It sure is cold! We got fed up with being so cold today, so we set out to do something about it.
Jason put up a short wall all the way across the living room, then he built a whole wall beside
the hammocks so that the hammock corner would be warmer, and the low wall should keep
some of the rain out. Then he and Shoshana dug through all the suitcases and bags trying to
find my long sleeve shirts. (I think I am the only one who actually has any long sleeve shirts!)
They did finally find them, but they stunk so bad after being packed away for so many months
that I had to wash them instead of wear them. Oh well, at least next week I can be a little
We have been trying to figure out how to describe to you what it is like living here. I finally think I
got it! It is like living on the beach at the Oregon coast! It is actually around 70 degrees during
the day, but it is rainy, foggy and windy so that it feels dreadfully cold. Just imagine being out at
the coast day and night for months, without a hotel room or car to get into! (Only a roof and a
fence to block the wind) If you can imagine what that would be like, then you can understand
how we live. It wears us out after a while, but we still like it much better than being in the oven
down in the valley! Our biggest problem is simply not being prepared for such conditions.
When it is not pouring down rain, we have been working on the orchards again, and the never
ending job of trying to keep the jungle at bay. That grass and the weeds grow so fast! The good
thing about that is that I am using the grass to mulch around all of our fruit trees. We planted
four mango trees this week, along with another pomelo tree. Our orchard is getting to be quite
extensive! Fruit is so expensive here, so we intend to grow our own and enough to share. So far
we have a lot of banana trees, three pomelo, three pomegranate, two mangosteen, two
rambutan, seven lime, two orange, fifteen coconut, two sugar apple, one passion fruit vine, five
mango, one jackfruit, and one durian tree. Doesn’t that sound delicious? Oh…Destiny and I
planted about 50 papaya trees also, but they have not come up yet.
All of our teaching outside of our home has come to a screeching halt. Nobody wants to go out
in the rain to attend classes, so they decided to wait until cold season to start studying again. At
least it gives us more time to study Thai. I sure do miss having full time students though. I hope
we can be ready for them next year.
All the girls are doing pretty well in school. Hannah is on the verge of learning to read….she
made it through her first word the other day due to Shoshana’s incredible patience. It is so
wonderful having two teachers here….there is no way I could keep up with all the girls by
myself. Destiny does not like being the only one not in school. She is determined to learn
weather we like it or not. She can sing her ABC songs just as well as Hannah does, and count
to a hundred almost without help! When she is not learning, she teaches! She uses her plastic
blocks as flash cards and drills me until I beg for mercy. Her favorite line at the moment is “what
plus one equals????” She normally thinks I get the answer wrong, but I think I need a few more
Becky is learning to read also….but it isn’t English! She is working on learning Thai and Karen.
Every evening she goes over to the head woman’s place, right across the road from us, and has
a Thai lesson. The rest of us can learn from her once she gets it maybe? But for now, we are
sticking to learning Thai via the iPad. By evening we don’t have enough energy left to want to go
out in the rain again like Becky does.
Jason has devoted Sunday’s to doing outreach in the surrounding villages. Starting over like this
requires us to do all the same things over again. We have to get to know the people in this area
before they will be willing to listen to what we have to say. We also have to learn about the
culture, since these villagers are not Karen. We get a lot of interruptions from visitors each
week, but we consider each visit to be very important. At this point, people are forming opinions
of us, and so everything we do is important. One funny thing that went around when we first
came was that since we were foreigners, we would be lazy, and exploit the people…hiring them
for next to nothing to do all our work for us. So, even our daily work time of cutting weeds and
building and pulling out stumps is really important. We have to live down our “foreign” reputation
before the people will accept us. It seems to me that they should be getting the idea that we are
different by now. We sure do a lot of hard work anyway!
When your “witnessing” is mostly just living for Jesus in a dark place, it is hard to see that
anything is really being accomplished. We have to constantly look towards our goal in order to
not get discouraged. With the eye of faith, we can see a church here full of villagers, and a
thriving school….but for now, we have four little girls who need love and consistency, and a
whole lot of work to do while the villagers peek at us through the fence. Keep praying for our
villagers. We want to reach them so badly!