Where, O Where Did the Last 4 Weeks Go?

Our goal with this site and these blogs is to keep you all frequently updated on our ministry, experiences, personal lives and general events here in Thailand. At best, we get up one short post a week, giving three or four glimpses into our lives each month. This is wonderful for us, because it serves as a record that we can (and have) review when we think back over the last two years. Some months, however, we allow too much time to pass and too many stories have gone by.

This has been one of those months.

So, we will not be sharing about the Chinese/Akha wedding with a Western twist, the trip to the handicapped school in Chiang Mai, the Akha clinic experiences nor the visits to our Akha aunt in the hospital. No, for this post we want to share three stories that are told in the following picture.

Three Stories

Esther

If you recall a few months ago we wrote about looking for someone to help us out with language, the house and the baby. Well, the girl standing in the far left of the picture is the answer to that prayer.

The girl we originally asked wanted to go work in Bangkok, and has since left. We thought that perhaps God had just closed the door and a helper was not going to work out for this season. But our friends in the village and our friends in the city kept encouraging us, saying that without the support structure of family in the States we were really going to need some help.

However, one of the girls from House of Joy had gone back to her village in Myanmar and told her cousin that we were looking for an Akha helper. After a couple of phone calls and a quick "interview" we had a helper, and a feeling of horror as we asked ourselves "Are we really ready for a teenager?"

Our fears were quickly put to rest however, when Esther came to live with us. She has Thai citizenship and can speak Thai well, but her education was in Burmese. She's a natural around the house and her Akha is spectacular. Surprisingly, she is fully literate in Akha and as we just finished our first formal Akha lesson in over a year, we are thrilled to be back into a learning schedule again.

We have also started her in a Thai adult education class once a week so she can eventually take the "Maw Hok" (kind of like a GED) to help her as she plans for her future.

We are amazed at God's timing in all of this, and when Curious George finally comes into this world he or she will be welcomed by our families, both American and Akha and an Akha Sister too!

Our New Truck

Continuing the idea of God's timing, and with thanks to the incredible generosity of all of our partners back in America and the missionaries who just moved back to America, we were able to purchase a wonderful 1990 Nissan pickup truck, whose nose you can see in the right side of the picture.

Transferring all the title and paperwork was less of a headache than we expected, taking only two full days in government offices. However, I do have a Thai driver's license and registration in my name to show for it.

It has been a real blessing and has already served the village as a "church bus", "ambulance / limo service" and "Akha clinic on wheels". There are a few upgrades we are looking into including a roll bar and a lift for safety and those great dirt roads, but we have been thrilled by the gas mileage, the ease of transporting so many people and the reliability.

The only thing we regret is that we don't know what to call it. Suzi was such a wonderful and natural nickname for our Suzuki (who, by the way, will continue her work among the Akha and AOF after a huge overhaul). If you have any ideas for the nickname of our new truck, please drop us a comment below - who knows, maybe we'll use it.

Hot, Tired and Hungry

This section should probably go in the baby blog, but the five little kids eating their lunch in the shade in the picture above is a great insight into our last four weeks. After a great second trimester, Lori is really pushing through tough times again and is having difficulty keeping meals down. The joy is that the baby is so strong, but we have had a number of days where Lori can only be out and about for a few hours at a time before needing to get back to snacks and Air Conditioning.

Because of this, and Lori's last trip to the hospital, we have cut back the length of our stays in the village, deciding not to stay more than three nights at a time until the baby comes. This has meant a number of trips up and down, but this pace of ministry seems to do the trick for this season.

If you made it all the way down here, thanks a lot! We'll try to update more often to keep these posts shorter.

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