In the spring of 2016, 20 Valor students traveled to Thailand to serve children and missionaries in a country darkened by Buddhist practices and traditions. The group brought light to Thai people, tribal groups and children in places like Breanna’s House of Joy and Grace International School. Among the students on that life changing trip was then-senior Jarred Kendziorski. Like his teammates, Jarred had his heart moved by the faces and moments in Thailand.
“We took a trip up to Burma where we helped at a local church,” Jarred remembered about the Discovery trip. “During a worship service the pastor asked if anyone would like to give their lives to Christ. Several of the young Burmese students approached the altar. Valor students were then asked to come up and pray for the new believers. As I laid hands on the shoulders of two young boys to pray, I felt God’s presence in a deep and meaningful way. That moment will stay with me always.”
For Jarred, the special moments in Thailand would not end that spring.
For nearly ten years, the Kendziorski family has been praying for the ministry in Thailand. Their prayers began when the tragic death of a family friend prompted the founding of Breanna’s House of Joy. The orphanage outside of Chiang Mai provides a home for young hill tribe girls who have been orphaned and abandoned. At BHJ, Thai girls learn about Jesus and are taught to minister to the places from where they’ve come. Jarred returned to BHJ in August of 2017 with his family – including sister Ally who is now a freshman at Valor.
Ally recently reflected on her visit last summer.
“I was a first-hand witness of God’s work in Thailand when I shadowed some of the older BHJ girls as they presented the Gospel to the villagers in one of the remote northern villages.”
“My friend Satabood is very sweet and shy,” Ally continued. “Her smile lights up the room, but she is quiet like me. When we went from place to place in the village though, she spoke loudly with confidence and conviction. God enabled her to communicate the Gospel to the people in a way that would catch their attention. Many of them listened to her carefully as she witnessed in front of a crowd. I think she was given the ability to do this because of the important tasks that God had given her.”
For years, Jarred, Ally and their parents prayed for people they’d never met. Their hearts were moved by the ministry, and that stirring prompted a bold step forward. Now that they have been to Thailand – experienced the love, served the people and lived the moments – everything has changed.
“Thailand will always have a special place in my heart,” Jarred remarked after returning from his trip last August. “It is an incredible country where I have seen the Lord work in amazing ways. Often in America we get caught up in material things or celebrities and news or football games and it pulls us away from focusing on what truly matters – what truly matters is Jesus. In Thailand the people have what in America would be considered less than nothing but yet they have an incredible joy that can only be found in Christ. Seeing the faith of these people and being able to help, pray and worship with them are things that give me the desire to return to Thailand.”
After graduating in 2016, Jarred enrolled at Texas A&M. That hasn’t muted his desire to go back to Thailand.
“I want to return to help out with Breanna’s House of Joy and be blessed by the children at the orphanage. I am studying engineering at Texas A&M but am thinking about medical school in the future. I can see how I could contribute to Thailand and its’ needs through practicing medicine, but would serve in the people of Thailand in whatever way the Lord calls me to.”
That same spark burns in Ally too.
“I would love to return to Thailand to be blessed by the girls again, (to see old friends) and make new friends as well. I want to see the Christian girls at Breanna’s House of Joy graduate from college and be able to live out their dreams for Christ. My future plans include missionary work, not only in Thailand, but in other places in the world. I would love to work with children of any and all countries.”
Jarred concluded with advice for Valor students.
“Pray about going (on a Discovery trip). As Christians we are called to serve others as well as share the Gospel and I would encourage everyone to at least try to serve one time. It doesn’t have to be on the other side of the world. God can and will do amazing things in our lives and the lives of those we serve. All we have to do is have faith enough to step outside our doors and do what we are called to do: love our neighbors as ourselves.”