the Vernon Journal

Serving the Kingdom in Southeast Asia

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Introducing Izabel

On October 13th at 6:55 am we welcomed Izabel Ruth into our family. She was born weighing 3.9 kilograms (8 lbs. 10 ounces) after about 2.5 hours of natural labor and childbirth. Both Izi and Lori are doing great. Thus far (she's only 5 days old as I write this) she's been a wonderful baby; she sleeps well, she eats well, and we've never seen her cry for more than 15 seconds. She's already using the toilet a couple of times a day as we are continuing with our EC practices. Abigail loves her little sister and making the life adjustment well. Our family has been staying in our city home in Chiangrai for all of October and we will probably remain here until the month is over as we adjust as a family to our new addition. We're excited to get back into our normal ministry pace, but have really enjoyed this time in the city preparing for Izi, spending time as a family, and working on our city-side projects.

We have been tumbl'ing images of Izabel over on her own blog - Our Izi Ruth - rather than fill up this blog with tons of kid pictures (actually we all have Tumblr blogs if you would like to follow our lighter and more personal posts: Izi Abi Lori Paul) but wanted to share a few pictures here as well:

Just Born Izabel RuthHappy Mommy and DaddySweet SleeperCalling our Parents in America with the Happy NewsIzi AngelI'm getting hungry!Sister KissesIzabel, Abigail, Paul and Lori VernonFirst time Abi held IziSister SnugglesTen Ticklish ToesSistersIzi going potty : 5 days oldYou can see a little bit of Izi's eyes as she works the potty

Abigail - Photo Sets and a Tumblelog

Follow Me on Tumblr!Abi has been sick for a couple of weeks, going from a head cold to severe vomiting to a mild fever. Those of you who follow us on Facebook (see the links on the right of this page) have heard these updates, but I know many of you only follow us on this blog and wanted to fill you in here as well. She's on the mend today and we are planning on going up to the village this afternoon if she's doing well after her nap. The silver lining in the last few weeks has been a really nice time as a family. A two-year old can sometimes be a handful, but it's so fun to watch her personality, vocabulary and comprehension of the world around her as it expands daily.

Abi is very active, but very sweet. Right now, she really loves to be doing whatever her mom is doing. Last night, Abi was beginning to feel better and decided she wanted to help Lori make a dinner - a very American "Breakfast for Dinner" actually.

Here are some images from their time together:

Abi happily cookingMother and Daughter, Side by SideBusy, Busy, Two Year Old!She's so content when she's with her mommyTaking a break from cooking to sample the foodPretty Little Cook

Later that evening (when mom decided she needed the whole kitchen to herself if she was actually going to get dinner made) Abi and I went out to look at the sunset... and to take more pictures of Abi.

Look at the sunset, Daddy!Messy face from cooking, but still pretty enough for a photoshootMaybe my favorite of her recent pictures.You've got a little something on your face.You're so silly, Daddy!Super pretty girl.Monochromatic sunset

Those of you who are looking for even more Abigail than you can find here on the Vernon Journal, take a look at our scrapbook postings of pictures, unedited videos, and other tidbits at Abi's Tumblr: Our Abi Hope. RYZ7Z3B2UT6U

..and the deaf will hear...

Many of you are familiar with the story of the two deaf children who live in our village. Those of you who have not heard this story, read a post here or here to fill yourself in. Anyone who has visited our village knows A-Paw, 8, is the younger of the two siblings. She is a beautiful and truly remarkable child. She is so smart and has a personality that just lights up a room. Her older brother, A-Wa, 15, is a handsome young man with a lot of confidence and potential, as well as a certain knack for getting into mischief.

Unlike many deaf children in America, these two have very little opportunity for "success". Without any method of communication (they have had very little exposure to sign language) they have no opportunity to succeed in school (the Thai / modern definition of success) and very little opportunity to find someone to marry (the Akha / premodern definition of success).

The, in June 2009, we were honored and blessed to host Kristin & Dave - who came halfway around the world just to be a blessing to this family. Kristin is an audiologist and is currently working for the Denver Public School system. They not only brought the expertise to diagnose these kids, but they also brought first class equipment and top of the line hearing aids which had been donated to give to this family!

