When husband Stephen casually mentioned to his wife, Tuk, that he felt moved by God to relocate to Thailand and work with orphaned children, she was totally dumbfounded, because it perfectly matched a dream that she had never dared tell anyone, including Stephen. It was a dream that started when Stephen, exhorted by the sermons he heard on radio, felt compelled to “Die to self and pick up his cross” as a rededicated Christian. Since that time, God has been slowly stripping away his worldly values replacing it with a value to serve others, especially broken children. Not having any missionary exposure, Stephen and Tuk dropped by an orphanage while visiting Tuk’s family in her native Thailand. That cemented the dream they both felt and an extended visit later to the ZOE facility, made them realize that this is truly where God wants them to be, overwhelmed by the love and faith of the children.
Although he lacks formal training in educating and ministering to children, Stephen has unique skillsets that he brings to the table gleaned from his life experiences. His hands on construction work and as a sole proprietor plumbing contractor, has given him vocational skills that he could impart to the older children. Because he had a very rough childhood, beset with dysfunctional family members, Stephen possesses an affinity for children with broken backgrounds. Stephen’s 2 years serving as a Sunday school teacher, at his church, has helped him hone his lesson planning skills.
Tuk received a Bachelor’s in Business at Bangkok University in Thailand and came to the United States to earn an MBA at Pacific State University. She has been working as assistant manager in a Thai restaurant in the South Bay for 10 years. She and Stephen married in 2010 and she came to God after being moved to be “equally yoked” with her husband. She found the peace and life meaning in Christ which was absent in her Buddhist upbringing. Although she loves being in the United States, she has developed a passion to return to Thailand and share her new faith with the children and her family. Her Thai and English fluency, coupled with her Children’s Ministry work at her church, has given Tuk unique skillsets for the children as well.
Their journey to realize God’s calling has been froth with obstacles, including many bureaucratic road blocks. But their faith has always been unwavering, that this is where they should be, as God has time and again opened new doors for each one that closed. It’s all God’s timing and they hope to join the ZOE family in 2017.