Narrative History of the Family Connection Foundation
The Family Connection Foundation (FCF) was formed as the outreach arm of Chiangmai Christian Fellowship (CCF) church in June, 2006, as a registered Foundation under Thailand’s Social Welfare Department. The vision of CCF and its leadership was that they needed to be active and intentional about showing God’s love in measurable and tangible ways to the people of Thailand. Establishing FCF gave CCF the legal mechanism to do the kinds of social outreach projects they felt would be beneficial to Thai people.
FCF’s Formal Charter Objectives are:
- To support and encourage strong and healthy families that are caring, loving, and nurturing.
- To work in cooperation with Government agencies and private organizations to prevent and alleviate all types of social problems in Thai society.
- To create institutions and training opportunities for the advancement of ethics, religion, and morality in order to develop good leaders.
- To assist children, youth, and teenagers by supporting education, sports, art, music, literature, and other educational opportunities.
- To establish counseling centers in order to offer counsel and advice in dealing with social problems. For example - family problems, relationship issues, drug and alcohol addictions, etc.
- To be a benefit to Thai society through active partnership and cooperation with other foundations and entities.
- To work exclusively on social issues with absolutely no involvement in politics or through political action.
FCF began by reaching out to very poor inner-city communities in Chiang Mai, by coming along-side poor families and providing educational opportunities for poor children. In 2006, we also started a small group home for orphaned children. In 2007, we added a project led by a Thai national named Joshua who was part of the Lahu tribe. This project expanded our scope of activity to many villages all over Northern Thailand and even into Myanmar and China. Joshua had a great vision to help his tribal group, but he needed help to see his vision fully realized. FCF was able to help him greatly expand his work and effectiveness.
It quickly became clear that there were many smaller ministry projects and individuals with great vision who were lacking the resources to run and maintain a legally registered foundation, which is required to do volunteer work in Thailand. Missionaries often come to Thailand with a clear vision and passion to serve in very specific ways, but the legal, administrative, and paperwork requirements become a huge obstacle. They often lack the knowledge, administrative skill, and Thai language ability to navigate the arduous process which is costly and time consuming.
It was evident that FCF could serve a crucial role in helping these individuals and ministries carry out their vision for ministry, by providing the administrative and legal capacity for them to be here, so that they could focus on the ministry they felt called to do. FCF is currently helping over 100 foreign volunteers and over 75 Thai staff, who are serving in 16 different ministry projects and in 3 different provinces. This expansion was well beyond the original vision of the foundation, but FCF has adapted and is working to accommodate the growing interest of partnership and project development.
In 2014, FCF processed over 75 work permits and more than 250 visas (one for every family member). The visa team is estimated to having spent more than 1,000 hours at various government offices in 2014.
The Media team has created dozens of videos, prayer cards, stories, newsletters, and branding. The Finance team processed over 7,000 transactions, and the Admin team processed more than 50 new volunteer applications, and spent over 100 hours consulting with other foundations, building partnerships and sharing our experiences.
FCF now has seven Children’s Homes – all small group homes providing a loving family environment for children in need. In 2013 FCF was recognized by the Thai Government as one of only seven approved Anti-human Trafficking foundations in Chiang Mai province.
The Lahu Bible course has served well over 2,000 people and is actively training leaders. The Education Matters scholarship program now sponsors over 60 children – keeping kids in school who would otherwise be forced to quit school sometimes as young as seven years old. We have four urban outreach programs in different parts of Chiang Mai city, and three rural outreach and agricultural training programs scattered around Thailand.
FCF has been able to expand by opening branch offices in the Kalasin and Ubon Ratchathani provinces.
While the numbers are never our goal, they demonstrate the growth and impact FCF is having on our community. We are both humbled and inspired by what these numbers represent and want to share the amazing work God is doing through this foundation and through all the of the people who volunteer and partner with us.