KaThe was born in the mountains of Vietnam, the youngest of 10 children and the only girl in her tribal family. When KaThe was a baby, her father died and her mother supported the family by picking coffee beans and tea leaves. KaThe’s older siblings joined their mother in the fields as soon as they were able, and there was no one at home to take care of KaThe.
In 2001, when KaThe was almost 3 years old, she became one of Homes of Love’s first children. From the beginning, KaThe was stubborn, strong-willed, fearless, and a true tomboy. She was also a good student, winning regional academic awards in her early years at school. KaThe worked hard, but it was clear she would need God’s help to channel her strong spirit in the right direction.
A Knoxville couple, Jeff and Nanci Allen, came alongside KaThe to support her education. The Allens and their children loved KaThe’s strong spirit and personality. They faithfully supported her financially, encouraged her through their letters, and prayed for the Lord to guide her.
As KaThe approached high school, she began to argue frequently with her HOL mother. She started skipping school, and her grades declined dramatically. Under mounting pressure from her biological brothers to return home and help pick coffee to support the family, 14-year-old KaThe left Homes of Love in 2010 to return to her mountain village.
The Allens were heartbroken to see KaThe abandon her education and leave Homes of Love. Even though they could no longer financially support KaThe, her photo remained on their refrigerator, and they continued to faithfully pray for her.
Homes of Love staff stayed in touch with KaThe in the years that followed. It was apparent that her decision to leave had made her life difficult. In the spring of 2014, Debbie Chesney was visiting Vietnam, and KaThe traveled six hours via bus on rough roads to talk with Debbie.
KaThe shared with Debbie that two years after leaving Homes of Love, she had decided she wanted to return to school. She had pleaded with a local school official to allow her into high school. Her persistence and stubbornness paid off, and KaThe was one of the top students in her graduating class.
KaThe then shared with Debbie her dream of going to college and becoming a pharmacist. God had changed KaThe’s heart, and with great joy, Homes of Love welcomed her back. The Allens, who still had KaThe’s photo in their kitchen, were overjoyed at her return and agreed to help sponsor her college education. A recent letter from the Allens to KaThe reads:
We are all so happy to be back in your life. We love seeing your pictures
on Facebook. You have grown into a beautiful young lady! We are very proud of your
accomplishments and all of your work it has taken to get there!
KaThe is the first child in her family to receive any education at all. She now has the opportunity to improve the economic future for her family, and her brothers are very proud of their little sister. KaThe acknowledges that she needed to endure hard times in order to appreciate what she had and to realize her dependence on God.
KaThe’s move to an urban school in Ho Chi Minh City has been difficult. She needs continued prayers and encouragement as she pursues her dream to be a pharmacist. But the faithful support of Homes of Love and one American family are making the difference in the life of this young lady.