Enjoying God’s Faithfulness
The tiny girl swirled around, making her fluffy green skirt stand out — like little girls wearing their best dresses do everywhere in the world. She bounced over to me on tiptoes, oblivious to the church service going on. Children in the villages are often frightened by my strange, pale face (haha) so I waited for her reaction. She considered me for a moment, then generously offered me the cheap plastic doll she clutched in one brown fist.
On second thought, she pulled it back and looked at it doubtfully. Then she smiled, pulled off the doll’s head and handed me the decapitated body. She went prancing off, holding the doll’s head in her hand, evidently content with the compromise.
I struggled not to laugh — it was in the middle of the church service, after all. Last Sunday we traveled the curvy, narrow road through the jungle to the beautiful village of Plang Hok. It perches on a crest of the mountain and offers breath-taking views whichever way you look, not to mention cute children that steal your hearts.
Church members from a nearby village, Pasak One, had traveled over the mountain to be at the service, so we had a good group — probably around 30 people, not counting our troop. Lots of good singing, and then Paul preached with Brother Ai Donkham interpreting. The clear Gospel message never grows old! Paul brings it into every message, and it always blesses my heart.
Afterwards we handed out bags of over-the-counter medicines the tribal folks can’t easily obtain. Others came with special needs – a young woman with a breast infection, a little boy covered with weeping sores from head to toe. I did my best with them, but had to concede defeat with others – like the older lady with seizures. I don’t have any medicines to help and would be afraid to give it if I did. So many things could have caused them. It would be easy to do more harm than good. How often I long for a real doctor or nurse to take over this job! Please pray for me as I do my best for these brothers and sisters with my inadequate knowledge.
Then lunch set on a round metal table inside the church building because of the threatened rain. Usually we eat outside on the church porch and enjoy scenery you wouldn’t see at the fanciest of restaurants.
Plang Hok ladies are good cooks, and we enjoyed our meal. They know Paul likes their fried chicken, and it’s always on the menu. This time we also had venison stew, some greens similar to spinach, and, of course, rice. Fresh watermelon and bananas finished off the meal. No bamboo worms made an appearance on the table this time. I can’t say I was disappointed!
Then time to head back. Paul had just finished the tricky business of turning the truck around on the skinny slice of available parking space when the Pasak One pastor ran up, an adorable baby, about four months old, in his arms. My heart sank as Bro. Ai Donkham interpreted what he was saying. The baby’s parents had recently abandoned him. (Or her – I wasn’t sure which.) The parents divorced with the father going to Bangkok and the mother disappearing shortly after.
I just knew he would ask if we would take the baby. We can’t do it – but how do you say “no?” Such a beautiful, bright-eyed, smiling baby.
To my relief, we learned that the baby’s grandmother was caring for the child. She, like most tribal people, is poor. Could we help with a gift to buy milk? We gladly gave her the equivalent of about $60, which will feed the baby for weeks, at least. We were so happy to be able to do something for the sweet baby. Nutrition in the early months of life is critical. A relatively small amount now can make a lifetime of difference.
Some of my readers with empty arms are wondering if the baby can be adopted. The sad answer is an unequivocal “no.” The baby probably doesn’t have an ID. Even if all the paperwork was in place, adopting from Thailand is almost impossible because of laws made due to the problems with human trafficking.
But, again, we do what we can. Because of our faithful supporters, we were able to provide one the greatest immediate needs for the child – adequate nourishment.
Down the steep road we drove again. This trip was a little more nerve-wracking than normal because we took both trucks. William drove one of them for his first long-distance driving experience. He did fine, and we arrived back home in one piece.
Monday started the first full week of school. Classes began mid-week last week for the kids still going to Thai public school, so we started our three homeschoolers at the same time. I was a bit worried about how to manage without Kimmy, but the Lord gave grace and schooling has been going smoothly. (But we are still eagerly awaiting her return!)
Thank you for those who prayed for Andy – that he would adjust to homeschooling and attending the Thai informal school. Paul “happened” to run into Andy’s former soccer coach when he was picking the other kids up from school. The coach invited Andy to continue to play with the school team. That has made a huge difference in his happiness level, and was a definite answer to prayer. Please keep praying for Andy, and for me as I teach these kids.
Tuesday, Rusty’s wife Jemelle (pronounced like “Emily” with a “J”) came and supervised the kids for a few hours so I was able to go to Thai class. That’s another big answer to prayer. I came home to find the kids finished with their days’ schoolwork and ready to go to their tutoring session. What a blessing!
Paul is preparing for and looking forward to preachers’ training next week. It’s hot and rainy, so it will be steamy and damp under the carport where he teaches. We are thankful for the hospitality of the pastor who offers his home for preachers’ training, but we can’t wait to have our own place! Please continue to pray for us about this need, and for health, strength and stamina for Paul as he pours his life and energy into these men.
And please pray for me as I continue on here with my flock of teenagers while he is gone. I’m looking forward to having Jemelle’s help and company this time. She will stay here with us while Rusty goes with Paul to help by teaching English.
As I read over this blog, I saw a consistent theme – God is faithful and answers prayers. What an encouragement to keep asking and trusting! As long as He allows us to be here, we will continue on with confidence and joy. He is good!