Breanna's House of Joy
A LOVE STORY
We opened our bamboo doors in April of 2003 when 16 girls between the ages of 4-12 arrived at our facility. But this story actually begins in 1997. After two years in college and lacking purpose in her life, our oldest daughter, Joni, decided to take a year off and go through a discipleship training program with Youth With A Mission. After studying for 3 months in Switzerland, she did her internship in Nepal for four months. When Joni came home from Nepal that year, she brought pictures and stories of the street children in Katmandu and my youngest daughter Breanna, 12 at the time, was very moved by their plight. One evening she climbed into my lap and said, “I think that God is telling me that we need to adopt some of these children, what is He telling you?” We had four children, two in college at the time, and so we didn’t feel like we could handle any more children, especially with such special needs.
Our daughter, Breanna Joy
One month later, Breanna died in an automobile accident and one year later, my wife (Mary Lee) and I, along with our two oldest children, Joni and Josh, were on an airplane to Asia to see first-hand what had touched Breanna so deeply. We went to Nepal, India and Thailand on that first trip and what we saw changed our lives forever. We saw little girls, the age of our daughter, Breanna, with no hope for the future. We gave money to an orphanage in Nepal and helped support a home for girls in India that was operated by some friends of ours, but it was Thailand where it seemed like we could make the most impact.
ONE MONTH LATER, everything changed.
We started visiting Thailand in 1999 and have been going back once or twice a year ever since. At first, we supported a traveling Thai evangelist who worked with the hill tribe people in northern Thailand and helped him start a church in Chiang Mai that could be the base for his operations. After two years, his wife came to us with a gut wrenching story about little girls from the tribal villages that were being taken into Buddhist schools to be educated and were being physically and sexually abused. She was from the Karen tribe and poured out her heart to us about the tragic situation involving these young tribal girls. She wanted us to help them start a children’s home for tribal girls. In 2002 we accepted the challenge and decided to try to raise money for a children’s home so that we could help take care of young girls and try to give them a better life. It was God’s way of fulfilling the vision that He had given to our daughter Breanna, as well as his commandment to take care of the widows and the orphans. When we began, we had a dream that little girls from tribal villages with no hope of a good life could have hope for the future and so we made a commitment to Thailand. With the establishment of Breanna’s House, that dream expanded and we saw that Breanna’s House was a safe place where little girls would have food, shelter, healthcare, and an opportunity for an education and a better life.