Arrivals, Ceremonies, and Blessings

“You’re kidding me, right?” Kimmy asked with a barely concealed shudder. She turned to me. “He’s just pretending to eat them, isn’t he?” “Watch,” Paul replied. He took three of the fried bamboo worms out of the bowl on the…

Thanksgivings and Thankful Hearts

I swallowed hard, trying not to cry. The rain beat on the roof of the partially enclosed pavilion and shrouded the bridge over the swollen river with a gray veil. On the other side of the bridge was Myanmar. Just…

Paul's Latest Prayer Letter

“See that young man on the back row,” Bro. Ai Donkham, my interpreter, said. “His father is a very influential leader among the Shan people. He is here because he is burdened to reach his people with the Gospel.” The…

Terrors and Traveling

I jerked awake with a start. “What was that?” I mumbled, still befuddled by sleep. “Phone,” Paul said as he fumbled to find and answer it. There is something about a phone call late at night or early in the…

Running the Race Before Us

“Time – 845 hours, 46 minutes, and 16 seconds per mile,” the impersonal voice announced. I stopped running and looked at my phone. I know my running pace is slow, but surely not THAT slow. Found the problem. Evidently I…

Drama, Trauma, and Blessings

“Where are you going with that?” I asked suspiciously. My things have a way of disappearing, not to be found until days later in some unlikely place like in the tool box or in the boys’ clothes closet. Knives and…

True Treasures

  I ran up the steps, panting and struggling to hang onto the armful of red heart-shaped balloons. “Hurry up,” I called back to the teens straggling behind me. “She’s already here and we aren’t set up yet.” “I knew…

Troubles -- But Under His Control

Seizure. Spastic jerks wrenched Andy’s body as he lay on the dining room floor. Foam flecked his mouth and his eyes gruesomely rolled back in his head. We have seen gran mal seizures before. This was obviously one of them….

Learning and Teaching

The kids and the store clerk burst out laughing. What? All I did was ask where I could find the sugar. “No, Grandma,” Moses said through his chuckles. “It’s not naamtaan. It’s naamtaan.” Sigh. Thai is a tough language. It…

Paul's July Prayer Letter

“Moses, my servant is dead…” Bro. Jack Duplechain, another of the Lord’s servants is dead, but he lives now more than ever, and will forever (John 11:25-27). It’s one of the most difficult things about foreign mission work. When friends…

Baptisms and Birthdays

My feet slid in the slippery mud and I waved my arms madly to keep my balance. If I fell I would be muddy and bruised, but it wouldn’t matter. If that poor 80-year-old lady who was bent nearly double,…

Paul's Prayer Letter

“It could be a brain tumor,” Dr. Pornsriniyom said. Oh, the value of our time! It is far more precious than any substance on earth. May David’s prayer be ours, “Lord, make me know the measure of my days, what…

Another Pair of Hands -- and Another Heart for Thailand

I thundered down the stairs and rushed into the kitchen. I had lost track of time – again – and forgot to start the rice. A lot of hungry people would be impatiently waiting for dinner. They can’t eat without…

Set-Backs and Progress

Where was a red song tau? I trotted down the busy street, dodging cars, bicycles and tuk-tuks which all seemed intent on running over me. I was going to be late and I needed to find a ride fast. At…

About That Flying Snake....

A flying snake – I never saw such a thing, even here in Thailand. I slowed my run to a walk and wiped the rivers of sweat from eyes onto my already-soaked t-shirt. Running in the rainy season has its…

Extreme Parenting -- Missionary Style

On your mark. Get set. Go!!! Crazy people doing extreme sports seem to be trend – at least it is on Thai tv. Turn it on and you see people skiing down impossible slopes, doing death-defying tricks on skateboards, and…

Back in the Saddle

“That electric wire is down,” Paul said. He stopped the truck and scanned the steep mountain road. “Can you see where it goes?” The pole leaned sideways toward us and the wire sagged downward. We all peered out the truck…

Horrible Roads -- Wonderful People

I gulped and swallowed hard, trying to beat down the waves of nausea that rose to swamp me. No use. Between the curvy mountain roads that were practically a series of u-turns and the deep ruts and holes that jarred…

Paul's Prayer Letter

“Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.” What a promise! Yes, it is a fact that we will know many afflictions, hardships and trials, but also it is true that through…

