MARLENE ALLEN's Mission Blog

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How b’bout me?

In 2002 I had the honor of building a children’s home in the Northern hills of Thailand. By working with a few Thai pastors the word quickly spread that the foreigners were taking care of the orphans and within a few short months we had more than 40 children.

We met a few of the children as we visited small villages with the pastors but they were mainly dropped off by relatives who would not or could not take care of them any longer. The children ranged in ages from 4 to 16 years old. All of their stories were different but all the same in this – they needed a place to cal home. They needed the ‘who’ questions answered in their lives. (see first post).

As we settled into the routines of life The Lord began to show me something about my language. I would always tell people that we had opened an orphanage for abandoned and orphaned children but many of the children were now worshipping God as their Father. How could I possibly call them orphans? Even their own Thai translation of the word means – one without an opportunity, without a future. He had redeemed them and given them a future and hope. They were just as His Word said, “no longer called orphans” so I changed my language. This began the crusade of changing the orphan mentality in the lives of the children and the staff who cared for them. Visitors were oriented to the new language and encouraged to join us as we introduced the children to the possibilities of a world that at one point seemed closed to them.

I can recall when one visitor wanted to pay for all the children to go the local tourist attraction to ride elephants. I politely responded that taking the children to Chaing Mai would be better. Most of them had been on the backs of elephants. I needed them to know how to ride escalators and elevators. I needed them to walk into department stores and feel comfortable trying on clothes. I needed them to see the endless job opportunities available to them. 

These were now children of opportunitychildren with a future and children who had a Father. The “who” question was being answered in their lives.