Many things have happened since I last wrote so I will do my best to summarize. As you may already know: coupled with the school's construction will be the building of a nurse's clinic to provide medical care for the Karen Villagers. Right now sick villagers are forced to walk about 12 miles (through the jungle covered mountains) to receive the most basic of medical care. However, many villagers die because they are too ill to make the trek or because they simply don't have enough money. Our clinic will provide the same quality of care for free, and will be located next to the new school. The nurse will be a Karen woman (already chosen) who will be trained for six months by one of the leading Doctors in Thailand. Somsak and I met with Dr. Wong last week where we discussed the training program and the type of care she will be able to provide upon completion. Needless to say, I am excited at what this will do for the health of the region and praise God for His faithful provision.
(Area where sick villagers currently have to travel)
I just returned last night from a week long trip to the villages where I completed the information gathering for the Child Sponsorship Program. My work consisted of picture taking and tying up any lose ends in the information profiles for each child. The weather was cold and rainy, which made daily work on the school nearly impossible. It also meant Somsak and I had to hike to each village because the roads were too muddy for the truck...this made for interesting walking conditions too :) However, the Lord was gracious and we were able to get everything done that we had scheduled. This trip was especially fun for me because a long-time friend from Minnesota was traveling through Thailand along with her three best friends, and they asked if they could come to Ma Oh Jo to see the work that was being done. We gladly agreed and took them on an adventure I'm sure they'll never forget. They were anxious to help wherever work needed to be done, and organized a variety of activities with the children. My friend is not a Christian and I've been praying for almost a year now that God would allow me to see her that I might share the Gospel...sure enough, He brought her along with three friends to Thailand! One day while we were finishing lunch they began commenting on the spiritual condition of the villages and how they had noticed a difference in the villagers that were Christians. This opened the door for me to present the Gospel and to answer any questions they may have...four hours later they were asking me what they must do to be saved...I didn't coax them into a premature decision but urged them to consider their spiritual condition, and to repent and believe upon Jesus Christ. I believe the Spirit has begun a work in their souls and that God brought them to Thailand for a reason...how grateful I am for such an opportunity to share God's glory in the face of Christ.
Getting out of the jungle took over six hours because of the muddy conditions. We got stuck more times than I can count and faced dangerous conditions throughout. However, the Lord had His hand upon the truck as always and guided us back to Chiang Mai late Friday night. Please be in prayer for the health of the villagers in the Ma Oh Jo region: We had to transport four elderly women out because of health problems...two related to malaria, and there were countless others that came to me suffering from fevers, etc, wanting to know if I had brought along a Doctor.
(Getting out of the Village...trying!)
I am now sitting in the ITDP offices where I just finished the final transcripts for the Child Sponsorship Program...I am VERY relieved and excited to be done early. I will be traveling around the city these next couple days with Mike Mann to meet with the coffee providers to see if we can find a better way to bring Hill Tribe Coffee to the States. After that I am off to a refugee camp on the Burmese border where I will stay a couple of days to see if there is any way we can help the Karen in that region. I am thankful for your prayers and the encouraging letters I receive on a continual basis. The Lord has stretched me in ways I could have never imagined this summer and has taught me to seek Him in all things. I have found comfort in His Word and have temporarily abandoned the reading of books...discovering that I spent more hours a day reading human authors than I did the Author of Life. I am thankful for all of you and look forward to having fellowship with you soon...
All my love,