Tractor Miracle

Today the girls, along with Mikey and I, decided to go and weed the peanut field, which is on the other side of Jason’s house, next to the road. The weeds were taller than the peanuts, so it was about time to get that job done.

While we were diligently pulling weeds, we saw Jason, Shoshana, Ivana and Yohan drive out the driveway and down the road on their motorbike. I knew that they were planning to go and check on the tractor, since Travis needed to get his battery back that they were using for the tractor. We pulled lots more weeds, and then we saw Jason coming back, all by himself. He went zooming by, towards the village. I idly wondered why Shoshana and the kids were not with him. We pulled more weeds, and then I saw Jason going REALLY fast back the way he had come! Right behind him was Obed, who is the village mechanic and a good friend of Jason’s, going just as fast. Hannah thought that maybe Obed was chasing Jason. While we were pondering the latest turn of events, a whole bunch of other motor bikes went zooming by. Our road is normally rather quiet, so this was strange indeed!

But, we diligently kept pulling weeds until I needed to run down to the house. As I was getting ready to walk back up the hill, Hannah came racing up to me, yelling about the tractor turning over with Shoshana and the kids. That got my attention!

I went right up to where Jason was hurriedly throwing ropes, chains, and cables into the truck, and found out that sure enough, Shoshana and the kids had an accident. He asked me if I wanted to go with him to help get the tractor, since it was blocking the road. Before we left, I saw Shoshana and the kids, and they looked fine to me, so I was not expecting much.

What happened was that they had gone to Hwoy Yah to check on the battery, and found out that they could bring the tractor home. So Shoshana had taken both of the little ones on the tractor, while Jason drove back to our village to get the key to the tractor. (He had jump started the tractor for Shoshana so that she could get going, but they needed the key to make something work on the tractor.) That is why we saw Jason drive by all by himself the first time.

Shoshana got to a steep hill, and about half way up or so, she tried to shift into a lower gear, but she had just gotten it out of gear, and was pushing on the brake so she could get it into the next gear, when she had the sudden realization that there were no brakes, and she was now headed down the hill backwards, going at a pretty good clip. I guess that tractors are made to turn sharp, so as she tried to keep the tractor on the road, it was making much bigger adjustments than she really needed it to make. And somehow or other, by the time she reached the bottom of the hill, the tractor rolled, and she found herself on the ground with two terrified children. Since she was holding them, she could not break her fall, and landed rather hard on her hip. Ivana was terrified, and was the first to get out of there and across the road. Shoshana was also able to get herself and Yohan disentangled, and over to where Ivana was. A man from our village had been riding a motor bike behind them, and so she asked him to go and get Jason. Then, she took the children for a little walk to pick flowers since the sight of the tractor was scaring them so badly.

So while Shoshana and the kids were picking flowers, another motorbike came upon the scene. The man was shocked to see the tractor on its side, and tools spilled all over the road, so he began picking up tools…too afraid to go and look to see if the driver was dead. He was pretty sure the driver had to be dead, since there was no noise or movement. After all, that is how this kind of story normally ends.

In the mean time, Jason had stopped at one house to get the key, and someone told him that the key was at a different house, so he drove over to the other house. Not long afterward, the man that Shoshana had told to go and get Jason arrived and got the message to Jason. The next thing the crowd at the first house saw was Jason driving like mad out of the village, followed by Obed, going equally as fast. They discussed this among themselves, and decided that there must have been a fight, and Obed was chasing Jason! So a whole bunch of them decided to go and see the fight!

Imagine their surprise when they got to the place where the tractor lay on its side. No, Obed and Jason were not fighting, they were making sure that Shoshana and the children were OK, and they were! Yohan has a little scratch on his ear, and an egg on his head where he hit the ground. Shoshana hurt her hip, but when I checked it, I don’t believe it is broken, probably just bruised since she is still walking around on it with only a slight limp. Ivana was not hurt at all physically, but she might not want to ride on the tractor again any time soon.

