When the heart goes out to the slums of Bangkok

By Glenice Hartwich

  ‘No amount of information, before we arrived, could have prepared us for the work that lay ahead as we entered Home of Praise for the first time. While we had anticipated some of the improvements needed, little did the team understand the enormity of the work that would need to be completed in just […]

 

‘No amount of information, before we arrived, could have prepared us for the work that lay ahead as we entered Home of Praise for the first time.

While we had anticipated some of the improvements needed, little did the team understand the enormity of the work that would need to be completed in just four days, before the children returned.’ With these words Pastor Mark Schulz prefaced the joyful stories he shared with me on his return to Australia in January this year. As a team leader, and together with a team comprising sixteen women and five men from New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and New Zealand, and ranging in ages from fifteen to seventy-one, this band of workers spent two weeks in Bangkok serving at the Home of Grace, a shelter for pregnant, unwed mums, and the Home of Praise, a day centre for children of the Klong Toey slums.

Pastor Mark continued… ‘Concrete block walls had holes that were covered in cardboard to stop the children putting their hands in and eating bits of the disintegrating walls; the upstairs floor, on which the older children slept, could only support four adults as the ceiling below bowed under the weight and was in danger of collapsing; three walls had been completely destroyed by a white ant picnic; the nursery room walls had chunks of wall just falling down; the rear stairs were an occupational safety nightmare; the front veranda support was broken by a deluge of rain that came off the motorway above one year earlier…and the list goes on.

It was a daunting task and yet, in the strength of the Lord who along can make all things new, the ‘Green house’ was transformed: the main room walls were fixed and painted; the nursery walls were relined with cement sheeting and repainted; new lino was fitted to the floor; the stairs at the back were demolished, rebuilt and painted; new floorboards re-laid upstairs; the white-ant-eaten walls were replaced and painted; and two new windows installed to bring light into the upstairs room.

While it seemed like such a small thing that the team did, the impact was amazing. As one team member said, ‘We came to make all things new but God was at work changing us. I don’t feel different but I know I am different because of the experience.’

What is more amazing about this story of the heart going out in love, is the fact that the team used their own funds, together with the generous offerings from the 2013 Lutheran Women of Australia Convention, to make many of these renovations possible.


If you, your school or your congregation, would like to know how you can connect to the mission of God through a LCA International Mission partnership, you are invited to phone Erin on (08) 8267 7300 or email erin.kerber@lca.org.au. For more information, go to www.lcamission.org.au/join-gods-mission/start-a-partnership/

Read more stories about congregational partnerships at www.lcamission.org.au/category/stories/local-partners/congregations/

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