BY LAURA HOKANSON
“Rude, impolite, dirty, and ill-mannered.” These words once described the preschool-aged children of Kha Nan village. Then Kha Nan Nursery School opened its doors, and those descriptions began to change.
The rapidly growing village of Kha Nan was established to provide a new beginning for refugees displaced by war. This multi-ethnic community is largely illiterate and undereducated as a result of surviving so many years of war and uncertainty. Few, if any, of its residents have heard the gospel. As refugees flood into Kha Nan, families struggle to survive. Parents working long hours need care for their children. Children need education. Seventh-day Adventist church leaders recognized the opportunity for sharing the gospel through meeting these needs and established the Kha Nan Nursery School.
When the school opened in May 2019, parents rushed to enroll their children. The children came from different ethnic backgrounds, spoke different languages and could not understand each other or their teachers. They cried all day, refused to eat, would not take naps, and were suffering the results of trauma they had endured during the war. To make matters worse, there was no water, no toilet, and no tables for students to eat at or to do school activities. The teachers, having never experienced an environment like this, almost gave up. Taking these problems to the Lord in prayer, they saw God answer through the support of ASAP donors, whose gifts funded toilet facilities and a water reservoir. Local villagers donated tables. Through patient endurance and love, the teachers slowly began to win the trust of the children. The children began learning how to play together, to speak a common language, to wash their hands, to say “thank you,” to help their families at home, and most importantly, they learned there is a God in heaven who loves them.
In a short time, parents and community members began to notice remarkable changes. The children came home happy, clean, and well-mannered. Singing their little gospel songs around the home, they created a cheerful atmosphere. The school and its teachers have become well known in the community for excellence in education and for the maturity of the students who attend. Local government school teachers send their own children to Kha Nan Nursery School, because they know with this foundation they will be better equipped for entering elementary school.
The school quickly outgrew its space. Families were turned away because there was no room to enroll their children. Once again, the teachers turned to God in prayer. Again He provided through the faithfulness of donors like you who gave to the Greatest Needs Fund. Thanks to your gifts, ASAP was able to respond quickly to this need, providing funds for an addition to the nursery school. With the added space, more preschool students can attend, and additional services are planned for the community, such as English language classes.
Please pray that the Kha Nan Nursery School will be a light that leads many to know Jesus.