When Jason and I came over the hill and saw that tractor on its side, I was shocked. Clearly, I was looking at another miracle. About 30 men had arrived by the time I got there, and using the winch on the truck, and all those men, we were able to get the tractor back on its feet. It will take a little work to get the air out of the lines, and the oil out of places it shouldn’t be, but other than that, you cannot tell that there is anything wrong with the tractor at all.

So once again, God protected our family. A lot of the villagers saw the tractor, and as I watched their faces, I could tell that they were dumbfounded that Shoshana and the children were not hurt. It looked impossible for them to be OK. But God is the God of the impossible, and he loves to show His power in behalf of his children. I am certain that this will be the talk of the villages for weeks to come, and it will be yet another opportunity to witness to those around us of our Almighty God.

Back From America

I just spent nearly three months in America, caring for my mother’s during her recent health crisis. It was an amazing trip, with many blessings. I was able to have plenty of time for rest and study, and also to attend camp meeting for the first time in a long time. I believe that God gave me a much needed time of rejuvenation…while having the joy of helping my mom too.

My furlough ended in quite an unexpected way…with a wedding! The last of my boys is married now. We are so happy that he found a godly wife that will help him in his mission to reach the lost.

Travis and Becky Sharon

Soaking Wet

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.

Grandma Rachel and the Fish Hook Hand

One day, a little old Grandma came to our clinic. She was having a hard time walking because her knees hurt, her back hurt, and her wrist had a big, lime sized tumor on it. She told me that she had been to the hospital lots of times, but could not get any relief from her troubles. Nobody seemed to care. Then she heard about our clinic so she came to ask me if I could do anything to help her.

After an introduction like that, I was determined to do something…ANYTHING…to try to help her! I really do hate to see people in pain with no hope of help. So, after checking her out as best as I know how…which is not very good…I thought that maybe that tumor on her wrist might be fluid filled since it was kinda squishy. I got the brilliant idea of getting a needle and trying to draw out the fluid with a syringe. Right about that time, Kerry showed up, so I told her my plan… and let HER do it.

The trouble was that the tumor was not fluid filled. After trying several times, we decided that my plan was not working, and we would have to go to plan B. Cut it open and see what was inside. We have removed several small tumors now, and although this one was much larger, we were pretty confident that we could do it.

God is very good at taking us down a peg or two real fast! Kerry numbed her up, and then started cutting away at her wrist, being careful not to touch the blood vessels, while I stood by, mopping up blood, and watching our patient to see if she showed any sign of pain. (Because we did not have a translator that day) But after seeing our patient wince a little, and then glancing down at the open wrist with a terrible whitish stuff bulging out of it, I had to beat a hasty retreat to my chair and drink water real fast to keep from fainting! I love doing this kind of stuff, so my reaction was totally unexpected, especially to me!

Kerry demanded that I not faint, since I was needed for moral support at least. So, I did my upmost to get enough good oxygen inside so as to keep me upright. After at least 10 minutes, I was able to get up and go back to assist Kerry, who was really struggling to get that tumor out of that wrist. It was not nearly as easy as the little ones had been.

But about the time I came back to help, Kerry stood up straight and started doing some deep breathing of her own! I then had to command HER not to faint, because I certainly did not want to remove that tumor without her! And, somehow, having us sprawled out on the floor would not exactly inspire confidence in anyone. So, I started helping Kerry more, by carving away on that crazy thing. It was tough, but we finally managed to get it out, while our patient happily dozed in her chair, totally unmindful of our personal struggles. At least she trusted us more than we trusted ourselves.

Kerry allowed me to stitch Grandma up afterwards, which I find to be loads of fun. Then we took her out to the hydrotherapy room and treated her back and knees for her. She was one happy camper, and Kerry and I were both happy that we survived the ordeal! She ended up staying in our village for a week so that we could make sure she healed properly, and also so we could treat her back and knees everyday.

This week, she had to go back to her village, so a couple of days ago, Kerry drove over there to see how her wrist was healing. Grandma and her family were anxious to learn more about what they could do to keep from getting tumors in the future, and how to improve their health, so Kerry was happy to share some more ideas with them.

