United Methodist Missionaries serving in Thailand

United Methodist Missionaries serving in Thailand

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We serve with the Thailand Methodist Mission

We serve with the Thailand Methodist Mission
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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A special young man in need of heart surgery

Did we say before we are all connected?

God created a special connection through Anthony. Almost a year ago, Anthony went to our friend Noyna's coffee shop for his violin lesson (the second floor is a music studio where Noyna teaches guitar, drums, keyboard, and violin.)

While at his lesson, Anthony met a young Christian man named Ta who was his age. They hit it off well, and Anthony really wanted to get to know Ta better.

Later we heard about Ta through our daughter in law Abby, who is a missionary teacher at Sammuk Christian Academy where Ta is a student and resident. Abby spoke very highly of Ta as a Christian leader among the students.

It was only a year later that we met Ta's mother, Lee Ann Sidebottom, who is a missionary for YWAM who holds Bible Clubs in the slums of Pattaya. We met her because Life Center UMC of Pattaya does similar ministry and we love to have cooperative ministries among Christian groups.

Well as it turns out, we found out Lee Ann was Ta's mother, and we also found out she is a United Methodist from First UMC in Lyons, Kansas.

We had heard that Ta was needing heart surgery in the US, and asked Lee Ann if it would help to post Ta's story on our blog, so she sent this letter to us.

Ta and Lee Ann our in our prayers and we know that God has wonderful plans for Ta's future.

Here is the letter:

Dear Friends,

As you may know, I have
a Thai foster son named Ta. I have cared for him for the past nine
years. I would like to tell you his story and also a need that we are
facing at this time. Ta was born to alcoholic parents in 1987, the 5th of
five sons. He was born with multiple heart defects. At the age of
two, he along with a brother were put in an orphanage. Before his 8th
birthday he had already had two heart surgeries in Thailand, but showed no signs
of improvement afterwards. By the age of 10, he was suffering from
congestive heart failure due to a defective valve and a large hole in his
heart. The orphanage cared for him the best they could, but didn’t expect
him to live for more than a year.
By the providence
of God, Ta’s brother (age 12), decided to leave the orphanage and would take Ta
with him. In June of 1998 they both ran away and went to their mother’s
village. Once there, Ta’s brother began working, but Ta was too weak to
work. He was sent to Bangkok, where he lived in a slum with
grandparents. They treated him more like a servant than a grandson.
It was there that I met him. He began calling me “mom.” The
grandparents felt burdened to care for him and asked if I could take him. Within
a few weeks Ta was living at a Youth With A Mission campus ministry house for
guys. He lived there for nine months, during which time he was in and out of the
hospital as his health deteriorated. Simply walking across a room would
tire him. Each time he was hospitalized, the doctor would say “this could
be the end,” holding out little hope for him. But during that time, others
began hearing about his story and hearts of compassion were
Through God’s providence once again, a lady
in California heard about Ta’s need for surgery and immediately got
involved. Her name was Donna McCornack. She sent Ta’s medical
records to over 20 doctors in the U.S. Most replied that the surgery was
too risky. However, in March of 1999, Dr. John Lamberti of Children’s
Hospital in San Diego called to say he would donate the surgery, but we still
had to raise 35,000 U.S. dollars to pay other hospital expenses such as ICU and
other after surgery care. With three weeks to raise the funds, Donna got
busy in California, contacting newspapers and TV stations and I did the same in
Thailand. It was a leap of faith for both of us, but God likes it when we
leap. By the time Ta was at Children’s hospital being prepped for surgery
in April, we had all the money on hand. Several hundred people had
responded to Ta’s need with generous donations and lots of prayer. The
surgery was a total success and life was given back to Ta. For the very
first time in his life he could run and play like a normal kid. I knew he
also needed to be part of a “family,” to get the love and nurture that he had
never had, so upon our return to Thailand I made him a part of “my
That was nine years ago and today Ta
is no longer a skinny 11 year old, but rather a towering 6’1” young man, who
loves to play soccer and aspires to be a teacher. However, in recent
months he has begun to tire more easily, making us suspect that the porcine
valve put in in 1999 is now too small and needs replacing. A check-up with
Dr. Lamberti this past April confirmed this. Ta needs a new valve.
His heart has begun to swell again because the valve is leaking. Surgery
is scheduled for this October, in San Diego at Children’s Hospital once
again. This time we must raise 50,000 U.S. dollars for hospital
expenses. We (Donna, Ta and I) saw the faithfulness of God through all the
ups and downs of the surgery nine years ago and believe that God will continue
to do immeasurably beyond all that we ask or think. (Eph. 3:20) God
does this through the generosity of many people. At this time (Aug. 20th)
we have raised a little over 15,000 U.S.. So, we have a ways to go yet and
October is coming up. Would you pray for us and consider giving a donation if
God leads you? The donor information is below. Thank you in advance for
standing with us in prayer and

In Him, Lee Ann Sidebottom Thailand

Electronic Transfers send to: Bank: Kasikornbank Branch: Pattaya Klang Acct. Name: Lee Ann Sidebottom Acct. Number:291-2-24831-8 SWIFT Address: KASITHBK

For tax-deductible donations: Send Checks in U.S. currency , made out to “Open Door Christian Church” with a note attached saying it is for Ta Tanlem’s Heart Surgery Fund. Mail to: Open Door Christian Church, P.O. Box 1552, Novato, CA. 94948 U.S.A.