When it Rains
Siriwan Trakunhan is one of Multiply’s key national partners in Thailand. Over the years, she has served in many capacities: working at the Chiang Mai office, teaching the Bible at a juvenile detention center with Carmen Owen and Cynthia Friesen, and founding Freedom Trades, a vocational training program for women released from prison. More recently, Siriwan has been overseeing discipleship training at Naomi House – a church plant and vocational skills training centre that employs at-risk women. To say the least, her ministry has been fruitful.
Some of that fruit has been, quite literally, fruit. As part of Siriwan’s vision to disciple refugees, she and her husband Wichian invested in a 1 000-tree papaya farm. They began to work this farm in January of 2020, using their own funds, and were soon able to offer self-sustaining employment to others, as they discipled them in the ways of Jesus. Papaya trees, like all fruit trees, require sufficient water to bear fruit. Although a well was dug to provide for the crops and the families living at the farm, they counted on regular rainfall for the trees to flourish. When there is no rain, planting is risky; Siriwan and Wichian are not afraid to risk.
There was one season when it hadn’t rained in weeks, and workers were planting tiny seedlings in the driest dirt they had ever seen, praying over each one. It seemed obvious that the plants were not going to survive, but Wichian insisted that they keep going, and plant all the trees that same day. A few hours later, the skies opened up, and rain began to pour down.
Today, this farm is producing so much fruit that it is being given away to members of the community and women in the juvenile prison. Profits are even used to help cover schooling costs for local children. Siriwan and Wichian have been devoting more of their time to this venture. On the farm they sleep in tents, and there are no bathroom facilities. Their dream is to build lodging for themselves and those they employ, to disciple even more people, and to bear even more fruit.
—Nikki White, ICOMB Update