On the Road Again
We have not mentioned it very much in our blogs, probably because it is not very pleasant to write about unhappy things, but there have been about 163 people that we have been missing a whole lot over these last 3 months...
However, after a long first trimester, a reasonably successful practice outing to Chiang Mai, and a surprise day off from working on the dissertation, we going home to our village for the weekend, armed with belated Christmas gifts for our village, and the permission of our baby doctor.
We can only stay for the weekend, as responsibilities surrounding the dissertation, teaching at the Bible institute and events at Akha Outreach Foundation require us to be back in the city for much of the next two months. However, we do hope to spend many of our off-weekends in the village over that span.
As mentioned, our schedule is very busy these next two months. The remainder of February will be spent working full-time writing and editing the dissertation, in early March we will have the graduation celebration from Akha Bible Institute, and during the second half of March we are scheduled to format and lay out the tables and figures to complete the dissertation, as well as taking part in some exciting events surrounding the sending out of a young Akha leader as he begins a new ministry.
We hope to be back in the village full-time for much of April and May (the Thai summer break) and are likely to spend most of June and July back in the city to help out with visiting teams from America, take birthing classes and give Lori some much needed air-conditioning before she has the baby somewhere around August 13th!
Despite the busy schedule, we are incredibly blessed that the responsibilities on Lori are relatively light in this season, enabling her to work when she can and rest when she needs to. Her health and the health of the baby is a high priority, and our AOF directors and Foursquare supervisors have really encouraged us to make this our priority. One way we hope to help Lori through this season is by taking on a helper.
Taking on a helper in the Akha cultural context is much different than hiring a nanny, a house cleaner or an assistant. Often, when a new baby is born to an Akha family, a cousin or relative comes to live with them. The family becomes responsible for the well-being of the helper and the helper basically becomes a member of the family.
We are a little apprehensive about taking on this responsibility, but feel that it will be a tremendous blessing. We have heard that one of the girls from our village is finishing school this term and wants to go to work, probably in Chiang Rai or Bangkok. We are hoping that she might be willing to come and live with us full time, helping out with the house, the baby, the Akha clinic and with our Akha language. She is bold enough to correct our Akha and to hold her own as an Akha in Thai society, so we think she would be a perfect fit for us.
We are going to talk with our village about it this weekend and will keep you informed as anything develops. Please join us in praying that the right situation works out.