“We are here to serve the people of Thailand. To empower those in need to have a better future. Ultimately; We want to be Christ to this generation.”
Decades of Faith
Erik and Mariaana (Raassina) Klar are the founders and senior leaders of The River Thailand. Mariaana’s parents served as pioneer leaders in Siam-Thailand from 1946-1989, and the Klar’s started their full-time service as missionaries to Thailand in February 1993.
Arriving in Chiang Mai
First arriving in Chiang Mai for Language Training in for 2yrs, later moved to Petchabun in Central Thailand to look after the Bethlehem Children’s Home, but also working alongside an unreached peoples group – The Tin Tribe. They gradually gathered faithful workers to come alongside them and planted a church among these people.
In the year 2000, the team, under Erik and Mariaana’s leadership, moved to the Naan provence, where they undertook a community development project, seeing many miracles and blessings in that area.
In 2003, Erik and Mariaana moved back to Chiang Mai, in order for their children to go to school. The team soon followed once the project in Naan had been successfully handed over, and in 2005 they started their very first Children’s program in Hang Dong.
The River Team has grown to over 50 people, spread all over the Nation – from the Deep South of Thailand, the bustling capital of Bangkok, our main base being in HangDong, as well as the various works in the mountain regions of North Thailand.
The work has also expanded to vibrant, modern and relevant churches in Hang Dong and Bangkok, community development work cross cultures in all sites, and a fruitful kids and youth ministry in HangDong, Bangkok and Sungai Kolok. As well as this, we have a training program, empowering youth and young adults to be training in all our areas, including Hospitality at our Café and Accommodation Centre.
At the start of COVID, Erik and Mariaana were separated for a number of months due to the complete shutdown of countries and travel. However, the work continued and by the grace of God Mariaana was able to rejoin Erik and the team in Thailand. During the COVID lockdowns, The River.Asia team brought practical relief to communities in the form of hampers which were aptly named “Baskets of Love” amongst personal support including home care, assisting with access to medical care, and so much more.
Erik and Mariaana are thriving and loving live. Their son Petter is married to Heidi, and have three children. They are in pastoral leadership at Gardn Church. Erik and Mariaana’s daughter is married to Josiah and have one son. Erika is a children’s pastor at Hillsong church where her husband also serves.
The work continues to grow and expand into further reaches of Thailand. Alongside the work in Hangdong, the team and community is growing in Bangkok, Sunai Kolok, and now also KhonKaen in East Thailand through kids and youth programs, Sunday services, music production, community events, home care, and social media presence.