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  • Susan Brown

Birthday Season

I pawed through the drawer with desperate haste. Where did I put the candles? I had a one-shaped candle and a four-shaped one put back in a “safe” place so I could find it easily for Bang’s birthday party. But where WAS that safe place?

It’s birthday season with three of the kids passing milestones within a month and one more following shortly after. I just had to keep track of the “15” candles for most of those birthdays as Molly turned 15 in June and Andy in July. Jay will follow in September. Bang, meanwhile, was 14 and I couldn’t find the candles for his cake.

Bang is good-natured and laughed at the 6. We sang Happy Birthday in English, Thai, and La Hu, as we usually do, and the boys blew out the candles. They appeared delighted with their modest gifts and everyone ate the cake and ice cream with gusto, even though we had just eaten at a moo-ga-ta restaurant as part of the celebration.

A moo-ga-taa is a buffet where raw meat and seafood, along with vegetables, are laid out on a long table. You pick what you want and cook it at your own table on a special grill. The kids love it and have started choosing it over pizza for special celebrations.

Molly chose to have moo-ga-ta for her birthday, too. Our big family, which includes kids, volunteers, staff, and

It’s been a while since I’ve had time to blog. Since Kimmy left, I’ve managed to keep afloat, but haven’t had any time to spare – except when I’m totally brain-dead from exhaustion. The Lord gives strength, though, and also sends us the help we need. We are delighted to have Denise Johnson from Ohio here to help us for the next six months. She homeschooled her kids all the way through graduation and loves to teach, so she fits right in with our mission. The kids seem to like her – and we certainly do!

Her son, Joshua, and his wife Sabrina are currently on deputation to raise support to come to Thailand as missionaries, so she has a heart-interest in Thailand missions. Denise’s picture with the kids is below.

Andy just joined the homeschoolers this year and has already progressed to the second grade level. The other four go more slowly, working only in the evening after regular Thai school each day. We look forward to the time we can teach all of them at home. Molly and Jay will start next school year and Danny and Bang the year after.

Our goal is to have a day school – which we must call an English learning center, in order to be legal. So many of the tribal girls marry at 13 and 14, simply because there is no future for them. No school after 6th or 8th grade, no job opportunities, no prospects. The boys are condemned to a life of hard manual labor, with trafficking drugs being the only alternative. Of course, they wind up in prison, leaving their child brides to fend for themselves and for the next generation of children who will grow up in poverty.

We can’t provide an education for them all, but we can make a start and show other groups how it can be done.

The property we are considering to buy is located near several Lahu villages. We would be able to have a day school there and avoid having to take in borders. We’ve already seen that raising unrelated boys and girls together takes a lot of staff and a lot of work. This way we would be able to minister to girls and boys both without having to have two dorms, two sets of staff, etc.

God has been so good to supply all our needs through our loving, giving supporters. We aren’t worried, but are trusting Him to supply as He leads.

As I looked at our group of growing teenagers last night, I marveled at how the Lord has provided, not only funds, but strength and patience as we have raised these kids for the last four years. Each one is precious to us and we think they are the best possible investment of our resources and our lives.

After the party Paul and I were cleaning up. I opened a drawer to put away the cake knife – and there it was. The baggie holding a one and a four-shaped candle. Oh, well. Danny will be 14 next March. I will just put those candles in a good, safe place……

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