The Next Step Ministry House

Helping young adults from the Hill Tribes of Northern Thailand in a safe and inspiring Christian environment.

  • Our NEW student, Kaow!
    We welcome Kaow (Wanchai) to The Next Step ministry house. He is 20 years old, from the Hmong tribe, and his big news is that he just graduated from Payap Technology College where he studied computers! (I will be putting some of his graduation photos here soon.) I am excited that he is from the Hmong tribe because I worked with Hmong kids for several years in Mae Chaem area, three hours west of Chiang Mai. He is not from that area, but we plan to go visit the Hmong villages… hopefully next week! (We went and had a great trip, Kaow was awesome in interpreting! Update coming soon.) Kaow comes from a family with seven children and he is the second youngest. His parents can’t afford to help him, but an older brother gives him about $30 per month. Kaow’s goal and hope is to attend a University to continue his education. He may have to stay out of school and work for a year, or… maybe WE can raise some money to help him go to University this August?!! It is surprisingly cheap. Let me know if you feel led to help!  

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  • Needs list, not in budget:
    ASSORTED NEEDS here… if one touches your heart, please let me know! Good news, the truck repair was less than I thought and we paid in full, yaaa! NEWS FLASH:  Kaow is hoping to go to UNIVERSITY in June, after recently completing a two-year degree (see photos). BUT… we need to know soon if some people can SPONSOR HIM… this is not in our Next Step budget!!! We just need $400 to get him going, can you give $100, $200, $400? LET ME KNOW this week to pledge to this! Neither Petro nor Kaow have a motorbike to get around so I just bought a used scooter for $375. Still need a sponsor for that. My truck INSURANCE is coming due soon: $300 for the year. I also need to get a full physical exam (I turned 60, yikes!), including assorted blood tests, also about $300. (Are you noticing things are cheaper here?! So thankful for that… but it’s still money that needs to come in.) Another expense I will have in July is to return to USA for 2-3 months. Missionaries usually go on “Furlough” every 5-7 years, to get a break from the foreign country and to solidify contacts at home. (I’ve been here eight years.) I don’t want to take six months like many do, but I am thinking of taking up to three months instead of my usual 4-5 weeks. The main expense is buying the Airplane Ticket and that will be about $1350, RT. (Expenses at home aren’t too bad because my family and friends treat me soooo nice during my visits, thanks again to all of you!) I need to buy a better camera for Still Photography. (My current model is great for video, so-so for stills.) My research points me to another Panasonic, this one is meant for crisp still photos, the brand new Lumix G9. The body is $1650 and a Leica zoom lens for it is $950… ouch! But it would be a ‘best camera’ for me to do what I do. And I would then have two Panasonic cameras with similar controls, buttons, and menus.  [This is a big-expense item… please join me in prayer that SOMEHOW I could get this camera. I need one that is better in low light and has sharper images. THANK YOU for any folks who can give monthly to support our Next Step ministry house or sponsor special requests and surprise needs not in our budget! Please pray about these items and if the Lord points one out to help with — even if it’s not the full amount — please follow that lead and let me know. DONATION INFO AT BOTTOM, or email me at, THANK YOU!  

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  • Visit Thailand
  • Chiang Mai Ambassador and the Best Resources in Chiang Mai and Getting Connected

    Chiang Mai Ambassador

    Here are some useful resources from the Chiang Mai Ambassador   The Best Chiang Mai Resources   Basic Living in Chiang Mai Activities   Best Buffets in Chiang Mai    
  • Gorn finished year one at Payap!

    The Next Step Asia The Next Step Ministry House GornGorn

    Gorn, 18, is Night’s cousin… [Night is now working in Korea, please pray for him!) so he is also of the Lahu tribe. He recently finished his first year of the “Mechanics” program at the technical-school branch of Payap University, a Christian based school here in Chiang Mai. Gorn is an enthusiastic young man and loves football/soccer. He is also a hard worker. He worked a lot last summer holiday and was able to buy a nifty new motorbike, a ‘retro-classic’ called The Legend. It is 150cc and is perfect for getting around Chiang Mai. (When driving around town here, I’d say there are equal amounts of motorbikes and cars/trucks!) Another trait Gorn has is that he loves to shoot baskets on our hoop. But his ‘two-handed’ form is so funny!  I’m trying to teach him proper form, but it’s a challenge. Meanwhile, we’ll keep laughing and having fun. Currently it is summer holiday again and Gorn has been working with his parents weeding around coffee plants (farm work.) Last week was a water festival holiday called “Songkran” so there was no working. Now he is headed back to work in the fields and with the coffee crop. School will start again on May 23rd.

