EOF Refugee Housing Project

EOF has recently helped 19 former refugees with roofing for their houses as they try to move back to Burma. In October we also plan to build 20 houses for them, as funds are available. We also help with water project too. Also, we are working on a water system project for them. Here are a few pictures.

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EOF Newsletter – July 2014

In this newsletter…

  • Karen State schools’ update letter from Pastor Phamor.
  • Overview of EOF
  • EOF boy’s dorm update
  • Karen training school needs
  • Three hundred toilets project
  • Church building news
  • Htee Shor Mae village school

Letter from Pastor Phamor

Dear Friends,

As you can see from the following table, Education Opportunity Foundation is touching the lives of over 1300 people with 25 schools in Karen State. We plan to increase the number of schools this year. The Burmese Government has agreed to a ceasefire and right now we have a window of opportunity to penetrate into new areas, establish more schools, and educate people in the knowledge of God. Educating these people is one of the best places to invest your treasure.

 

High Schools
Name of School Grade Number of Students Number of Boarding Students Number of Teachers
Ebenezer High School K – 12 112 60 15

 

 

Middle Schools
Name of School Grade Number of Students Number of Boarding Students Number of Teachers
01 Htee Ler Kee K – 7 86 9
02 Pla Law Htee K – 7 142 10
03 Kae Der K – 7 106 9
04 Ler Mu Htu Hta K – 7 73 9

 

 

Primary Schools
Name of School Grade Number of Students Number of Boarding Students Number of Teachers
01 Htee Bway Kee K – 4 45 3
02 Paw Mu Kar Der K – 4 20 1
03 Ku Gaw Der K – 4 51 3
04 Kya Lar Der K – 4 35 2
05 Chu Ma Lay Der K – 4 34 2
06 Gho Kaw Kee K – 4 45 2
07 Ta Mae Der K – 4 55 3
08 Saw Ker Der K – 4 58 3
09 Gae Yee Der K – 4 28 2
10 Taw Paw Der K – 4 26 2
11 Baw Bo Kee K – 4 60 5
12 Lay Baw Me K – 4 18 1
13 Thae Kee K – 4 31 2
14 Pa Ya Hsae Der K – 4 62 4
15 Dah Kway K – 4 47 2
16 Kho Poe K – 2 22 1
17 Mwee Kee K – 2 19 1
18 Htee Kahaw K – 2 50 2
19 Mopokay K – 6 60 30 6
20 Maela Camp EOP Dorm 60 60 1
Total 25 schools 1344 students 150 boarding 99 teachers

 

 

Many villages in Karen State have been devastated during the 65 years of war. The people are currently looking for help to rebuild their villages.

Now is the time to work. We don’t know how long the peace agreements will last, so we must act quickly.  We used to work during troublous times but now we can work freely.

We want to assist the people in becoming self-sufficient. We can find markets for their products in Thailand. I just found out that there is a great demand for sesame seeds in Thailand.

When you come, I will take you to these areas and you can see firsthand about the need.

Regards

Phamor

History of Education Opportunity Program

The Education Opportunity Program (EOP) was started about 35 years ago and has as one of it’s main goals to help children from the hill tribes receive an education in a safe environment. This program provides dormitories and sponsorships for students in Thailand and is part of the Education Opportunity Foundation. A substantial number of the children we help would not be able to obtain an education without the EOP project. Some others would have to travel into dangerous situations for the opportunity to study.

Children just like Gamdang, who is currently enrolled in the EOP project. He came from an unstable home due to opium addiction. In addition to his formal education, he has been learning life skills, such as hygiene, which he did not learn at home.

The Chiang Mai location already has a girl’s dormitory. It has proven to be successful in helping students graduate in a safe environment. Our children are encouraged and equipped to give back to their community and return to their villages to serve.

Goals of EOF

  • To provide a safe environment for the education of underprivileged children.
  • To provide an opportunity to gain life skills, knowledge, and medical missionary training.
  • To provide more workers who are greatly needed.

Funds needed to Finish EOF Boys dorm

This school year, seven EOF boys have been living in an overcrowded one room staff house. Although we are thankful they can be here, we are so sad that we have had to turn down requests from many children and parents that need our help. Children just like Gamdang.

