PARTNER WITH THE JUANES FAMILY?

The Juanes family says you are always welcome in Thailand, but they suggest you stay somewhere with plenty of air conditioning. “Also, watch out for cockroaches,” Kolin warned, “and bring lots of bug spray!”

Please pray for:

Would you consider giving a gift today to help our MKs and their families continue to be the hands and feet of Jesus? Your gift to IM’s General Fund helps provide the resources and tools needed for MKs and their families to thrive as they serve across the world.

Give a gift today.