The Bricks that Bind Us: Shook Construction Shares Impact of Employee Mission Trip to Thailand

As part of their global mission trip program, Shook Construction sent 10 employees to Wiang Pa Pao, Thailand, in February 2024 – including two team members from Raleigh – to help build a new girls’ home that would house 12 children who have been rescued from trafficking, abuse, and more. The project had an immense and immediate impact on the local mission. Shook recently released a documentary about the trip, The Bricks that Bind Us, in the hope of inspiring others to support the communities most in need.

“From the staff to the children, GROW proved to all of us that despite coming from dark origins, there are so many opportunities to give and receive immense amounts of love,” said William Bolton, a Raleigh resident and project engineer for Shook Construction. “I didn’t fully understand a person’s capacity for joy until I witnessed the children’s excitement and gratitude when receiving gifts and spending time with the mission crew.”

Shook began offering mission trips in 2019 to further its Mission, To Dramatically Improve the Communities We Serve. These mission trips send a group of employees to a part of the globe where people truly lack the basic infrastructure that they can help provide, such as clean water, healthcare, and education. In 2019, Shook sent a team to Timusi, Bolivia, to improve their water supply system and provide safe drinking water to the remote mountain village. In 2022, they sent a team to Mucombeze, Mozambique, to build new, on-campus teacher dormitories for a remote school. Most recently, Shook traveled to its third continent to further its Mission. Not only do these mission trips assist a struggling community, but they also instill a global perspective in their employees.

Shook partnered with Grace Refuge Outreach Worldwide (GROW), an Ohio-based non-profit organization based in Wooster, Ohio. GROW owns and operates a mission located in northern Thailand in the Wiang Pa Pao district of Chiang Rai. The organization’s mission is to rescue at-risk children, restore their broken lives, and equip them to impact their families and communities.

GROW believes that the best way to stop child trafficking is prevention; therefore, they work in the communities that are most at risk. The children GROW rescues from abusive situations – which often lead to child slavery or sex trafficking – do not qualify for other children’s homes. Their staff works to research, identify, and provide the legal paperwork to bring a suffering child under the protection of their organization. When the children first come to GROW’s campus, they have not had their basic needs met. Lack of shelter, food, clean water, and medical care put children at risk of being sold into trafficking. It also makes ill the body, mind, soul, and spirit of a child. GROW works to heal the whole child by nurturing them inside the love of a family. GROW’s staff provides for their physical needs with healthy food grown on campus, clean clothes, a real bed, quality medical care, physical exercise, clean water, and more. They teach them how to protect themselves. They also pay for the children’s education.

Though GROW recently expanded and is currently home to 28 children, they again were at full capacity and in need of an additional girls’ home to be able to take in more children. Shook associates and a local Thai contractor worked hand-in-hand on masonry, drainage, and more to construct the new home, which will house 12 children. With language barriers, sweltering heat, and differences in building materials, the team was able to complete the masonry on 23 wall sections during their stay on GROW’s campus. Additionally, Shook performed a variety of tasks for GROW during their visit, including installing a sewer line off the campus kitchen, repairing the campus’ water filtration system, building bunk beds for the health clinic, and creating access to the river, finishing more than they set out to accomplish.

This project had an immense impact on the GROW mission and the children. GROW’s new home will allow 12 more children to be rescued and be given a chance to succeed upon completion in June 2024. It also provided joy and hope to the 28 children and staff on GROW’s campus who had the opportunity to form relationships with the team during their time there. Similarly, the trip had a deep impact on the Shook team, who came home reenergized and with a new perspective on life. Numerous teammates have sent cards and small gifts to the children since coming home; a few have even booked their flights back to visit.

Upon return, Shook Construction partnered with the film crew ManaVision, Inc., to share their experience and inspire others to support the communities most in need. They recently released the documentary, The Bricks That Bind Us, to share a glimpse of both the joy and obstacles their team faced in Thailand and the incredible impact this experience had on their lives. The documentary is available on the firm’s website and YouTube channels. Shook invites others to follow their journey across the world to share what they discovered: that in giving back, they received far more than they could have imagined.

Learn more and watch the film:

Shook is hopeful this will lead to conversations with other organizations about how they can implement their own mission trips and spread the power of service. Contact [email protected] if your organization is interested in learning more about implementing a mission trip program.

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