Next year, the staff house that they are temporarily living in will not be available.

In faith we began to build a boy’s dorm but are only half finished. A completed boys dormitory is badly needed to accommodate the waiting students as well as the current ones.

We need $20,000 USD to complete this project.

Thank you for considering what you can do today to help finish the boy’s dorm.

Unfinished Boy’s Dorm

Unfinished Boy’s Dorm

Buildings needed for the Karen Training School

We are now renting an old resort for our training school.  More than 50 young people attend our training every year.  After their training, they go back home, equipped with knowledge to help the villagers in need.  They learn Healthful living, hygiene, healthy cooking, natural remedies, massage, hydrotherapy, and horticulture.

April 2014 - One-month training.

April 2014 – One-month training.

Students In Classroom

Students In Classroom

May/June - Students and Trainers

May/June – Students and Trainers

We need a good place for horticulture and now we have land but it is far from our rented place. We are planning to move to the new land. We do not have any buildings yet. We need classrooms, girls and boys dormitories, a kitchen and a good water system. We believe our plan will be fulfilled.

Caring for the wounded and helping the suffering

Caring for the wounded and helping the suffering

 

Students hauling rocks from the river for new dorm

Students hauling rocks from the river for new dorm

300 Toilets project:

When I visited Htee Shor Mae village I couldn’t find a toilet anywhere at all. Pigs and goats were running free. They need schools to educate the people as well as health care services. Our plan is to fill this need.

Our plan for 2014 and 2015 is to make 300 toilets for villagers in 5 villages. We believe God will provide. If our toilet proposal is approved, we can start right now with Htee Shor Mae village, Derko Tawah village I pray that this project will be completed.

Church Building Project

Last year in 2013 we built four churches and dedicated them. Baptisms followed after the services.  With the help of God and loving friends around the world, we plan to build five more, with two children’s classrooms. We believe we can achieve our goal.

Ribbon cutting at Hteeko church dedication.

Ribbon cutting at Hteeko church dedication

Baptism after Hteeko church dedication

Baptism after Hteeko church dedication

Htee Shor Mae village school needs help.

Last May 17, 2014 I visited Htee Shor Mae village and met an elderly man in the village. I talked to him and asked him what his plan for the future of the children here in the village.  He said that he plans to start a school to educate the people. He showed me the school that he started. I can say that he will not finish it for there is no more timber (see the picture of him and the skeleton building he started). I told him to pray for the funding. Below is picture of Him and the building and children that need to go to school.

Village elder standing in front of the unfinished classroom building

Village elder standing in front of the unfinished classroom building

These children need a school.

These Children need a School

The needs for this area are:

  • School buildings range from $1,000 to $5,000 USD depending on size and materials.
  • Salary for one Teacher is $70.00 USD per month.
  • Stationary and other teaching aides are around $500 USD a year.
  • Teachers housing. ($1,000 USD)
  • Dormitory for boarding school children. ($ 3,000 USD)

Some villages are too small to start a school and the children need to go to village that have school, so they are away from home that why they need dormitory so they can go to nearby village school.

  • Food for boarding school children. ($ 1 USD per day, 300 days a year)

Thank you for considering to help us with these projects. If you would like to donate towards any of these projects, please visit the donate page.

Leading to the Light Newsletter

We are told that “it is Satan’s regular employment to hinder the work of God, and to work for the destruction of the race.” Praise God, we are also told that “a guardian angel is appointed to every follower of Christ. These heavenly watchers shield the righteous from the power of the wicked one.”

Having this knowledge makes it easier to maintain a calm in the midst of the storm. In this case, literally. You can read more about our storm here.

In spite of the distractions, we are finally able to share how God is blessing His local workers here in Asia.

In this report…

      2014 Karen Bible/Medical Missionary Training School.
      Media Evangelist Training at EOF.
      English Camp at Education Opportunity Foundation
      Htee Kho Village Church Dedication

1. 2014 Karen Bible/Medical Missionary Training.

