HOLTVILLE – Sangla listened intently to the question in English, not her native tongue, but the third language she speaks after, Karen, her native Burmese dialect, and Thai, her adopted language.
Sangla Jafoo, 40, moved with her family at three months of age away from Burma’s communist dictatorship. They traveled to Thailand.
The Hannah House website (www.Hannahhousethailand.org) explains Thailand this way:
Thailand is a culturally diverse country that is surprisingly advanced compared to many countries in Southeast Asia.
A lot of the surrounding countries are poor, communist, and hostile to the gospel. As a result, Thailand has found itself with many poor tribal villagers who have migrated or fled from these countries.
These people live in the mountains and survive by farming on the mountainsides and selling their produce in the cities.
Many of these poor villagers do not have any concept of God or of morality. Often these people get married at young ages and then get divorced. Rape, alcohol and drugs are some of the many problems they face.
Some try to escape this lifestyle and go to the city to find work, but because they lack proper skills and education many become prostitutes. It is virtually impossible for those in the village to escape their lifestyle and get a college education since these poor parents are unable to support their children in the big city.
Sangla is in the Imperial Valley speaking to various groups and churches about her missionary work in Thailand at the Hannah House, a home committed to ministering to young ladies in college who are too poor to afford college or live in the community.
Besides providing means for their education, they are discipled in Christ through prayer and Bible studies. These ladies also travel to prisons and refugee camps to teach Christ on weekends..
For Sangla, her work includes serving the Lord in prisons while the ladies are at school. She is part of the only Christian group that visit these prisoners. She spoke about the change she sees in their lives and how they are being baptized and taking communion.
Her fellow missionary, and native valleyite, Jonathon Hawk of Holtville, envisions a half-way house for these prisoners once they have paid their dues to society.
Sangla has dreams, too. She hopes to one day expand Hannah House on a piece of property they could buy and build a facility to house more ladies as the need is so great.
“Yes,” Sangla answered in English, “Our needs are great. But we must do long-term planning to do the greatest good. We need to buy land and build a bigger home so more young women can escape their life of poverty, sex slavery, and dispair.”
That is one of the reasons she comes to the valley, to thank those that have joined financially with her and to welcome others that have a heart to financially support international mission fields.
This Saturday, Hannah House will have their 3rd Annual Team Thailand’s Candlelight Dinner to raise funds and awareness. Central Baptist Church will host the dinner. Tickets are available by calling Cibia Leonard at 760-337-9408 or Susie Hawk at 760-960-2097.