Yingwhit is one of The River Asia’s faithful workers in the mountain village of Heui Hie. He has been based in this Karen tribal village for over 13 years now, building relationship with the people and working closely with them in community development. Though he is from the same nation, he is truly working across cultures and has had to learn the Karen peoples’ language, culture and customs. It has been hard and lonely work, but the long-term impact he has made on this village and the surrounding villages is beyond compare. He has helped transform this community not only through development work, but through the gospel of Jesus – delivering a truly holistic change.
The way in which Yingwhit works alongside the Karen people, gives a deeper look into how The River Asia’s community development work functions all over Thailand. He does not just go in and build toilets, or houses and all the other things this community needs. Instead, through relationship he asks them what they need, why they need it and how they will gather the funds and materials to build it. He asks them for buy in, so that they are the ones transforming their community for more sustainable and long-term change. In this, they are the ones that truly own their development. Throughout all of this, he remains first and foremost their friend and their encourager, just as Jesus was.
For example, Yingwhit taught the Heui Hie community how to collect water and recycle it, through piping that funnels water from the roof into storage urns. He showed them and then helped families create them for their own homes. This simple, yet effective method has allowed the community to grow vegetable gardens and have enough water to keep them growing in the dry seasons.