“The way bacon – and vegetarians – are made.”

Warning: This post includes pictures of butchery that my disturb sensitive readers.

Seems ironic that I’m sitting in the cool, breezy lobby of a jungle resort in Northern Thailand enjoying reasonably fast internet access ad my family in Ohio is without power and enduring sweltering heat. 

I spoke with Kori a few minutes ago and she said that they’re taking it all with a grain of salt. They’ve spent the last few summers in Asia living out of suitcases and dealing with brutal heat and unusual living arrangements. I’m sure they’ll be fine. Still, another week without power? I wish I was there to help.

Alas, I’m not. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t possibly get much further from home if I tried. We’re in Wiang Pa Pow, a mix of rural, mountainside hilltribe farms and dense rainforests about an hour and a half north of Chiang Mai. In a few hours we’ll have church with the kids at the two Wiang Pa Pow children’s homes, both sponsored by the Wooster Grace Church in Ohio.

Delicious Thai food enjoyed at a roadside restaurant on the way to Wiang Pa Pow

Generally speaking, the children at our Thailand homes are more reserved than those of ours in Cambodia. They tend to give a quick hug, a respectful bow and maintain a degree of polite aloofness. They’ll talk to you, they’ll hold your hand, but usually, they won’t climb all over you. Our kids at Wiang Pa Pow do not fit this generalization. They’re rowdy, rambunctious and not a bit reserved.

We arrived at Wiang Pa Pow yesterday afternoon. When we got to our campus, a large and verdant 13-acre complex we often call “the farm,” the staff and older boys had already killed the pig, and had just started the cleaning and butchering process. Bloody yet fascinating, the skill with which a group of hilltribe men dispatch a pig is impressive. Every time I witness it, I feel like I’m watching something ancient and essential, and I’m proud to see it being passed down to a new generation of boys at Asia’s Hope. It is, however, a bit grisly, and is as I observed last night “the way bacon – and vegetarians – are made.”

These two are lucky -- for now...

This one? Not so much.


The older boys enjoy helping with the slaughter and butchery of the pig, learning and maintaining centuries' old hilltribe ways.

We also spent some time with the widows who live on the farm, and got the chance to see (and even eat!) some of the worms responsible for the beautiful silk that’s being cultivated, harvested, dyed and woven on our Wiang Pa Pow property.

The kids at Wiang Pa Pow learn about silk cultivation and weaving from the widows who tend the farm.

After stuffing ourselves with freshly killed pig, we spent a couple of hours playing with the kids. They sang and danced and we gave them some gifts. It was a beautiful evening. I’m so thankful for the staff of Asia’s Hope and also for the generosity of Wooster Grace for the sponsorship of our Wiang Pa Pow homes. Construction on the second home — Wiang Pa Pow 2 — was finished only a few weeks ago. It’s a joy to be able to provide high-quality housing and loving care for all of these kids. I thank all of you who have helped make this possible, and for all of you who pray for the wider ministry of Asia’s Hope. 

God is doing a great thing, and he’s using you to do it!

John McCollumComment