It’s Mike Wise again. Diane and I are back from our visit to Agape Home. WHAT AN AWESOME PLACE!!! I’d like to share some perspectives looking back. I’d like to encourage others to do likewise. If you have a story to share, PLEASE DO. The world needs to hear it.
Working with Avis
Leading up to the trip, we saw lots of video’s of Avis and the facility. I even got to talk to Avis over the phone. But meeting Avis in person was AMAZING! What a human dynamo! She is in constant motion. The children latch on to her like there’s no tomorrow. I saw her put one of the kids to bed. So tender. But the lasting memory is the depth of her faith and her focus on spreading the gospel. At one point in our meetings, I asked the leadership team there to list out the business goals on the white board. Instantly, without missing a beat, Avis said, “Well, first and foremost, it’s spreading the gospel…” Is that awesome or what?!?!
Peter & Kelly
For those that have been at Agape Home recently, they know EXACTLY what I’m about to write. Peter & Kelly Worner from Australia are so sweet, so filled with compassion, so blessed with all the fruits of the spirit, so humble. Look up Colossians 3:12-14. You’ll see their picture! See the video I made below. “I wanna live like that…” I was inspired by these saints of God. They were a balm to my soul. But more importantly, they were a huge blessing to Avis, the staff, and the children. WOW! I want to live like Peter and Kelly Worner. Special people.
Love, Love, LOVE the staff. So, so, so sweet. Talented. Capable. Willing. Industrious. Dedicated. Cheerful. Wow. The Office staff – Oye, Nit, Laa, Goong. The Medical team. The Nursery mom’s. The intern from Europe. Tanu and the maintenance folks. I wish I could make a video about each one. In fact, maybe I will the next time I’m there. They all deserve tremendous encouragement. Perhaps write a note to them on the Facebook page? Perhaps tell them who you are, where you live, when you pray for them, and what you appreciate about them?
But of course, most of all are the children. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to spend much time with them. The older ones were either off at school when I was there, or they were running away from me because I had a camera! And the toddlers were of course busy with their toys, bottles, and caretakers. A couple lasting images though: The toddlers behind their little railing waiving good-bye to staff that were going somewhere. And the boy that was in Kelly’s arms, sick as a dog, eyes that were seeing but not recording, and sores on his legs and arms. Huge lump in my throat. Still praying for him.
A resort city in Northern Thailand, and perhaps the place that more Christian Missionaries go, Chiang Mai is perhaps one of the better places for a westerner to go. Things aren’t much different there than Akron, Ohio. But the smells are stronger. It’s a combination of smoke, cooking, incense from the temples – hard to describe. But you’ll notice it as soon as you hit the city. It’s a classic 2nd World city – some beautiful things, some very old things, and for the indigenous people, a great standard of living by comparison. The craftmanship is amazing. The people are so friendly. Chiang Mai is great. Hope they continue to grow in their relationship with Christ and biblical principles. With the raw materials and work ethic they have, the sky’s the limit.
I loved the hotel we stayed at. For $35/night, we had A/C, a king-sized bed, a sitting area, a table and chairs, a balcony overlooking a temple, and a nice bath. They also had a wonderful restaurant with an American breakfast, although I resisted the temptation to tell them that a hotdog is not really ‘sausage’! But if you want to go upscale, the Imperial Palace a couple blocks away is about as western as they come – and only $75/night. Lodging is not an issue at all.
And neither is transportation. Peter hooked us up with Wisut. Wisut is The Man! He’ll be waiting for you early, with a big bright smile. Wisut will then take you anywhere you want to go, in style and comfort that ranks with any limo driver. He knows everything about everything, in a humble kind of way, speaks excellent English, and even has a Facebook page! I love Wisut. Thanks, buddy. You rock!
I’m looking forward to Trip #2 at the end of October. Peter and I are working on identifying a new Donor Management System – a core financial package that can be used to improve relationships and free staff up from manual tasks to higher-level functions. It’s going to be a big help to Agape Home. Peter and I will be out there at the end of October/beginning of November to train the Office team on the new tool. If you want, join us. Many hands make light work. We’ll also be capturing more media of the kids and staff. Should be a great time.
The 1-Day Giving Event
That brings us to the last item, the culmination of all this work – The 1-Day Giving Event. This is going to be really, really helpful to Agape Home. Using Social Networks and Social Media, and with the help of Agape Home fans around the world, we will be spreading the word about Nikki’s Place. Matching donors will provide the needed incentive to get more people involved. And the new Web site and donation system will provide the necessary means to make it all happen. If you would like to volunteer to help with this event right from your own computer wherever you are, please use the Contact Us form. And if you know of a potential matching donor, we’re looking for as many as possible – church’s, foundations, and individuals. Thanks in advance for helping Nikki’s Place with this milestone event, December 2nd, #GivingTuesday, to kick off the holiday season.
“The only thing contagious at Agape Home is love.” – Kelly Worner
(Still waiting for your story, Kelly. Tag – you’re it!)