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  • Petro registered for Tech College!
    Petro has been with us since October 2017. He was in a Lahu dorm that was so poorly run it was shut down by the social welfare department. A teacher at his school (New Zealand friend of mine from church) knew about The Next Step house and now… he lives here! Petro’s mother died when he was a toddler and his father re-married and moved to the mountains of Burma/Myanmar. So Petro has been in children’s homes for quite a few years. He has an older sister (much older, 36) who lives in the same village that Sorn is from… but the families did not know each other.   Petro had a phone (they all do!), but it got smashed on the road, so we helped him buy a nice (mid-level) new one. During summer break he’s been working hard on a house construction project in our neighborhood and finished paying back the portion that he had borrowed in just two weeks; impressive! Petro will go to the Payap Technical College in May and study electronics. [Note: We just got him registered the other day and he picked up his uniforms and books!]    

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  • Ministry House Overview
    The Next Step house is my house (Bob Bowling, now living in Chiang Mai) opened up for Young Adult tribal people to have a Christian home-like environment in which to live. Their normal choices are either to 1) remain at the high school dormitory program – often with grade school kids running around, too –  located out in the suburbs, far from University or work places, or 2) Live in small apartments in cheap areas of town known for partying, drugs, recreational sex… certainly not a ‘wholesome Christian environment.’ We have previously had up to six people here, and there are three right now:  Gorn, Petro, and Kaow (see Bio’s on other pages.) Wit is on our team, but doing a ‘year abroad’ at a university in China and will be back in July. Our property is on one “Rai” of land, which is about a half acre. We have a four-bedroom house with a huge living room, wonderful front porch area and nice kitchen. We are also blessed to have a ‘cottage’ house that has two bedrooms (one is very large), each with it’s own bathroom. Right now the cottage is vacant and we are praying for who might live there next! Our rent is right at $600 a month for this (but we’ve put a lot of work into improving the place), and our internet and electric bills are very manageable, too. We thank God for this fantastic property and house to live in! And THANK YOU for donors who help our living and educational expenses!  

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  • Visitors, Fellowship, and Activities
    We’ve had lots of regular visitors at The Next Step ministry house the last two years. We love having ‘drop-ins’ for BBQ cookouts, soccer-watching, movies, or just eating dinner and talking. Both of Night’s older sisters, Fai and Sai come to visit and for now we let Fai have a room out in the cottage building where she stays on some weekends. Sai recently completed a YWAM “DTS” program and is now on staff with YWAM! (Other family members of the guys often turn up suddenly and are always welcome.) Both Gorn and Night spent their high school years at a big Christian dorm called House of Blessing. Some of their buddies still live out there and have enjoyed visiting us for a less institutional hang-out… a warm and friendly HOME! The idea is to not only be a residence and home for these young adults, but to also truly be a ‘ministry house’ where friends are always welcome. We try to have a Bible study, worship, and prayer every week.  We have a ‘dry-erase’ board with categories for PRAYER:  1) Our Next Step team, 2) Our Thailand friends and family, and 3) USA sponsors and prayer-partners who ask for prayer. Let us know how we can pray for YOU! Our house is located just off the major highway that connects Chiang Mai to northern Thailand. And it runs straight into the heart of the city about 10km, 6 miles away. Our lease just went up a bit, but we renewed for another year because we love the house, the 1/2 acre property, and the great location…. thankful to the Lord for putting us here!  