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Our three month Karen Bible/Medical Missionary Training began March 16 with fifty-four students.The students are receiving practical knowledge of God’s word in connection with the medical missionary work. Many students are applying their new knowledge of Bible, Health and Media to advance the Three angels Messages in Asia. After the first month, six students were transferred to the foundation in Mae Taeng to begin a six week Media Evangelist course.

We are in need of a small solar system at our Mae Ta Woe Learning Center.

We have purchased a couple of solar panels and batteries to test and have found them to be a great alternative to turning on the diesel generator to run lights, projector, and charge batteries.

The cost of the system will be $3,500.00

To contribute, please visit the donate page and mark your gift “solar”.

2. E. O. F. Media Evangelist Training Program.

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Education Opportunity Foundation’s first six week Media Evangelist Training Program began this month. We are planning to continue with a series of training programs designed to build a team of knowledgeable, consecrated workers who are enthusiastic about using media to reach the people of Asia. We are thankful to have Jesse Norris here for a few months to share his knowledge of media with our local workers.
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The Education Opportunity Foundation is in need of two more iMac computers for our Media Evangelist Training Program. It will cost $3000.00 to purchase the needed computers.

To help us supply the local workers with the tools they need to be efficient workers for God, you may mark your gift “iMac” and send it to the Leading to the Light address listed below. You can also donate on line by choosing the “Thailand Projects” button and writing “iMac” in the message box.

3. English Camp at Education Opportunity Foundation.

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It was time for English Day at the E.O.F. dorms. They had just finished their final exams the day before and this day was to be a celebration with a practical component. We invited our friends the Knechts to join us. After a short morning worship and introductions, we split up and each took several children to practice their English for an hour. We all had a great time getting to know each other and are looking forward to continuing our friendship when we return from break. When the day ended, we all felt thankful to have found a purpose in our lives centered on service for others. We are looking forward to the students return this week.

The highlight was the interactive games we played. Here is a short video clip of our fun day.

4. Htee Kho Village Church Dedication.

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In 2012 we made a call for our partners to help five Karen families from the mountain village of Htee Kho build a church.
The agreement was that Leading to the Light would help supply building materials and the five families would build the church. I am happy to report that the church is finished and last month we were blessed to attend the church dedication and baptism of the first members.

This church plant was the special project of our EOF dorm students headed by Mrs. Phamor. The students spent many Sabbaths ministering to the people of Htee Kho Village located forty-five minutes from the Foundation. God has blessed their commitment by reaching the hearts of five villagers. On the dedication Sabbath, five people from the village and two students from our EOF dorm made a full commitment to obey God through baptism.

Here is a short video of the event.

New Boy’s Dormitory

In 2009 we built a girls dormitory next to our EOF offices here in Chaingmai province, Thailand. This has given many girls the opportunity to study in the nearby Adventist Academy. At the moment, we have 17 girls staying in the dormitory.

We have wanted to build a boys dormitory for years. Even without a permanent place to live, seven boys have already come to stay with us. Until recently, they were staying in the bunk-house at our health farm and training center, however, recently, they moved down to the stay in girls dean’s house. This year, we decided now is the time to build the a new boy’s dormitory. Even though it’s not completely funded yet, we began construction in May of this year.

Altogether, the new dormitory will cost 800,000 Thai Baht (about 25,700 USD). We have raised 300,000 Baht so far. If you would like to help, please visit the donate page.

eof boy's dormitory new eof boy's dormitory under construction new eof boys dormitory under construction one of the boys - eof boy's dormitory temporary dormitory - new eof boy's dormitory

EOF Media Training

From May 5 to 10, 2013, the Eduction Opportunity Foundation held a media training for our Bible workers (and some students) in Chiangmai. Ten students completed the class. Here are a few pictures from that event:

teacher at eof media training student at eof media training learning to run a camera at eof media training eof media traininggraduation eof media training

Car Accident

At the beginning of this year (2013) The foundation got permission from the local government to operate a learning center in Mae Tha Wah community; Tasoengyang district, Tak province. We have been holding trainings there teach the people how to serve through health ministry. Also, we have been teaching Burmese and English language to the students in a local school and to local government officials.

