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  • Susan Brown

Sunday at Hoe La Bong

A nasty, oozing burn covered the top of the tiny boy’s foot. I couldn’t understand what happened to him, although the mother acted out a vigorous pantomime of his accident. I could tell, though, that the wound was serious and was bound to get infected as he ran around through the dirt and filth barefooted. The familiar helpless feeling overcame me. I’m not a doctor and have little medical training. I can hardly put a Band-aid on straight. But often I am all these folks have.

I had nothing in my medicine box for burns – not even bandages. The best I could do was to give cotton balls and Betadine to clean it and children’s paracetamol (Tylenol) for pain.

“Take him to the doctor if it gets infected,” I told his mother through the translator. I knew they wouldn’t take him until it became life threatening.

I resolved that burn cream and bandages would be added to my box before I “did medicine” in another village. And “the treatment of burns” was added to my list of questions for Dr. Les Walls who will be here to do real medicine for the folks next month. I’m looking forward to learning from him!

It will be just a couple of weeks now before the group arrives. Our son-in-law, Dr. Andrew Walls is coming to do dentistry in the villages – which is sadly needed! Please pray with us that the expensive equipment he is bringing will make it through customs without trouble. We have taken all the steps we know to do to make sure he is legal and approved, but that doesn’t always ensure that there won’t be problems.

Our daughter, Rebekah, and their three sons will be coming, too. They will be the first of our family to come to see us, and

we are beyond excited. The Smith family from their church will also come to help. We are planning a busy two weeks of dental and medical work and an English camp (think VBS with some English-as-a-second language thrown in.)

Meanwhile we are staying busy. We are visiting churches in the mountains every Sunday now. Last week we gathered in the bright pink building at Hoe La Bong. (They told us they chose the color because termites don’t like pink.)

Jacob (pronounced Ya-cob), the pastor, comes to the preacher’s training. He has a shock of

the thickest black hair I’ve seen. It’s a wonder to me how it all fits on his head. Sad to say, he has forgotten the English dialogue I taught in class. When I said, “Hello, how are you?” he looked embarrassed and could not respond. As long as he grasps Paul’s Bible teaching, though, I’m not dismayed.

I was so proud of Paul! He preached on the model prayer at Hoe La Bong, and was able to quote the verses in Lahu as he went along. It’s a difficult language, but he studies diligently every single day and is making definite progress. It’s harder than most languages because there is no language school, no online courses, not even a textbook, to help him learn it. Occasionally he has a lesson, but his teacher is in Mae Ai, a two-three hour drive away. He studies with the help of a Lahu Bible and a dictionary. If I had that much self-discipline I would be jabbering away in Thai by now. As it is, I limp along with baby talk and charades.

The kids were out of school Monday for Buddha day. We took them to the lake for an outing, but they weren’t allowed to fish. No one is supposed to kill anything on Buddha day. They biked and swam, though, and had a good time

Yesterday (Tuesday here) we had to make a quick trip to the Myanmar border. Every three months we have to cross the border and return to get a stamp on our passports. This keeps our visas current. Shops line the streets on both sides of the border, selling everything you can imagine — and some things you couldn’t imagine! This time I was able to find quite a few bargains. I found nice big baby blankets for a little more than $3 and smaller, but heavier, ones for less. I also found baby clothes and socks at a good price. I’m putting together bags for new babies to give out in the villages, and these purchases will help fill a number of bags.

Next week is preachers’ training in Mae Ai and the following week we will be in Chiang Saen for the training for the preachers from Laos. Then our guests arrive the end of that week and our busy time begins. Please pray for us, that the Lord will smooth out all the logistic difficulties, give strength to us and to our volunteers, and use our efforts for His glory. We love Him so much! It’s a privilege to serve Him here, and we are thankful.

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