Meet the people whose faithful labor, day in and day out, makes the wheels turn at the Akha Outreach Foundation.
Living a life of service for Christ
Our journey began in 1993
Dr. Aje and Nancy Kukaewkasem have been ministering in Chiang Rai for over 30 years. Nancy, a native of Colorado, USA, moved to Thailand in her mid-twenties to work with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) ministering to prostitutes in the South of Thailand. After just a few days, Nancy knew that she was not called to this work but desired to be a part of the prevention efforts. God answered her prayers and moved her to Chiang Rai, Northern Thailand, to minister at House of Grace, a home for girls at risk for entering prostitution. In addition, Nancy hosted YWAM teams who would travel to villages providing humanitarian services. It was on these trips to the villages that she met Aje, the first Akha in Thailand to have earned a Bachelor’s degree.
Everyday life is an adventure
Aje graduated from Mahidol University in Bangkok with a B.S. in Public Health and desired to improve the standard of living for his Akha people. So when Nancy offered to take YWAM work teams to dig latrines if he would come along to translate, he was happy to agree. Aje’s father had been the chief of the largest Akha village in Thailand and was a man of great foresight who agreed to send his young sons to school in the city when no one else in the village would dare. Aje ended up in a Christian hostel, where he met Dr. Paul Lewis and eventually accepted Christ at the age of fifteen. Dr. Lewis encouraged him to take pride in being Akha and to reach his people for the Lord. This message sank deep into Aje’s spirit and he was out translating and ministering in villages at the age of sixteen. Later, he miraculously received his citizenship just in time to attend Thai university. After he and Nancy were married, they traveled to the USA where he earned his A.A. in Pastoral Leadership from Rocky Mountain Bible Institute. Later, he also received a Master of Divinity from Bangkok Bible Institute. Then, in 2007, Aje graduated from the International Theological Seminary with a Doctorate of Ministry. It was a cause for great celebration among the Akha people as he was the first among the Akha to obtain a doctorate.
Depending on God
Caring for Children & Training Leaders
From 1993 until 2000, the Kukaewkasems directed House of Grace, a home for girls at risk in Chiang Rai, Thailand. During their seven years as directors, Aje and Nancy carefully nurtured the development of this home. Initially, it served a small group of 25 girls and grew to become the vibrant home for 100+ young women that it is today. In 2000, they successfully turned over the management of the House of Grace to its competent staff, many of whom grew into their leadership potential within the House of Grace. In addition to managing the home, Aje opened an Akha Bible school in Burma, began monthly training for Akha pastors, and translated and created material for the Akha churches, including “The Jesus Film
In November 2000, two American businessmen visited Thailand to learn more about Aje and Nancy’s vision of working with the Akha by building an orphanage and a Bible school on the same compound. During this visit, these men committed to purchasing five acres of land located six miles southwest of Chiang Rai in order to fulfill the dream. In January 2001, the land was purchased and several months later the Kukaewkasem traveled to the States to form their board of directors and file the paperwork to establish Akha Outreach Services (AOS) as a non-profit organization.
Looking to the future
Akha Outreach in 2022
The Lord has refined and polished us much over the years. We have been faithful to our mission statement to, “Glorify God by reaching all the Akha with the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit by raising up Akha Christian leaders for the generations to come.”
Currently, Aje and Nancy’s niece, Buti Yeasorkoo, is managing the Foundation. Buti came to live with Aje and Nancy when she was six years old and is like a daughter to them. Buti has caught the vision and expanded it as well. She has taken the foundation to a greater level of excellence. Aje and Nancy are still very much involved, but Buti manages the daily running of AOF.