Then other people started coming to her for help with their medical needs. One lady had gotten a fish hook stuck in her hand about a month ago. She had it removed at the hospital, but since then, she was not able to move her first finger, and there was a lot of nerve pain.

Kerry only had her backpack with her, so all she had that might be useful was some little charcoal capsules. She really had no idea of what to do for the lady, but the only thing she could think of was to do a charcoal hand bath in hot water. We have learned that when we pray for help, we usually can’t go wrong to do what comes to our minds. So she heated the water and opened a few capsules and put it in the water, all the while feeling completely silly for doing something so ridiculous.

The lady put her hand into the water, and after only a minute or two, she took her hand out, and looking amazed, told Kerry that her hand did not hurt anymore! Then she wiggled her finger, and bent it, and said, “it doesn’t hurt anymore!” Kerry was shocked, but she didn’t want to appear to be, because after all, God can do anything, and we are not supposed to be surprised when he does!

But wow, can you believe what God did? That was a miracle! Hot water and a little charcoal cannot heal a hand like that in so short a time! Only God can do that! During my worship this morning, I read this quote that explained it for me. “When in faith the human agent does all he can to combat disease, using the simple methods of treatment that God has provided, his efforts will be blessed of God.” CC238

Blessed of God is a great way to explain how we feel. Every day we are confronted by things that we cannot do, but God in His great mercy, helps us every step of the way.

Everyday Miracles

Monday was one of those days. Jason and Shoshana left early that day to go and take care of work permit stuff in Chiang Mai. That left Kerry and I without a translator for the clinic, but we were not that worried, since after all, we might not get any patients other than the regular ones, and we don’t have to be able to talk to them. (It is nice when we can though!)

But, Monday decided to be a bit different than we had anticipated. One patient after another came. We would guess at what they were trying to tell us, using our limited Karen knowledge, and lots of sign language. The little girls were trying to help us as much as they could, but their Karen knowledge is lacking also…at least when it comes to medical terminology. So we would talk over our ideas of what might be wrong with them with the limited knowledge we were able to get, and then come up with a treatment that might help them, and not do any harm if we happened to get our diagnosis wrong!

We had three or four patients in the clinic, all in different phases of treatment, when a young lady walked into the clinic. She came right to me, asking, “Remember me?” Well, I thought that she looked a little familiar, but I could not place her at all. She then reminded me…in English…that I had been her English teacher for a few short weeks several years ago. She sat down as if she intended to stay, and visited, and listened in to our conversation as to what this or that patient might need. Then, she started translating for us! I felt like God sent an angel right when she was needed the most. For the rest of the time that Jason and Shoshana were gone, I had a translator for when it was really needed. Isn’t it amazing how God takes care of us?

Each day we have been ministering to the needs of others. Both Kerry and I feel totally inadequate for what we are attempting to do, and yet God keeps giving us ideas for treatments, and HE does the healing.

A man came in to the clinic with tennis elbow. His arm hurt so bad that he could hardly use it at all, and he was in a lot of pain. I talked to him about resting it, knowing the whole time I talked that it was a stupid, absolutely impossible thing for him to do. This time of year, everyone is cutting rice fields so that they can burn them and get them ready to plant when rainy season starts. If this man were to rest, his family would not eat this next year.

Then suddenly, I thought of something that my Dad had told me to do for my tennis elbow. So, I explained to Kerry what to do…she argued with me a little because she did not know how to do it, and what if she did it wrong? But she did end up trying for a few minutes and then gave up. So we iced his arm, gave him some massage oil, and put his wrist in a splint so that he could still try to cut his rice field, and sent him on his way, both of us feeling terrible since we wanted to do more to help him.

