Not far from some of the highest peaks on earth, Soyon (Chun, ’05) Thompson works with people in the deepest of need.
Together with her husband, John, and their two young children, Thompson serves with The Footstool Project, a Christian organization that seeks to fight human trafficking and share the gospel with unreached people groups in and around the Himalayas. Each week, the psychology graduate leads an art class for abuse victims in Kathmandu, using it as a means to discuss and address their emotional and spiritual needs. She and John also help to coordinate prayer efforts for Nepal’s exploited women and children, as well as for the government and church.
Meanwhile, John’s work involves teaching Nepali students about the Bible, church planting and farming techniques. He also educates short-term teams about human trafficking and trains interns about reaching the unreached world — sometimes joining treks to remote areas of the Himalayas where villagers have never heard the gospel.
Soyon Thompson recently shared their story with Biola Magazine.
I was born in Korea and moved to Nigeria with my younger brother and missionary parents when I was 7. We were also in England and Wales for a couple years during furloughs and for my parents’ language learning.
God gave me a heart for unreached people groups when I was at Biola. I was part of the Student Missionary Union for a couple years and learned so much about missions through it.
My psychology classes were definitely some of my favorite classes at Biola. I especially loved getting to integrate theology with psychology.
After graduating from Biola and working in Fullerton for a year afterwards, I returned to Korea to teach English while trying to figure out my next step in life. That’s when I found a great international community of believers in Suwon, Korea. At that time, our church was taking a team to Nepal for 10 days.
Nepal reminded me so much of Nigeria, where I grew up. There was an instant connection and I felt very much alive. But more significantly, it was the children at the children’s home that I met that drew me to this country.
I remember praying that if God wanted me back in Nepal, he would have to make it so clear to me. Well, I ended up meeting my husband on that trip. He was also from our church but I didn’t really talk to him until our flight back to Korea. He had been praying about returning to Nepal as well.
A year later we were married. And a year after we got married, we did an internship with our current organization. And a year later, we had a baby and moved to Nepal.
We live in the city of Kathmandu, probably one of the most fascinating, colorful and dirtiest cities in the world. We see piles of rotting trash everywhere, and the dust and fumes from the roads and vehicles make living in this city a challenge at times. We drive around on a scooter everywhere — all four of us.
There are idols at every corner and Hindu or Buddhist festivals that happen every month, and we can sense the spiritual battle. One of the most rewarding aspects of living here is that we are challenged to constantly find our centeredness in our walk with Christ.
Our main focus is on anti-trafficking work. We are part of a network of about 40 Christian organizations that work together to end trafficking in Nepal. The network was founded on prayer and continues to hold prayer as our main strategy for fighting this issue.
We have many stories of miracles that have happened as a direct and obvious answer to prayer. A request will be shared at the prayer meeting and then that same day or a couple days later, or a couple years later, there will be some miracle that happened where justice was administered or a girl was rescued.
I facilitate a weekly art group for survivors of trafficking and/or sexual exploitation and other abuses. It is a time to learn basic art skills and also to talk about various topics ranging from identity, marriage, forgiveness, trust, beauty, emotions, God and so much more through the tool of visual arts.
We hear and tell many horrendous and sad stories of girls who have been trafficked. It weighs heavily on our hearts. But again, the challenges lead us to prayer and total reliance on God for the work we’re doing. And being in that place of total dependence is the best place to be.
As a Christian, I believe my purpose on earth is to bring the gospel to the ends of the earth so that God will be glorified in all the nations. That is why we are here.