In the midst of an ongoing pandemic, with concerns about health and safety at an all-time high, Delaware Avenue church provided funding for the Naung Bo Den (NBD) Learning Center in Mae Sot, Thailand—first for shower rooms, and later for a new cafeteria. Both of these additions have helped to create a healthier campus environment and have contributed to the overall growth of the school.
This funding is the result of a collaboration between Delaware Avenue church and the continued mission work of church member Fedly Bonneau, who has been on the ground in Thailand with the school since the start of the pandemic last year.
“We were moved by compassion,” said Roger Frazier, pastor of Delaware Avenue church. “The folks there are unable to take care of their needs adequately. I asked Fedly what their greatest need was, and he said showers.”
Earlier this year, the church board approved funding to have shower rooms built—five rooms for the boys and five rooms for the girls. After the showers had been built, the congregation came together again to ask what else could be done for the students at the school. Bonneau identified a tremendous need for a bathroom and/or cafeteria renovation. After much thought, the cafeteria was deemed the biggest need and was ultimately selected for renovation.
The former cafeteria was a small, cramped space, but the renovation enlarged it to include new equipment, proper ventilation, storage, a kitchen, and a meeting place. According to Bonneau, the new cafeteria serves a dual purpose: “The first purpose is the ability to now practice healthy food preparation and cooking practices by the school and students,” Bonneau said. “The second purpose, which went into the design of the cafeteria, is a place we could use to let children sleep at night if there was an influx of children coming from Myanmar because of the military coup. We can accommodate an extra 60-100 students.”
The growth of the NBD Learning Center, which has been operating since June 2017, has been a concerted effort among different organizations in the Pacific Union Conference through the years, beginning with the San Luis Obispo church in the Central California Conference.
“We say health is the right arm of the gospel message, which is true,” Bonneau said. “Education should be the left arm of the gospel, because it allows us to introduce Jesus to so many children who turn and take Jesus back to their homes and villages. What Delaware Avenue church has done has been a tremendous blessing in watering the Naung Bo Den seed, and I hope others will follow their example to continue watering this seed.”
“We do what we can to push the gospel,” Frazier added. “We’re grateful to do whatever we can to support both home and abroad.”