Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Happenings in Baan Nam Khem - John's B-Day - and More

Hello Everyone! Pictures below!

It’s been way too long since I’ve written! We got back from Baan Nam Khem about 4 days ago. Right after we got back we had to go and do our border run. For those of you who don’t know what a border run is – we are on a 30 day tourist visa, so every 30 days we have to cross the border and come back across to get our passports stamped and a new 30 day tourist visa. We go to Malaysia about an hour away and come back across. The trip takes us about 3 hours total because the border is always busy.

The last trip to Baan Nam Khem was my first. Pictures do no justice to the devastation. There are so many people who need help and so many opportunities for ministry it can be truly overwhelming. I thank God for people who can focus on the chapters regardless of how big the book is. What I mean by that is…when I first started really reading books when I was younger…I would look at a book and think – “That book is TOO BIG! I’ll never be able to read a book that big!” And for a long time I would put off reading anything over 30 pages long.

Then one day I thought if I just focus on each chapter instead of the whole book I’ll finish the book in no time and enjoy each chapter. As soon as I started approaching books in this way I was able to read whatever book I wanted to. It’s the same way with ministry. When you look at the whole “book”/picture of what has happened with the tsunami and all the people who desperately need help it is very very overwhelming and one would think – “What could I possibly do? How could 1 person make a dent in such massive devastation?”

But when you look at the chapters/the individuals and think “How can I help this person TODAY? How can we get this 1 house built? How can I show this group of people the love of God RIGHT NOW?” The end result is finishing the book – touching a nation – one day at a time. John is going to be going to Baan Nam Khem about 2 weeks out of a month to work with Todd Pruitt and his family. While we were there last time John, Todd and a group of men worked on Whelee’s (picture is on our blog) boat. Through donations that Todd has received for the tsunami he was able to purchase enough wood to fix Whelee’s boat although there are still a lot more things needed before his boat will be sea worthy. Whelee is a fisherman by trade and currently lives in the refugee camp with his wife and son. He is also working in one of the work groups that Todd has established.

John will be working with Todd and the workgroups he establishes while in Baan Nam Khem. Each member of a work group works for the equivalent of $5 dollars a day. The work that they’ll be doing is basically building houses and working on damaged houses. While they’re rebuilding homes they’re also making enough money to feed their families. Another thing is that these men are incredibly board because they are used to working hard as fisherman and now their days are filled with meaningful work. Some of them refuse payment because they are just happy to be working again.

God has brought forth some incredible Thai men who have skills and are very trustworthy to work and head up the teams with Todd and John. There are many men who are seeing the love of God through the work that is being done…one in particular has been touched by the love for the Thai people that Todd and John have shown and though he has not accepted Jesus as his savior he has was brought to tears when he was completely overwhelmed that someone would care so much for people who are not their own.

He was with Todd and John when they found a village near Baan Nam Khem that is in a horrible situation. That’s when he was brought to tears (it’s very rare for a Thai to cry) There are only 40 families left in the whole village and they have no boats (all were fishermen) and no homes. The village was located directly on the shore of the sea. The beach where the village was located is beautiful and has been sought after by a resort that wants to buy it out. It turns out that the government is not going to help this village rebuild their homes because the government would prefer a resort to go up there. So this village is desperate to rebuild their homes because if they can rebuild their homes then a resort can not go up there.

It truly sounds like something off of a movie – doesn’t it? Welp, the deal is that it would only take $150,000 to build 40 fully functional homes (running water and some sort of plumbing for toilets and such). I know….I know…I said “only”. $150,000 is a lot of money for one individual but it’s not a lot of money if the right person or organization knew about it. So, John and I want to start a website for this village alone and send out an e-mail about them and maybe the right person will find out about it. John really feels like he’s supposed to work primarily with this village as much as he can when he’s there. So we’ll keep everyone updated. We will pray…

John is out right now looking for a motorbike to buy. On the 10th of this month Todd Pruitt and his family are moving to Baan Nam Khem and he’ll be taking the motorbike that he’s been letting us borrow so we won’t have a vehicle. So we are looking for a good second hand bike to buy for really cheap. It will cost about $800 for a good used motorbike and maybe less. John will know more after he’s looked today with a friend of ours.

