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A letter from Carol and Leith Fujii in Thailand

January 2010

Dear Precious Family and Friends,

One of the highlights in our ministry is being able to spend individual time with people. As I was listening to “Joi” one day, tears welled up in her eyes, “When I was 8, my father had to go to jail,” she began. “My mom had to take care of all three of us. I was the oldest of my siblings. I remember having nightmares and fearing that my mom would leave my dad one day and not wait for him to get out of jail. When I was 13 those fears were realized — my mom found a new husband. Not long after that, my mother and her husband were caught in drug trafficking and both were convicted and imprisoned. There was no one to take care of us. We were placed in a Thai government orphanage which was sponsored by the royal Princess. It wasn’t a place just for orphans, but for troubled children as well.

Photo of young women and men wearing colorful costumes.

Joi with friends celebrating a Thai Christmas, dressed in ethnic Hmong costumes.

“There was a small church next to the orphanage. On Sundays we were allowed to attend because it was nearby. I was Buddhist and did not know anything about Jesus. The pastor and members were kind to me and I was drawn to Jesus’ love. Eventually, I received Jesus into my life. It was my pastor who encouraged me to give my life to serving God, and that is why I came to the Bangkok Institute of Theology (BIT). I have not shared this story with many people.” She grew quiet. “Today, one of my younger siblings is still living and studying at the same orphanage. Noneof us have seen our mother or father in years.”

Photo of five young women wearing white blouses and black skirts dancing.

Joi, having fun learning Northeastern Thai dance with her classmates.

I would expect one of the girls at the WELL to share a story like this, rather than one of our BIT students, many who come from stable homes. I am discovering, however, that there are more students coming from dysfunctional families than I had previously thought. Joi, now a third year student, conducts herself in such a mature, composed way. Unless she had shared her story with me, I would have never guessed that she had suffered through such a painful and wounded past.

Please pray that God will continue that healing process in Joi’s life. I remember when I taught Joi as a freshman, that I was going through a period of depression, and some days it was so difficult to make myself go in and teach at BIT. Joi and a friend would drop by my office, leaving a small bouquet of handpicked flowers on my desk and notes with Scripture verses and words of encouragement. How she ministered to me at a difficult time in my life! I know that God ministered to her during a very difficult childhood and will use her to minister to those who also need Jesus’ compassion and comfort. I think of 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 which says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.”

As we begin 2010, would you please pray for us that we would have Jesus&squo; ears to listen and his wisdom to respond to students like Joi who would open their lives to us.

Thank you for praying for us as we invited neighbors to a Christmas party last month. Nearly 30 of us gathered for a special time of celebration and introduction to our Savior. Thank you for your continuing love and partnership in 2010. Thank you for laboring together with us in prayer as we see the work of God’s Kingdom continuing to bear fruit in the lives of the Thai people. May God continue to lead us and use each of us to make a difference in 2010.

Joyfully in Christ,

Carol and Leith Fujii

The 2010 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 126

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