Two or three days later, Kerry went to visit the man to find out how he was doing, and found him without his wrist brace on, but a big smile on his face. He told her that his arm was all better now, and that what we had done had worked really well! Kerry insisted that he put the brace back on, but he continued to argue, asking her why he needed to wear it when it is all better. Then I realized that God must have worked a miracle to heal that mans arm, in answer to our prayers. I know and believe that God is the Healer, but it is just as amazing to me every time He does it. God knew that man needed to be healed right away so that he could care for his family, so He did it! I love working for a God like that. I have an advantage that no hospital around has….even though I feel like I don’t know what I am doing.

Like a gentle Father, God holds my hands, and helps me to walk by faith. He lets me feel like I am helping, even though He is the one that is actually doing the work. Here is a quote that I love. “The Lord can work most effectually through those who are most sensible of their own insufficiency, and who will rely upon Him as their leader and source of strength. He will make them strong by uniting their weakness to His might, and wise by connecting their ignorance with His wisdom.” PP 553

Hospitals and Escalators

Last week was pretty crazy. We had decided that after six months of pain, and not being able to use his arm normally, Roy should actually go to a doctor to see what was wrong with his shoulder. You might not remember, but he had crashed his motorbike going about 60 kpm. His legs were in such bad shape that we barely paid any attention to his shoulder. But now that all the other things are well again, only his shoulder problem remains to remind us of his accident.

So Roy, Destiny and I headed to Mae Sot to try to get an MRI of his shoulder. We drove for 5 hours to get there. It was a nice drive, and we enjoyed being together, just the three of us. (Hannah does not have a birth certificate, so she is not allowed to travel in Thailand, so she stayed home with Kerry to help with the patients, and to take care of my monkey) We got to Mae Sot just to find ourselves incredibly hungry. So, we headed straight for our favorite restaurant. We walked in to find Gayle, Blet Jaw, and their friends there! I had not seen Gayle in two years, so we had a great 5 minute reunion! Getting to see a friend is a very special treat for us here.

The next morning, we headed straight for the hospital, only to be told that they do not have any MRI machines in Mae Sot! We would have to go to Chiang Mai for that. Mae Sot is a huge city now, so I thought for sure that they would have one. But….we got back in the truck and went on another 7 hour drive up to Chiang Mai.

The next morning, we went to my favorite hospital in Chiang Mai. You can get right in to see a specialist, usually get an MRI the same day, and get physical therapy and anything else you need the same day, or possibly the next if they are extra busy. So, the orthopedic surgeon looked at Roy’s shoulder, and immediately told us that he thought that Roy’s rotator cuff was ruptured. He went ahead and ordered an x-ray first. When the x-ray came back, he confirmed that his rotator cuff was indeed reptured. He then told Roy, “Don’t worry about making your shoulder worse, it is already worse!” But after discussing the financial part of things, we decided that a $10,000 surgery was out of the question. The doctor recommended that we go to yet another hospital, since it would be much cheaper there.

So we went straight to the next hospital. Unfortunately, you cannot get right in, and get everything taken care of in one day at that hospital. We got a number, and waited in line all day long. He finally got in to see a doctor late that afternoon, and the doctor looked at the x-ray that we had brought, and scheduled an MRI for late in April. That doctor thought that it might take more than one surgery to repair that shoulder, but at least it should cost half as much as the first hospital. Poor Destiny did not enjoy her time in the hospitals, with nothing to do. So after getting out, we tried to find something that she could enjoy doing. We took her out to eat at a big mall and then entertained her by letting her ride up and down the escalators and glass elevator. She was more excited than if it had been a ride at the fair! Next, we found that they were having a pet fair there at the mall, so she got to see all different kinds of pets, including a pink and grey parrot, and a huge yellow snake.

The next day, we were very eager to get our shopping done and head back home. I don’t know if you have ever noticed, but cities are awful places! There is nowhere to go for peace and quiet. Not that the jungle is quiet…we have lots of bugs and birds making a terrific racket, but it is different somehow. The jungle noises are very relaxing, where as city noise is very stressful. Anyway…we still had a full morning of shopping to do, since we can buy things for less money in the city, and we can get all kinds of things there that they never heard of where we live. (Like brown rice for instance)

We had just about finished our shopping when we got an email from the printers, telling us that Roy’s evangelism tent panels would be finished the very next morning! Oh how we wanted to go home. We looked at each other, and Roy laid it out. Either we go home now and make yet another trip to this same awful place to get that tent, or we stay another night. Well, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that one out…we had to stay.

