Since moving up to the mountain, we have often wondered just what it is that God had in mind for us to do. Our first year was filled to the brim with building our home, and planting gardens and clearing the land. But, our contact with the villagers was not what we wanted it to be. From experience, we knew that we could not just barge into these people’s lives, and expect them to be thrilled about it, so there is much waiting and hard work involved in starting a new project.
The breakthrough for us came when we asked for help in plastering the walls of our house.When the villagers came to help us, and then refused payment, we knew that they had finally accepted us. But we still did not really understand what our work would be….should we start another school, or did God have something else in mind?
The answer came rather unexpectedly, like it usually does! One day the head woman brought an old lady and her husband to see me. They were in terrible pain, and they wanted to know if I knew what to do to help them. I examined them, but I had no clue what to do for them. I felt terrible….I turned to the head woman and asked her if it would be OK if I could find a nurse to come to our village. She said, “Yes, Oh yes! We need one so badly!” So I set out trying to find one who would be willing to come….but so far I have been unsuccessful.
But as the week’s rolled by, it became clear that these villagers could not wait for a nurse to come. I am only a lowly EMT, but I know far more than anyone else around here, so the people began to come. Instead of not trying, I began to ask God for answers. Each time I am confronted by a new problem, God gives me ideas of simple things that we can do to help. I have used charcoal poultices, hydrotherapy, simple medicines I can make myself, and herbs that people have sent me. God has blessed my small things, and people are actually getting better.
The girls also wanted to get involved, so one afternoon we sat down and watched a
presentation on how to do a kind of massage. Then, they headed out into the village to practice.It just so happened that the villagers have been cutting weeds in the rice fields, which means bending over from morning till night. The girls were instantly in high demand! They were so excited about being able to help others. Each evening they would come home and tell me how many people they “put to sleep” with their massage.
One evening, I was standing under the edge of a roof, waiting for a downpour to stop before heading home after taking care of some hurting people, when the head woman told me that there are people that are actually starving in this village. I was shocked! When people become too old to work, and they have no family willing to care for them, they just slowly starve to death.I decided right then and there that we would find these people and relieve their suffering.
Right away, we learned of a lady that had been out of food for several days, so we went to our own pantry and loaded down the motorbike with food for her. By the end of that week, some other missionary friends here in Thailand brought us a whole truckload of supplies to give to the poor people here. We were kept very busy seeking out the lonely, starving ones and meeting their immediate needs.
Roy also found an area of need, and is away from home teaching English and Bible in several different schools from Sunday through Wednesday each week. The people he is working with are so open, and their Bible discussions get rather lively at times.
Now our lives are kept very busy teaching, giving simple treatments to relieve suffering, feeding the hungry, visiting the elderly, meeting every need we possibly can. It is amazing to me how everything changed so rapidly. All of us have found that serving others brings the greatest joy possible.