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  • Susan Brown

Son Number Eight?

I slid into the car and took a deep breath. I had a complicated message to give in Thai to the Grab driver. Grab took over from Uber here in Thailand. I use them a lot since I’m terrified at the thought of driving in the crazy Chiang Mai traffic. I have basic directions down, but this time it was a bit more difficult.

“My daughter forgot her bag,” I said. “I need to give it to her at Nong Krai school. Then I need to go to Thai class near the Maya mall.” He smiled and nodded and said, “Nong Krai. Okay.”

Whew. That could have been worse. I always try to speak Thai with my Grab drivers. It’s good practice for me and usually they don’t speak English. Anyway, my Thai tutor always asks me if I talked to the driver and what did I say. This guy made it a challenge. He wanted to practice English.

“Your daughter a teacher?” he asked in English.

“No,” I responded in Thai. “She’s a student.”

He looked puzzled. “How old is she?” Still in English.

“Fifteen.” Still in Thai.

We continued in that way all the way to the school – with him persistently speaking English and obviously trying to figure out why this old lady had a teenaged daughter. I, just as persistently, spoke in Thai, trying to explain that she was my foster daughter.

Eventually we had it sorted out and he understood that we are raising Thai kids here.

“How many sons do you have in Thailand?” he asked.

“Seven,” I replied.

“I will be son number eight!” he declared. “I want to practice English every day.”

I’ve never had anyone offer to be adopted quite so blatantly, but I went along with it.

“Yes, you can be my son,” I said after he made several declarations that he wanted to be part of my family. “All my children go to church with me. Would you like to come to church this Sunday?”

His enthusiasm dimmed a bit. “I am a Buddhist,” he said.

“Yes, I thought you probably were,” I said. Even if he hadn’t had the little plaster figures on his dashboard and the good luck charms hanging from his mirror I would have assumed that he was probably Buddhist. After all, 98% of the people here are. “I’ve been reading about Buddha,” I said. “He said that everyone should search for the truth for himself. That’s what he did. He left the Hindu religion and founded Buddhism. I think Buddha would want you to come and seek the truth with us.”

He considered that and asked, “What time do you meet?”

I gave him a card and directions with hopes he would come.

He didn’t, but perhaps another person will invite him to church or present the Gospel to him. And perhaps he will remember the words from his almost-adopted mother and be a bit more open to hear.

Paul used Bang and Moses to illustrate the truth that Christ gave his people His righteousness.

We had a great service Sunday, even though my driver didn’t come, and neither did the young Buddhist lady I’ve been witnessing to. She’s another one who wants a mother and I hope by giving her love and encouragement she will come to meet the One who is the source of that love.

Paulo and Nayee and their two little girls were there, though. They are a Lahu family. Paulo is small, even for a Lahu man, but is musical with a resonant voice. He also plays the guitar well and always adds a lot to our song service. We always sing faster when Paulo plays the accompaniment. In fact, I don’t think I’ve sung “Holy, Holy, Holy,” at such a zippy pace before.

Jacaw and Amee, a young Lahu couple, were there, too. With all these and our family, our staff Asa and Ika, and Rusty and Jemelle, we had a full house.

We will be traveling to the mountains for Sunday services as soon as the roads

Paulo singing a special.

improve and when our interpreter, Brother Ai Don Kham, is stronger. He is facing open-heart surgery soon, and is allowed only a light workload. We will be a little sorry, though, because our group is growing and attentive. And it helps when we are talking about the Lord to have a place to invite people to learn more.

My Thai tutor who is a former Buddhist and is now a Christian, stressed to me that the Thai people have such a different view of the world than the Westerners that you can’t just hand someone a tract or tell them the Gospel one time. It takes a lot of time and patience to help them understand, because they are from such a radically different background. Our “chance” encounters could lead to open doors if we had regular services to invite them to with consistently.

But we are needed on the mountains, too, to help encourage and strengthen those struggling little flocks.

Meanwhile, the red tape surrounding our new property is unwinding slowly. A survey is needed before we progress much farther, and that has to wait until the corn crop currently growing on the land is harvested. We are here until school is out next March, anyway, since it is difficult to transfer kids mid-year (as we have already learned to our chagrin). We hope to rent a place in the area while we are building, and we can’t wait to get there and get started with our new outreach.

Jay, the only one of our prize winners I was able to capture on camera.

In other news, three of our four kids who are still in Thai school – Bang, Jay, and Molly – represented their schools in district competitions. All three came home with first place wins. Bang won first in computer (we have identified our future IT guy) Jay took first in Math, and Molly won first in handcrafts. Actually, she is so well known for her crafts that no one even signed up to compete with her! She helps her teacher make items to sell for their school, like leather key chains and fabric-covered journals.  She has been invited several times to demonstrate her craft-making at other schools.

Our homeschoolers did well, too. In their informal school English test, Nora placed first and Andy second in their class. Moses was in a different class and didn’t test that day.

The homeschoolers are still doing well, although their work is harder now that the work is more advanced. All three can read the KJV Bible with minimal help and can understand what they are reading.

Thai class is coming up, so time to wind up the blog and run. Please pray for me as I struggle to learn Thai. It IS a struggle, but I hope that I will get there before I’m so old that I have dementia and forget everything I learned.

Thanks for your faithful prayers and support!

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