We don’t get to choose what family we are born into. For some, it’s like drawing the shortest straw in the lot. This is the case for one girl in Chiang Mai who grew up living with her physically abusive dad as her only parent, and it has shaped her into an angry, uncontrollable child.
This is the kind of child that Grace International School parents Dave and Akiko Bauson help minister to as part of their work with the School of Promise. The School of Promise reaches out to bring at-risk children hope through the Gospel and an excellent education. The Lord took hold of Dave’s heart during a vision trip, and Akiko likewise saw His leading. So, they made the big decision to move from Seattle to Chiang Mai with their two children, Hikari and Takumi, in 2019! Dave came to help the School of Promise start a Bible college. Their hope is to train Thai nationals to be skilled teachers who can integrate a Biblical worldview into their daily work and lessons. Akiko came to help their organization’s communications with supporters and donors outside of Thailand. But their work didn’t just stop there! Dave has found that his experience in IT, Bible teaching, photography, and more is being put to use and stretched. Akiko has also been led to expand her ministry. She just completed an intense TESOL course and will begin teaching English at the School of Promise this May.
So how is the girl who grew up in an abusive household doing? She responded to the school’s love and care and told a teacher that she was unhappy with being so angry. She followed her teacher’s guidance and, with a new relationship with Christ and prayer, overcame the anger. Years later, her father, a strong Buddhist, forbade her from attending church. Unless she was put to work translating the sermons! Now, a couple of years later, he’s accepted that she’s a Christian and is standing behind her as she travels to the US to translate at a church conference!
Grace International School exists so that international Christian workers like the Bausons are able to change the lives of young Thais like this little girl by introducing them to the love of Christ. GIS allows the Bauson family to focus on their ministry while knowing that their children’s educational and spiritual needs are met. “Our daughter Hikari was very happy to hear about GIS from friends with kids attending,” says Dave. “She had been in Christian schools from pre-K and transferred into a public school for 9th grade during her last year in the US. It was a hard transition from a cozy private school to a massive public school where she knew no one. Her desire to join GIS grew stronger during that time, and the school met her expectations perfectly. For our son, Takumi, this was his first Christian school experience. We appreciate the small class size and Christ-centered learning environment. He enjoys weekly Bible studies with his classmates and worship night!”