Compassion remembers Thai cave rescue; hope surrounds sponsored child

By July 10, 2019

Thailand (MNN) — A year ago, the world cheered as four members of the Wild Boar youth soccer team and their coach emerged from a Thai cave. Ever-rising flood waters held them captive for 17 days.

After being trapped in a cave for more than two weeks, the daylight must’ve been blinding to Adun – a then-14-year old enrolled in Compassion International’s sponsorship program. Things look even brighter today.

“Considering the situation that he was put in, he’s doing incredibly well. He has traveled to the United States; he’s appeared on television shows… he even ran for student council president at his school,” Compassion’s Tim Glenn states.

“Most importantly, his faith has grown since he endured this ordeal, and he’s learned a lot about patience and about hope. He’s using this as an opportunity to teach others about patience and hope.”

Learn how you can sponsor a child through Compassion International.

Adun’s living nightmare: stuck inside a Thai cave

After soccer practice on June 23, 2018, the Wild Boars team and their assistant coach headed out to explore nearby caves for an hour or so before going their separate ways for dinner. More about that fateful day here. Unfortunately, plans went awry. Adun, his teammates, and their coach soon became stuck deep within Tham Luang – the fourth-biggest Thai cave system.


A mother of one of the trapped boys prays for their safe return.
(Photo, caption courtesy of Compassion International)

“We found out through our Compassion staff in Thailand who are connected with the local church… they let us know here in the United States almost immediately… so we could get the word out to our sponsors and to our staff [and] start praying,” Glenn recalls.

As described on Compassion’s blog, Adun avoids revisiting the memories surrounding his “living nightmare” when possible. However, news outlets around the world covered each detail.

Parents reported the missing boys straight away on June 23. Thai officials launched full-scale search and rescue efforts in the underground labyrinth known as Tham Luang, and international support came five days later. On July 2, a pair of British divers found the team huddled on a ledge, and plans began for their extraction.

See a detailed timeline of events on Compassion’s blog.

Today, Adun doesn’t focus on what he’s endured. Instead, he’s excited about what lies ahead.

Life after near-death

As recorded on Compassion’s blog, Adun recently received a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity:

Adun received a full scholarship to a college preparatory boarding school in New York. Adun was chosen because of his good character and work ethic. With the support of the Thai government, he has completed the applications required for studying abroad, and is continuing to learn English to be able to transfer to the school in New York as soon as he can.


15-year old Adun has a bright future.
(Photo courtesy of Compassion International)

A story like this proves kids are more resilient than some might expect. However, “these kinds of ordeals still have a way of cropping up later – emotionally, mentally, psychologically,” Glenn observes. “So, I would ask that you continue to pray for his (Adun’s) healing.”

Pray also for Adun’s parents as they prepare to send their oldest child to school on the other side of the world. Additionally, pray for the family of Thai Navy Seal diver Saman Gunan; Gunan died after delivering oxygen to the trapped soccer team. Ask the Lord to comfort Gunan’s family members, and pray they will learn about the Savior who died for them.

Finally, “continue to pray for Compassion’s program in Thailand as we learn to serve children like Adun and… those church partners on the ground as they minister to children throughout their country,” Glenn requests.

Compassion’s Thailand child development centers serve more than 36,400 children. You can support that work here.



Header and story images courtesy of Compassion International.

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