The 9th is John’s Birthday!!! He’ll be 25! I’m really excited about it. I can’t believe I’m only 24 and he’s going to be 25! I just really feel so much older I suppose. We don’t know how we’re going to celebrate – we’ve got our first Thai lesson on his birthday for an hour and a half that day. It will be weird not being around family on his birthday. I was hoping to get out of the house to find him a small present today but I don’t think I’ll be able to. That’s ok – he’ll like us going together to look for something.

Josiah’s birthday is coming up too! It’s on April 16th! He’ll be a whapping 3! We got his hair cut yesterday at a barber shop here. He did NOT want to get his hair cut at all! So I was sitting there and an ice cream bribe just wasn’t working…so then it hit me…one last thing to try: “Josiah – let’s get your hair cut so we can show Asia how handsome you look!” I felt really silly for trying that…and then he said “ummm….hai cut…sho Shasha?” (Translation – ummmm…get a hair cut then we’ll show Asia?) I said “Yes, we’ll go show Asia” And he said: “ummm….ok. hair cut for Asia”.

I couldn’t believe it! My son really really cares for this cutie pie named Asia. She’s a doll. A couple of weeks ago he was laying in bed with John and he said “oh man…pretty…oh man…ShaSha pretty Daddy!” When John told me that I couldn’t believe it…he was just laying there before going to bed (before he goes to sleep he gets really talkative and drowsy and he just starts to say anything that comes to his little mind) and out popped this rather non toddlerish thought!

So after we got the hair cut we took him over to see Asia and they played for a while as we visited with Brian (Asia’s dad). This last Sunday I was able to lead worship with Tanah at a local church here and it went really well. We were told that they opened up and worshiped more than they had ever before (I really didn’t know if they did or not…because I had my eyes closed most of the time).

OHOHOH! MAJOR PRAISE REPORT! The guy that John prayed for that had been hit over the head with a wooden stick and was in a vegetative state…well, after John went and prayed for him the second time he started improving even more rapidly and now he is out of the hospital, walking and talking! They said this guy didn’t have much of a chance to live and if he did he would most like be in a vegetative state for the rest of his life (because part of his brain had to be removed) but God healed him! Praise God!

God is soo good! His love for us is truly amazing! You know what…yesterday I sat down and wrote a huge post and it had practically none of the stuff I’ve written in this post…and I hit publish and everything was gone! I couldn’t believe it. I had written about the love of God and the Thai people and their way of thinking about God and church. I just couldn’t believe it. I had typed and worked on it for over 3 hours! Maybe I’ll write about it later. I’ve already written 3 pages here…and I have a lot of pictures to put up too!

One more thing before I go – yesterday John, Josiah and I got to do something was sooo cool! We got to talk to our church family back in the states through their PA system and people could come up and talk to us and ask questions on the microphone and they could hear us through the speakers! It was sooo awesome to talk to them and hear their voices! I miss so many of them sooo much. It was so encouraging to hear them and know that we are not far from their hearts and prayers. I never thought of doing something like that before! Oh…also – we are on MSN Messenger frequently so if you use MSN Messenger my handle is: John’s is: We’d love to hear from you! And! We have a webcam so you could see us too!

I love technology! Ok…I’m going to wrap this up. Oh wait…one more thing. My nephew Braden…from what I understand he’s doing better. They’ve told my brother that his recovery will take about 3 months…but I don’t want to accept that time frame. I’m praying that Braden will bring glory to God in that he will recover and be ready to go home much sooner than that! Please pray with me for my beautiful nephew Braden. Here is there blog:

Ok…for real this time. I’ll write again soon! God bless you!