It was an extraordinary experience to see these two children hear for the first time ever. Both children have very minimal hearing, so much so that if you were standing right next to them, yelling their names... they wouldn't hear you. But with the hearing aids they could hear even quietly spoken words!

After being fitted with her aids, we "spied" on A-paw as she was tried them out on the real world. She went outside, and was standing 50 meters from some of her friends who were playing with a bamboo stick by hitting it on the ground. As she heard the hollow, echoing sound of bamboo floating across the distance, her eyes grew wide and she looked back at us in amazement as if to say "Hey... that makes an incredible sound!"

We are so grateful for the opportunity that has been given to these kids. We know that the path will not be an easy one, as special needs education cases are largely ignored in rural Thailand. Also adding to the difficulty is the significant cultural and emotional adjustment as a child goes from a silent world to an audible one. We are hoping to get them some speech therapy (we might even do it ourselves if need be!) and help them to catch up in school, but these things will take time and patience.

Through this experience, however, we are again reminded and awestruck by the way our God lavishes his love upon the poor and the needy.

A-paw's hearing test,'Raise your hand when you hear the sound.'A-wa's new hearing aidsFitting A-wa's hearing aidsA-paw trying out the otoscope on her big brotherFitting A-paw's hearing aidsKristen & A-paw just hanging outDinner at A-wa & A-paw's family's house to honor Kristen & DaveGroup Photo: Kristin & Dave, Lori, A-wa & A-paw's Family

Eggplant Stir-Fry

I just thought I'd give you a “taste” of our life here. Lately, this is one of our family's favorite dishes. And it's one of the rare recipes that can be easily replicated in the United States. So, if your family is ready for something new on the dinner table, you can try it out and think of us! Ingredients: * ½ pound of ground meat (we use pork) * 3 large-ish eggplants * 1 small onion (I used yellow here, but we prefer purple) * 2 Eggs * Green Onion * Cilantro * 3 cloves of garlic * Thai Chili pepper (or similar) * Salt * Oil

Instructions & Notes: 1. This dish is served with rice. So it's best to start your rice first, because it will take 15-20 minutes. (In other words... DO NOT use Minute Rice! Learn how to cook rice here.) 2. Cut the eggplant into large pieces. Boil with the eggs for 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally. When finished, drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside. *Note: For some reason we like green eggplant best. Purple seems to be more watery and have less flavor, but I don't even know if green eggplant is available in the U.S. 3. Chop the onion, green onion and cilantro. Set aside. 4. Prepare garlic & chili peppers. We use a mortar and pestle, but a garlic press or any number of kitchen gadgets would work fine, I'm sure! *Note: Add chili peppers to suit your family's taste. We use about 3 to achieve “medium” spicyness... but it's all subjective, so start slow. 5. Get your wok (a.k.a. “pan”) nice and hot. Add oil, garlic, peppers, meat and onion. Stir-fry until meat is browned. 6. Usually, by this time, my boiled eggplant has cooled off enough to handle. So, remove the meat from the heat for a moment and chop the boiled eggplant. 7. Now, add your chopped eggplant to the meat mixture in the wok and stir-fry. It should get a little mushier and a little browner when it's done. Add salt to taste (approximately ½ to 1 teaspoon should be about right.) 8. Reserve a small handful of the chopped green onions & cilantro. Add the rest of the onions & cilantro to the wok and stir-fry for another minute or so. 9.Transfer to your serving plate, and garnish with sliced boiled eggs and remaining green onions and cilantro. Serve with rice.

Green EggplantCut into large piecesBoil with 2 EggsYellow Onion, Cilantro & Green OnionChop onion, cilantro & green onion. Set aside3 cloves of garlic & 3 Thai chillisPrepare garlic & chillisStir-fry meat, garlic, chillis & onion.Chopped eggplant.Finished product!Yum!

