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  • Susan Brown

Teaching, Training, and Travels

Late! I stumbled out of bed and began throwing on my clothes. The rice won’t be done in time, I thought frantically. They won’t eat without rice and I can’t send them to school hungry.

I tripped in my haste and stubbed my toe on the footboard of the bed. I jumped around holding my foot as pain sizzled through it. Suddenly I was totally awake…and I remembered. School is out. There is no hurry to get breakfast. I looked at the clock again as I rubbed my sore toe. 5:50. Not so late after all, but there is always a day full of tasks ahead of me, even in break time. Just as well to get up and get busy.

It’s been an unusually hectic time these past couple of months – which explains why this blog is the first one to appear in a while. Sometimes I’m too busy living life to write about it.

After Bro. Bill, Bro. Ricky Cash, and the Villandry’s left in January, we had just a few days before preachers’ training. I had the privilege of going with Paul that time while Kimmy stayed behind with the kids. I taught English, which was fun.

“Show me strong,” I called out to the group of 30+ men. With much laughter they flexed their muscles. “Strong!” they repeated. The guys are uninhibited and participate in class with childlike enthusiasm.

I also taught a class on stomach troubles – how to prevent them and to treat them. We often send medicines back with the men from Myanmar to distribute in their villages. I felt like it would be a good idea to teach them some of the basic medicine I’ve learned from the medical teams who have come to Thailand, and from the valuable book, “Where There Is No Doctor.” Stomach ailments are perhaps the most common complaints we hear, so that’s where we started.

It’s exciting to see these guys eagerly listening as Paul teaches and to hear of their zeal in reaching out with the Gospel. I was thankful for the chance to have a small part in this important ministry.

After preachers’ training we zipped into wedding preparation mode. Dress clothes for nine young people – five or six of whom have outgrown all their clothes and shoes — took a lot of time to assemble. We had the joy of helping with the wedding details, and the end product was lovely.

The day after the wedding, another set of guests from America arrived. Bro. Joe Head, who pastors the Winton Place Baptist Church in Cincinnati, came with his wife Carolyn, and Joshua and Sabrina Johnson. We enjoyed having them – but I fear their trip won’t go down in their memory as an unqualified time of joy. Sickness and accidents plagued their time with us and they experienced the Thai medical system from the inside. All but Sister Head made at least one trip to the doctor, and even she spent a couple of days laid up from a bicycle wreck.

In spite of setbacks, we still traveled to many villages and Bro. Head and Bro. Johnson preached through pain and illness. I believe the Lord sees service that is difficult and painful as a special offering to Him.  And they were a blessing to us, even though it couldn’t have been much fun for them. 

Next on the agenda came a trip to Bangkok for an educators’ conference for Accelerated Christian Education (ACE), the curriculum we use for our kids.Paul and I flew there and spent a day sight-seeing before the conference. I made a major error in pla

nning. I totally forgot that we couldn’t check into our hotel until 2 p.m. That meant we had from about 8 a.m. onwards to see Bangkok, with our awkward luggage in tow. That, the heat, and Paul’s tiredness curtailed our adventure in a big way. We did see the city from the sky rail and from a river tour. As a relaxing get-away, though, it was a bust. However, the conference I attended

was a blessing and it was fun to meet others Christians who are also involved in education here in Thailand.

Soon after we returned, there was the end of school rush as kids took tests and finished school projects. Some finished before others, so Andy left first (with medicine packed and double-checked). Then Jay and Bang departed. Molly and Danny stayed an extra couple of days to see William graduate.

And what a blessing that was! He is the first of our kids to complete high school. That diploma will open many doors for him. He is considering options for more education now,

perhaps at a nearby university.

Many gave to the education fund that enabled him to attend Payap Technical College (similar to a vo-tech school in America). Otherwise, he would have had to stop before graduating, as kids age out of high school at 20. Like most hill tribes kids, his education in the mountains was sketchy and it took hard work for him to catch up and finish, even though later than most. Thank you for investing in this life. We feel this young man is well worth the investment of time and money in his education. We are looking forward to seeing what plans God has for him in the future!

Now life is settling down — a little. There is still Thai class for me, visits to the villages every Sunday, preachers’ training next week, and school to finish up for Moses and Nora. Kimmy is dreading the day everyone leaves and the house is quiet. Me? I think I can handle it! Seriously, I know I will be ready and eager for them to come back and to start on a new school year.

Lots of unknowns are ahead.  We are still looking for a place to buy.  We found one place that looked nearly perfect, but a problem came up with the title and it fizzled before I could write about it.  But God is writing our story. All we have to do is wait and see what He has in store for us in the next chapter. He is good!

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