Just outside the Bangkok City limit, there is a little church called Amen Church. Its doors are open every weekend to the surrounding community, welcoming kids of all ages into the fun of Kids’ ministry and English language learning. Creative Life Foundation has partnered with the pastor, Khun Plaa, for about eight years to bring resources to the families in the area. The kids that are welcomed through these doors are bright with energy and expectation each Saturday, excited for the games and Bible teaching that Khun Plaa gives in the morning, the games that they play have them all doubled over in laughter. By noon the kids are ready for the lunch that the church provides, but they are not just served by the church volunteers, the kids help set up the tables and serve one another.
It’s after this that English Club begins; about half of the kids stay to learn more English and to have fun together. We’ve been working on vocabulary, learning everyday items, practicing and learning and reviewing. I am confident that the kids favorite part of English is the review games that we play, Since they love to be active I usually have them play games that get them running about the room, and each game usually ends in a great deal of laughter. I love seeing the students’ determination in learning, they try hard to learn, enunciate and remember the words each week.
Through the smiles and hugs and laughter, I have gotten to know the students personally, but it has been through my conversations with Khun Plaa that I have come to know more about the kids and their families. Khun Plaa and I sit and chat each week after English Club, catching up and talking about future plans. She tells me their stories, often riddled with more hardship than kids should have to bear, she tells me of the hopes that she has for them, things that are possible with the right resources. She tells me of dreams, the dreams that began as her own hopes for the students but have been shared with them and taken up by them to become the students’ own aspirations.
Some kids come to improve their English, others to learn about the Bible, while still others just want to have fun with their friends. Regardless, every one of the kids that comes through the doors of Amen Church are welcomed, seen and heard, every one is encouraged, every one is loved, and with each one, a dream for reaching up and aspiring to big things is shared.[written by Karissa Wagoner]