In April 2020, Children to Love formalized its partnership with Grace Boarding House in Mae Sot, Thailand. Mae Sot sits on the Thai-Myanmar (formerly Burma) border and is home to many Burmese refugees who left their country in search of a better life in Thailand. The Burmese people in Thailand constitute the country’s largest migrant population.
Grace Boarding House or GBH (previously Sinai House) was founded in 2013 and has been a safe haven for children ever since. The ministry is led by husband and wife Shine Lin and Hine Pai, Burmese migrants who are living legally in Mae Sot.
Hine Pai (pronounced HEN PIE) is originally from a Chin tribe within Myanmar (Burma) that is known for worshipping spirits, rocks and the environment. Animism was all she’d known until her great-grandfather introduced the family to Buddhism and she became the youngest Buddhist nun in her entire town at the age of seven. After her mother passed away, Hine Pai was so desperate to leave home that she accepted the invitation of a friend to attend a Christian Bible School where the friend’s father taught. On the advice of the Buddhist monk, Hine Pai planned to live free of charge while learning as much as she could about the Bible and Christianity in order to lead as many Christians to Buddhism as possible. She met Shine Lin (pronounced SHY LYN), her now-husband, at this Bible school and he consistently shared the gospel with her. Though she rejected the gospel many times, at the end of her second year at the school she turned away from her idols, gave her life to Christ and was baptized the following year. Since that time, God has spoken to her in many ways: she recalls dreams when she would see herself surrounded by orphans and widows, praying that God would send someone to look after them, and God would always respond to her, "That someone is YOU!"
Shine Lin is the eldest of 8 siblings and led most of his family to God at a young age. He dreamed of attending Bible college to deepen his knowledge of scripture, but his family needed the income he was able to earn so he faithfully worked to support his family. Even as he worked, he continued evangelizing and leading faith communities among his fellow workers, and was able to assist OMF (Overseas Missionary Fellowship) missionaries in planting a Burmese-speaking church in Northern Thailand. These same missionaries learned about Shine Lin’s dream of attending Bible college and committed to send him, becoming the miracle he had prayed for as they provided for all of his financial needs along the way. As Shine Lin continued evangelizing, serving in Christian leadership and engaging in spiritual disciplines, the Lord revealed His desire that Shine Lin care for children in a children’s home, teaching them about the word of God and leading them into God’s plan and purpose for their lives. During a visit to Mae Sot in 2007, Shine Lin saw a field of needs for which God could use him, including the need for a Burmese-speaking church for the thousands of Burmese immigrants living and working in Mae Sot. With the support of those same OMF missionaries, he and a few fellow believers planted Mae Sot Evangelical Church in July of 2007, the first Burmese-speaking church in the area, which was able to plant another church within a few years of its founding.
Shine Lin and Hine Pai were married in 2009, and two months later Shine Lin’s mentor from OMF asked them to care for 8 children, all of whom came from a Hindu or Buddhist background. Hine Pai was overwhelmed at the thought of caring for 8 children and wanted to decline the request; however, the couple was culturally obligated to do what their leader requested and they stepped into the parental role overnight. They called their home “Sparrows and Lilies” because they knew that God cared for these children just like he cares for even the sparrows and the lilies (Matthew 6). They also knew that God brought them together for His ministry and purposes and through this He reaffirmed His call on Hine Pai’s life from many years ago.
In 2008, Shine Lin and Hine Pai were called to begin an outreach ministry at “the dump,” the original home of most of the children currently who are living at Grace Boarding House. The dump is home to about 140 families, totaling nearly 500 people. The children pick through the garbage for their food, have little access to proper education and are often married off as young as 14 years old. Many of the children from the dump who are currently at GBH are not orphaned, but their parents cannot care for them or provide them with an education so GBH steps into this gap. Some of the parents are still involved in their children’s lives while they’re living at GBH and these children go back to visit their families during school breaks. In other cases, children are orphaned or have been abused to such an extent that it’s unsafe for them to return to their families at the dump. GBH believes in the family unit and works with families toward reunification whenever possible and when it’s in the best interests of the child.
Today, Grace Boarding House is home to 54 children and the first priority is their spiritual health. The children are taught to develop their relationships with God through church services, daily Bible studies and discipleship from the house leaders. Their physical health is also a priority, as most of these children were once living in trash, digging through it and having to eat it to survive. Because most of them come from the garbage dump, getting them into GBH has a huge impact on their physical health. At GBH, they’re also safe from those who have tried to abuse them and they have the opportunity to receive an education, form healthy relationships and just be kids. Shine Lin and Hine Pai visit the dump weekly, ministering to families and sharing the hope of Jesus. In addition to the 54 children at GBH, the couple has four biological children. Shine Lin is the Lead Pastor of Mae Sot Evangelical Church and along with overseeing Grace Boarding House, the couple works closely with community leaders and they are often called on to help with various social and educational issues in Mae Sot.
Grace Boarding House is home to 54 orphaned, abandoned, abused or neglected children who are now receiving love and care in a Christian environment.