FAMILY FUN: Nathan and Pam McDonald with children Ronan (5), Will (8) and Seth (3) and Matt and Julie Stokes with Sylvie (6) and Jackson (8). Photo Charlotte Lam
FAMILY FUN: Nathan and Pam McDonald with children Ronan (5), Will (8) and Seth (3) and Matt and Julie Stokes with Sylvie (6) and Jackson (8). Photo Charlotte Lam

Trip of a lifetime

TWO Whitsunday families have made the decision to bring their children along to an upcoming mission trip in Thailand.

Matt and Julie Stokes along with Nathan and Pam McDonald will travel to work at orphanages in the Phrae and Phetchabun provinces this December.

The families, who became good friends at bible study, will work through Mercy International Organisation, which operates several orphanages and schools in Thailand.

"They have been rescuing children in crisis since 1985 and have changed the lives of thousands of Thai children, taking them off the streets and giving them an education and hope," Mr Stokes said.

The orphanages mainly house children that have been infected with HIV from their parents.

Mr McDonald said the parents wanted to expose their children to just how blessed they were to live in this country.

"It will give them an understanding of what is important in life - giving is better than receiving and we can't wait for them to experience that firsthand," he said.

Together they hope to raise awareness of the less fortunate and to encourage other families to volunteer too.

"Our children are old enough and they want to help just as much as we do," Mr Stokes said. And of course it is not a trip to Thailand without visiting the elephants, which the families are eager to do on their days off.

While the trip is self funded, the families hosted a Sweet Tooth Night at the VMR on Friday night and were overwhelmed with the support.


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