Personal Stories

A Congregation of Two


Two kids sit on a woven bamboo porch, one playing his guitar while the other flips through a small New Testament on her lap. It’s Sunday morning, and just because there is no church in Sango village doesn’t mean that Aroon and Risa won’t worship. The two House of Joy kids sing Akha praise songs and smile invitingly at any curious passerby. No one stops them, but no one joins their service, … Continue reading

Immigrant to Princess (Anm’s Story)


It’s getting late, and the teenage girl shivers as night rapidly closes in on her. She draws her thin, cloth sarong more tightly around her body, and breathes a prayer for God to help her. A Burmese Akha immigrant, Anm wonders how she’ll ever find work here without knowing the Thai language. Two men on a motorcycle lean forward. “Hey! We can get you work,” they yell coarsely to her in Akha. … Continue reading

Why Won’t You Be Like Other Sons? (Atu’s Story)


No one really notices the shy, sixteen-year-old Bible school student fresh in from Elephant Mountain. Even though he’s from the richest village in Thailand, his family is among the poorest, too poor to even afford their own bathroom. He has no father and no siblings, just an elderly mother who works in the fields. Although his earthly heritage is lacking, Atu is steadily building a spiritual heritage for future generations of Akha … Continue reading

We’ve Walked Three Days to Find This Tape


Dr. Aje relates a story about a trip to a remote area of Akha habitation over ten years ago. “When staying in a certain village I met two men who had walked for three days because they heard there was a story cassette tape in the Akha language. Our host graciously produced the tape, which I recognized as a copy of a copy of a copy of a gospel cassette I had … Continue reading

What’s a Toothbrush? (Somchai’s Story)


The tall boy peers wide-eyed at the modern buildings of House of Joy. Age nine, he has never set foot in school. His clothes are mere rags, and you can see sores from scabies where the skin shows through. His travel companion explains that Somchai’s mother died in childbirth and his father was mentally unstable after that, taking Somchai to live with him in the jungle outside the protection of the village. … Continue reading