A cycle of giving - Thailand

A story of transformation and generosity

From an unjust prison sentence to joining a Bible translation project in their language, Tawan and Jum, a couple from the Eastern Lawa community in Thailand, have experienced the transformative impact of God’s generous provision in their lives. Together with Wycliffe Thai Foundation and others involved in a Bible storytelling project among the Eastern Lawa people, God has used them to spark a cycle of giving and compassion in their community and beyond. 

Tawan's journey to Christ began years earlier when he was caught up in a dangerous situation involving drug trafficking. Falsely accused and sentenced to 33 years in prison, Tawan endured unimaginable hardships. Yet, his faith blossomed even in the darkest of times. Overseas pen pals dedicated to prison ministry showed him the power of compassion and selflessness. Witnessing an elderly woman's care for him from afar, Tawan was deeply moved and decided to embrace Christianity.

In prison, Tawan's newfound faith took root. He became a beacon of hope for his fellow inmates, leading church services and ministering to those serving life sentences. The positive impact of Christianity on prisoners caught the attention of the guards. Musical instruments and resources were provided, leading to lively worship services and housingChristian prisoners together due to their exuberant singing.

After seventeen years, Tawan was unexpectedly released and embarked on a mission to find his wife, Jum, who had also been imprisoned. Tawan's transformation from a reckless young man to a devoted husband and father inspired Jum to embrace Christianity as well. Despite the challenges they faced after being released from prison, their shared faith and newfound purpose allowed them to rebuild their lives together. 

Living out their faith, Tawan and Jum faced resistance from fellow villagers who held animist beliefs. Some even attempted to seize their land, exploiting complexities in Thai real estate law. However, Tawan and Jum's unwavering kindness, generosity, and peaceful demeanour began to change hearts. Their annual Christmas party served as a bridge between their faith and the villagers, welcoming hundreds from the community.

Tawan and Jum's journey demonstrates that a cycle of giving can break through the darkest of circumstances. In the Eastern Lawa community, the cycle of giving continues. Tawan and Jum's acts of kindness touched their neighbours' lives, gradually shifting attitudes towards Christianity. Preservation of the Lawa language and the hope for revival among the Lawa people contribute to this transformation. Although challenges persist, Tawan and Jum remain steadfast in their trust in God. 

During a celebration, Tawan addressed a gathering of Lawa people, expressing gratitude and humility. He shared how acts of kindness and generosity had transformed their lives. Tawan's words ignited renewed commitment to live out the cycle of giving. Stories circulated of neighbours helping one another, strangers extending a helping hand, and the Eastern Lawa community uniting to support those in need. They have embraced a culture of generosity, recognizing that it encompasses more than material possessions. Giving one's time, love, and compassion can create a ripple effect, transforming lives and fostering interconnectedness.

As others witnessed the impact of the Eastern Lawa people's generosity firsthand, their acts of kindness reached neighbouring communities, inspiring them to embrace the cycle of giving as well. A group of Bible translators from partners of Wycliffe Thai Foundation decided to contribute to the Lawa community development initiatives. They offered support in preserving the Lawa language, providing educational resources for children, and promoting sustainable agriculture. 

Tawan and Jum's story serves as a testament to the saving power of the Word of God and the transformative power of generosity. The cycle of giving in the Eastern Lawa community reminds us that acts of generosity can break through barriers, heal wounds, and create lasting change. It encourages us to look beyond ourselves and embrace a mindset of abundance, where we recognize that when we give, we not only uplift others but also enrich our own lives.


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