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  • Susan Brown

Wars, Birthdays, and Serving

The foosball table lay in a heap in the corner. Why was it disassembled? And where were the legs? Something prickled in the back of my brain. Where had I seen those legs lately?

A whoop from outside jogged that lagging memory. Danny had run past the window when I was washing dishes, brandishing what looked like a short pipe. The boys were playing war, or posse, or rival gangs or something. Something that involved sneaking up on each other and shooting it out. I had vaguely wondered what he was waving for his “gun.” Now I knew. It was the leg to the foosball table.

I went out to investigate and had to disarm the combatants. Andy also had a table leg, while Bang wielded the plastic picture easel I had last seen in the storeroom. It did look rather like a pistol when it was folded together. Jay fired a rifle made from the missing broom handle. Some things are the same the world over — and boys and guns are two of those things. At least I then had an idea for acceptable birthday gifts.

Both Bang and Andy had birthdays this past week. Andy turned 13 on Saturday and Bang was 12 on Tuesday. We had a joint celebration on Saturday since the birthdays were so close. After chores (from which the birthday boys were exempted) we went to the mall. Bang and Andy received extra spending money and shopped after playing video games. That evening we had all the staff and their families over for pizza and birthday cake and ice cream. I presented our gifts of new clothes and Nerf guns – the latter being received with noticeably greater enthusiasm. They were a success and target practice took over the living room for the rest of the evening.

The next day was Sunday and we got up early for a long trip into the mountains. We went to the village of Pa Sak 2 where our friend Guido is pastor. He’s a tiny guy, chubby and smiling. People tend to laugh at him, but Paul has discovered that he has a sharp mind. He’s one of the better students in the preachers’ training. He seems to be doing well as pastor and his church people like him and his preaching. He doesn’t have much help in his church, so he plays the keyboard and leads the singing as well as doing the preaching.

The road to this village is pretty good, comparatively speaking.  It was only when we pulled into the village that we got into trouble. The mud up the steep road was deep and slick.  We all got out of the truck, in case it should slide off the road, and Paul drove it through the mud and up the hill with no problem.  We slogged through the mud and climbed up the hill without much trouble, either. We were muddy, but at least nobody slid down.

Paul preached a good message, as usual, and, also as usual, we had many special songs both before and after the sermon. Paul gave out water filters here and demonstrated how to use them while I did medicine.

Usually the church folks serve us lunch, but not this time. I guess the pastor’s wife usually does the organizing, and Guido isn’t married – although he would like to be. We stopped at a restaurant on the way home, which was fine with us. Eating out is inexpensive here (if you eat Thai food) and many people don’t bother to cook. In fact, many homes don’t have kitchens.

Next week is a Buddhist holiday and the children will be out of school for three days. When they have a break, we try to get them home to see their families in the mountains. We don’t want them to forget their language and their culture. It’s our prayer that one day they will go back and be a

help and blessing to their people.

Please pray for Jay, our newest boy. His father was released from prison to come home to die. The visit next week is likely to be hard for Jay.

Since the children will be gone, I will be free to travel to Mae Ai with Paul and teach English to the preachers from Laos. I have missed doing that! Now that we don’t have live-in staff I am tied at home to look after the kids. We really need a place where we can have a home for the children and room for the preachers’ training. The Lord’s timing is perfect, and we are waiting on Him. Prayers about this are much appreciated!

I hear the front door banging downstairs and the sound of voices raised in greeting. The kids are home. Time to go down and supervise snacks and see how their school day went. We love these kids! We are thankful God has added each one to our family. He is good!

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