There are many ambassadors for Brant toiling in the background, striving to make a difference as part of a life mission, in other parts of this precious globe, but one such couple in Brant, Carolyn Hudson and her husband Albert, are the Founders of a not-for-profit registered charity, Mighty Oaks Global Initiatives. This year (2018) they celebrate 14 years of ministry in Northern Thailand. Humbly not choosing to be personally celebrated, they have quietly invested their lives to raising money for a worthy cause: education for children through financial assistance to the schools in Thailand; assistance in fostering physical, psychological and spiritual needs of many struggling families; and appreciation of the aesthetic arts.
Before retirement, in the year 2000, as an educator, Carolyn taught and cared for Special Needs children for 27 years. Her experience included all ages of children who were deaf, visually-impaired, physically-impaired, and multi – handicapped. Her last 15 years were as a Principal at W. Ross MacDonald School for Visually-impaired. Albert is retired from Sears. 2001 was their first journey of experiencing ‘the impossible made possible with Christ’.
“We felt we were not retired but retreaded into something new and exciting to show the love of Jesus to others half way around the world from comfortable Brantford,” she said.
The following is Carolyn’s story:
“Our ministry is located in Northern Thailand in the rural and Hill-tribe areas of Fang. It has been researched that providing Education for the children is the best way to overcome poverty. “
We are at the point of seeing many of our young children who were sponsored in 2004 or just before that date actually graduating from Colleges and Universities with Specific Training and B.A. Degrees. We now have young men and women who are entering work with B. A’s in the following majors: Nurses, Teachers, Law, Food Sciences, Business, Lab Technician, Accounting, Public Health, Marketing, English and Chinese. It is so amazing to witness the changes Education has made to these young men and women and their families. Many of these children live with Grandparents or Single Parents (over 50 %) who are experiencing Poverty and Sickness. When they are able to work as field workers, they make about $6-7 a day.
We started out with 3 children who needed help in order to continue with their education in 2001 to our present scholarships numbering 158 students. Over the years of visiting this country we have fallen in love with the people who are so hospitable and have such a deep desire to see their children and grandchildren have the opportunity for education and a better life.
They are plagued with strangers who will offer something better for their children and later find out that person was not to be trusted. They may be promised a job or education and end up in a brothel or other part of the sex trade. We saw this first hand and our hearts were broken. We came home to our comfortable surroundings but felt we needed to help these families. We knew with God’s guidance and His strength, something could be done to change this very destructive cycle. Children can be sponsored for $30 monthly which provides an educational program right through University if that is their desire along with the books, uniforms, transportation, needed their education.
In 2006, we started our first Agricultural Development Projects to assist our families. This has also been very successful. The most popular projects is the raising of pigs or chickens along with having a container made for the raising of fish or frogs. We also help with fresh vegetable gardens and lately the families have asked for a purification system for their water. This means:they no longer have to buy water to drink; bigger projects like replacing a roof because of termite infestation; and helping to replace dorms and homes because of destruction through the monsoon rains and fire. There were special fund-raising events for these larger projects.
In 2012, we opened Agape Home with our office on the bottom floor of the building, as an alternative placement for girls whose families were struggling to keep them in school. There were obstacles like extreme poverty, drug addiction, abuse, which alerted us to the need for a safe place for some of these children where they could be nurtured and loved and given the opportunity to complete their education to at least grade 12. Our greatest desire within this ministry has been to have a permanent place in Thailand that would continue to assist some of these struggling families. Last year, we were given a gift of money from a single donor that allowed us to purchase a piece of land in Fang area. This was such a blessing and has helped us follow our dream which will carry on for many years. We are ready to have a permanent “agape” home and offices on the property. We have got volunteers with exciting fund raisers working to help us with our Property Development and our Sponsorship Program. Our territory is being extended both in Thailand and in Southern Ontario. It is very exciting.
It is our hope that these families will be empowered to overcome a destructive cycle of poverty and the sexual endangerment of their children. Our prayer is that hope will replace hopelessness and despair and they will experience a self-sustaining future.
God’s speed Mighty Oaks. To help them, please click on the link to see how you can join their upcoming event:Thai July fundraiser