Vacation Bible School 2009

April is summer break here in Thailand, so this year Paul and I decided to do Vacation Bible School Camps for couple of the Akha villages in our area. While we played games, sang silly songs, ate snacks & did crafts, the highlight, for me, were the teaching times. The challenge of, as our old pastor used to say, "taking the cookies off the top shelf," or simplifying a Biblical Truth so that everyone (kids included) can understand it, was exhilarating. And, of course, doing it all in the Akha language made it even more exciting when I looked out and saw a glimmer of understanding dawn on those little faces. However, I think one of the best stories came from a moment when the kids where having a hard time understanding...

One of the teachings we did was based on the story of the Lost Sheep in Matthew 18. We talked about how important each person is to God and that God loves everyone and seeks a relationship with everyone! After the teaching, we split the kids up by age groups to do the craft and work on the memory verse for the day. I was working with the older kids (age 9-13) and we were learning a separate but related sheep verse, John 10:27, 28. After repeating the verse several times, I asked the kids if they understood what it meant. They all stared back at me blankly (not even a glimmer of understanding!)

As I struggled to find the right words to explain this metaphor to kids who had never seen sheep, one of the kids piped up and asked a village grandpa (who was there repairing our roof from the storm the previous night and seemed to be enjoying eavesdropping on our little lesson) if he could explain the verse. Sure enough, he had the perfect illustration! He explained, "You know that if a chicken wanders off, and it's owner goes looking for it, the owner doesn't only look with her eyes, but she calls 'Ku Ku Ku'. And the chicken knows the sound of its owners voice and will come running when it hears its owner calling. We can know God's voice just like that chicken!" Simultaneously, the kids all had an "Ah-Ha" moment! Three cheers for Grandpa! This is what I love about living in a village; nearly everything is done with a little help from our friends!

In the end, we did a VBS in three different villages and ministered to about 90 kids (not to mention many parents and grandparents who hung around to enjoy the fun!) This was the first year we have done this and we were really pleased with it's success; I'm sure it will become a yearly tradition!

Red light, Green light.Rice sack races!Duck, Duck, Goose!Lining up for Snack Time!Silly Songs!Lori Teaching the Wordless Book LessonAkah coloring sheets!Craft time: Cotton ball sheep!Everyone gathered under the village hut to hear the lesson.

Kissing Cousins

Abi and her cousin Sem couldn't be more different. She is energetic, outgoing and a talker. He is mellow, easygoing, and pretty quiet. Abi is determined to do everything Sem does, and play with everything he plays with. Sem is determined to get away from Abi. After a few days, they have gotten a little more used to each other - and we have learned that sometimes we have to take Abi (by herself) to the local park so Sem can play quietly by himself for a while.

Sem is really sweet, and a great eater. Abi is learning from him to enjoy her food a little more, while Sem is learning from her that interaction with other kids has its place.

We have some pictures of their first few days together, playing together with Sem's Opa Gerhard at Jeremy's baseball game. Abi and Sem enjoying a Strawberry Cheesecake (look at the ecstasy on his face!), and some cute ones of the two of them in their Sunday best.

Playing with Opa Gerhard at the baseball game.Abi is wondering whether she wants any more Strawberry cakeSem is in heaven when he is eating food.Sem is not liking having Abi this close.Which one of you is enjoying this?Kissing Cousins. Isn't that hat adorable?

New Zealand Medical Team

We always welcome guests with medical expertise who can assist us with our Mobile Clinic and help us broaden our medical knowledge in the process! Our recent medical team from New Zealand was no exception; the team consisted of 8 medical students and 1 medical doctor. They were scheduled to be with us for 6 nights and we had planned to do 4 clinic days in 4 different villages. Unfortunately, due to Abi's hospitalization we had to cut our time short a bit, which left us with only 2 full days available for clinics. However, through the teams hard work, we managed to squeeze in clinics at all four villages and we ended up treating over 150 patients!

Three of the four clinics we did were especially exciting for Paul & I because they were in villages not associated with our organization. As is the case in much of the world, sometimes, here in Thailand, church groups have trouble getting along.Unity among Christians and Christian organizations is one of the areas that Paul and I really have a heart to see improve among the Akha. So, in providing a "no strings attached" clinic, we hope to not only bless the individual receiving the medical care, but to build relationship with village and church leadership which might remind them that the body of Christ can still function even outside of denominational affiliation!

