We hope you are enjoying a marvelous season celebrating Jesus. That God not only came to walk alongside broken people but became weak and broken Himself will amaze us for eternity. May we all move closer to that example in 2018.
We are having an exciting time at The Well. Since 2004, our mission has been to send out transformational leaders, and that vision is finally coming closer to fruition. A few key developments:
- Faang, 27, who used to handle Narimon stock and shipping, is praying hard with her husband Dton about moving to her home town to start ministry.
- Gik and Sorn, former addicts but now seminary grads, are part of a project team with the Thailand Bible Society, working on an easy-to-read study Bible.
- If you have been following us over the years you know about Dao and Bpop and their faithful, loving outreach to hurting people. Their neighbor became so impressed by their example that she recently opened her heart to trust Jesus.
- Two men who have struggled with addiction for years are changing dramatically, as part of Faithful Men, our new men’s program, led by Bpop.
- One couple, separated by alcoholism, has reunited and opened a small restaurant with the help of a businessman in their church.
- Tanya, 19 and in university, spent three weeks interning at a new partner ministry in a town along the Malaysian border notorious for forced sex trafficking. Among many successful efforts during that time was a Christmas party for trafficked Lao girls.
It has been a long haul. We began 13 years ago without fully understanding the extent and depth of the obstacles that people were facing. We naively thought that the “reach-teach-send” cycle would happen more quickly than it has. Not only was it slow going, but significant setbacks in our first few years had us wondering if our mission was even possible. Thanks be to God, it was.
How We Got Here
Looking back, The Well has gone through three distinct stages in development:
Even though the ministry grew quickly in its first stage from 2005-2009, we learned many lessons about the ways “hurt people hurt people.” A large number of traumatized women and teen girls, along with under-trained workers, caused stress and conflict.
Thankfully, God provided grace for us to hang on. The second stage in 2010-2015 was a time of slowing things down to allow time for people to heal and develop. We focused on building better structure for The Well’s programs. We also grew in understanding of many issues, from complex trauma disorder to Thai family culture.
During our third stage in 2016-2017, non-Thai missionaries began moving into support roles, with Thai leaders fully in charge at The Well. Every Thai leader on our current team comes out of a difficult background.
The Next Stage
In 2018, we look forward to a fourth stage: “Out” – out to the local community, out to other organizations, and out to “alumni” of The Well.
Out to the Local Community
We intentionally based The Well in a local community rather than in a downtown bar area, knowing that we needed to reach families and communities. Now that our structure and understanding are better developed, we can put more effort into encouraging and helping people to reach out to neighbors and friends.
Another key strategy we have been building towards for some time is Connect Community Center, a place where people come for classes, food and activities, all geared towards sharing Jesus and making disciples. Renovations have been in progress for much of 2017, and we hope to officially open our doors in the next few months.
Out to Alumni
Social media enables us to keep contact with dozens of former members of The Well, all scattered around Thailand. Most routinely tell us they miss the love that they experienced at The Well, including worship and learning God’s Word. It is clear that there is still a lot of potential for these “Women of The Well” to introduce Jesus to others. We are hoping to be able to shift more resources toward this need, connecting both online and via home visits.
Out to Other Organizations
Generally we find strong interest in the kind of work we do among Thai leaders and professionals in churches, government, business and other non-profits. But few have even a basic understanding of the complexity and depth of the social and psychological issues related to addictions and the sex industry. (Click here for a mindmap overview.)
We have already begun working to build partnerships with the goal of ultimately being able to impact many more women and families, and will put more effort into those starting right away in 2018. We will also soon begin conducting seminars for equipping people to help those with addictions or other kinds of brokenness. The key presenters will be transformed men and women reached through the ministry of The Well.
We are incredibly grateful for you who have stuck with us, faithfully supporting this work, believing in this mission, and praying for precious ones in the ministry. Thank you again, in Jesus’ Name.