We first met Pondtip during our exploratory trip to Thailand. Pondtip is a graduate of JASPER KIDS Foundation, a organization that Niteo Tours will be helping with the launch of our first Thailand tour. As we laughed, talked, and ate with Pondtip, we couldn’t help but think that you’d like to meet her too. Here’s her story, the story of a girl whose life would have been very different had it not been for Jasper Kids and those that support it.
A Village Girl
Hello, my name is Pondtip. I grew up in small mountain village in Wiang Pa Pao in the northern part of Thailand. I have one older brother. My parents are farmers and plant rice and corn. We lived in a bamboo hut held up with stilts high off the ground. We didn’t have a car or motorcycle or electricity. But I never felt bad about it.
Each day I got up early and helped my mom to cook and to feed pigs and chicken. Then I walked three kilometers to our small village school. At night I hung out with my friends. We talked and played games. On weekends we caught fish at a nearby river.
The school in our village goes through sixth grade only. To get more education you have to move to a big town. Parents don’t have money for this. So most kid stop their education, get married (sometimes when they are just fourteen), have children and do hard work in the fields.
Opportunity to Learn and Change
When I was in sixth grade, Ajan Somsuk (Ajan means a teacher) and his family visited my village and told us that they would open a foundation to help kids like me continue their education. So my parents decided to send me there. I moved to Jasper Kids Home when I was thirteen years old.
At Jasper Kids we read the Bible every morning and worshiped together. Many things started to change in my life. I realized that God is real and loved me very much! So when I was eighteen years old I accepted Jesus as my personal Savior.
My family is strong Buddhist and my father is the shaman of our village near Wiang Pa Pao, so my family didn’t want me to become a Christian. My father told me that if I became a Christian then I couldn’t call him father anymore and I couldn’t go back home. But that didn’t stop me. I accepted Jesus as my personal Savior and God took me as His child. Praise God!
A Bright Future
God called me to serve Him like the missionary who came to my village and shared God’s love. So after high school I decided to study theology. That made my family more upset, especially my dad. I stopped my education for one year because I wanted my family’s blessing. God amazingly softened my dad’s heart, and God opened a door for me to study in Bangkok. Praise God once again! I learned that when we trust and obey God, God always opens the way for us.
If I had not gone to Jasper Kids Home, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to study and been able to learn English. I probably would be married with kids by now. I would be working the hard farm life like my parents. Most importantly, I would have not known who Jesus is and wouldn’t have opportunity to serve God.