Celebrations! We’ve had a lot. Thanksgiving season started in October and continued through December. We had many of those – sometimes two or three a week. I didn’t make it to all of them as traveling has become more difficult for me. That’s one of the hazards of growing older! I usually stayed home and ran the Learning Center during the week and went to a few on the weekends. I’m thankful Anna was able to go and take my place giving out hats and bags of medicine.
Then came the big celebration here at home. We had our New Years party on December 28. It was so good to see almost all of our former students who came back for the party, as well as our current students from the local Thai community and a nearby LaHu village. (See first picture, above.) We also were glad to have our friends, Dan and Eloise Stinchcomb with us. They were visiting their son and his family in Chiang Mai and came to spend a couple of days with us, bringing their grandson Liam with them. Liam was a good sport and participated in the LaHu games, which all involved big messes and lots of laughter. After games, we exchanged gifts, then had a special campfire meal.
My part was to provide dessert – and I spent several days cooking. The whole time I prepared I thought about my new kitchen.
I’m happy to say that my real, actual kitchen is already in the works. When we moved into our current building, we planned to eat with the kids downstairs in the dining room as we had always done. But Paul and I both have developed problems (all age-related!) that make it hard to eat the Thai and LaHu food that our cooks prepare. I’ve had to cook in our tiny kitchenette upstairs. It’s been a challenge – and many times I have been too tired for the struggle. We have a few gadgets -- air fryer, Instantpot, microwave -- but no stove. It’s just hard to cook without a stove! Also, it’s a challenge to find places to put everything. My new kitchen will have a real stove with an oven. And I’ll have lots of cabinets – plus a pantry!
We are remodeling the preachers’ training building into a small house for Paul and me. We are soooo looking forward to many aspects of the new place, including the fact that there are no stairs. Several have asked about my injury from falling downstairs. I had a painful foot for months, but now it hurts only when I don’t wear shoes. That was a bit of a problem because it’s not polite to wear shoes in the house, or in church. However, I was able to find some houseshoes with good support and it is acceptable to wear those indoors. Wearing the indoor shoes has helped a lot, as I am teaching and on my feet all morning. Now I’m very careful on the stairs!
The new dorm building for the preachers is coming along as well. The foundation is poured and it will be ready, we hope, for the preachers’ training after this one. The preachers are due to arrive on Sunday for the January training which will take place next week. They will sleep on the floor in the learning center classroom and Paul will teach them in the large room where we have church services and where I teach English classes. We are canceling classes for the week, as we couldn’t figure out how to manage both at the same time.
After the PT, the builder plans to put in a new septic system in the big ministry building while the equipment for digging is here for the installation of a new system in our house. The current one has been insufficient and a source of trouble since the building was built. We have to have it pumped out just about every month. We’ll be glad to have that headache gone! Meanwhile, we will all have to be out of the house for a couple of days. Paul has to take Anna to Chiang Mai for another visa appointment, so I will go along, too. The boys will all go home for the week.
Many have been praying for my mom, Dorthy Boyd. She has had a seizure disorder since her stroke. She’s had several small seizures, but recently had a major one. Usually she snaps out of them quickly, but this time she was out of it for more than 24 hours. She has had significant loss of function since then. She had memory loss and dementia from the stroke but knew us all and had been able to carry on conversations. She was just getting settled in a nice studio apartment in a memory care unit when the big seizure struck. It’s not very likely she’ll be able to return to her apartment, but we are keeping the room for another month to see if there’s a chance she will be able to bounce back enough to live there.
Right now she has been discharged from the hospital to skilled nursing/rehab. She’s bedfast and unable to feed herself or drink without assistance. She says words, but they don’t always fit in with the conversation. However, when I was able to have a video chat with her, my brother Mark held up the phone and said, “Mom, do you know who this is?” She said, “Of course. She’s our daughter.” That gladdened my heart! Evidently, she thinks Mark is his father, but you can’t have everything.
My prayer is that no matter what her abilities are now, that she be at peace and happy. It was so difficult seeing her frightened and unsettled when she had her stroke. If she is at peace, we can deal with that!
So far her progress has been minimal, but she continues to smile when I see her on camera and says, “I love you.” Thank you for everyone who has been praying for her, and for us!
And thank you for all who prayed and who gave for our building project! It has been a testimony to our Buddhist builder as she has seen the Lord provide funds for our new home through His people. Truly, His lovingkindness is something to celebrate all the time -- and forever!