In the beginning of 2013,
our team met Jua while he was living on a migrant site in Bangkok.
Just 11 years old at the time, Jua came to Thailand with his parents who were construction workers. He was understandably fearful and unsure, having been abruptly uprooted from everything he had known in Cambodia.
Life on a migrant site is difficult.
Many children—including Jua—don’t have the opportunity to attend school and are left to fend for themselves while their parents or other relatives work long, tiresome hours in construction.
These kids are highly vulnerable, at risk every day of abuse and being trafficked.
Our team met Jua through outreach events held on his migrant site.
Our teammates taught the Bible and English and provided meals and a safe place to play.
Jua was shy, bright, kind, and had a desire to learn. Having grown up in Cambodia, he missed going to school. Our local leader in Phnom Penh, Pastor Somnang, came to visit Jua and the other children from the migrant site.
As part of his testimony, Jua likes to say, “Pastor Somnang started to pray for me.”
After assessing Jua’s living and family situation, our team invited Jua to live in the church home. Jua loved his new home and quickly became immersed in activities and learning opportunities.
Several other children from the same campsite also moved into the home.
In October 2013, Jua began going to school.
Not only did he thrive, but he also greatly enjoyed and took advantage of enrichment opportunities at the church. He learned computer skills, became adept in English, joined a soccer team, and started learning the drums.
In Jua’s words—
“Pastor Somnang was always teaching, training, and taking care of me.”
After participating in daily Bible study and regular church services for three years, Jua chose to be baptized in 2016. He joined the worship team as a drummer in the church, began helping with soccer ministry to children in the slum community, and started teaching English to other children.
Through the years, many children came and left—some from migrant campsites, others from impoverished slum communities, and others from various places of need.
While many eventually lost interest in education or were unable to adapt to a new structure of life, Jua stayed. He shares—
“By the grace of God, He took care of me so I could live here.”
In 2022, Jua graduated from high school.
He was the first graduate from the first group of kids we met at the beginning of our ministry. Coming from a poor family, he was also the first and only one in his family to graduate high school.
He attributes his ability to finish high school to God’s provision.
To better discern what he wanted to do with his life, Jua decided to take a year to work a regular job. Still living in the church home, he got a job working for an agricultural company and learned how to make fertilizer.
During this time, he remained active in ministry, specifically helping with outreach trips to a new mission project about six hours away, near the border of Thailand.
After a year of working and helping part-time with the ministry, Jua told Pastor Somnang he felt called to go into ministry work full-time.
In May 2023, Jua was commissioned by his church.
He recently moved to our new mission site in Pursat, where he currently serves as a supervisor, tutor, and mentor to a group of children living on-site. He also shares the Gospel with children and families in the surrounding village.
Your Part in this Story
Jua’s life would look incredibly different without people like you who pray and give to support what God is doing through Lifesong in Thailand.
And because of the love and support Jua has received through you, he is now impacting many other orphaned and vulnerable children for the glory of God.
Today, Jua is seen, known, and loved. He is safe, and he has a bright future.