Out of the slums comes hope

‘I want them to get out of the slums’, said Muek.

Cracked bitumen, obscured sky and rotting rubbish piled high. Shards of glass, skinny, hungry dogs, pollution and plastic bags circling overhead like birds of prey.

This is their playground; the children of the Klong Toey slums in Bangkok.

It is estimated that upwards of 350 000 people live here; many extended families, their lives condensed into a swirling mix of drugs, alcohol, poverty, violence, crime and prison. They live here because it’s cheap and close to employment; and many of them are doing their best, despite the odds.

‘I know their basic needs and problems in the slums, because this was me. This was me before God sent me hope through sponsorship with World Vision’.

Muek teaches violin, English, art and computer studies at the Home of Praise – an oasis of colour and love, situated smack-bang in the Klong Toey slums. Until recently, Home of Praise catered for very small children and babies, but thanks to Muek’s efforts, children over six years old, right through their teenage years, can come and learn.

‘World Vision told me about God when I was a child and I studied hard. I did youth work study, Bible study at the Lutheran College of Thailand, Youth With A Mission (YWAM) and a Bachelor degree in Information Technology’.

Norwegian, Annie Storstein Haug, is one of the original staff at Home of Praise and is a member of the Lutheran Diakonia Department of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Thailand. She said, ‘our biggest problem [at Home of Praise] is that when they are teenagers, they don’t come to us anymore, they hang around in the slums. … But Muek really understands their way of thinking, he has been sent to us by God’.

Muek said, ‘a helping-hand was extended to me and now it’s my turn to reach out’.

Home of Praise is a ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Thailand (ELCT). Each week day, infants and children living in the slums of Klong Toey, Bangkok experience the love of Jesus in practical ways, as it is shared with them by the inspiring staff who serve there. The LCA shares in this ministry of Home of Praise particularly through the support given by Lutheran Women of Australia (LWA). In January 2014, a mission team from the LCA will work to provide maintenance support on the deteriorating building.

This story was also published in the November 2013 edition of Border Crossings, the magazine of LCA International Mission.

Many of our partner churches are working in new territory for the kingdom of God; therefore, spiritual attack is their everyday reality. As a member of a congregation, school, or family, or a couple or individual, you are invited to commit to praying for our partners in mission. For regular prayer point updates, go to www.lca.org.au/international-mission/act-now/pray

Read more stories about our partner churches in Thailand at http://www.lcamission.org.au/category/stories/international-partners/thailand/