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  • Susan Brown

A Time of Thanksgivings

“Wait, Molly!” I called. “Don’t give out any more until I can help you.”


It’s Thanksgiving season and we were at Hoe La Bong to celebrate with the church family in the Pepto-Bismol pink building. We had a good crowd with every chair filled and many sitting crossed-legged on the cool tile floor. More people spilled out into the porch and still others gathered around the open windows.

I slipped my purse behind my back to ease the familiar biting backache from the blue plastic chair and sat back to enjoy the service. As usual, we had lots of singing – several congregational songs and LOTS of special music. We enjoyed it all, and enjoyed Paul’s preaching even more. Thanksgivings are such an opportunity to share the Gospel.


The large crowd kept getting bigger as word filtered through the village that we were there and doing medicine. Robert and Mary Hudson were visiting from America and lent a hand — or a couple of hands. Robert took blood pressures while Mary handed out soaps and vitamins. Meanwhile Lek translated and I dealt with the familiar complaints of backache, stomachache, itchy skin, etc. An “epidemic” of sore throats apparently hit a crowd of little boys who eagerly accepted the throat lozenges I gave out. I made a mental note to buy less tasty lozenges next time.

At last we were finished and I sent Molly out to get the hats and baby bags from the truck. We almost had a stampede! I intervened as quickly as I could to organize the distribution. Mary took the sack of baby-sized hats, I took the mediums and Molly passed out the larges to the bigger kids. In no time there were gone. I tallied up the hats later and discovered we had given out 90! I’m sure every kid in the village got a hat, not just the kids who were at the Thanksgiving service. But that’s okay. As long as they keep a little head warm we are content. I have a sneaking suspicion that a few parents might have sent kids through the line twice to get an extra for mom or dad, but we aren’t going to quibble about that, either.


Mary and I had packed bags with a baby blanket, an outfit of clothing, a hat and a pair of socks for the babies. I also included a baby toy in each bag. We gave out all we brought – ten bags.

We traveled home on the curving mountain roads – all of us exhausted. The



Robert and Mary had brought gifts for everyone from America They brought the younger boys camo hats and facepaint, which were the biggest hit of the evening.


Monday we had our last outing before the kids went back to school and Robert and Mary went back home. We spent the day at the nearby lake where we rode bikes and swam. We ate in the little bamboo shelters at the water’s edge. Molly ordered for us, and I was curious about what we were getting. I lifted the lid – and some critters that looked like a cross between a grasshopper and a crawdad flung themselves out of the dish. I despise those things and can’t bear to watch the kids eat them live. Ugh. I try to eat everything I’m served, but I do insist my food be dead before I eat it.

We were sad to see Robert and Mary leave on Wednesday. We had a great three weeks with them and they were a huge help.

Tomorrow is another Thanksgiving service – and I have lots of hats to finish and more medicine to pack before I turn in for the night. This time we won’t have Robert and Mary to help and the children will be in school, so they won’t be on hand to help, either. I guess I’d better figure out a plan for distributing hats without being mobbed!


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