Hope for the Future

Something was wrong. I could tell just by looking at her. She was bringing her baby for me to see, but where was that glow of pride and happiness that new mothers always have when displaying their newborns? She looked…

Fruit of Various Kinds

I clutched the door handle with a white-knuckled grip. In spite of the seatbelt and my death grip on the handle, I still bounced around in the seat as we jolted up the terrible road to Cana (pronounced Ka-nah-ah). It’s…

January Prayer Letter

“This is spiritual food like we have never had before,” one of the Lahu preachers said. We just finished a week of intense teaching. We began early in the cold mornings with the men in coats and stocking caps. We…

Washing Hands with Friends

Cool water slid over my hands and into the dishpan held below. My Lahu friend smiled, moved on to Paul and tilted the plastic bottle – which formerly held orange soda – over his hands as she had done with…

Celebrations

We eyed the bridge with trepidation. It was only logs lashed together and covered with a layer of slippery mud.   Time to get out and walk while Paul eased the truck across. At least it wasn’t far to the water…

Learning, Teaching, and Traveling

I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. A young man we knew had a motorcycle wreck and, ready or not, was catapulted into eternity. He was Jay’s sister’s boyfriend and often came with her to see Jay…

Thanksgiving -- and Giving Thanks

Its slender, writhing body rose into the air and spat into my face with diabolical force. No, not a snake. And it was just water. But I was still mightily aggravated. It was the bidet sprayer hose that comes attached…

Over the River and Through the .... Jungle

The road loomed ahead of me, steep and slick. I hitched my heavy backpack higher on my back and thought of Mary Slessor, Ann Hasseltine Judson, Gladys Aylward, and Amy Carmichael. They are my favorite heroes of the faith –…

Thanksgiving at Pa Saak 2

I shifted uncomfortably on the bamboo floor and wondered what would happen to my petrified limbs when I tried to stand up again. At least I managed to sit cross-legged for the duration of the meal – something I hadn’t…

A Time of Thanksgivings

“Wait, Molly!” I called. “Don’t give out any more until I can help you.” Poor Molly was mobbed by kids – their outstretched hands trying to reach into the sacks of hats she carried. I waded into the melee and…

Elephants and Friends

Now I know what it feels like to be struck by an elephant. We were at the elephant camp with our guests from America and had just finished watching the show. These are talented pachyderms! They kicked soccer balls, played…

A Sad Time for Thailand

Sad faces, flags at half mast, and people in mourning black.   King Bhumibol Adulyadej died this past week, and the people of Thailand are grieving his passing. We are grieving with them, because the king was a good leader, concerned…

Coming -- and Going

I jumped and dropped the lid of the rice pot with a clatter. “Danny – you scared me!” I said. He wrapped his arms around my waist and leaned in for a hug. It was 5:45 – time for me…

The Sky is Falling -- Or Something

The house shook as the impact struck it with a roar. A truck had run off the road and hit our house – I was sure of it. I ran to the window. No truck. The neighborhood houses dozed in…

Happy 13th (or 14th) Birthday to Jay

“No, no – you are supposed to be wearing your new shirt. Go put it on – now!” Family pictures – they are always a challenge. When you have eight kids, six of whom are boys who do NOT want…

Frogs and Houses

I opened the lid and screamed. Wait. Didn’t I just start a blog that way the other day? I seem to be doing a lot of screaming and throwing things lately. It might have to do with raising a bunch…

Sunday Service -- Lahu Style

A rubber band flew past my nose.  I  jumped and turned to look for the  source of the missile.  Two little boys sat in the aisle which divided the men’s side of the church from the women’s.  They busily entertained…

Horror, Despair, and Joy

I screamed in horror and slammed the lid back down. The rice container was teeming with bugs. Not just a bug or two – dozens of the little black critters swarmed over the rice. How did that happen? I dipped…

Into the Blue...

Danny hugged me fiercely and wouldn’t let go. We were leaving for a month-long trip to America, and he was having a hard time saying goodbye. Danny is our youngest at 11. All the kids came to us starved for…

Wars, Birthdays, and Serving

The foosball table lay in a heap in the corner. Why was it disassembled? And where were the legs? Something prickled in the back of my brain. Where had I seen those legs lately? A whoop from outside jogged that…

Sunday Travels

The cool mountain breeze wafted over us. It smelled just a bit like pigs, but it was cool. We were at Long Khoad last Sunday to help and encourage this small group of believers who have been through so much….

