Found: The Perfect Van

As you might remember, our beloved school bus was busted and it desperately needed to be replaced. Many of our amazing supporters showed up last year on Giving Tuesday and raised over $21k for a new one.


We literally ran our old van into the ground and by summer, it was completely out of steam. Our office admin, Naree, began researching options and ultimately found 2 vans in Bangkok that seemed to fit our need at a good price. The dealership agreed to hold both so our team could check them out in person.

Before the trip, Daniel, our Asia director, said that he felt like God was going to provide an even better deal than these 2 options. While we all knew God would direct us, we didn’t know exactly what that would look like.

A good friend of GCA named Nigel is an expert on vehicles so we were extremely grateful that he volunteered to come with us to make sure we made a wise investment. Kristine Smith, our finance manager in Thailand, joined Naree and Nigel and the mission began.

Upon arrival in Bangkok, there were 3 vans available. All were decent, but they each had over 112,000 miles. Nigel suggested we talk about it over lunch and maybe compare prices with other places. Of course we didn’t know of any other dealerships in the area, so we asked some local experts, otherwise known as taxi drivers. While the first two dealerships we were taken to didn’t have what we needed, they directed us to a 3rd dealership.

Upon arriving at SK Auto Van, we quickly realized this one was a gold mine! We quickly found the type of van we were looking for and many had much lower mileage than previously seen. We continued to look around the lot with the salesman until finally we came to a van that looked nearly brand new. It had all the right specs and the mileage was less than half of the mileage of the vans we had come to Bangkok to see.

To be honest, we were skeptical. At least Kris was ~ it just seemed too good to be true.

Kristine, Nigel, and Naree ready to drive our new van off the lot!

Kristine, Nigel, and Naree ready to drive our new van off the lot!

Kris was told that often the mileage is changed to get more money for the vehicle. Nigel got down on the ground to look under the van and was so impressed that he asked Kris to lay down on the concrete so she could see ~ there was no rust, anywhere! We continued our inspection and it all checked out. After a successful test drive the next morning, we bought the title and by noon, we were on our way back to Mae Sot with our new van covered by 1st class insurance!

For those of you who are into the details, you can see that God did provide us with a much better deal:

  • 2014 Hiace Toyota 3.0 GL

  • 39,568 miles

  • $21,385

  • Interior is like new

  • New seat covers on driver’s and passenger seat

  • Air-conditioning

  • Power windows and locks

  • Rust-free exterior

  • Clean engine

  • Previously owned by a small company - used solely for transporting staff

Somchai Van.JPG

Everyone at GCA loves the new van, especially Som Chai and the ECDC staff, April and Poe Kwar, because it has air-conditioning!

We are committed to using donations as wisely as possible. Prayer plays a big role. Thank you to everyone who helped meet this need through finances and prayer.

Our whole team is extremely grateful!

“Thank you very much. I am very happy and feel relaxed in here.” - 6 year old passenger

Ashlee Heiligman