But at the least, we figured we could rent a hotel to stay in that night so that we could get out of the heat for a little while. The heat is pretty hard on us mountain people. We are just not used to it, and I was unable to sleep at the place we stayed at before due to a lack of air conditioning. So, we began a search for a place to stay where Destiny could see airplanes taking off and landing. She was quite excited about the airplanes flying over, and thought that little bombers in the park were HUGE! We found the perfect spot, with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the airport, where Destiny could watch airplanes to her hearts content, while we luxuriated in the cool air of the air conditioner.

Day five we were finally able to head home…after waiting for hours to get the tent. We were so ready to be back in the mountains with the rest of the family! Destiny was so very anxious to tell Hannah all about the elevators, escalators, and airplanes, that she was practically bursting. Who ever would have dreamed that such fascinating things even existed? And how can people ride on them without big grins plastered on their faces? Now if they would just put those things out here in the mountains so that we could get to where we can use the cell phone easier, that would be really nice!

Going to the city is very exciting. But it leaves you feeling exhausted and empty. I think of our very busy lives here in the jungle, and about all the running around, meeting people’s needs, and trying to keep up with all our duties. You would think that THAT would be exhausting, and it is true sometimes we get tired. But it is a good tired. It is a satisfied tired. You could even call it pure joy. Riding an escalator can be fun, but what good does it do for anyone? That kind of fun leaves you feeling empty, whereas working for God leaves you full to overflowing.

My Day

Friday morning found me scurrying around the house, clinic, and office, cleaning as fast as I could go. It is amazing how dirty a place can get in such a little while…it is hot season now, so every afternoon is windy, and the leaves are falling from the trees, which means leaves all over the clinic and house! Not to mention the dust…plus the ants are on the move, so there is a constant battle to keep them out of the kitchen. Then there were the clinic walls to scrub, because my monkey loves to run over the walls to the dirt outside, and then come running in again, putting his dirty little feet all over my white walls. (On my projects list, I have listed bricks across the top of the clinic walls to prevent his antics, but that is for sometime in the future when we actually have time! ) The kitchen needed to be thoroughly cleaned to discourage the ants, the floors swept and scrubbed, and food prepared for Sabbath. There is always far more work to be done than the little girls and I can do by ourselves, but do it we must.

When that work was almost finished…if it is possible to consider oneself finished…Grandma came for her treatment. Kerry was not here because she had gone to check on another patient that needs to come and stay here for us to treat. I still had to make medicine for the patients, so I had 10 year old Hannah sit with Grandma while she was in her first fever bath of the day. Kerry and I have been teaching her how to help us with the patients since we so desperately need more hands.

While Hannah was watching Grandma, Destiny and I made food for Sabbath, and cough lozenges, since coughs and colds are still going around. Instead of making special things for Sabbath like we used to, we now make the quickest, easiest things so as not to waste any time.

Soon, Kerry was back, and we were going busily about our duties when Jason came roaring down the sidewalk on his motorbike with the grandpa that stutters on the back. He had been bitten by a snake. Kerry had never treated snake bite before, so I gave her instructions, and then went back to our never ending work. (It is not clear in my mind if that happened on Thursday or Friday…)

Right after Grandma finished her second fever bath of the day, the Aunty with the bruises all over came for her treatment. This was only her second day to be treated, so Jason sat down and talked with her for a while to find out how she was feeling. She reported that after just one therapy bath, the bruises on her legs were almost gone, and her painful ankle was remarkably better! (I was amazed!)

After getting Aunty comfortably situated for her treatments, the Christian guy and his little daughter came walking down the sidewalk. It was time for her treatment. The poor little girl has sores all over her body, so she comes every day to be treated. She is a cute little girl, and we enjoy taking care of her. Her daddy knows what to do now, so we just have to make sure that he has all the stuff to do most of her care himself.

