“. . . He said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.. . . And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.” ~Matthew 10:13-16
A vast area of green land, rolling hills, and smiling people were just a portion of the scenery that delighted my heart while we were on our way to Maesai in northern Thailand. Our Toyota 4x4, driven by Sam Yangmi, a former DS of the Northern Thailand District, slid through muddy paths off roads to reach a Lahu village on the side of a mountain. The beautiful view at the higher elevation was breathtaking. But behind the natural beauty the people of this village were suffering from neglect, lacking access to basic health care services and even the right to be recognized as citizens of Thailand. The pastor did not delay to take us to a child suffering from a 3rd degree burn on his belly and legs, chilling with fever, receiving only herbal medicine. We gladly took the child to the hospital. That day I saw how important the church is in helping hurting people, especially children.
The Church must step up as an advocate for those who are weak. This is our calling and opportunity. Specifically, ministry to children is strategic for churches. Recent statistics show that nearly half the population of Asia is under the age of 15. Many of these children are suffering, unwanted, exploited, and victimized. But children are also receptive and have great potential for the growth of the church.
Sam Yangmi said that if the church will not act today in helping these little children, then there is a great possibility that these tribes will be erased from the face of this earth.
This is the kind of “religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless, to look for orphans and widows in distress…” (James 1:27). Our calling to make a difference in the lives of our children today determines the destiny of our future.
--Dan Balayo, Philippines
Prayer: Father God, we join hands with our brothers and sisters in the Philippines, Thailand and across Asia-Pacific to lift up the children who are suffering and forgotten, exploited, neglected, abused, or at risk for such suffering. You put all their pain and loss on Jesus so that they can live with abundant life, hope, love, and peace. We ask You to raise up children’s workers who will faithfully and patiently disciple these overlooked children as whole-hearted followers of Jesus. For His glory alone, we pray in Jesus’ name, amen.