The drug trafficker’s son and Jesus
It’s about survival and seeking a better life. That’s why many desperate men, women and children cross the border from Burma to Thailand. BMS World Mission workers Brian and Lydia English share how they have seen their work provide a safe haven
Little Myat* was only two years old when both of his parents were thrown into a prison in Thailand and his world turned upside down.
Originally from Burma, Myat’s mother and father were economic migrants who had fled to Thailand in search of a better future. Many families like Myat’s have left Burma due to decades of oppression and because there is a lack of healthcare, education, jobs and resources.
Desperate for money and trying to rebuild their lives, Myat’s parents turned to drug trafficking and were both caught and put in prison.
Myat was welcomed with open arms by Brian, Lydia and the BMS partner whom they work with. They were there to give him loving care and a safe environment while his parents served their prison sentences.
While Brian, Lydia and other staff looked after Myat, they also knew how important it was to continue to nurture the boy’s relationship with his parents with the hope that they would be together again. Every month Myat visited his mother and father in prison to maintain their important bond.
After two years, when she was released from prison, Myat was reunited with his mum. But the story doesn’t end there. Shortly after Myat was sent home to live with his mother again, something incredible happened. Myat’s family was Buddhist, and she became curious when Myat would talk about a man named Jesus.
It was enough to spark her curiosity, and soon she went back to the BMS partner to find out more about who this Jesus was. Brian, Lydia and staff were there to answer her questions and talk about faith. Myat’s mum eventually became a Christian and was recently baptised.
“It is quite the story,” says Brian. “Our work is all about showing God’s love through action. It was amazing how we were able to help this young boy and also that his mother came to faith.”
Along with our partners, Brian and Lydia help to provide a safe haven that children and women need when they are on the margins of society. Currently three shelters are provided where they give migrants a safe space and offer a holistic approach that enables victims to find peace and healing.
If it weren’t for this important work, Myat could have ended up on the streets where he would have been vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. Our partners provide a wonderful temporary home for children, aiming to see children raised in real families, and Brian and Lydia play an important part in making this and other important work happen.
Currently, Brian and Lydia are both helping to set up a foster care programme with the BMS partner.
“We work in an area where there are lots of stateless Burmese children,” says Lydia. “Many of these kids are vulnerable to risks and abuse and we know that they would qualify for foster care if it was established.”
Brian and Lydia hope to launch the fostering scheme in September 2016. Lydia is working to develop the programme alongside colleagues, helping to developing the strategy and writing training manuals. Brian is also helping through fundraising and communications work (Brian used to work in the BMS Communications Department in Didcot!).
“Foster care is not something that is widely known in Thailand,” says Brian. “We have had to educate people so they really understand what we mean. So far, the support has been great. People really don’t want these children to end up in an institution or on the streets.”
Pray for Brian, Lydia and their son Jesse as they continue to live and work in Thailand. Pray for their work at our partner organisation Compasio – particularly as they work to get the foster programme started. Pray for great relationships to be built within their community, strength for the other staff and that the programme would be a success.
This article first appeared on the website of BMS World Mission and is used with permission.