Chotechai holding his Bible.
Chotechai is the eighth son in the family of nine. His family is among the group of Hmongs who moved from Laos to live in refugee camps in Thailand before scattering and settling in different parts of the country. Chotechai's family settled near a Compassion project.
The Hmong, a minority hill tribe in Thailand, have faced a long history of discrimination, displacement and lack of educational opportunities. As a result, many Hmong are steeped in poverty.
Many Hmongs are animists, believing that sacrificing animals - pigs or chicken - can cure sickness and stave off ills. As many Hmongs do not have pigs or chickens of their own, they must borrow money to buy sacrificial animals, resulting in indebtedness among some families.
Wichian, Chotechai's father, was among those struggling with finances, but he often saw his Christian neighbor prosper. Such a contrast prompted him to take his family to church.
"As I looked at my Christian friend's life," Wichian says, "I thought, 'He is happy.' I then decided to believe in Jesus and I am not disappointed. . Now I feel happy because we can pray and don't have to feed any spirits. The family expenses have also decreased."
Wichian says before he became a Christian, his wife was often sick and witch doctors could not heal her. When they turned to Jesus and forsook the traditional offering ceremonies, they saw a doctor and prayed to God. Finally, she was healed.
Wichian registered Chotechai at the Compassion project and he believes the project will help his son become a good person, because project workers teach Chotechai about Jesus.
"Chotechai is a fast learner," Wichian says proudly.
Chotechai says he enjoys writing and drawing when he comes to the project, and sent a picture he drew to his sponsor. He also excels at catching fish and crabs.
It is now a challenge for both the project and his parents to help Chotechai become the person God has created him to be.
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