January Travels: Bangkok, Hat Yai & Mae Salong

In January we were blessed to have my (Lori's) parents in country for a visit. Their arrival coincided with the Grand Opening of the new Foursquare church and ministry center in Bangkok. We flew down to meet them in Bangkok and while there took the opportunity to see a few sights. Can you believe that this was their fifth trip to Thailand and they had never been to the Grand Palace! (We must not be very good tour guides, eh?)

After a few days in Bangkok, we headed down to Southern Thailand for a few days at the beach! We ended up staying in Songkla (just outside of Hat Yai) for 3 nights. Our little hotel was right on the beach and we had such a nice relaxing time!

Esther (who has lived with us for almost 2 years now) and one of her friends came along as well. Neither of them had ever flown in a plane or seen the ocean, so it was exciting to be with them as they experienced these new things. It was also Abi's first time seeing the ocean (Although, it certainly wasn't her first time on the plane... she's been on nearly 30 plane rides thus far and she's not even two yet!) and, of course, she loved it! (Some photos of her at the beach are bound to show up on the baby blog sooner or later. So stay tuned!)

After we made it back up north, we all headed up to the village for about a week. My parents were troopers, braving the cold showers and hard beds with ease. We stayed pretty busy pouring a concrete pathway and building a deck as the finishing touches to our "new" village home. My dad, the builder, loved getting his hands dirty, working alongside the Akha men and noticing all the differences in how things are done here. And my mom, (not so keen on getting her hands dirty) was the resident baby sitter and kept Abi and her village friendsoccupied and out of harms way.

Mom & Dad... thanks so much for coming! We can't wait for your next visit!

Akha Women's Retreat - 2009

In January, I had the honor of participating in the annual AOF Women's Retreat. While any women's retreat is a blessing and allows for the women to "get away from it all," this is especially true for Akha women who labor from morning til night, working in the fields, carrying water and firewood, cooking the meals, and hand washing the clothes & dishes! My role in the event was mostly "observer" with a little bit of "translator" and "photographer" thrown in. For one of the sessions, we were blessed to hear from an American friend, Marlene. Having been a family counselor for many years, she shared out of her expertise about the different stages in a woman's life. This is an important topic for Akha women, because in traditional Akha culture it's generally considered taboo to talk about things like menstruation or menopause, which often leaves women unprepared and scared when natural changes occur. In any case, I was elected to translate for this session.

Although I've been here for nearly 4 years, my language is not what you would call "microphone worthy". So I stumbled through the session saying things like "Do you understand me? Did I say that correctly?" and "How do you say _________?" It was like being tossed in the deep end and told "Sink or swim!" While moments like this are difficult, for sure, I'm grateful for the opportunity to step up to a challenge and find that, even if I can only doggy paddle, at least I didn't drown!

My other, less challenging, job was to take pictures during one of the craft times. My mission was to capture a picture of every woman for the slide show scheduled for the final night. As an added bonus, I got to witness the skilled craftsmanship of nearly a hundred women making traditional men's headdresses. Take a peek at the pictures to see for yourself!

Lori & MarleneAkha Women listeningAkha women sewingUsing straw to make an Akha headdressTwo Akha women sewing an Akha headdressChicken feathers used for decorationAkha woman with man's headdressAkha HeaddressesGroup photo

Abi's Time in the Hospital

Well, Abi has been home from the hospital for about a week and a half and she is certainly back to full health! If it's possible, it feels like she is healthier and has even more energy than before! The final diagnosis was "food poisoning," though we're not sure where she was infected. By the time we got her to the hospital, her potassium levels were depleted from all the vomiting and diarrhea and she was quite dehydrated as well. They treated her with IV electrolytes and antibiotics for three days.

Everything went pretty smoothly. Our normally very active little girl was generally pretty content sitting in her hospital bed watching Sesame Street on the laptop. Even being tethered to the IV was not nearly as difficult as we anticipated. We explained to her that her hand was drinking the water in the bag, so she would hold her IV hand up to her mouth and "sluuurp". (So darn cute!) In fact, she became so accustomed to having the IV pole follow us around everywhere that she actually cried when they were wheeling it away!

