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  • Susan Brown

Learning, Teaching, and Traveling

I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. A young man we knew had a motorcycle wreck and, ready or not, was catapulted into eternity.

He was Jay’s sister’s boyfriend and often came with her to see Jay or to pick him up to take him home for a visit. He spoke little English, but conveyed to us that he was glad Jay was with us. They didn’t need to worry about him, because they knew we were taking good care of him.

I wanted to talk to this young man about the Lord, but his English and my Thai wouldn’t stretch to more than just basic conversation – if that. When I can speak better Thai, I will tell him about the Lord, I thought.

But there wasn’t time. And now it is too late.

Please pray for Jay, who took his death hard. He was, for all intents and purposes, part of Jay’s family. I am concerned for Jay’s sister, too. With a father in prison, a mother in a mental hospital, and her brother with us, she is all alone with her grief.   I would like to offer her a home with us, but there are difficulties and it probably wouldn’t be best. But we can pray for her and be ready to help all we can. She has finished high school and would like to continue her education. I think it would be good for her to have some goals in view for her life right now – something to look forward to.

Meanwhile, I am getting serious about learning Thai. My world is full of people just like Jay’s friend – people who don’t know the one true God and who have not heard the hope of the Gospel. I need to be able to talk to them!I have a new tutor who, unlike my previous tutors, is all business. If I don’t learn to speak Thai, it won’t be her fault! I just spent an afternoon on homework and trying to read the assignment she gave me. It’s tough!

William helped me some this afternoon. I shuffled through the cards I made up of vocabulary words from my reading assignment and pulled up a puzzler.

“What’s this word?” I asked. I showed him the card on which I had written “kawn” in Thai.

“I don’t know,” he said.   “I don’t think that’s a word.”

“Well, it’s in my reading lesson,” I said. I couldn’t find it in the long stream of letters – there are no breaks between words in Thai. “Here, you can find it faster than I can.”

“Oh,” he said, as he glanced over the sentences. “It’s ‘dawn.’ Dawn Muang is the name of the airport in the story.

The letter that makes the “d” sound and one that makes the “k” sound are almost alike. On one a tiny circle points to the left ด and on the other to the right ค. Sometimes my aging eyes can’t tell the difference. As you can see, it will take some significant work to get to the point where I can speak and read Thai.

The kids are advancing rapidly in English, though, and are picking up reading well. We have English class in the evenings four days a week.

Last weekend we went to the last Thanksgiving on the schedule and gave out the rest of the hats. The final total was 250 hats distributed. I didn’t keep track of the baby bags we gave out, but they are all distributed now, too. It’s been a great Thanksgiving season, but all of us were ready to stay home on Saturdays for a while. The long trips and busy days have all of us worn out – even the kids.

So when we learned that there was one more Thanksgiving after all – this one in a Lisu village – we weren’t too enthused. It was a three hour drive away and Duwangswan, the pastor, had also planned trips to three other villages where Paul could see the new mission works they had started. After some consideration, we decided I would stay home with the kids so they wouldn’t have to make the trip. Paul and Lek went – and came back encouraged and with some wonderful stories. He’ll be putting out a newsletter telling of the new villages and the exciting things happening there in the next few days. Maybe I’ll invite him to be a guest blogger!

We had services here in San Sai on Sunday. We were a small group – but we heard a good message and enjoyed a precious time of worship together.

The kids don’t have school today because December 5 is Father’s Day here in Thailand. Paul is planning to take the boys fishing and the girls and I will take a song tau to the city to do some shopping.

And I will be continuing to work on Thai. Paul is focused on learning Lahu and is doing well, but we both need prayers that we will be able to communicate freely with these precious people God has called us to serve. He is good – and I want to be able to tell everyone that truth!

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