Unto them a child is born

You may remember us mentioning our deaf friend A-Ju. During the nine months that we have lived in the village his family has been a constant support and have become good friends. Also during the last nine months, his mother has been growing steadily bigger.

This morning, A Do Za (A-Ju's father) came over and invited us to breakfast. As we walked to his home, we were wondering what the occasion was - assuming someone had come to visit. But, when we peeked our heads into his home, we saw Atsu Mi-Tsm (A-Ju's mother) sitting on a short stool holding a newborn baby girl. She had the baby sometime during the night in her home (a bamboo hut) with help from one of the village grandmas. When we asked her how she was doing she said "It didn't even hurt" (we told you these Akha women were tough).

Slowly, several village elders drifted in and we began breakfast. After a prayer of thanksgiving and blessing, Atsu Mi-Tsm took her chop sticks and touched each dish and then gave her baby girl a "taste". We then began eating (beginning with the mother, then from the eldest on down). During the meal, the woman who names the babies in our village asked Lori to name the baby. She refused, saying "I am not an elder". She then tried to get Paul and Salah (Pastor) A-Tu to name her, they also refused. Finally she said "Her name is Ma-Li (Mary)" and everyone said it was a very good name. Just like in America, all the grandmas took their turn holding baby Ma-Li. We finished breakfast and left the family to rest for the remainder of today. Tomorrow we will take mother and baby to the clinic for a check-up and vaccinations.

We are so excited and happy for our friends. We ask for your prayers for baby Ma-Li as her older brother and sister are both deaf and the family has also lost two children. Please pray also for us as we are taking care of two other children from the 8th through the 10th while their "foster mom" attends a church leadership meeting in Chiang Rai.

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