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  • Susan Brown

Giving Thanks

I awkwardly folded my legs under me on the bamboo floor. Definitely should have picked a fuller skirt to wear today.

However, a little tugging of material and adjusting of knees not accustomed to floor sitting and I was set to enjoy the Thanksgiving meal on the short bamboo table before us. As usual, we were treated like royalty and given the best our hosts had to offer. In this remote village we often had squirrel  — or some other small animal which we called squirrel. Today, though, we celebrated the village Thanksgiving ceremony with fried pork.

It was December 25, but for us it was the last of the Thanksgiving services. Each village picks a day to give offerings of their crops and to celebrate with worship services, singing, and feasting. In Hoe Dua we had the last one of the year, and it was a good one.

The others were a blessing, too. We were invited to a Thanksgiving nearly every week for the last couple of months.

We traveled one Friday to a village where we had not been before. Luka, one of the preachers Paul is training, recently began pastoring there.

That week we had guests with us, Bruce and Juls Boydstun. We have a bad habit of putting our guests to work when they

visit, as Bruce and Juls found out. They cheerfully traveled the tedious journey through the mountains with us and volunteered to help as we did medicine after the church service. Paul showed Bruce how to take blood pressures and Juls handed out the vitamins and soap we give to each of our “patients.” We also gave out Bible story coloring books and crayons.

We had a few of the clothes left from those donated by The Door in Three Rivers, Oregon. I pulled those out, and they disappeared quickly into eager hands.

We usually give hats, but they ran out before we got to the end of the season. We had only baby sizes to give at the last village and didn’t bring any home. I’m taking a break from hat-making to work on other projects, but I guess I’ll have to start soon crocheting hats for next year.

The Thanksgivings are finished, but the opportunities keep coming. Next month it will be New Years’ celebrations. In these we tend to see more traditional customs, like hand-washing and tribal ceremonial dances. Maybe I’ll get out my Lahu dress and wear it.

Those last until February. In March and April we have our English/Bible camps in the mountains, which is like a VBS with some English teaching thrown in.

Unless we are moving at that time. We are having trouble with a neighbor (American, unfortunately) who complains of the noise our kids make playing basketball and soccer in our yard. He has called his landlord, complained to the neighborhood association, and threatened to sue our landlady, in spite of our efforts to placate him. We tried taking the kids to the neighborhood soccer field instead, but were informed we were not allowed to use it because the noise of the soccer playing bothered the people nearby! We are of the opinion that if the sound of soccer bothers you, you shouldn’t buy a house by a soccer field. However, we don’t want to cause problems.

We need to move to a place where there is more freedom for the kids to be kids. We would also like to be closer to Paul’s preachers’ training. We truly believe the Lord is using these folks to make us ready to move from our lovely home to the next phase of our journey. Our lease is up in April, so we may be moving shortly. Prayers about God’s clear direction for this will be greatly appreciated!

And, as this Thanksgiving season draws to a close, we would like to say “thank you” to all of our supporters. Many pray for us faithfully and give generously to support the work we do. Those donations feed our children and provide their education, buy the medicine we give to the needy and allow us to help the brethren who are suffering. And, of course, it provides the means to do what God called us here to do – to share the Gospel and to train the preachers to be good shepherds to their flocks. We appreciate you and thank God for you!

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