In 2019, Royal Harrison, Greater Los Angeles Region (GLAR) director in the Southern California Conference in the United States, established an initiative called “Greater to Global.” Harrison wanted GLAR to reach the world through missionary efforts in Thailand. “There is a world of need out there,” Harrison said, “and I wanted our churches to be a part of the global mission field.”
The initiative was well received by pastors and church members throughout the Los Angeles region. The Delaware Avenue Seventh-day Adventist Church in Santa Monica has made an impact globally by working with Bottles 4 Life (B4L) Inc., a non-profit organization started by one of the local church members. Harrison partnered with B4L to help GLAR go global and connected with the Naung Bo Den (NBD) Learning Centre in Mae Sot, on Thailand’s border with Myanmar. Delaware Avenue pastor Roger Frazier and some church members jumped in and followed Harrison’s lead.
Upon hearing the students at the school were taking showers outside or walking to a local river to bathe, the congregation took on a project at NBD Learning Centre to provide students with shower rooms. “God calls us to be His hands and His feet,” Frazier explained, “and once we heard the need, we knew we had to help.”
In a January 31, 2021, board meeting, Delaware Avenue members voted to donate funds to have the shower rooms built, not knowing the next day the Myanmar military would take over the government of the country. Waking up to this new reality and suddenly worried about their families, the students, who are all from Myanmar, needed good news. The good news came later that day via the announcement of the shower rooms building project.
“The kids woke up to sad news that morning that Myanmar was under a military coup again,” Socky Johnny, principal of NBD Learning Centre said, “and here comes Jesus sending a glimmer of hope with the announcement of Delaware church donating the shower rooms. It brought a sense of excitement and took the students’ minds off the bad news for a moment.”
B4L staff were in amazement at God’s work; most could only say, “You can’t make this stuff up; the way God works continues to amaze us.” The shower rooms were completed at the end of February. The building has five separate shower rooms, either for girls or boys.
Harrison said he was thrilled to hear about the shower rooms project. “I’m praising God that the work still continues within the region on the global front,” he said. “I knew when I flew to Thailand, and B4L had me take an 18-hour plane ride to Taiwan, followed by a five-hour plane ride to Bangkok, Thailand, and then an eight-hour drive to Mae Sot, that they were about the mission.” The shower rooms are another step in the health initiatives of B4L to emphasize personal hygiene and cleanliness. This project truly is showers of blessings for the students at NBD.
NBD Learning Centre has been operating since June 2017. The school building was built by the young adults from the San Luis Obispo Adventist church in the Central California Conference. The learning center has been expanding ever since with help from groups and organizations in the Pacific Union Conference church region.
“When one of your members is doing great work, you want to support and push that work,” Harrison said of the partnership. “It was great to have B4L established in Mae Sot to be a launching point for our work globally.”