All that being said, the time certainly had it's difficult moments as well! The worst being the several times they had to draw blood and/or insert the IV. To begin with they had to swaddle her to keep her immobilized, which she absolutely hated. Then, her tiny veins were apparently impossible to find so the nurses had to poke her and "dig around" in multiple locations to find a suitable vein. Meanwhile, Abi screamed and cried at the top of her lungs! And to top it all off, the whole process always left looking nasty looking bruises on her arms and legs as reminders of the traumatic experience!

The other difficult thing was the matter of sleep. Abi is really not a very good sleeper to begin with, so the constant flow of nurses in and out made it pretty hard for her to sleep. The first night she woke at 2am. When 3pm arrived and she hadn't slept for more than about 45 minutes, we decided to ask the doctor for some sleeping medicine. Boy, did it do the trick! She slept like a rock from about 4pm until midnight. She woke up, went potty, had some dinner, took a walk around the ward and then slept again from 2am to 8 am. (Without a doubt, this was the BEST nights sleep I've had in 2 years!)

All in all, we're thankful for God's healing hand and for the availability of good health care in Chiang Rai. And, of course, we appreciate the prayers of so many during this tough time!

Abi looking unhappyAbi wathing TV with Daddy Abi on the toiletAbi DrawingAbi Riding on a reindeer toyAbi and LoriAbi and Lori

Abi: 12 Months

Well, it's time again for another Abigail baby book entry! Luckily, we're still in month 12, so it's a bit easier to remember/observe all of her little tricks! We're really loving this time; she's such a busy little girl and it's a joy to watch her learn.

Took her first steps: 3 days before her 1st birthday. Abi Likes: Animals. You name it, dogs, cats, horses, cows, chickens... she loves them all! She's even developed her own animal "call"... she makes this wierd coughing/gagging sound. We have no idea how she came up with it, but she fervently believes this is the way to get animals to come. Abi Dislikes: Being restrained in any way, shape or form! Diaper changes come to mind; she absolutely hates to be stuck on her back against her will! Even hugs and snuggles from Mom and Dad are usually met with unhappy screams and an arched back. Needless to say, she is already quite opinionated! Favorite toy: Clothes or a dish rag. Pre-walking, she could entertain herself for 20 minutes or more with just a pile of clothes, "sorting" and "folding" them. Now as a walker, she loves to carry around a pair of pants or a dish cloth, all the while "trying it on" by tucking it under her chin or wrapping it around her neck like a scarf! Favorite Snack: As much as we hate to admit it, Abi's favorite snacks are cheap little (unhealthy, I'm sure) squid flavored snacks that we get for a baht a bag in the village. Of course, we always have plum tomatoes in stock and she loves to chomp on a whole one. She also likes Cheerios and goldfish, but since those are "American" imports she gets those a little less frequently. Favorite Foods: Abi's a great little eater and rarely turns down anything (unless she does so for reasons of boredom.) She loves spicy foods and even if her eyes are tearing up, she'll still ask for more! Introvert or Extrovert? Hmmm. Extrovert... hands down! She loves people and becomes friends immediately with everyone we meet, from co-workers to the lady who sells us khao soy. Whenever someone leaves, she simply *has* to say good-bye. Much crying ensues if a proper good bye is not observed! Also, she's totally into kids right now. Whenever she sees another child she gets excited and wildly signs "want want!" Akha Language: Her first word was "mam-mam" which is Akha baby talk for "food" or "eat". She's totally figured out this eating thing. Where ever we go, she's constantly pointing to the food on the shelves or in peoples hands proclaiming "MAM-MAM!" She also says "tsa-tsa", short for "La tsa tsa ma", which is a greeting you say when shaking hands. English Language: As I mentioned earlier, Abi loves animals, and her favorite, by far, are dogs so, appropriately, her second word was "dug-dug". She can also say "all done"... well it's really more like "ahh-duh"... but it's still pretty darn good for a 12 month old! Favorite Game: Peek-a-boo. She loves to stand at the doorway and peek her head around and yell "BAA" at whoever is inside. (The Akha say "ba" instead of "boo".)
Abi's Birthday CakeAbi at her birthday partyAbi with her stuffed bearAbi with a cabbage leaf hatAbi helping outAbi's Dirty bottomAbi and Mi-ByaAbi with a puppy.Abi in pigtails

