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  • Susan Brown

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 rice.

I screeched to a halt. The light on the rice pot proclaimed that it was busily cooking and well on the way to be being done. The between-meal dishes were washed, too, and preparations for dinner underway.

With the all-important rice pot.

I sighed in relief. Kitchen fairies at work? Nope. It’s Shelby.

Shelby Banks is an incredible young lady who gave up her summer break from teaching to come to Thailand. She’s here to help me teach our kids. Jet lag, rainy season heat and humidity, indigestible food, sharing a room with two young teenage girls – nothing has phased her. She jumped right in and suddenly my workload is halved.

I’m able to write a blog now because she is downstairs teaching English to our two newest kids, Moses and Nora. Having a second person teaching is a huge help.   One person can miss seeing some learning gaps. A second pair of eyes and ears can catch those blind spots – and the kids will be the winners.

Reading with Jay.

She also brings her expertise in teaching to our English class in the evenings and in our daily reading practice. I particularly appreciate that she is ready to help wherever she is needed – overseeing the chores, cleaning, meal prep, etc.   Doing missionary work is not always exciting and glamorous. Sometimes it means dishes and laundry and coping with hyper teen girls. I’m thankful for help with those things, as well as with the teaching.

Our days are busy, even with two of us doing what I’ve always done alone. We have designated Thursdays, though, as our “day out.” Moses is taking classes on that day each week, so we girls go out shopping or exploring or seeing the sights. Since our truck was in the shop most of the time she has been here, we have gone on our adventures via song tau – the public transportation here. “Song tau” means “two seats.” That’s how we travel – crammed onto bench seats in the covered back of a pickup. It’s hot and windy, but not too bad unless it is crowded, which it usually is.

As for our truck – the brakes went out. After waiting ages for the replacement

parts toarrive, we finally got it back.   They failed again as Paul was traveling to preachers’ training. After a third time going out, they are finally working as they should. I’m so thankful that God’s protecting hand was on him as he drove. Heavy traffic and curvy mountain roads are not good places to navigate without brakes!

The pickup is finally in working order again and we traveled last Sunday to the village of Plang Hoc. It’s the little village on top of a mountain with million dollar views from the bamboo huts.

After the service and lunch at the church, Shelby taught Sunday School while I did medicine. For a long time I have wanted to have Sunday School for the little children, but I can’t be in two places at once. The kids were attentive and happy. We were happy, too!

By the way, I met Shelby when she was a little girl in my primary class at church camp.  I didn’t dream that one day she would join me on the other side of the world to teach other kids.  I wonder if any of these she is teaching will one day be teachers and church leaders?

In other news – we have two more licensed drivers in the family. William got his license a few weeks ago and Preston passed his test this week. They need more practice before driving solo in traffic, but now that they are licensed they are covered by our insurance.

We are also happy that our wifi issues appeared to be fixed. That seems like a small thing, but it is our connection with family and friends back in the US. When we can’t get online, we feel isolated. (It also makes doing a blog a real challenge when you keep getting kicked off by your s-l-o-w wifi.)

In all things we have seen God provide our needs, grant protection, and generally bless us. He is good!

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