Before I tell about the actual LDP Graduation, I’d like to introduce Siriporn to you. She goes by the nickname of “Nui.” We started sponsoring her when she was eight years old. How excited I was when I heard that she had been accepted to Compassion’s Leadership Development Program ten years later! It’s a very competitive application process including essays, applications and interviews, but I must say I was not surprised that she was accepted. I had seen many clues in her previous letters, such as these excerpts:
From the 2nd letter she ever wrote to us: “I have already finished final exam. I came into the 8th out of class. In my classroom, there are 31 students.” She was already challenging herself to be the best she could be.
At the age of 9: “I attend Sunday School at church every Saturday. The elder students at church took me to join in a camp at Khon Kaen. My school result is good and I will do well in school.”
At the age of 10: “In a recent school holiday, I went with the other church members to the zoo and to a Bible camp in Udornthanee Province. We did some nice activities and went to pray on a prayer hill. I also helped my mother deliver laundry to her clients. I am growing much so I have more responsibilities. I help look after one Sunday School child. I am taking care of him to make sure that he can know more about God.”
At the age of 13: “My school has opened; therefore I have to study harder. By the way, during vacation, I joined a youth camp of Thailand at Chiang Mai province. There were many Christian youths from the whole country joining the camp. I have got new friends from places and learned some words of the north dialect. My church teacher took me and my friends up the mountain to learn other tribe’s cultures.”
At the age of 14: “I worship God at church every Sunday. I feel closer to God and I feel that He touches me and blesses me in study too. I am in grade 7. I learned many things such as to be more responsible for my job. I also have new friends. When I talk about God, many of my friends are interested to know. During the school break I was sent to a camp with the church to help take care of children. To my surprise the children were very great in singing and praising God. I also went on a working camp — the “different culture” program. We went to another province and helped build a church there. It was very tiring but because God gave us strength so we could do the job.”
At the age of 15: “I went on a cultural camp in another province, to learn the life of the villagers. Children are lovely and friendly. They were helping us to clean their villages; we cut the grass and trimmed trees along the road. I went to English camp and children came from other Compassion projects. They taught English in the camp. We learned from the native speakers. I go to church on Saturday to teach the Sunday School children. I think God will bless them to be good Sunday School teachers in the future. After the Youth Camp, there will be Children’s Camp and I will have a chance to be the child care worker.”
“At the elementary camp, I acted as the person who took care of the younger children. There were many children from various churches attending this camp. I also had a chance to participate in another camp called King Kiss. There were people from the Philippines at this camp. They taught us how to dance with the songs and play on stage. We will use these shows for spreading the Gospel news to the villagers. I had a chance to give my testimony in my life to them too. I was so excited about it. In the camp, I learned everything, e.g. being alone with God, prayer and being a witness. Every Sunday, I help the Bible School teacher to take care of the children too. These children love God. They enjoy listening to the Bible verses and worshipping God. I would like to work with the project when I grow up. On Saturday afternoon, my friends and I will learn about worshipping God. We also learn how to lead the songs.”
“During the school holiday recently, I went to attend the youth leadership camp. There were youths from many churches coming to attend the camp. There was the training of leadership and serving in God’s work. The church has arranged for the cross-cultural sightseeing camp in Mookdaharn Province. We had a chance to go up hill. We could pitch a tent for shelter on the hill. It was very exhausting to climb up the hill because it was high and steep. We had to carry food and tents with us. Anyway, everyone could help each other and have unity. We were thankful to God because we could say a prayer and ask for the strength from the Lord while climbing uphill. On the following day, we travelled to the village. The villagers use Phu Thai Language. It is so difficult to listen to but we could understand a little. The villagers gave us a warm welcome. In the morning we helped develop the village by picking up garbage, mowing grass and trimming trees. In the afternoon, there was an activity of playing sports such as football and volleyball so as to build relationships with the people in the village. At night, there was a musical band. We had to go to another village and do the same activities in 3 villages. It was very exhausting but all of us were so happy to serve in God’s work. Everyone can cooperate and help each other. I could see the love and unity in the camp. I believe that we will become a blessing to everyone and every village. Every activity and every speech, we have made so as to give honor to God.”
