March 2015

Gethsemane Project

As preparations were being made for our recent trip to Thailand, we knew there were a couple of projects that needed to be completed. The first was playground equipment for the children at Gethsemane Home. The children have already spent many hours on this new equipment. The playground was funded by Ravenwood Christian Church’s youth program and other local churches.

The second project was a laundry room at Gethsemane Home. Children’s homes in Thailand are now required to provide a separate area for this purpose. The children even helped with the pouring of the concrete floor. The laundry room was also completed while we were in Thailand. Funds for this project were provided by Crossroads Christian Church in Joliet, Illinois. We thank God for the completion of these two projects.

In our last newsletter we talked about our desire to build a wall around the Gethsemane property for the safety and security of the family. This desire has now changed into another requirement by the Thai government. We are able to save on costs because the work will be completed by Titus, Moses, and Daniel. An estimated $9,000 needs to be raised to complete this wall. If you would like to help with this project, please contact us. Thank you!

High School Graduation

One of the main reasons we chose to travel to Thailand in March was to attend the high school graduation of several of our children at Gethsemane Home. Samuel’s graduation took place before we arrived in Thailand, but we were able to attend the graduation ceremony of three of the girls from the home. Supaporn, Wanida, and Casalyn graduated on March 2nd from Doi Saket Wittayakom. We attended the ceremony, took the students out for a meal, and had a celebration at Gethsemane Home. We are so proud of each of them!

These students have registered to attend universities in Thailand. It will be exciting to follow them as they work toward undergraduate degrees. We have set up an educational fund to continue to provide for them. If you would like to help make this possible, please send your contributions to Under the Son Ministries.

Brandon and Jen’s Story

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”- 1 Peter 4:10 This verse was the theme verse for the devotions we shared at Gethsemane Home. We thought this was such an important message! God has given us all special gifts and talents, and we should use those to serve Him. One of Brandon’s special talents is construction. During the time we were there, he was able to help build a laundry structure and playground equipment. At first they did not want to let us help them much so Brandon got “umbrella duty”.  They are always serving others so it’s hard for them to accept help. Eventually, they did welcome our help, and the rafters and roof of the laundry went up quickly.

We were also humbled when it came time to pour the concrete for the floor of the laundry structure.  It was evident that our “American” way was not the best way to make it, and their way of mixing and pouring actually worked out best. Brandon also took his turn at welding on the play gym, but it was much more difficult than he expected. God was showing us in many ways that all the tools and gadgets we have in America are not necessarily the most useful, when we could use what God has given us in a resourceful way. They even refer to bamboo as “God’s aluminum”! The work in the heat was all worth it when the kids were able to climb up and play on the equipment for the first time!  Even the “big kids” took a turn! Jen also got to use her gifts — cooking and loving on kiddos! Kolton, our son, played his part by sending balloons and hot wheels cars for the kids to play with.

Before we left on this mission trip, we prayed for God to give us words to speak to the people in Thailand and that they would be able to see Jesus in us.  It’s funny how He works!  It was the Thai people that we saw Jesus in! Their contagious joy and love for others was powerful and humbling! They are so content and willing to serve, and it all comes so effortlessly to them.  That has stirred our hearts to tell their story and show you Jesus through them! Our prayer is for God to give us the words to speak to you now. When we tell this story, we hope you will feel the Holy Spirit tug at your heart to serve also. We want to encourage everyone to consider serving in some way. When God laid it on our hearts to go, we had one concern, and it was leaving our children for so long. The peace He gave us while we were gone is indescribable. If this is a reason that is holding you back, please pray about it. We know God will give you peace about it like he did for us! In John 14:27 Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

– Brandon and Jen Jensen

Medical Supplies for Omkoi Villages

Last April Steve made a visit to the Omkoi district of Northern Thailand. The purpose of that trip was to see what part Titus and Under the Son Ministries might play in sharing the message of Christ with the Lahu Shehleh people in that area. During that time Steve was introduced to Simeon, and we started to support him and his efforts to minister to these people. Soon after returning to Gethsemane Home, Steve was told that these remote villagers were in need of medical supplies.

As plans were being made for our recent trip to Thailand, we felt that a return to the Omkoi district was necessary. We not only wanted to encourage Simeon and the spiritual work he was doing, but we also wanted to help meet some of the physical needs of these villagers. Bringing certain medicines they were in need of was seen as a way to show the love of Christ to them.

Through donations our group was able to take items including antiseptic cream and band aids for wounds, antacids for the stomach, and items for dental care.  Additional items such as headache medicine, creams for sore muscles, and parasite medicine were purchased in Thailand. Sixty-six packets containing these items were distributed to the families of two non Christian villages deep in the jungle. We also prepared special packages for the Christian families living in three other villages. The people in these villages were grateful for all these supplies. This will be an ongoing project for Under the Son Ministries.