To operate the activities of the foundation and to bring food and supplies for our trainings, EOF staff have been using a Ford truck for transportation. On the 17th of this May, the foundation truck skidded off the wet and slippery road and rolled down the hill. We called one of our church members for help, they came but just before they got to the accident area, their also had a bad accident on the slippery road. Now two trucks are damaged and it is our responsibility to repair them. It’s going to take a lot of money, and since it is the beginning of a new semester for our foundation’s scholarship students and since we have to pay their educational and food expenses this new expense is a a heavy burden for the foundation. Our foundation committee members are praying and asking God to lead them and show them how to solve this problem.

If you would like to help us, please feel free to contact us. Also, keep us in your prayers.

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EOF Teacher Training, 2013

During the month of May EOF missions held a teacher training for teachers from our schools in Mae Lah and Mae Ra Moo refugee camps. Several dozen teachers came and studied about teaching techniques and the Bible.

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Ubon Medical Missionary Work

The following is a report from Sompong Koonsawang, who is working with her husband in Ubon Ratchathani. She writes…

My name is Sompong Koonsawang; recently I have been working in the Ubon church area in the South Eastern part of Thailand. I’ve been here since moving from Lampang. First of all, I really praise God that He brought me back to my home town. From the experiences that I had in Lampang, I really can see that God is with us through the medical missionary work. I believe that God will use it to do miracles for the people in Ubon, and the other churches in the southeast area too. Ubon church is located in the city and there are many smaller churches around. In January, I started by doing medical missionary training for lay pastors and church members at Ubon church. The training is to prepare our lay pastors and church members in Ubon church and all local churches to spread the gospel by using medical missionary work. I also set up a small treatment room in the church with help from some of our church members.

The next step was to have 3 day health seminars in each church starting with Ubon. I invited Dr. Pornwilai and the group to be the speaker. We worked together to invite people from around the city, as well as our own church members to come. We taught about high blood pressure and diabetes. The program went from Friday to Sunday. There were about 30 people that came, and most of them were women who had health problems. Because of this seminar I had opportunity to share more about health and the Bible with two old ladies that had high blood pressure and diabetes. They came to our church and asked me to do a 1 week treatment program for them. After the treatment their blood pressure and sugar level were lower than before; and they really praised our God for this result, and they have continued coming to church until now. Now we have 6 persons that sometimes come to our church as a result of this medical missionary outreach.

The local Ubon church has a radio station. It is on 105 mhz, and we call it the New Life radio station. It is online at www.newlife105ubon.net as well. I use this radio station to share about Health and our Adventist message. I believe in using Mrs. Ellen White’s books; such as Ministry of Healing, Adventist Home, Consult on Diet and Food, etc. as I teach on the radio. Most of the listeners are sunday church members. There are 10 of them that we have been visiting, and they come to worship in our church every Wednesday evening, Friday evening, and some times on Sabbath. I really can see the blessing from God through these people, they said that they appreciate the radio program so much and they also donate some money for electricity and other expenses.

During the time that I’ve worked in Ubon church, I also had an opportunity to do medical mission work in several other surrounding churches. I went to Fang Therng church, Na Doo church, Bark Choom church, Suan Son church and a small group in Some Ngoo.

The biggest problem for the church in the Southeastern area of Thailand is that the churches are often without a leader, a pastor, or someone to nurture members’ spiritually. Some, such as Nar Pong Pone church must be closed down. Some churches don’t have anyone to take care of it, and get old and run down. Then, the members don’t want to attend meetings because the bad condition. My husband Pastor Soontorn and I are trying to reform both church members and church buildings. For this, the medical missionary technique is working well. Now the reformation is going forward to several churches in rural areas, and this progress showing. Now previously non-attending members are returning to worship our Lord along with the new members.

Nar Pong Pone church was restored after it had been closed down for over 10 years. Many years ago a local man offered to buy the church property a small sum. Then unexpectedly, he had a stroke as he was driving on the way to pay for that property. He ended up having to use all that money to care for himself. With support from the Tailand Adventist Mission and the genourosity of donors and local members, we have been able to build a new building for this church congregation. Now we have group meetings there, starting with 4 or 5 people studying Bible together. The attracted the neighbors interest. We also had a 3 day health seminar where we taught them about natural remedies. Some catholic Christians from the area have also showed interest in our teachings. More than 50 adults and 20 children attended this meeting. We are praying for a lay pastor who can come and live there permanently.

