In Memory of
April 11, 1934–October 5, 2020
“Feisty, funny and faithful” are the best words to describe Bualai Smith, an 86-year young loving mother and grandmother. She loved her family well and they were her pride and joy!
The youngest of many siblings, Bualai (Thai name: Mali Ungchakan) was born 1934 in Ubon, Thailand to a rice farmer family in the NE Thai region. She was an extraordinary overcomer with an extraordinary life story. Life was hard in this rural Thai community causing Bualai to drop out of grade school to help on the family farm. Bualai’s mother died of pneumonia when Bualai was a young child; later in life her older sister cared for her. Bualai’s sister introduced her to a Chinese man who she bore 5 children with and he tragically passed away when their 5th child was an infant. This tragedy forced Bualai to find work to care for her young children. She later met a young USAF serviceman, stationed in Ubon, Thailand where they fell in love and were married. She and Mr. Smith bore 2 daughters of their own and through many sacrifices brought 4 of Bualai’s older children to the states, where they raised 6 children together (one adult child chose to stay in Thailand).
With an amazing story of God’s redemption over her family, she started a new journey in the states. Bualai worked as a seamstress and food processor while finishing her GED. She learned English and became a US citizen. She was raised Buddhist and received Jesus Christ as her personal Savior. She was a faithful member of Capital Park Wesleyan Church and more recently Life Church of Salem where she attended with her daughter. Her hobbies included sewing, gardening, canning, cooking and Thai dancing to her favorite NE style of Thai music. She was passionate about her grandchildren whether it was playing, dancing, reading the Bible or making them laugh with her silly antics.
Bualai’s love for Jesus and her family were the center of her life. She was also a mighty prayer warrior and prayed for family, friends and strangers. Her home was an open door of hospitality and family gatherings. She loved to share her faith and how Jesus healed her numerous times of health issues. She was a hard worker, overcame heart wrenching obstacles, and fought the good fight of faith to the end of her life’s journey. From her early childhood hardships in rural Thailand, she came a long way to provide good lives for her family, which are the “fruits of her labor”. She is survived by 7 children, 13 grandchildren, and 1 great-grandchild.
She passed away on October 5, 2020 surrounded by her children singing, “Amazing Grace” as she entered into Heaven. Her last words to her children were: “I LOVE YOU.” She is now dancing in fields of gold with the lover of her soul, Jesus, and is now part of the great cloud of witnesses as she cheers her family on to run their race well. We know God welcomed her into Heaven saying: “WELL DONE GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT…ENTER INTO THE JOY OF YOUR LORD!”
BUALAI’S CELEBRATION SERVICE: Come celebrate the life of Bualai Smith, the sweetest Asian mom and grandma, who loved Jesus and her family with all of her heart. We will celebrate her and laugh and cry together while thanking Jesus for the honor of knowing her. If you knew and loved Bualai and her family, you are invited to attend her Celebration service. Let’s join together on Sunday, October 18th, 2pm at Life Church: 255 College Dr. NW Salem, OR 97304, and show our love and appreciation for Bualai Smith’s life!