How to Take a Village Shower

Recently I've been thinking about how much you (our beloved readers) still don't know about our lives in Thailand! Even after three years of blogging, we haven't begun to scratch the surface of all the interesting things we see and do on a daily basis. So, I'm hoping to start blogging a bit more about everyday topics (in addition to the special events and stories that we already try to post) to help help you better understand our lives and ministry to the Akha. I've often been asked how I bathe in the village, so I thought I'd give you a step by step tutorial on the process! When I first arrived in the village, I had no idea how to shower at the public wells and had to walk about a mile to our Akha mom's house to bathe in her indoor bathroom. Luckily, some of the young women in the village took pity on me and taught me all the ins and outs of bathing modestly in public! Of course, with our new house (We promise a video tour of the finished house is coming soon!) we have an indoor bathroom, so indoor bucket showers are also possible. However, I actually enjoy being outside and have become quite accustomed to showering like this, so I still prefer sarong showers (weather permitting).

Remember to click on the pictures below in order to read the captions and view the full size photo.

Shower SuppliesBamboo towel rodWashing my feetWashing my hairPutting my hair upSarongGetting WetWashingRinsing offFixing the PVC pipeWashing my faceReaching for my towelChanging sarongsTalking with my friendWalking up the hill

Abi: 6-8 Months

Abi just turned 11 months old, so I figured it was about time that I finally post her 6-8 month photos that have been sitting on my desktop awaiting a blog of their own. Also, since this blog is really our digital equivilent to a baby book, I thought I'd share a few milestones and interesting tid bits about Abi's life during those months:

Favorite toy: Other than big people toys (cell phone, laptop, mouse, remote, etc.) which she's not really allowed to play with, she loves the foam letters in the ABC puzzle mat, and also she loves these squirter ball toys that we got in four packs from the dollar store! Her first two teeth showed up when she was: 6 months & 10 days old Her biggest fear: the blender! Biggest hurdle in life: huge gag reflex... even just a pacifier can make her vomit! First foods: Rice cereal, mashed pumpkin and tomatoes and cucumbers in a mesh feeder. Nicknames: Boo, Tomato head, Frog Face, sweetie, sweetheart, sweet thing (or any other variation on sweet-something that happens to come to mind!)Of course, her Akha name is Yeh-mi, but all of our Akha friends have different nicknames for her too, including Bu-Tsa (pretty girl) and Bu-ga (Loved Girl) or just A-mi (Girl). She crawled for the first time when she was: 7 months & 13 days old Teeth #3 & #4 popped through when she was: 8 months & 10 days old
Abi playing with a remote controlAbi chewing on a green beanAbi eating frozen pumpkin cubesAbi exploring the grassAbi Smiling!Abi playing in the waterAbi chewing on Paul's earLori and AbiAbi cryingAbi with sudsAbi chewing on a toyA snuggle moment with dad

The Satterfield Dream Wing and an Akha Doctor

Last Saturday AOF had a monumental celebration to dedicate the new classroom / future radio studio building as well as to recognize Aje for the completion of his Doctorate. Over a thousand Akha from around Northern Thailand, Christian and non-Christian alike, came to join in the festivities; and all the Satterfield girls were here for four days to celebrate with us as well. The event was so much fun (I'm serious, we had a blast!) that I only snapped a few shots at the very beginning and during the "formal picture taking time", but here are a couple of moments captured throughout the day:

The Newly Dedicated BuildingDedication of the Satterfield Dream WingCutting the RibbonCutting the RibbonCutting the RibbonThe Graduate poses after the celebration

We had a great evening, too, but I'll leave that story for Lori to share that with you in our Baby Notes.