Praise be to God, in March we had eight people decide to make a public commitment to Christ in Baptism.

I also went to help with the health training at some other churches in South Eastern Thailand. For this next year, we plan to do natural therapy treatments in the church compound for students, also we plan to brovide consultation to people with health problems. Some of the people we have been working with are interested in learning about Daniel and Revelation. Please pray for our work in South Eastern Thailand so that God’s abundant love that gives us every breath should spread into every house in these villages.

Please remember the work in South Eastern Thailand in your prayers Thank you so much for your support.

May God bless you,

Best Regard,

Sompong Koonsawang

Karen Adventist Youth Campmeeting: Report from Pastor Nelson Pipi

Pastor Nelson is the pastor we have placed in charge of the EOF projects in Northern Karen State, which includes Karen Adventist Frontier Academy (otherwise known as Ebenezer), numerous other schools, and more than a dozen Bible workers and village evangelist. We recently recieved his report on the December campmeeting. He writes…

We try to hold a youth campmeeting here in Karen Adventist Frontier Academy once a year, usually in December. We call it the “Adventist Youth Campmeeting” but really, we aren’t that exclusive. We invite everyone including our brothers and sisters from all other schools in the area to come and study the Bible with us, and to join in our games and activities.

We started this campmeeting on the 19th of December and continued until the 22nd of the same month. (We actually started the games and sports on the 16th) This is our 14th anual Karen Adventist Youth Campmeeting.

This time more than 500 people came. Benjamin Sharon gave the morning and afternoon lectures. He taught about the methods we should use to share the gospel with our friends and neighbors. Pastor Nelson Than taught about the sanctuary and and how it points us to Jesus Christ. The evening worships were all given by Pastor Nelson, and the morning worships were done by our lay pastors: Thara Hseh Rer Byoe (Poe Beh), Thara Poe Lweh, and Thara Ler Ghay. Tharamu Paw Dah Mlah and Tharamu Htee Dway took care of the children in the primary and junior classes, and Tharamu Paw Tha Lah Hsay and Tharamu Wah Say taught the earlyteens.

By God’s grace, our campmeeting this year ran smoothly and at the end, 6 people committed their lives to Christ in baptism.

In closing, I want to thank my brothers and sisters in Christ, who have helped make this years campmeeting possible through your offerings and prayers. May this Christmas and new years bring you peace, love, health, and safety.

In love for my brothers and sisters in Christ,

Pastor Nelson Than (Pipi)

The six who were baptized were:

Saw Seh Hter Saw Seh Hter is one of our students from Blah Law Deh School, he is 18 years old, and was from an aminimst background.
Naw Paw Goh Loh Naw Paw Goh Loh is 15 years old and was a Baptist before she joined our church. She is from Htee Bow Day Village.
Naw Doo Nay Paw Naw Doo Nay Paw has been a student at Ebenezer Academy for many years. She is very smart, and is consistently the head of her class. This year she will be in the 12th grade. She is from Gu Ghaw Der village.
Naw Eh Say Naw Eh Say has children and grandchildren already. Before leaning about Jesus and His love for her, she worshiped spirits and ghosts in the forest.
Naw Boo Hswee Wah Naw Boo Hswee Wah is 13 years old and comes from an Adventist family in Saw Ker Der.
Naw Hser Mya Naw Hser Mya is also 13, and comes from Paw Mu Khah Der.

Here are some pictures that Pastor Nelson Pipi sent us from campmeeting this year.

Letter from Naw Wah Ka Paw Shee

The following is a letter we got from Naw Wah Ka Paw Shee, one of our students in Karen Adventist Frontier Academy. She is 19 years old, and is currently in the tenth grade. She is from Ler Doh Township, in the mountains on the west edge of Karen State. She writes…

My name is Naw Wah Ka Paw Shee. I would like to tell you a little bit about myself. My father and mother are subsistance farmers. As for their religion, they worship the spirits and follow the traditions of their ancestors. They have never been to school. When I was just a little girl, there were no schools in our area.

