“I felt very lonely. I felt like a soccer ball – kicked around, back and forth between my family.”
You wouldn’t be able to guess Min’s family history by looking at her. She has an open face – gentle eyes, easy smile – and seems unhardened by the world.
Her mother left her father when Min was young, and he remarried, but Min’s stepmother left them as well, taking Min’s half-sister with her. Min’s father didn’t know what to do with Min; he brought her to the clubs and bars he frequented or simply left her at home by herself. When he was jailed for a few years, Min was sent to live with her mother. All of the women relatives on her mother’s side worked in clubs and bars – by this time, Min was used to being around alcohol.
After several years, she ran away from her mother’s after an argument, going back to her father, who had been released from prison by this point. But she didn’t get along with her new stepmother, so she left again, this time going to her grandfather’s. There, she began to attend activities put on by a local Christian organization.
“I felt accepted by Christians, I felt warmth,” she said. Min accepted Jesus as her Savior. “I loved being a Christian.”
Her grandfather didn’t – he criticized her for her faith. Min, who had a strained relationship with her aunt who lived nearby as well, left again. This aunt was physically abusive at times – and this was not Min’s first relative who had been so.
“I felt alone, like there was no one to take my side or take care of me,” Min said. “I was very closed off from people but always pretended I was okay.
“I worked very hard to be popular, to be liked, and to have a lot of friends,” she said. “I was always joking and acting very happy around others, but I felt really sad inside.”
She went to live with her great uncle, and began dating a young man who was a Christian and attending church with him and his family. When his parents found out the two were dating, they were displeased with the relationship and withdrew from Min.
“I was really brokenhearted at being pushed away,” Min said.
Shortly after that time, Min was introduced to Radical Grace's Pi Ann and Pi Daeng by one of her relatives. They got to know her better, eventually inviting her to come to church with them. They counseled and mentored Min’s growing relationship with God, and she became involved in worship and children’s ministry at the church. Min had a heart to care for her friends as well; many of her friends came to her for advice with their problems, and so Pi Ann and Pi Daeng helped her figure out how to best respond to her friends and their needs for help by speaking into issues such as sex and drug use.
That was three years ago. Now, Min has joined the Radical Grace team as an intern.
“We know she has a good heart and good dreams, but we also know it might not be easy for her to do it on her own,” said Pi Ann, explaining how Min joined the Radical Grace team. “We wanted to help her and give her this opportunity and let her decide for herself if she likes it.”
“I like it,” Min said, smiling. “What I love the most is the time I get with Pi Ann and Pi Daeng, and their mentorship everyday. I’m learning how to think critically, to process my feelings and thoughts, and grow as a person.”
After years of going from place to place, hoping to find somewhere she could feel she was safe and accepted, Min knows now that she is loved and accepted, not only by her church family and the Radical Grace team, but most of all – God.