Where to start? So much has happened since I last wrote. I apologize for not updating you more regularly. It has been a very action-packed couple of months. I am busy from sun-up to sun-down, every single day! But I still love it. Here’s what’s been happening:
Kahlan and I headed to Sri Lanka in July to attempt to renew our Thai visas. While there, we met some friends from the U.S., who are originally from Sri Lanka. They were home visiting their family and attending a wedding. Recently, there was monumental flooding in the region. We were eager to help distribute supplies to the affected families with almost $5,000 raised by one of the friends before we went. While we were there we were able to see some of the affected areas. It was hard to believe how much damage was done by the flooding, but already people were hard at work re-building. In the end, the money went directly to one of the organizations helping with the clean up, definitely a worthy cause. Kahlan and I also attended a Sri Lankan wedding, and got a few much needed one-on-one mommy daughter days in a beautiful location! Unfortunately, we were unable to renew our Thai visas while there.
About a week after we got back from Sri Lanka, I headed to Cambodia with another missionary visiting the children’s home from Texas. We traveled there to do some outreach with an organization called the Cambodian Hope Organization (CHO). While there, we distributed rice, sugar and oil to families in the local villages, along with some water purifying devices made for us by a special group of girls at Redding Christian School.
We also participated in Sunday services (which was mostly games with the kids!) at the village, and finally, I was able to provide some accounting services to CHO to help with their year-end reporting needs. Thankfully, I was successful in renewing our Thai visas on this trip out of the Country. Overall, it was a rad trip!
Since then, I have taken over primary responsibility of the children’s home here, while the owners are back in the U.S. It has been both rewarding and challenging. Maybe the most challenging part has been building relationships with the children – while still giving Kahlan enough attention, and helping her adjust to a new way of life. I really try to give each of the kids (there’s nine right now) some one-on-one time each week. It doesn’t sound too hard…but then there’s laundry to hang…kids to get to school…meals to cook…dishes to wash…groceries to buy…budgets to prepare…homework lessons to teach…Thai lessons to study…etc. etc. 🙂
You can be praying for me for the skills and patience needed to teach. It’s not something I am naturally gifted at, and the challenge is amplified with a language barrier! Although, I am happy to report my Thai is improving each day. Also, if you have fun ideas for games or activities for me to do with the kids, I would love for you to send them to me!
Kahlan has been working on her Tae Kwan Do, and recently learned that karate chopping people means that they also karate chop you back…eeek. What’s more, her teacher is increasingly strict as the “Chiang Rai Tae Kwan Do Championships 2017” approach. Now when the moves are not performed precisely, the students are bopped with a stick (bopped sounds better than whacked, right?). The best student gets to do the whacking (um, that is “bopping”) under the teachers orders. This form of discipline has been working well, as she is now trying hard to become the very best student. Although, it’s not so she won’t be whacked..but so that she can do the whacking… (nervous laughter) That’s totally normal right??
At any rate, I am looking forward to seeing her compete in the championship next month.
Rainy season is finally here, and we are enjoying slightly cooler temperatures. Now instead of it being between 80 and 100 each day, it stays between 70 and 90 and rains a bit (or a lot) each day. The kids at the house have unpacked their sweatshirts and heavy blankets and whenever it drops below 80 they put them on. This cracks Kahlan and I up of course, but the kids are good sports. They have plenty to tease us about right back. They think its hilarious that Kahlan puts ketchup on literally everything. Rice, noodles, soup, etc.
…And they think it’s funny that I want to know the name of everything (because in general Thai people don’t name anything!). This is how our typical conversation during a walk around the village goes:
Me: “What is this fruit called?”
Kids: *Quizzical looks* “It is fruit.”
Me: “I know. What kind is it?”
Kids: “I don’t know. We just call it fruit.”
Me: “Hm. Ok. Oh! Look – a dog! Cute! Do you know this dog?”
Kids: “Yes! He is a nice dog. He belongs to so-and-so.”
Me: “Aw! What is his name?”
Kids: “It is “dog.””
Me: “Mhm, ok I see.”
Kids: “Oy!! Snake!”
Me: “Where? What kind is it?!”
Kids: “It is a snake.”
(We all run.)
LOL. I could go on but I won’t.
Finally, the last thing I will report is that we got a puppy! We bought him from the local roadside puppy dealer. He has been A LOT of fun, we are enjoying him so much. The kids and I are having fun training him…He is so smart! I named him Sanook – my favorite Thai word so far. It means the kind of fun that you have with a group of people you love.
A few weeks ago, I was longing for fellowship on a Sunday morning but I did not complain in my heart to the Lord about it. This was a sacrifice I knowingly made for this period of time, BUT, my heart did ache as I longingly watched our neighbor, Ms. Rebecca, prepare for and leave for the church she attends in her native tongue (Burmese).
That afternoon when she returned home, she came to tell me that there was a local bible study group in town Sunday nights where they study in English! And I was invited. I really couldn’t believe it. I have been here for 8 weeks and hadn’t heard a word of it. I felt that God had seen the secret desire of my heart and prepared this group just for me. I attended the following week (and each week since) and it has been such an encouragement to me! I’m so grateful to that the Lord provided this group.
Prayer requests: There is a local outbreak of H1N1 here, with about 40 people having passed away from it so far. We are taking precautions by wearing face-masks when we go out, but we would appreciate your prayer support for health and safety.
There is much more I want to share, but I will have to do so later because school is almost out…for now, I wish you peace, love and joy and thank you for your continued support and prayers.
Monika & Kahlan
P.S. Be sure to check out the picture gallery for pictures from the last two months!