My father told us that one time when he was young, the Burmese Army soldiers came and caught him and took him back to Tounggoo. They kept him captive there for two years before letting him return to the mountains. This experience in the city convinced him that his children needed to get a good education.

I started school in the year 2000, in Moo Kee Primary School. After first grade, I changed to Doo Ghow Soe Primary School. Then, after that, the Adventist opened a middle school near my home in Kheh Der so my father sent me there. I studied there until I graduated from middle school.

Towards the end of grade school, I had to face a number of problems in my life. But, I didn’t let myself become discouraged and didn’t let it upset my education goals. The one thing that was a real challenge for me was when the Burmese military came to our mountains and burned down our houses and villages. When they finally went back, the only thing left standing of the entire village was our school. Even though they didn’t burn the school, we didn’t dare to go anywhere near it. We were afraid that they Burmese might have put landmines in the school before they went back. So, we had to do our lessons in the forest.

We did our lessons in the forest until the year-end exam. Our teacher only had time to give us the first day of the exam before we got news that the Burmese had come back. Even though we heard the news we still thought our teacher would give us the exam on the following day, but then someone told us that the enemy soldiers were almost upon us. we had to drop everything and run. As we were running and trying to stay hidden in the forest, we could hear shells falling and small arms fire all around us. We hear big shells land in our village, and then we could see the smoke of the burning buildings rising. We were so sad and frightened, but we couldn’t do anything to stop the madness. The only thing we could do was pray to God.

We ran away from the Burmese and wandered from place to place in the mountains. We thought that this time we would never see our homes again. However, thanks to God’s providence, after the Burmese had re-burned everything, they left and we were able to go back home.

After I finished all the grades offered in Kheh Der School, I went on to Ler Doh Township High School. It’s about six hours hike in the mountains from my house to that high school. Because it’s a little far, I stayed in the dormitory there in Ler Doh. I was the smallest of all the students in the dormitory, and that was the first time I had ever been away from my parents. So, I got really discouraged. However, for the sake of my education, I didn’t give up. One really scary thing, between my home village and Ler Doh, there is a big rushing river. And another thing, the Burmese soldiers often patrol through that area. But, thanks to God’s goodness, I arrived safely at the school and studied for the entire year.

Back home, I met an Adventist pastor who had been assigned to work in my village. He told me about an Adventist high school across the Burmese road. They called it Karen Adventist Frontier Academy. I talked with him about it several times, and then I asked him if I could go study there also. He encouraged me to go, told me how I would need to go, told me all about the dormitory and other students there, how they got their food, and all kinds of things like that. Then, he asked me if I was up to the trip. I told him that if it was as he has said, sure! He told me that they taught all kinds of interesting things there. I was happy to be planning to go back to an Adventist school.

When it was time for school to start again, I found out that there were no other girls from my area going. So I had to go alone, just me among a bunch of boys. After hiking all day we arived at a Karen soldier outpost near the Burmese road. Some one there helped me find a place to sleep in the soldiers barraks. Even though the trip was difficult for me, I wanted to go to school in an Adventist school so much that I put up with the difficulties and went anyway.

When I got to the school and saw all the teachers and students, and the school facilities, I was so happy. I knew then that it was God who had brought me.

When I was studying in my home village, I learned about God’s word some from my teachers, and enjoyed it very much. And after school, I went home and told my parents all about God’s word, and that all the signs show us that Jesus is coming back soon. My parents hadn’t really heard about God before. So I hope and pray that they will have opportunity to hear more about the gospel in the future and will accept Jesus as their savior.

As for me, I’m here at school. I’m studying now in my second year here. They have been teaching us many things. And, the best part, every morning and evening, in the dormitory they teach us about God’s word. My plan for is that when I finish school, I will go back to my village to serve my country so that children in future generations can be useful out country and for God’s kingdom. I hope my brothers and sisters in Christ will remember my parents and I in their prayers.

Thank you very much.

Naw Wah Ka Baw Sghee