At the age of 17: “During the last school vacation, I had a chance to attend many camps at the church. There were many youth from many camps. I was the representative of the church to attend meetings and to do the youth’s duty of God. I’m thankful to God again that I was chosen as the secretary of the youth in the Northeast of Thailand. It is a great service for me. I had a chance to take the children to attend the English camp. I had a chance to visit the Aids patients that some Christians look after and take care of.”
“Because of the grace and love of God, I had a chance to attend the Radio announcer training. The most important thing was I was a DJ at the Radio station in the spreading of God’s love program to announce the story of Jesus to people in the province. I had a chance to open the evangelistic songs that were meaningful songs. The songs talk about love and concern of God for everyone, and the savior to everyone too. I am responsible for this program on every Sunday. I would like to ask that you pray for me concerning my schooling and the radio station where I am the announcer to give glory to God.”
This was written while still in high school: “Now my school has started the new semester. I’m preparing myself to take the test of knowledge of the university. Now I have to be more diligent and there is a sports competition too. I have to prepare the activity because I’m an older staff member and I look after my team. During my last school vacation, I attended many camps such as the Leadership training. It taught us to be leaders and we learned a lot of new things. It was a way of practicing the building of leadership to be more efficient in Thailand. I had a chance to go to Laos country too. I took the children of Immanuel football team [i.e. soccer] to attend the football match with the Laos country team. I stayed the night at a rsort and the owner of it was a Christian too. I had a chance to be a witness to the members of Laos too. In Laos, there is an obstruction of being a Christian so Laos people have to be aware of this. I’m thankful to God for a chance to go to Laos country and saw the grace and love of God towards the people of Laos too. Now my responsibility is teaching the Sunday School children on Sunday. I’m the leader in worship on Sunday and a DJ in the radio station every Sunday too. It’s the radio program of spreading the love of God. I’m thankful to God for His blessing. I would like to ask you to pray for Laos for people to have more freedom in doing Evangelistic work.”
Finally, in March of 2006, I received this exciting letter: “I have already graduated grade 12. It is summer vacation now. I have applied to study at many universities — faculty of Biophysical Technology being one of my choices. I could pass the university entrance exam to study in many universities, but I have already chosen the one near my living place. I have already passed the first round of Compassion’s Leadership Development Program. During May, I will join the camp at Chiang Mai province. I am memorizing more verses in the Bible and have to prepare many things. Some mentors have provided much help for me. Every Friday, my church has a youth class of being a good leader and increasing the skill of being a leader more than before. Please pray for my travel and for good leadership in being with the others. On my summer vacation, my friends and I will do the camp preparation. We will be the child attendants to give care to the children in the camp. In April, there will be a youth camp and I am on the youth camp committee. I am in charge of the responsibilities in the camp and several hundred youth will join the camp. It is a great responsibility for me but everything is in prayer. Regarding the radio program, my friends and I take turns to arrange the programs concerning the evangelism stories of Jesus. I love arranging the radio program very much but my experience is not very wide. After graduating from secondary school, I would like to further my education in a favorite university. I would like to participate in working for God at church. I need to take more time to pray. I always pray for you. Please pray for my studies and for joining the Leadership Development Program.”
Did this sound like a strong Christian leader? I thought so as she was growing up. Now her letters started coming 6-7 pages at a time, typed, and what joy it was to receive them throughout her four years of college! I’m so proud of my precious Nui, for although her life has been very difficult, especially in recent years, she has never lost her vision for the potential God had for her from the beginning. Truly, some of the brightest stars shine early in life. I’m glad Compassion gave her the opportunity to reach her potential.
Siriporn is only one of many that have participated in the Leadership Development Program. If you are interested in supporting one of these bright students, please click here. It will truly bless your life, too, in a big way!