Enabling Ordinary People to
Transform the Lives of Urban Refugees

How Refugees Conquer Fear Through Education

Posted by on Apr 1, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

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When Moon and his family first arrived in Thailand, they were immediately thrown into a desperate situation. Within a few months, all their resources had run out. They would go days without eating, never knew if they would have money for rent, and  lived in apartments where there was a constant threat of being discovered by police and thrown in prison. Fear dominated their lives.

We came alongside them, gave them shelter in our Safe House, and ensured that they had enough food to survive.

However, as we walked with them, we found that even with food in their stomachs and a roof over their heads, fear continued to dominate their lives. This time, their fear was stepping outside the Safe House, and being discovered by police.  So Moon’s family began to withdraw– from church, and from community in general. They stopped hoping for their future. They sought safety in isolation.

We are called to live with discretion, and make prudent choices. And it is true, refugees in Bangkok must live their lives in constant danger.

But their calling in life is not staying safe. No human should wake up in the morning, and believe that their purpose be to stay safe. God has called us to higher things.

We are called to learn, to work, to teach. This breathes purpose into our lives. And for our refugees we are helping, it is crucial that they have hope and believe they can find God’s purpose for their lives while they are still in Bangkok.

So we have chosen to take the next step as an organization and begun to prioritize education. Refugees might not be able to work, but for the four years or so that they are in Bangkok, we want to enable them to learn skills, trades, and languages, and when they have these tools, to teach others.

We are already seeing the fruits of serving refugees this way. Moon is dedicating himself even more to learning English, and is also learning to design websites.

Aaron, a refugee father, is now able to take his entire family to Danny’s school. For the first time in over a year, his four children are learning in an organized setting. He is able to help with maintenance at the school, and his wife is initiating a preschool program.

Looking forward, we will continue to provide scholarships for children to go to school. We will also prioritize providing laptops to refugees who demonstrate a commitment to learning. Looking even further into the future, we plan to develop curriculum tools for refugees, and eventually hire an Education Coordinator to oversee all our educational efforts.

We remain committed to providing the basic needs to refugees: food and shelter. But we don’t want to stop there. We want to make sure we are walking with them, and helping them to find God’s purpose in Bangkok. God wants to give them a future and a hope. We want to be a part of that.

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The Person Who Made My Marriage Possible

Posted by on Mar 26, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

2013-02-04 22.21.54This post is from Jade, our Community Development Coordinator. In August 2013 she married Chris, our Executive Director.

Last June, I had hit my limit. Every time I went to church I was surrounded by refugees begging for help, but I had nothing more to give. Not only that, I was practically teaching English full time, just so I could survive. I needed to be back in America, not just to raise support for our work with refugees, but to finally be together, in person, with my future (now current) husband.

But before I could leave, we needed someone to lead our work in Bangkok. For a while, that was the line in the sand. Finding someone willing and capable of taking on that leadership role seemed impossible. I would just have to wait another year…..or two.

Then it dawned on me: the perfect person for the job was right in front of me. Evette Rivera had been my roommate and closest friend in Bangkok before I had even heard the terms “urban refugee” or “Life Raft International.” She was already an advocate for 3 families and had walked with me through all the crazy ups and downs of my experience.

She graciously agreed to take over the leadership role on the ground work in Thailand, and we have been blown away by the incredible job she has done. Since she has taken over, we have encountered a variety of crises, and she has faced each them with incredible dignity and wisdom. Not only that, but she has overseen a rapid expansion of our work: Since she took over, we have added five new families, and sent 4 additional kids to school.

It is crazy how God answers prayers, and how his timing is the perfect timing. A year ago, Evette and I never would have imagined that we would be where we are, doing what we are doing. But here we are, and God is moving. Thank you, Evette, for being a great friend, leader, and servant.

I love you.

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