Two girls creep into the kitchen at night in Thailand, looking for food to stockpile in their room. They never had enough to eat in their old home. Dad dealt drugs and was addicted to alcohol. Mom was the third of his four wives. The girls were used to scavenging for food wherever they could find it, a habit that is hard to break now even though they’re safe and warm with loving parents.
A 13-year-old boy cries out to God at the altar at Church of God youth camp in Kentucky. He feels a call to ministry. Although he isn’t sure what form that might take, he is surrendered to the call. Throughout his life, all the way through college, he will remain committed. One day it will become clear that God has chosen him for overseas missions, and he will jump headfirst into the life of a missionary.
His first missions trips were to Africa, but it was during a visit to Southeast Asia that he realized he was home. Some young girls asked him for money during breakfast in Cambodia. He bought them food instead, connecting with them through universally popular cell phone games. He wanted to intervene when their mother appeared and berated them, but the owner of the facility demanded she and the children leave.
“The owner ended up telling me that these girls were getting ready to be sold into prostitution by their mother. They were eight years old. It was like a thousand knives went into my heart,” Jon said.
While in Thailand on that same trip, he had a vision of God’s heart for the children of Southeast Asia and he was certain God was calling him there. Two months after returning to the U.S., Jon sold his clothes, his car, and everything else and was on a plane back to Thailand to begin full-time ministry.
Now, a year after arriving in his new country, Jon and his wife, Gey, run Promised Land Ministries. Their goal is to rescue children who are at risk of being given up to sex trafficking.
So far they have five girls in their care, including the two sisters who stockpiled food for fear of going hungry.
The girls live in the Loudermilks’ home. They are enrolled in school and learning English, and enjoying treats they would never have otherwise had, like celebrating Christmas and feasting on KFC at the local mall. They do chores and make jewelry, learning through it all how to take care of themselves. Most importantly, they are hearing about Jesus and the future they have in Him.
“One thing we want to do with our ministry is to equip them for their promised land,” Jon said. “We don’t want them to say, ‘This is all I’m going to experience.’ We want to tell them, ‘All things are possible through Christ. You can become a teacher, doctor, a flight attendant – whatever you want.’ We want to prepare them for their future.”
Jon and Gey see a nation in need and dream of the day that they can care for more children. Right now the Thai government will only allow five children per home, unless the household owns a large amount of land. Unfortunately, the price of land increases regularly, and sits now around $10,000 per acre.
Complicating matters is that due to his immigrant status, Jon must have $15,000 untouched in his bank account at all times. He works two jobs, in addition to his missionary duties, to provide for his family and their growing ministry.
“Balancing it all does get trying at times, but I pray that God will pour out His strength and His peace. He does that every time. God told me what to do and I’m just following Him, trying to listen to Him day by day,” he said.
Support from individuals and churches in the United States makes all the difference for the Loudermilks.
“In order to change a nation, a generation must be raised up,” Jon said. “In order for things to change we have to start with the children.”
To partner with Jon and Gey in their ministry to highly at-risk and desperate children in Thailand, please visit the project link below.