Another Sunday at Hoe La Bong
A thick, warm blanket of moist air wrapped around me, dulling my brain and pushing me toward sleep, despite the interesting content of Bro. Camp’s message. Sunday was the hottest, most humid day we’ve experienced in Thailand. Both Paul and Bro. Anond suffered vicious sinus headaches and we all sweltered in discomfort. The people at Hoe La Bong didn’t seem to notice the weather, though. They listened avidly, and when the service was over, one lady couldn’t wait to tell Bro. Camp that they so appreciated his years of service to them. “Your message today hurt my heart,” she said. The message about Christ’s cup — the suffering He endured for us — moved her to tears.
This was our second trip to Hoe La Bong. It is close enough so that we can reach it without hours of travel. Besides, they don’t have a pastor, so they especially appreciate our visits.
One change — the very young pregnant girl we met last time is now a very young mother. She was proudly holding a tiny baby girl, just 13 days old.
We lunched at Duke’s in Chiang Mai, as we did last time we were at Hoe La Bong, since they don’t have anyone to prepare food for us as most of the villages do. When we got back to the condo to drop off the Camps, we planned to run up to the room for just a few minutes. Paul wanted to load his email messages and I needed to pick up a couple of things I had forgotten when we were there on Saturday. Bro. Anond, not understanding that we would only be minutes, said he had to go get some of the older boys at the children’s home and would be right back.
As is often the case, we were stranded at the condo until late. Problems arose and it took much longer to get the boys — and then much longer than he expected for them to do their homework at the Internet cafe. In the meantime, it rained. The air cooled and the humidity dropped — and we breathed a sigh of relief.
Spending a few extra hours at the condo was no hardship, except that I didn’t have my computer with me. Paul had his, but it soon ran out of power and he hadn’t brought a charger with him. Very frustrating to have the Internet and no way to use it!
Monday the weather was pleasant and rainy, and we had seven ladies who came for Bible study. I felt it went well and I was able to talk about some things that have sorely bothered me. The morals of the tribal people are notoriously horrible. Children, like the young girl at Hoe La Bong, regularly get pregnant out of wedlock. The situation is complicated, because many are in the country without the proper ID, so they can’t legally marry. Since there are few educational opportunities, especially for the girls, there doesn’t seem to be anything for them but an early marriage. Since legal marriage is difficult if not impossible, they just live together. If things get tough, they just jettison one spouse and pick up another. And that’s one reason there are so many abandoned children here. The next “husband” doesn’t want the child and often beats him cruelly. The immature and helpless mothers are ready to pass them on to someone else. Several of the children in the home here have that exact story.
Through the study on Rebekah, I was able to talk to the women about teaching their sons and daughters to wait for sex and for the right person. (I’ll try to get the study posted soon.) It was just a drop of truth in an ocean of immorality, but it was a beginning.
Now it’s Tuesday and another week of the pastors’ school has started. There are just two more weeks after this and the term will be ended. The Camps will be leaving right after graduation. Paul and I have another week after that, since we are staying for the Bible conference. I am getting a bit nervous about speaking to the ladies for the Women’s Conference. I am the only speaker and will be speaking for two days. I really want to be a blessing to these ladies! Please pray that the Lord will give me exactly the words to say. Speaking is a challenge because of the language barrier. I have to stop on every sentence so Bro. Anond can translate into La Hu and then into Thai. Also, the illustrations and humor I would normally use often don’t work in this culture. Prayers needed!
We are going in to Chiang Mai again today so we can use the Internet. It is so difficult to post a blog from the air card. I usually have to try many times in order to get it to post before timing out. Adding pictures is nearly impossible. It was such a blow to discover, after waiting two months for the phone lines to be repaired, that they are not sufficient for getting Wifi. We are going to look at satellite, but it will hardly be worth it for the short time left to us here. Guess we’ll limp along to the end.
Gui sha aw bon a pi — which is La Hu for “God bless you!”