Families transformed by holistic mentoring serve their communities and pursue a more sustainable future for themselves
Besieged by Bangkok, Thailand’s second wave of COVID-19, economic injury to her small business, and her elderly mother’s declining mental and physical health, Bee* was desperate. She and her mother felt they could not continue living, so they made a suicide pact. They drank medicine and cleaning fluids, turned on a gas stove, and called Bee’s younger sister with a cryptic goodbye.
Sensing something was wrong, Bee’s younger sister called P’ Kaew, a local leader in their community, and asked her to check on her sister and mother. P’ Kaew arrived at their home minutes later, where she found them waiting to die. She performed basic first aid and called an ambulance, and spent the next day at the hospital before bringing Bee and her mother safely home. She stayed and watched over them for a few days, and helped the family make long-term plans to support one another.
“God created you, and he loves you and your mom,” P’ Kaew said to Bee. “Your life belongs to him and if you give him a chance, he will reveal his love for you.” Tears streamed down Bee’s face as P’ Kaew shared these words.
P’ Kaew has worked with Servant Partners for 15 years, where she received training in holistic urban ministry. Over the last decade, she has transferred much of her experience with Servant Partners into a new Thai-led church in Bangkok, which has since grown into a large community congregation of 50.
SP staff Suzy Triplett has dreamed of building a family development program with P’ Kaew that synthesizes lessons from her many years of leadership in the community. And after several months of learning, networking, and praying, P’ Kaew and Suzy have created a one-year mentoring program to help whole families thrive in their city: the Santisuk Families Program.
The Santisuk (Thai for “peace”) Families Program is a Gospel-centered mentoring and educational program to holistically develop families to know and follow Jesus, become financially self-sustaining, care for one another, resolve interpersonal conflict, and serve others with love and generosity in their own community. Families commit to formal and informal training in these areas and regularly meet with P’ Kaew for mentorship. After exhibiting proficiency in financial stewardship, they can apply for a grant to create a sustainable small business.
Since the second and third waves of COVID-19 have forced them to remain in quarantine, families are participating virtually. But given the ongoing crisis, these same families have stepped up to serve their neighbors. They organized and distributed care packages to 100 vulnerable families in their surrounding district not receiving government assistance.
“We expected this kind of result at the end of the program, but when the opportunity came, the families quickly stepped up to the challenge,” Suzy said. “This is the clearest way I’ve seen God move this year: people coming together to help serve the community. There is such generosity coming from places marginalized by poverty, and that is an amazing expression of the Kingdom of God.”
“This is the clearest way I’ve seen God move this year: people coming together to help serve the community. There is such generosity coming from places marginalized by poverty, and that is an amazing expression of the Kingdom of God.”
You can learn more about the Servant Partners Bangkok site at www.servantpartners.org/bangkok.