One of Those Weeks -- or Two

Two disappointed girls trailed after me, out of the cool, clean hospital and into the hot, muggy air of the parking lot. It seemed we did a lot of traipsing back and forth to the hospital last week. I should…

Doing What We Can

“He has a fever,” the mother said, through an interpreter. “He needs the green pills.” I touched the forehead of the smiling toddler in front of me. Perfectly cool to the touch. “No fever,” I said. “Does he have any…

Serving the Poorest

We crowded into the tiny house of bamboo and boards. Our eight kids plus Paul and I, Lek and Asa doubled the attendance of the church service. This was a Lisu house in a Lisu village. Unlike the Lahu houses,…

Good News from a Far Country

“Sie, Sie!!!!” (Left, left!!!!”) The men screamed frantically, their cries echoing to the muddy mountain slope where we waited. The pickup, with Paul at the wheel, swerved slightly to the left, skidded, then clung to the narrow log bridge as…

A Day in the Life...

If my life was a sitcom rerun, it wouldn’t be “Touched by an Angel.” It would be closer to “I Love Lucy.” Except that I don’t have an Ethel and Paul is a much better husband than Ricky. Like Lucy,…

Full House -- Happy Hearts

The door was  firmly nailed shut.  Not going to open.  Period.  Until the Lord appeared at the door and it suddenly flew open.  Nails, and impossible situations are no problem for Him! “Will you take my child?”  “Can you take my granddaughter?” “Do you want more…

Pigs and Preachers

I jumped back into the truck with pounding heart. Oh. Nothing to worry about. The black monster that suddenly appeared screaming and scrabbling on the road was just a loose pig. I should be used to this stuff by now,…

Enjoying God's Goodness!

It’s a gift! That’s the only explanation. The story started last fall when our landlord spoke to me. “Are you going to renew your lease in April?” he asked. “I have people who want to lease it and they will…

Serving with Joy

Air heavy with heat and smoke bore down on us in the dusty mountain village. It made our lungs work a little harder, but didn’t seem to affect the grubby but excited kids at all. “Can you jump?” I called…

Resting and Readying

Walking along the sandy beach and enjoying the vivid red and orange sunset over the ocean – what a wonderful way to relax and recharge! Three days in south Thailand, enjoying the beach, the boat tour, and, most of all,…

Sunday at Plang Hoc

She looked up at me with eyes glazed with fever. Obviously, this child was ill. Something about her drooping shoulders and hopeless expression hinted at a deeper trouble. “Who is her mother?” I asked the group of Lahu people clustered…

Sunday at Hoe La Bong

A nasty, oozing burn covered the top of the tiny boy’s foot. I couldn’t understand what happened to him, although the mother acted out a vigorous pantomime of his accident. I could tell, though, that the wound was serious and…

Sunday at PaSak 2

I stopped, breathless, on the nearly perpendicular mountain path to the church. One more rutted and steep section of road and I would be at the church building at the summit. William ran past me – a typical teenager showing…

A Day of Preachers' Training

The class snickered, trying to swallow their laughter. “Ca,” I said again as I pointed to the letters on the board. It was English class for the preachers in Mae Ai and we were blending letters as I taught them…

Making Bitter Waters Sweet

I opened the truck door and looked down. The stream swirled over the rocks below me. I couldn’t see the edge of the bridge. At all. I leaned out and saw the truck tires on the very lip of the…

Worshipping Our God Together

“Grandma, Grandpa,” the children said shyly.  They gathered around us in the village of Pa Tong Eh where we stopped to visit.  “God is so big,” one said, spreading out his thin arms.  I was thrilled. They remembered us and…

Open Doors -- Walking Through Them With Joy

“Time to go. Supper is ready.” I smiled at the ten attentive young men sitting around the table. Well, nine young men and one older. English class for the day was over. They looked disappointed and didn’t move. “Can we…

Thanksgivings and Changes

The gritty cement floor felt cold under my bare feet and the blue plastic chair bit into my back. Thanksgiving again – but this one looked a bit different. It was a Lisu village, and we saw many things that…

Making Memories

Children’s laughter floats through the dusk and into our door. Is there a more beautiful music? I don’t think so. The kids are playing soccer in the tiny courtyard and evidently having a blast. I think they have enjoyed this…

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