Life Impact’s founder, Lana Vasquez, always reminds us how she was rescued to rescue. And it’s no different for some of her staff, including the Director of our Children’s Home on the Promise Land in Thailand. Larissa Brown, who grew up in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, struggled as a young girl, but when Lana pointed her back to Jesus, it changed her life.
Larissa was only ten years old when Lana attended Bible School in Broken Arrow and also volunteered as Larissa’s Sunday school teacher. Because of trauma Larissa experienced at an early age, it began showing in her behavior. Larissa says, “I was known as ‘the girl who steals,’ and that’s exactly how I met Lana.”
One Sunday evening, Larissa says she saw Lana wearing some pretty gloves, so she decided to steal them. It didn’t take long for Lana to figure out who took them, but Larissa says, “Instead of pushing me away or looking at me like ‘the problem child,’ she actually embraced me even more.” God told Lana he had great plans for Larissa and wanted Lana to love her as her own.
Larissa says Lana did just that. She immersed herself in Larissa’s life, attending her basketball games, taking her and her friends to fun places, and discipling her. Lana taught her how to share the gospel, pray, worship, and hear God’s voice. Larissa says when she was 12 years old, she saw a picture of hurting children and told God that she heard their cries.
As Larissa struggled through her teenage years, Lana led her back to the Lord. At 17, while praying and seeking God about her future, God told Larissa she would bring the healing power and love of Jesus to the children who suffered the most. She says she saw a vision of herself in a two-story wooden house with children who had brown skin and black hair sitting in a circle worshiping. She says she was telling them about the love of Jesus.
Two years later, Lana invited Larissa to Thailand and at 19 years old that vision became reality. She says she woke up in Thailand to the beautiful sound of worship coming from the downstairs room of the two-story wooden house. She says, “I went downstairs to join them and I was sitting in a circle surrounded by these children with brown skin and black hair and shared with them about the love of Jesus.” That was confirmation that God was calling her to serve Life Impact full-time.
Larissa has served us for nearly 15 years. She is our Children’s Home Director and a main leader at Life Impact Thailand, she oversees the training of our caregivers, the development of the children, medical, education, and spiritual growth teams, oversees worship and the Timothy Devotion group. She says she loves training up leaders, the worship at Life Impact, and just living life with others on the Promise Land.
Larissa comes from a long line of faithful followers. Her dad is an itinerant minister and missionary who travels the world. She says her mom had a servant’s heart, and both modeled a strong faith. She says they also valued God’s plan over her life because they know the safest place for her is in the will of God. While she does miss her family (and American food) and only gets to see them a couple of times a year for a few weeks, she says the Life Impact family is also her family: “The love and joy I receive from them can’t be explained.”
Larissa says she’s motivated most by watching those who were some of their first rescues, now serving as staff at the Promise Land. She says, “Seeing them succeed and walking in the plan God has for them and seeing them raise up the next generation has been full circle for me.” She says she plans on staying as long as Jesus tells her to and because it’s an honor to serve alongside Lana and be a part of raising up the next generation of world changers. Rescued to Rescue!