×
Hunger loses battle in remote Thai village
J.B. Shark, First-person account/Baptist Press
October 05, 2011

Hunger loses battle in remote Thai village

Hunger loses battle in remote Thai village
J.B. Shark, First-person account/Baptist Press
October 05, 2011

BAN CAM, Thailand – As our motorcycle neared the wooden

bridge, we heard the worrisome sound of rushing water. Heavy rain had swollen

the creek and made the path very muddy. Jaidee Yodsuwan,* my guide and driver,

accelerated through the mud. The back wheel slid sideways, causing Yodsuwan to

lose control of the bike. We headed straight for the cliff. I breathed a quick

prayer.

At the last moment, Yodsuwan recovered and our bike crossed the bridge to

safety.

Our adventure started on a treacherous, muddy path. But our story in this

remote Thai village began six years earlier – when the medical clinic closed

and a community development organization supported by the Southern Baptist

Convention’s World Hunger Fund took its place.

My father was one of the last doctors to work at this clinic in Thailand. I was

excited to see how things had changed and how the staff I remembered from

childhood now reached out to their Northern Hill Tribe neighbors through the

Thai Peoples’ Welfare Foundation.

We loaded down motorcycles with supplies and rode up into the hills on a

narrow, muddy walking path. Our team of six Thai Life Development Center

workers and International Mission Board missionary Joanie Snyder* headed to a

village the Thai government deemed as being in great need – Ban Cam.

Yodsuwan and another pastor originally visited this village

a few years ago. The community development workers found the people very

isolated and living in their old ways: abject poverty, no electricity, no

decent bathrooms and wooden homes with thatch roofs. The village had no

building specifically for their children to attend school.

As he surveyed the conditions, Yodsuwan gained a vision for how the team could

serve the village and build relationships to share the love of Jesus by meeting

physical and spiritual needs.

Yodsuwan said the first night his team stayed in the village, no one invited

them into their home. Then, as the team began making up beds in a deserted

house, one old man invited them to stay with him. This “man of peace” started

the relationship that allowed the team to work in the village.

Three years later, the relationships and trust continue to grow, providing

access to other villages even more isolated in these hills.

Photo by Victor Xingh

Gan Boonruang* and Jaidee Yodsuwan* of the Ban Cam community development team, which draws on the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund for support, prepare motorcycles for the trip to the village. They spend long hours repairing and prepping the motorcycles each week. See related video.

Yodsuwan and his team make this treacherous trip into the hills each week –

rain or shine. This week, the rain poured down. But with joy and rain gear, we

rumbled on toward the village. Yodsuwan said it is important to make this trek

each week, the village needs the encouragement and is a launching point for

further community development in the area.

“In your precious name, stop the rain,” I heard Snyder pray. Then turning to me

she said, “Though I don’t always go with them, I feel responsible for the team’s

safety, so I’m always praying for them. I have to trust in the Lord, and pray.”

I learned more about why she was concerned for the team’s safety as we

continued up the trail. I started out driving one of the motorcycles, but after

falling off four times, I rode on the back of Yodsuwan’s motorcycle.

As we rode along, the path became very narrow. On the left was steep hillside,

on the right, the steep drop-off of the cliff. We had only a one-foot margin of

error on either side. On several occasions, I got off and walked as Yodsuwan

gunned the motorcycle up the rough mountain trail, bouncing back and forth.

Like Snyder, I found myself praying the whole trip.

Who knew our World Hunger Fund projects made it to places as

remote and rough as this?

Even though the trip was difficult, the team ran to serve the people when we

arrived.

Community development projects have taken hold here

gradually. Villagers have learned about proper nutrition and how to grow their

own vegetables. Proper toilets have also been dug, keeping their water supply

clean.

You can tell the difference the World Hunger Fund has made in this village

simply by listening to the laughter and singing of children playing soccer with

two community development workers. Now the children are healthy and beginning

to thrive.

The homes also were full of smiling women, as team members Fern Yodsuwan* and

May Srisai* taught them new life skills.

As evening approached, we made our way to the school building, which this team

helped build, to spend the night. Jaidee Yodsuwan and the schoolteacher led in

a time of prayer and song as we ended our day.

The following morning, the team gave math lessons and the sound of happy

chatter and scraping chalk filled the school. Jaidee Yodsuwan cut hair and Joe

Boonmee* prayed with the children as they studied. Through the team’s teaching,

each of the children has heard the story about Jesus’ love at least once.

After I prayed for the village, we headed down the mountain – back to

electricity, real roads and nice homes.

Somehow, the ride back didn’t seem quite as treacherous, as I rejoiced in seeing

how God uses this passionate team to serve the poor and share the Good News of

His love, no matter how difficult the journey.

With confidence one team member told me, “Though there is not a believer in the

village now, one day someone will come to believe in Jesus.”

Through your gifts to the World Hunger Fund, you are an active part of this

team. You make it possible for them to physically help people in poverty while

sharing Christ’s compassion and love literally to the ends of the earth.

*Names changed.

(EDITOR’S NOTE – J. B. Shark is an intern serving in Southeast Asia. To see an

interactive map of World Hunger Fund projects in Asia and take an on-line quiz

about world hunger, visit asiastories.com. For information about promoting or

donating to the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund, visit worldhungerfund.com. Oct. 9 is World

Hunger Sunday for Southern Baptist churches across North America. Since 1974,

Southern Baptists have fought the problem of hunger through their World Hunger

Fund. One hundred percent of every dollar given to the fund is used to provide

food to undernourished people all over the world – 80 percent through the

International Mission Board and 20 percent through the North American Mission Board.)

World Hunger Fund videos

available for churches

Four videos focusing on world hunger are available for use

by churches and other groups in connection with World Hunger Sunday Oct. 9.

  • “SBC World Hunger Fund” is a fast-paced 92-second video that explains how the

    Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund tackles the world’s No. 1 health risk:

    hunger. Created by AsiaStories.com, this video is available at vimeo.com/30022908

  • “What are you going to do about hunger?” takes a look at hunger needs around

    the world and what the World Hunger Fund does. Created by the North American

    Mission Board for a children’s audience, this video is available at youtube.com/watch?v=W6fY0NGGSzE&feature=youtu.be

  • “More than a meal” takes a look at how one congregation on Los Angeles’ Skid

    Row is using World Hunger Fund resources to change lives for the Kingdom. Also

    created by the North American Mission Board, this video is available at

    vimeo.com/28671442

  • “Beating hunger in Ban Cam” focuses on a team of passionate community

    development workers who make a treacherous journey by motorbike each week to

    help residents of a remote Thai village beat hunger. Created by AsiaStories.com, this video is available vimeo.com/30020021

These and other multimedia resources also are available at worldhungerfund.com,

the home site of the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund.