When 2 year-old Earn survived a motorcycle accident in 2012 but lost nearly half of her brain, The Well leaders hired Ann, a child-development specialist, to supervise Earn's care.
Ann is the only Thai team leader without a traumatic past. She is also the only worker who joined as a Buddhist. Ann had worked in other agencies during her career, and brought to the team a needed wealth of knowledge and resources.
While serving with The Well team, Ann quickly noticed something different. She later summarized it by saying "In other agencies, the staff are above the clients. At The Well, the leaders are below." On learning of the example of Jesus as Servantworks' model, Ann decided to commit her life to following Jesus.
Debby was born and raised in Hong Kong, went to study in the U.S and graduated as a nurse in 2003. She had explored Christian faith in high school, but as a young adult Debby decided to pursue a life driven by the acceptance, love, peace and joy she says she found in Jesus. She left her nursing career in order to pursue Christian ministry as a profession, and moved to Thailand in 2014.
Three months after Debby's arrival in Thailand, she was asked to become the permanent guardian of a 5-day old baby girl, whom she now one day hopes to adopt. Debby named the baby Hannah Joy; "Hannah" meaning gift of grace, and "Joy" signifying Debby's hope that her daughter will bless the world.
While she says that she never imagined being a single mother, Debby reports that she experiences Jesus' love through the journey of motherhood. Her vision now is to be a mother for the motherless, and "raise up a generation to live as a flame of fire for love."
By age 16, Dao had already experienced more than a lifetime worth of trauma, and by the time she met The Well, had endured far more. She was burdened with supporting not only her four children but other needy family members, and had no choice but to go to work in a Bangkok bar.
Dao was one of The Well's first members in 2005, along with her four children. Due to her severe trauma background, she struggled intensely at The Well for two years. During that time she met Bpop.
Bpop had successfully completed high school and building trade school, but found himself caught in addicted subculture as a young man. But he provided friendship that Dao desperately needed, and finally in 2007, Dao ran away, leaving her four young children for her mother to come and pick up. Her mother, who herself was not stable, ended up caring for the kids for an entire school year.
A few months after her flight, Dao began calling Jim and Judy Larson, and brought Bpop to meet them. Upon learning about the example and teaching of Jesus, Bpop was certain that he wanted to be a follower. In 2008, Dao returned to The Well with her children and began to heal.
The severity of Dao's trauma made for difficulty in their relationship, but after a lot of work and healing, she and Bpop were finally married in 2014.
Apart from their official positions at The Well, Dao and Bpop spend a lot of volunteer time reaching out to and serving others in need. Dear, their oldest daughter, is in her first year of university.
Gik lived with her parents in California from age 9 to 15. She found love and acceptance as a young Asian gang member, but also was exposed to and fell in love with Jesus at a Korean-American Christian camp. Gik had just resolved to change her life for the better when her parents brought her back to Thailand against her will. She rebelled completely, falling into an addicted lifestyle for 15 years.
Sorn grew up in a stable home in northeast Thailand and graduated university, but also found himself struggling with drug addiction. He and Gik met in Bangkok, and were in part of a drug circle in the neighborhood of The Well when someone introduced Gik to Jim and Judy Larson.
For Gik, finding Jesus after 15 years was like coming home, and after a few months of showing interest, Sorn joined her in becoming a follower of Jesus. After a time of separation and addiction recovery, Gik and Sorn were married at The Well, then moved to northern Thailand where they enrolled in a Bible school and completed 4-year degrees. After Bible school they returned to Bangkok, and are in their third year of a Master's of Divinity program at Bangkok Bible Seminary.
Onn's family fled to Thailand from Laos in the 1970's when she was a little girl. She grew up undocumented, did not go to school, and ended up in the Bangkok red-light industry for many years.
A visiting team met Onn in 2005, and she has been part of The Well family since then. The Well helped Onn get her papers in order, and she now lives legally in Thailand as part of The Well team, overseeing daily activities at our Recovery Center. Onn's family initially refused to allow her to raise her son, Ken, but eventually relented. Now 17, Ken is an intern at Connect Kitchen, our coffeeshop/food products startup.
Jim and Judy got acquainted while working among the urban poor in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago. As part of Uptown Baptist Church, a multicultural 24×7 church, they gained valuable experience in working with a wide variety of human need.
In late July, 2004 Jim and Judy moved to Bangkok with 4 of their 5 children to begin reaching out to bar girls, which led to the founding of The Well. Jim still serves as overall Thailand Coordinator for Servantworks and is acting CEO of Narimon Thailand, while Judy directs the mentoring/case management at The Well.
The Larsons have since added a sixth child, Narudet, adopted in Thailand.
You can support Jim and Judy via Servantworks.
Siri's past includes abandonment, addiction, prostitution and international trafficking. She hit bottom as a young woman while working in a Singapore brothel, and woke up in a psychiatric hospital.
While in Singapore Siri had been introduced to Jesus, and began praying in the hospital. Eventually she recovered, returned to Thailand, and began a long process of healing and transformation, that also included raising a young daughter.
Siri joined The Well team in 2014, and is now working towards a psychology degree while serving as primary counselor at The Well, focusing particularly on trauma recovery. She has also received training from the Virginia Satir center in Bangkok.
Growing up in a poor family, Sa determined that she would avoid the bad choices she saw her older siblings make. She was successfully working in a professional job when her world collapsed from an unintended pregnancy and loss of her job. Just as she was making her second suicide attempt, the phone rang. It was a maid that Sa knew who was worried about her. The maid took her to a social service agency which then referred Sa to The Well.
Later, Sa would say that her plan was to have her baby then leave. She was grateful for the love she received at The Well, but understood it simply as professional duty. She was proud and content in her Buddhist faith, and according to policy, The Well leaders made no attempt to convince her otherwise.
In time, Sa began to conclude that the love she saw at The Well was not limited to their work, but demonstrated in the lives of our team, and on reading the story of Jesus, she grew interested but felt no need to change. She was convinced through a series of subjective experiences, particularly vivid pictures or visions, including of Jesus on the cross. But ironically it was the urging of her Buddhist mother and sister that ultimately convinced Sa to become a committed follower of Jesus.
Prang comes from a small Khmer-speaking village in the Buriram province of northeast Thailand. She was working successfully in a corporate job, married with a child and another on the way, when her husband left her. She went to have her baby daughter alone in a taxi. A cousin introduced Prang to bar work in order to support her family.
A visiting team, including The Well founder Jim Larson, met Prang in front of a Bangkok bar in 2004, before The Well existed. Eventually she joined in 2006, stayed a year, then moved back to her village where she was active in caring for others, and among other things started a weaving co-op. In 2015 Prang joined The Well leadership in order to gain experience and help with business development. Long-term she hopes to return to rural life and ministry.