The Hope Bridges mission team left for Chiang Mai, Thailand on October 11th. We arrived safely on Saturday night getting some what caught up on our sleep over Sunday and then left bright and early on Monday morning to visit the two children’s homes that we are supporting. We arrived at Nong Tao and played with kids and had dinner. Then we slept over at Pastor Jon Tip’s house then left for Baan Mai home in the Omkoi District the next morning.
Our first evening with the kids at Baan Mai was fun and all about building relationships with the kids. The second day proved to be an excellent day. We had breakfast and then drove up a mountain and visited the kids home village. Then back down the mountain.

The drive was only 18 miles but took two hours one way due to the washed out roads. The only way to make that journey was in a pick up with 4 wheel drive. Once we returned to Baan Mai home we prepared our dinner and had a little feast of fish, rice and pumpkin. We all turned in for the night and then… (What follows is from Rachelle Morlok one of our team members.)

At 11:15PM, October 16th, I woke up to seeing flames blazing through the reflection of the window near my bed.  My first thought was this is a dream.  I turned to wake up Zeb (my husband) and said, “I think something is on fire outside.  We got up and hurried outside to see what was on fire, we walked towards the back of the children’s home to find that the dining hall was in flames.

Baan Mai Dinning Hall Fire

I ran back into the house to wake up Mike and to get the 4 girls up that were sleeping on the floor in the back room and got them outside to safety.  Then with the help of Mike and Sarah we were able to get all the boys out of their bamboo hut and to safe grounds.

Once we had all the younger kids together Mike and I went to the back to check everything out.  I was in dismay of what I saw; the fire had now gone from a small corner to a roaring flame of 10 to 12 feet high and dancing across to the other side of the bamboo structure of the dining hall.  The two oldest boys were on the ground with the water hose and trying to fight the flames from spreading up the side of the tree and along the top of the structure.  All the while Pastor Malachi’s oldest son was on the top of the roof fighting the fire with the help of Zeb handing him buckets of water.

The other four boys were inside the bamboo structure dining hall fighting the fire as best as they could.  While Pastor Malachi’s wife was trying to gather bowls, plates and cooking items that could be saved.  I saw fear and gladness in Pastor Malachi’s eyes that everyone was safe and accounted for.  However deep within I could see the hurt and pain in his heart that seemed to be saying why us?  He stayed very strong all the while and helped give order and direction on what to do next.

We pray that the Hope Bridges team became a family with Baan Mia children’s home that night.  We ask now for you to join our Hope Bridges Family and Baan Mai family to help support us financially with the rebuilding of the dining hall so that laughter can be heard once again.

The cost of the rebuilding will be $8,000. This will provide a concrete floor with cinder block walls and a metal roof structure so fires can not occur like the one that we experienced the other night. Please go online to donate and designate Baan Mai Dining Hall or mail a check to,

Hope Bridges
P.O. Box 4764
Olathe, KS 66063