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  • Visit Bob
    THAILAND is always a top ten best tourist country in the world! And certainly when you factor in cost, you get more days or weeks for your money than many other places like Hawaii, the Caribbean, Japan, or anywhere in Europe. Most people who visit Thailand will go to 1) The turquoise islands and beaches of the south, 2) Bustling Bangkok with the Royal Palace, floating market, and amazing restaurants, and 3) Chiang Mai in the north country, with our cooler climate, scenic mountains, elephant parks, and fascinating hilltribe villages. Chiang Mai area is often called the “Colorado Springs of Asia” due to the 250+ mission groups based here. (Also called the “Silicon Valley of mission groups.”)  If you visit me I can show you around to a number of other mission groups to get a good overview of what is happening in northern Thailand for Christian schools, children’s homes, Bible Colleges, and outreach efforts. A trip here can be a ‘bucket list” adventure in seeing both “Amazing Thailand” as a tourist, and also what is happening in the missions community, either as a first-time observer, or on a Short Term Mission project. It is VERY safe here and the food is wonderful and healthy, not a worry. Round-trip airfare runs about $1100 to $1500 (Int’l seating is a bit larger and a full media center will be in the seatback in front of you!) Local expenses are very reasonable:  Guesthouse (quaint, garden plants, atmosphere) is $20-30 a night per room (not per person), and a nicer hotel or resort would be $40-60.  Meals are just $2 for lunch, and $5-10 for dinner! Also, my house has one A/C room with king-size bed and private bath where you can stay for FREE! Just do a Google search on Chiang Mai, Bangkok, and/or Beaches of Thailand, and you will get plenty of info.  NOTE:  Do NOT plan a visit for March or April, it is hot and smokey in the north. May, June, or July are good. (Aug.-Sept. I am likely to be in USA.) October 15th to Feb 1st is best: cool season and no rain! Also lots of festivities in the city and the mountain villages. Let me know if you are thinking about a trip here, I can help you even more!  

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  • Tax Deductible Donations

    501(c)(3) tax-deductible donations can be sent to the wonderful CMI folks in Florida.

    Payable to:  “CMI”

    Christian Ministries Inc.

    ℅ J. Nixon Daniel, III

    Beggs & Lane, RLLP

    501 Commendencia Street

    Pensacola, FL 32502


    Please note on separate paper it is for Robert Bowling or DigitalMission.

    THANK YOU so much!  If you don’t care about the tax write-off you can

    1. Use the Pal-Pal link on this site.
    2.  Mail a check to:  “DigitalMission”, 14955 SW Hickory Lane, Beaverton, OR 97007
  • Sorn is doing freelance video
    The Next Step Asia The Next Step Ministry House Sorn Sorn, 25, (Lahu tribe) is our oldest and longest-time resident and has recently moved out. He was at my house for over four years, all through his education at North Chiang Mai University. He has just finished his Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Technology. In November he had a wonderful graduation ceremony (see photos.) Sorn is in a music band as lead singer, writes songs, and has leaned to do video work, too. He is currently going “Freelance” video work for a music studio and has also done some projects for a Lahu Bible school. The Big News lately is:  Sorn has gotten married (to a Christian Akha girl, Meeu) and…. they have both gone off to work in Korea! They just left last week and are now at a strawberry farm. Like Night and his brother Ley, they go to make 4x the money they could make in Thailand. Please pray for Sorn, Meeu, Night, and Ley!    

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  • Wit is studying in China!

    The Next Step Asia The Next Step Ministry House WitWit (Surasak)

    Wit is 22 years old, his ethnicity is from the Akha tribe. He has completed two years at Rajabhat University in a program for studying Business and Chinese language. (He also takes English courses!) He speaks Thai and Akha fluently and is pretty good in Chinese and English, too. For his third year of university, Wit is STUDYING ABROAD IN CHINA! He is in ChengDu, which is 1400km (900 miles) north of Chiang Mai (See map in photo gallery.) He is having a great year there and was able to come back and visit us (and Seed of Hope) for the Winter Break in February. Wit’s father, Lopa, is a good friend of mine. We use to work together at Frontier Labourers for Christ, a Christian mission group based in Doi Saket, on the outskirts of Chiang Mai. I have known Lopa for 12 years, even before I moved to Thailand! Lopa does wonderful work as manager of the Seed of Hope children’s home in Phrao, 1 ½ hours north of Chiang Mai. Wit goes out to help him when he can. When teams come to visit, Wit is very helpful in driving a vehicle and translating English, Thai, and Akha. Wit is AMAZING!  

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