It is Sabbath afternoon, and I am sitting in my office, soaking wet, listening to the bugs and the birds, and occasionally my monkey, who does not like it when I am not where he can see me. Why soaking wet? Well, it is HOT out, and that is the only way for me to stay cool enough to function.
We had a really busy couple of weeks since I was able to write last. Harvey and Brenda Steck came to visit for the Songkran holiday, and Becky was home for it as well. That made for a real exciting few days. You get a few lonely missionaries together, and we can really talk up a storm! Yes, we are surrounded with people all the time, but there are not many that I can actually speak to in English.
A couple of Sabbaths ago, I read for my worship in the morning about how to behave in the house of God. I was really impressed by that chapter. So, after church that day, I read the chapter to Jason and Shoshana and Kerry. We read it through twice! Then we got our heads together and tried to come up with a plan to actually do what we are told to do.
The first thing we needed was a church, since it is hard for all of us to worship and be reverent in our own living room where life is lived everyday. Finally it was decided to turn the head woman’s living room into a church! (She is living up in Chiang Mai for a couple of years while her daughter goes to the Adventist school up there…she gave us her house for safekeeping while she is gone)
We bought chairs and a table, put a nice mat on the floor for the Sabbath school area, and then we were set. We decided that we really need to be praying together more also, so we established prayer meeting times, and all the other things that good churches do. It is so nice! We have missed having a church to worship in. We even had communion last Sabbath.
You probably are getting tired of hearing about all of my patients, but that is most of my life right now, so I just have to mention…briefly…a few more. While Kerry was on her work permit trip to Chiang Mai earlier this week, a lady came to me with a burned foot. She had been working down in the valley, and had somehow stepped in a fire, and severely burned her toes. Her little toe was pretty gross, because she had burned it the day before, and then spent the rest of her day limping after her stray water buffalo. So, her foot was none too clean, and it was…well…disgusting! I spent quite a long time trying to get that all cleaned up. Now we are treating her twice a day, and hoping that it will not get infected. Honestly, I am not sure how it could not be infected with all the dirt that was on it. She is not the kind of Grandma who is going to sit around and wait for it to get better either. I know I would though…I would probably stay in bed and cry all day if my foot looked like that!
We did have one patient that I felt was a failure. She had really bowed legs, and she is old, and her knees hurt a lot. I think that it is because her legs are so crooked that it would put a lot of pressure on her knee joints. But, we tried anyway. We did everything we could think of doing, but the poor old grandma finally stopped coming. She didn’t live in our village, so I think that she went back to her home. It breaks my heart when someone is in that kind of pain, and nothing we do seems to help.
When Kerry came back from her work permit trip, she was sick with dengue fever…at least I am 99% sure she had dengue. She is one of the hardest patients that I have, since she does not like to take care of herself, or obey orders! This morning I came out of my office, and found her starting the fire in the wood stove! That is no way for someone with dengue to behave. But Kerry does not understand the word rest. She thinks she can do all her normal activities even when she has a temperature of 104!
Besides taking care of sick people, I teach home school everyday. Hannah has not been at all excited about doing math. It is definitely not her favorite subject. I have been practically pulling my hair out trying to get her to learn her math facts. There are days when I despair of ever teaching her math. After one particularly bad day, I went to God in prayer, and asked for help. I feel like a terrible teacher, otherwise surely she would know her math facts by now.
I don’t know why we don’t pray more often. The next day, Hannah started in again, refusing to learn. But I had prayed this time, and God gave me a strange idea. He impressed me to give her a piece of sidewalk chalk and have her write her math facts on the sidewalk. So, I did. Hannah looked at me incredulously. “You want me to do what???” She inquired. I assured her that I was not crazy, and she was to write all her math facts on the sidewalk. I had no idea of what to do next, but Hannah dutifully went out and wrote them all out from one end of the sidewalk to the other. Meanwhile, I was desperately praying for the next step to take.
Hannah came back to me when she had finished, and asked me what to do next. She almost looked slightly interested in this break from the normal. I didn’t know what to say until I opened my mouth, then it just popped out. “Jump from number to number, and say them as you jump.” Out she went. She started jumping rather slowly, with no enthusiasm, until she got part way up the sidewalk, then she began really having fun! Pretty soon, Destiny, who had been washing the dishes, came running out and begged Hannah to teach her how to do math facts too. I watched God work His miracle in their hearts as they happily did math facts while running and jumping up and down the sidewalk. I sat back in my hammock and praised God for his amazing grace. By the end of the week, she had learned more math than she had in months.
Sometimes we get to thinking that this is our job, and that we are the ones responsible for it. But that could not be further from the truth. This is God’s home, and God’s patients, and God’s children. As HIS obedient children, we are just to study to understand His will, and follow his prompting. He is the one responsible for the success. He gives us strength, wisdom, love for the people, ideas of what to do…in short, HE does the work, we are just the instrument in His hands.
PS- Right after I wrote this, I found out that my mother has had a very bad stroke. So, today I left my family and am flying to America to be with my parents in their time of need.