A group of five volunteers stepped into the community at On Nut 86 on Saturday, April 25th, 2020. The site that we encountered was heartbreaking. Hundreds of individuals were waiting for us, what for almost a year had been a group of 35 adults and 40 kids who have become part of our extended church family, waiting for personal protective equipment (facemasks and sanitizers), food, educational materials for the kids and medicine. The government officials were also waiting for us, worried that we may not have sufficient for everyone, they could not allow us to risk social misconduct or breaking of social distancing rules instituted under the emergency decree in Thailand.
It hurt to see people leaving the place one by one without anything on their hands. Those eager eyes and warm smiles that greeted us suddenly disappeared when the leader of the area announced to them that we could not extend any help that day. We must come back with sufficient assistance for everybody, they said 200 would be adequate, we quickly had a silent pray and vowed that by the power of God we would return in 7 days with the needed amount. We did not know where the money or food will come from, but we trusted that God would provide for His kids.
“On Nut 86” is a small village near a garbage dump. The people who work there segregate trash according to its kind. They built their houses from the scraps they found in the junkyard.
GLOW Ministry has been providing for some of the community needs since October 2019. Once a month, the GLOW Ministry team gives out food (rice, noodles, canned goods, snacks, and drinks); offers health checkups and lectures; teaches the children songs, English, and character-building; makes friends, builds relationships, and shares the love of God. The villagers were very grateful when we built a concrete pathway/steps for them to be able to pass or walk over to their village without getting wet.
Unfortunately, when we went there on Saturday, April 25th, there were more people than we expected. Many of them came from the other village next to On Nut 86; they are all affected by the Covid-19 lockdown. Consequently, we were not able to distribute what we had, as it was not enough, and we had to keep social distancing rules while preventing people from fighting over the rations. We went home feeling dismayed, but excited to see how God would provide for His children.
Throughout the week, we contacted donors and spread the words among our social media contacts. Slowly, we started to receive messages of encouragement, financial contributions, and donations. A family who had previously donated 20 football balls reached out to their friends and provided rice 60 people as well as canned goods, clothes, medicines, and a financial contribution. By Thursday, we started to pack and repack. When something was needed, God quickly provided the means for a solution. Volunteers poured in to help with organizing the items and loading them into the van. By Friday evening, we were ready with over 220 packs of food, PPE, education materials, and sanitizers for our community at On Nut 86.
On Saturday, the line of people, conserving social distancing, extended for over two blocks. The local officials helped with organizing the people and provided police officers to maintain the order. We could feel, even though the face masks of the people, that they were smiles of joy and relief in them. Thanks to all the volunteers, the donors, the people that contributed through financial gifts, supporting with prayers, and sharing information about our work on social media, God was exalted, and the community blessed. Thank you.
We will be going back there on Saturday, May 30th, this time, we aim to distribute hygiene products, used clothes, vitamins, medicine, and rice for the community.
We encourage you to become involved in this ministry. Let us all make a difference in the lives of the people in On Nut 86. Please purchase our souvenirs, make contributions, share information about our work, and donate so that we may be able to continue providing food, health checkups, education, and hope for the future to our friends in On Nut 86.
Article by Bheng Solano, and Pablo Rios
Photographs by Tafadzwa Makuyana
Total food packs: 225
Total face masks: 200
Total hand sanitizers: 200
Total children booklets: 61
Total crayons: 63
Total football balls: 10
Total children snacks: 65
Total Burmese health materials: 100
Items remaining for distribution next month:
20 KG of Rice
10 Football Balls
13 kid’s snacks
Vitamins and medicines