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  • Susan Brown

Blessings Behind Us and Ahead

I grabbed my stomach and groaned.

“I have diarrhea and vomiting,” I bellowed.

“I have diarrhea and vomiting,” the crowd of men shouted back with enthusiasm.

“He has diarrhea and vomiting.” I pointed to the patient.

“He has diarrhea and vomiting,” they repeated.

No, not an epidemic. It was English class at preachers’ training.

“I have a headache!”

I had the privilege of going with Paul to the training in Mae Chan last week. English class is always fun, but a challenge. They only have three English classes, then hear no more English for a month. That doesn’t make for fast learners.

This time I decided to teach them some words they might need to say to a doctor or our medical team about illness. We worked our way down from, “I have a headache,” to “I have a runny nose,” (complete with motions) down to “My foot hurts.”  On that day we were tackling stomach ailments.

An old friend asked me if I was still involved with drama, remembering that I was in all the high school plays. I replied tha

t the only drama in my life now came from raising seven teenagers. Perhaps teaching English in Thailand counts, though. Lots of expression and acting things out to help them remember.

After the lesson we had the guys record me on their phones doing a quick review. Now they can listen to me moaning, “I have nausea,” at home. And hopefully remember it if they need to tell a medical worker how they are ill.

A special blessing that week – I had a new helper as I taught. Moses, our 18-year-old, had gone home for vacation, but came with his father to preachers’ training. He came to us just a year and a half ago with no English. He’s made tremendous progress in that short time. What a blessing that he was able to help me teach the guys, explaining in Lahu what I couldn’t get across by motions and acting. We would like to see him stay on to learn with me for another year and then apply to the university.  He wanted to study English and become an interpreter. Now he’s toying with the idea of just going to trade school.  Please pray that he would make a wise decision. We need more interpreters!

Paul with the guys at Preachers’ Training.

The group of guys was a bit smaller than the last time I was able to travel with Paul. It’s harvest season and several were home getting the crops in. Others were sick.

But the 25 or so men who were there listened attentively to Paul and participated with enthusiasm in the singing and the English class.

It poured rain, as is usual in the rainy season. The water flowed underfoot in the carport and tent where Paul taught. The guys ignored the discomfort, and Paul did, too. We thought longingly about our new facilities, though, and can hardly wait to get started building in Mae Sao!

We stopped on the way to take pictures, as our property is just off the road to Mae Chan. The corn has been harvested, but we saw no sign yet of the surveyor having come. We slogged across the muddy field to check it out, then had to leave as it was raining again.

We intended to stop to look at a house for rent on the way back through, but Paul was exhausted after teaching all week. He doesn’t just go over notes. He pours his heart into those guys and is worn out when it’s over. We’ll have to make another trip to check out possible places to live.

Now is a busy time, though. The Thanksgiving season has started. We were invited to one this Saturday, so I have medicine to prepare and pack and hats to sort and get ready to distribute.

Brother Ai Donkham appears to be feeling better, but still has to take it easy. Wichai will be going with us to interpret for Paul. Another Thanksgiving is coming up the week after next. I believe he will be able to travel with us to that one.

More celebrations are coming up in November – and visitors from the US. Brother Matt and Brittany Villandry and their two oldest kids will be coming for two weeks. Brother Matt will be doing the medical clinics with Brother Ricky Cash and also preaching. Our pastor, Bro. Bill Lee, will be here, too. We always look forward to his visits.

And Kimmy will be back! We’ve missed her and will be glad to welcome her home to Thailand.

In other news, we’ve had a struggle with the new Thai laws regarding visas. It took three trips to Immigration and many hours sitting and waiting, but we finally do have the new, one-year visas.

Busy days, but profitable ones, and many answered prayers lately. God is good, and we are thankful!

And I’m also thankful that I don’t have a headache, or diarrhea and vomiting, or a sore throat. To tell you the truth, I felt kind of puny after three days of loudly pronouncing illnesses!

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