About that time, a lady came with a strange growth on her foot. Jason brought her into my office, and after examining the foot, we all agreed that we could possibly just cut the growth off. So, I laid out all our instruments, gave the lidocaine shots, and then went to work carving out that growth. The lady was so happy to be rid of it! We carefully explained to her how to take care of it to keep it from getting infected. I sure hope it turns out OK. I never would have dreamed 9 years ago that I would be doing things like that!

Actually, it would have been not quite such a relaxing day, except that it was Friday, and I don’t teach school on Fridays! Usually, I try to teach around all those activities. I REALLY like Fridays!

The grandpa that was dying did finally die this week. It was a blessing, I believe, because he had no quality of life. I am just so thankful that he was not in so much pain, and that he had a chance to hear the Bible before he died.

Now that we have a baby chainsaw, we have been cutting firewood for the clinic fires every chance we get. It is so nice to be able to just zip through those logs instead of laboriously sawing like we did before. We have big piles of firewood at the end of our sidewalk right now. I think that it is a beautiful mess, but the villagers love it! They don’t even notice that it is a mess. They just know that the firewood represents hot water for all the people who need it. When we get time, we are going to build a carport to house all our firewood so that it won’t get all wet during rainy season.

Jason and Shoshana are building a sauna in their spare time. (Spare time is like a joke around here) They have the floor and most of the walls done now. Jason is afraid that in time, my two tubs won’t be enough for all the people who come, so his little sauna can also be used to treat patients.

I got to thinking the other day that people in America don’t realize what a blessing they have! I am amazed at how much pain you can relieve just by using hot water in a bathtub! (And a bit of ice water now and then) All you do is add whatever is needed to that hot water, and it brings an amazing amount of relief to all kinds of problems! I think that I have been the worst skeptic…I treat the people, and then I am shocked when they get better. I know that I shouldn’t be shocked…God’s ways are the best ways after all…but I am still shocked at how well it works!

This is my little office for the clinic

Every day, in my free time, I sit down and study more so that I can do a better job with my patients. So does Kerry. Then we share with each other what we learned. There is so much to learn that we both wish we could just stop and study a lot more. But that is not possible, so we just try to squeeze in as much study time as we can get. Some days we get a lot, some days we get almost none, but our goal is to learn a bit more each day so that we can do more perfect work.

I firmly believe that God will be sending us more help soon. I am praying that it will be someone who can do massage! That is the one job that I cannot do since my elbow is still so sore.

When I look at what God is doing here, I am so humbled and amazed. We are told that our clinic has the reputation of getting people better. But, the only way that can happen is by the grace of God. We don’t really know that much about what we are doing, and our only help is to pray and ask God what to do. He gives us ideas of things that might help, but in the end, it is clear to me that God is the one actually doing the work, not us.

I never dreamed even a year ago that we could actually have our lifestyle center up and running, that I would have a nurse to help me, and patients that are getting well. God can do amazing things when we let Him.

New Post…Finally

It has been nearly a year since I was able to update my blog. It is a long story…but I am very happy to be able to finally update it again. God has done so much during this past year, that I have no clue as to where to start.

For starters, God has given all of us plenty to do for him. We are all really busy. Roy is teaching English, translating books, supporting bible workers, designing buildings for evangelism. I could go on and on.

The girls and I have been reaching out more to the villages around us, doing health education and feeding the hungry. Wow…so much work in just one sentence does not look right, but that is the extreme short version for now.

Jason and Shoshana had a little girl last December that they named Ivana. She is our littlest missionary now, and is doing a great job with the villagers. They all adore her, and remind us frequently that she is a Thai baby since she was born here. At the moment, they are on a short term mission trip to America. (commonly called a visa run)

Andrew and Khendra are back in America now also, working at Laurelbrook Academy. God opened the doors for them to minister to the students there. Andrew is teaching construction to the students, and Khendra is working in the nursing home. It was a huge blessing for them to find a place that is so dedicated to teaching future missionaries.

