Oh, so much has happened, I don’t even know how to tell you. I went from being in a constant state of pleasant boredom to constant activity in a very short time. Let’s see. This week, I’ve mostly been meeting with people and discussing my part in their ministry. As Karen put it, I’m here for the boys and then I’m being sub-let into every other ministry they have. Next Monday I start teaching English at the boys’ school (eep). It’s the poorest of poor schools, but they were the only ones who would take our boys, and have kept their HIV status a secret thus far. Since they have blessed the boys, we are blessing them by lending them a part time English teacher (me). I’ll be there Monday and Tuesday mornings, and then Monday afternoon and probably some other afternoon, I’ll be taking care of Joy, who’s a year and a half old and a bit of a handful, so that her foster parents can get some rest. I met with Joy’s foster mom today to discuss that, and also the Sunday school ministry (which she runs), and how I can help out there. They have so little help, and so it’s just one big class with toddlers and teenagers and everyone in between, plus it’s about half Thai and half farang, which complicates things still more. ANYway, I also met with her husband today to help him teach an English class, and to discuss the English course that we want to set up while I’m here (which we never actually got around to discussing). It was nice, though, to see an English class in action, just so that I’m not flying blind on Monday (although these 20 kids are way older and way more proficient than my 45 tiny, poverty-stricken ones will be). That’s the thing I’m most nervous about right now, actually. But I’m kind of getting used to being in a bubble of uncertainty, and to just go with it. For example, I just (as in, 20 minutes ago) got keys to the ALH (Abundant Life Home, our orphanage), and so previous to now, someone had to be home if I was to get in. I was locked out of my house for about four hours this morning, so I went on an adventure. I hadn’t taken a songthaew (a sort of taxi-bus-pickup truck hybrid) yet, so I flagged one down and went to the beach. Songthaew are hilarious, because there’s a million of them going all the time, and you just flag one down wherever, and it’ll stop and pick you up, and then when you want to get off you press a little button inside, and they’ll screech to a halt and drop you off right there. No stops, no waiting (they come about every 30 seconds), they put north American buses to shame. Plus they usually cost six baht (about 25 cents).
What else have I done…I bought a cell phone. I was feeling so disconnected and vulnerable and never had any idea what time it was. They recommend short-termers get cell phones anyways, for safety reasons (if I get lost here, I’m REALLY lost), plus it’s nice to be able to get a hold of people.
As for my boys, well, they’re my darlings. Usually, when they go somewhere, they’ll only take three bikes, and the other two will ride on the backs. This leaves one back-of-a-bike free, which is now mine. My legs are way too long for this (I’ve never felt so tall as I have the past week), and so I have to hold them up (it’s better than Pilates), plus, anyone who knows me knows that I can’t actually ride a bike myself (I may tell the boys this sometime soon, and I know they’ll want to teach me. It could be fun…), so I’m quite a wobbly passenger, plus I weigh at least twice as much as any of them, so whoever has me on the back is pulling three times his own weight now. Max (it’s pronounced ‘mac,’ but he spells it with an ‘x’) will never try, since he’s easily the smallest and a perma-passenger himself. Dao manfully hauled me to the church once, and may never do it again. Bun is my most reliable ‘taxi,’ and I always promise him a thousand baht fare, but then find some reason not to give it to him (he almost hit a car, went too fast, went too slow).
The ALH is looking to buy some land to make a permanent orphanage (as of now, we can only have seven kids max). Please pray for this, because money is always tight, and land is always hard to find, and we want a plot large enough that we can have the church and the orphanage on the same lot, but preferably somewhere in central Bang Saen for easy access. The church right now is in a prime location, but it is tiny. The man across the street has made an offer, but he knows the value of his property, and so it won't be cheap. Other plots are being looked at, but they are further on the edges of town, which would make many people less inclined to come.
I miss you all!!! Thanks for praying!!