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  • Susan Brown

Serving God — Exciting or Not

The light-weight blanket dripped over the edge of the top bunk as if it was trying to make up its mind whether to slide down or stay on the bed where it belonged.

I sighed. An unmade bed again. That was two cards I would have to take from the errant owner of this bed. I hate to be a meanie, but there is no way I can keep up with a household of ten people –soon to be twelve – by doing all the housework myself. Besides, it’s part of my job to train these kids in good habits and to teach them to be faithful diligent workers. We have to have rules.

Enforcing those rules is the part of my job I dislike the most.

It helped when I switched from nagging and lectures to a system of consequences. They each receive eight cards a week. They can exchange those cards for time watching tv or playing on the computer or iPad. If they don’t do their jobs or break the rules in some other way, they lose a card. Twice making the same infraction, they lose two cards. This system has been much more effective than nagging and losing my temper.

A check under the beds and in the bathroom and I was through with the spot check of the boys’ rooms. Not bad, overall.

It had been a quiet week. Usually, when Paul is gone to preachers’ training, something breaks, leaks, or goes dramatically wrong. This week was uneventful, which was fine with me!

For several months I had gone with him to teach English. That gave Paul a break from the intense teaching he does all day long, and I love to teach. I enjoy getting to know the guys in whom Paul is investing his time and energy. Now, though, we don’t have anyone to stay with the kids, and I am committed to teach Moses, our newest boy, in English during the day every day.

But that’s life as a missionary. Sometimes it is exciting with trips over dangerous roads to remote villages to share the Gospel and give clothes, water filters, and medicine to precious Christians in need. Sometimes it involves teaching men eager to learn and to take their learning back to their villages, which are inaccessible to us.

And sometimes it means staying home and dispensing discipline to kids who don’t make their beds or put away their laundry, and who, for now, think you are picky and mean. You do the job the Lord gives you, the exciting ones and the dreary.

Paul came home safe and sound on Friday.

“How was the training?” I asked.

“Great!” he answered. “We had a good group — about 25 men from Thailand and Myanmar.” His clear blue eyes were tired, but alight with enthusiasm. “They were responsive and asked good questions. But I’m sure tired. I taught about eight hours every day, full steam.”

He dropped his bag on the floor and collapsed on the bed. “It was different in this location. No beds. We slept on mats on the floor. No western bathrooms. It was a challenge using a squatty potty all week. No shower. I had to wash by dipping cold water from a barrel and pouring it over me. The hardest part was having no hooks to hang towels and clothes while I was washing. It took a real juggling act to hang on to clothes with one hand and pour water and wash with the other. Impossible not to get your clothes wet. But they dried.”

Well – maybe staying home wasn’t as tough as I thought. Paul wasn’t phased by the difficulties, though. He is passionate about teaching those preachers sound doctrine and by extension, strengthening the churches.

Prayer requests:

We have a young lady who is possibly coming to live with us next week. Please pray with us for wisdom. We want just the right person. God alone knows the future and the plans He has for each person. We want to listen and have discernment about who should fill that one spot we have open.

Plans are moving ahead to open our ACE School of Tomorrow Learning Center. I will attend training next month and we hope to be official in August. We will only have our two students, but it’s a start. Next year we will add three of our kids who will be turning 15 – the minimum age for the informal school they will attend one day a week to get their Thai diploma.   When the Lord provides a permanent place, we will apply for a children’s home license so that we can take more kids. Please pray that the Lord will direct and smooth out the difficulties before us.

Please pray that the men Paul so diligently taught would take that teaching to heart.  We long to see the people in the villages blessed by the truth and the Gospel taken to many more villages.

God is good, and we are so blessed to be able to serve Him here – on exciting days and dreary ones!

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