This week, we are down in South Thailand, trying hard to get birth certificates for the girls. The government is working to get all the unregistered people registered. It is a huge blessing that we have looked forward to for years. Our only problem is that things don’t always go as smoothly as they should. Getting the cooperation of the people who should be happy to cooperate with you is not always easy! (I am referring to the girl’s relatives) Many people see dollar signs when looking at any foreigner. But, we believe that God has this all under control, and are trusting Him to work it out for us.

So now that you are all caught up on the news, I will try to update it more than once a year!

Steering

The other day the kids wanted to go up in the mountains north of us for a Christmas/New Years celebration, so we got in the truck and headed off down the road. In the next village over more people climbed on and we continued on a ways farther when suddenly I realized that the steering had a huge amount of slop in it. So I stopped and had a look and found that the steering cylinder had broken off two of the three bolts that held it to the frame, leaving only minimal steering.

So after turning around I drove slowly back. It’s just that the truck could only drive strait or to the right! Turning left was just something that didn’t happen. But a right turn in reverse turns left so I made it back to the school where I could weld all the broken parts back together safe and sound. All good except that just as I was coming back into our village due to a steering problem the right wheels  were slightly off the road and in the weeds and must have hit something because a distinct hissing sound started coming from the rear wheel. So now I had a flat tire! And I don’t have a spare! I asked around and no one else with a truck was planning a trip into town for over a week and we are planning on having a baptism here and the pastors are counting on me going to get them and bring them up to the school. Fixing a bike tire and a truck tire are two different things! Pulling it apart and patching it is easy but resetting it on the rim is not so easy until I remembered a trick someone had told me years ago. They told me to pour a little gas into the tire and then light it off, and that it would set the bead then you can pump it up normally. After two try’s it worked fantastically. But when I tried the tire on the truck after a short drive it blew my patch off and I had to start all over again. So before the pastors came I needed to get it fixed. After the second time held over night I decided to drive into town to get it fixed right. By the way the hole was a gash in the side wall not even the tread. In town I went everywhere looking for a new tire but no one had anything. Everyone told me they would need to order it from Bangkok and that it would be atleast $250 per tire. And at least a week to get it. So I wasn’t sure quite what to do. And it was obvious that my tire was loosing air again. That’s when I saw someone had some tires sitting beside their truck that looked like the same ones that I needed so I went and asked the man about them and asked if he would sell me one. They were the right size and everything alright. Just an inch wider. He bought these tires for his truck but they didn’t fit in the wheel wells very well so he bought new smaller tires instead. He used them some but not a lot so they are in good condition, and the best part was he gave them to me for only $250! So now I have a full set of good tires and three spares! Anyway God is good and I was able to make it back to the school yet that night.

Thanksgiving

All week long, I was thinking about Thanksgiving, and not being able to be with my family in America. Last year was so much fun!

During my worship time on Thanksgiving morning, a new thought came to me. What am I really thankful for this year? Well, it seems to me that the greatest joy I have is in serving others…whether it is my family in America, my family here, or the people who come to me for help. I also thought about Thanksgivings in the past, and I realized that I spend hours and hours of work, and when I am all done, I feel stuffed, and there is a big mess to clean up. Nobody seems to appreciate it nearly as much as that amount of work would justify. So, then I believe that God gave me a better idea! I raced out to the living room and told my plan to the girls who were very enthusiastic.

We went to the kitchen and started whipping up a huge batch of my famous oatmeal cookies! We baked all morning, and when we had finished, we had a big pile of cookies on the counter. Then the girls bagged them up in plastic bags, and put them in the truck.

In the afternoon, we went from person to person in the village, and gave them a bag of cookies, telling them that today is Thanksgiving, and we are thankful for YOU! The result was huge smiles on the peoples faces. They cannot be given something without doing something in return, even though they are so poor, so we were given huge slices of cucumber in return, since that is what is in season right now. So we did end up with a feast of our own…a cucumber feast!

We came home feeling so happy and refreshed. That was the best Thanksgiving I think we have ever had.