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  • Susan Brown

New Year’s Celebration

I would have written sooner if it hadn’t been for the accident….

I got too close to the bed and accidentally fell in.  Jet lag won the battle today.  It’s bedtime, and I just got up after a six hour nap!

But apart from that pesky misstep, all has been well.  The trip was the easiest for me of all that we have taken.  I dozed a lot of the way and arrived with only partially paralyzed limbs.  Paul didn’t fare as well since he is never able to sleep on the plane and some spice or preservative they use in airline food invariably makes his joints swollen and painful.  We both survived, though, and were happy to land in Thailand.

Brother Anond and some of the men from the Bible school were waiting to pick us up at the airport around midnight last night.  It was so good to see their familiar smiling faces!  We arrived at the condo and fell into bed.  Then it was up early to go to the special New Year’s service at the children’s home.

And what a service it was!  About ten of the churches came and performed traditional La Hu tribal dances for us.  They beat their drums and played strange pipes while they did a line dance, stomping in rhythm.  The dances reminded me a lot of those we’ve seen at the Red Earth festival back home in Oklahoma. Their heavily embroidered and decorated La Hu clothing made a colorful sight.

Anond explained the meaning of the movements they made as they circled the large patio area in front of the dining hall.  “This movement means they are cutting rice,” he would say.  “Now they are putting rice on their heads to carry.”

After several dances and some hymns sung in La Hu, we had a special hand-washing ceremony.  One by one, the people came by and poured water on our hands.  Some poured from bamboo containers and others from pop bottles.  Each gave us a beautiful smile and the greeting “Aboo i jah” which means both “hello” and “thank you” as they filed by with their water.

This ceremony was done “to show honor” Anond told us.  We truly did feel honored!

Then came lunch.  We had a dish we haven’t had before.  It consisted of a very HOT pork soup over rice noodles.  Good – but the chili seasoning made it mouth-scorching. We also had papaya and apples, as usual.  The fruit here is wonderful. Then came some fried sticky rice with sugar for dessert.

After the ceremony we stopped by the new Macro store on the way back to the condo.  It’s like a Sam’s Club or Costco.  I think I’ll enjoy shopping there — but this time was a dud because the jet lag kicked in on about the third aisle.  I could not remember what I needed or why.  And I didn’t care.  Somehow I made it out of the store to the condo before falling fast asleep.  As a result, I have dish soap and celery, but not much else.  We ate the leftover snacks I brought for the plane trip for supper and called it sufficient.

Tomorrow we will go to the church service at Na Hui, which is nearby — about an hour or so from the condo. I’m glad, since Brother Anond’s truck is still in the shop.  The loaner car makes for a lot of togetherness with three of us in the back seat.

Already we miss our friends and family, but we are excited about the opportunities to serve here. Behind each of those smiling faces that filed past us yesterday, washing our hands, we saw a soul.  We are here for the Lord — and for them.

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