Unless the Lord Builds the House

A team from Faith Bible Chapel has come out for a short-term missions trip. They are a great group and we have enjoyed spending some time with them.

Last week we went with a number of them to an Akha church here in Chiang Rai and at the beginning of this week we brought them down for a construction project in Wiangpapao (about 1.5 hours southwest of Chiang Rai). They were great workers and, partnering with the Akha from the village, were able to pour the foundation footers and floor for the new church in two days!

Lori was obviously not allowed to do any work, so we stationed her at the Akha Clinic and behind the camera. Here are some of the moments she captured:

Concrete Finish WorkBucket BrigadeWorking out the DetailsOne Bucket at a TimeWhistle while we workWork Faster!Using Bamboo in CementMixing Cement by HandHaving FunA little dirt never hurt anyoneSilas joins inThe Last Bucket!

The Akha Wedding

The Akha Wedding ceremony is a long process, beginning in the wife's family village and ending in the husband's family village. The big "wedding" event occurs in the husband's village with the "Wife Celebration". There is a lot to be told about this event, and for Lori and I there is still a lot to be learned about this event, but today I just want to share some pictures of a young Akha bride and groom from a wedding ceremony in our village. Specifically, I want you all to see the long, involved process that is the donning of the traditional Akha headdress and attire.

An Akha Bride An Akha Bride An Akha Bride An Akha Bride An Akha Bride An Akha Bride An Akha Bride An Akha Bride An Akha Bride An Akha Bride An Akha Bride Putting on the Akha Headdress Putting on the Akha headdress Putting on the Akha Headdress Putting on the Akha Headdress An Akha Groom The Groom's Family An Akha Bride and Groom The young Akha Groom The Young Akha Bride

Beautiful, is it not? We were honored to take pictures for two weddings in our village just before Lori became sick, and promised to put together a video slide show of the pictures for both couples' families. We are planning to head back to the village this weekend to give out the finished videos.

It is a strange world the Akha live in today - they sit on dirt floors in their bamboo huts and watch family wedding videos on their televisions. Talk about an ancient-future experience.

2007 Graduation Gallery

This has certainly been an exciting month for us. Between visa problems, guests, graduations and a new computer (hurray!) we have put a lot of miles on poor little Suzi with three trips each to Mae Salong, Mae Sai and Chiang Mai this month. It's our belief that God wanted us to have these 33 hours of driving together as a lasting memory of "how things were" before we have kids.

I had promised some pictures of the ABI graduation and have also added some pictures of the graduation of our pastor from Phayao Bible College.

As you can see below, Dr. Paul Lewis was in Chiang Rai for the graduation. As the original transcriber of the Akha language and the original translator of the Akha Bible, he receives and incredible outpouring of love and respect from the Akha people. What was most incredible to us, however, was his flawless Akha. His accent is flawless, he truly speaks like a native Akha, as we are so often reminded by our Akha friends. Oh well, maybe in 50 years we'll speak that well too.

As we have come to expect, the graduation at House of Joy was a spectacular event. Approximately 1,000 Akha from all over the region came down and enjoyed hearing from Dr. Lewis and Dean Fraise, watching choreographed dances, and listening to the spectacular choir led by Salama Bu-Zi. The graduation in Phayao was also a lot of fun for us, especially because six of our friends from our village came down to celebrate the graduation of the Mae Salong pastor.

Dr. Paul Lewis shares with the AkhaThe AOF Choir sings to a full houseThe GraduatesU Lo Akha women in full headdress enjoying the festivitiesThe House of Joy DancersThe Cutest Girl in the CrowdDean and Mrs. Fraise with an Akha Salama (Pastor)Paul and Lori pose with all the Lo Mi Akha womenThe Phayao DecorationsOur Akha Grandma came down for the Phayao GraduationOur Akha Mom also came down for the Phayao GraduationOur Pastor and his FamilyOur Pastor and his Cousin

The celebrations continue as this month three pastors will be sent out as missionaries to reach the Akha who have never heard the gospel. Please hold these men up in prayer as they represent the beginning of an exciting new era in the Akha Church.

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