Saturday, December 17, 2011

I Lost November Somewhere

Wow, November flew by so fast I nearly missed it. Actually I did miss it here on the blog, but I did have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving. It is my favorite holiday. No drama of gift buying, trying to figure out what people would like to have for Christmas. I have just made my life easy by simply giving money to all the people on my Christmas list. I figure it is a waste of time to give them stuff that they will return anyway after the holiday.

For Thanksgiving Dinner here in Thailand, our office staff all got together along with a new missionary couple and had a pot luck. It was truly an international dinner. We had Hmong, Pakistani, Chin, Karen, Thai and American co-workers here for the meal. Turkey is too expensive here, so the guys grilled chicken outside on the grill. Pook made pumpkin pies from scratch. Her first time and they were great. She is practicing up now for Christmas dinner having made 2 pecan pies for her pastor's birthday. Wow, the pecan pies were even better than the pumpkin. She is going to make a cheesecake for the Christmas dessert and I am going to bake a chocolate cake.

Last week was very special here. For the first time ever, Tom, Noah, Carolyn and I got to actually watch the small boat being loaded with 300 boxes of Burmese Bibles and 100 boxes of John and Romans. As the Bibles slowly crossed the river and landed on the other side, I couldn't help but think of Adoniram Judson and I wondered if perhaps he was watching from the portals of heaven as the Bible he translated is, after nearly 175 years, being put into print once again, having been abandoned by the Bible Societies for a new version. This old Judson text now has clear, and beautiful fonts and is being put into the hands of the Burmese speaking people that he labored and gave his life to reach. It was a very poignant moment, one which makes all the struggles that we go through here seem very small compared to what the early missionaries had to suffer to see the work go forward.

Noah, is the man that proofread and got the old Judson Bible ready to reprint. He will be leaving us in just a few short days. We will never know until we get to Heaven just how much his three years with us accomplished. We so hate to see him leave us, but we know that God will use him wherever he ends up. Another thought crosses my mind, seeing the Bibles going across the river. The Bibles are going home and so is Noah. God bless you, Noah. We love you very much and will miss you greatly.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Flooding in Thailand

The rainy season is not over here and flooding is bad. Many of the cities in Thailand are under water and many people are displaced and living in deplorable circumstances. The crocodile farm in Lop Buri, where Pooks parents live was flooded and the crocs all escaped. She has photos of a big croc on somebody's doorstep looking into a house. Her folks do not have water in their house and they are OK, but many of the provinces are submerged. The elephant birthing center in Ayuttya is under water and the elephants are all living on top of the wall that surrounds the compound. The whole city of Ayuttya is uninhabitable. And there are many smaller communities in the same situation. Jeff and Theresa Lange are in Chiang Mai now because they were told to evacuate their place down in Bangkok. The water is still heading south and the people who are supposed to know this stuff say that it will reach Patun Thani, where we used to live and where the Langes still live, in a day or two. So they are basically stranded here until something changes. Pray for them, their belongings, and all of our former neighbors who did not leave because they had no place to go. For those of you have been here and know where these places are, Thommasat University is being evacuated. The road between here and Bangkok is under water in many places and some communities are completely cut off. Please pray for these people. It is hard to describe in a blog how bad it is for many people here in Thailand.

The last 6 weeks since we have been back in Thailand have been normal. Normal...meaning we are busy as one arm paper hangers. Never a moment to stop and relax. Tom keeps telling me we can relax after we are dead. Somehow the humor of that statement is not hitting me just right. Tom and I have both had some health issues and have been to the doctor. We have been told that we are fat. Really!?!?! I hadn't noticed that!!! We have been told to exercise. I can't believe we are actually paying people to tell us these shocking things that we already know. To make a long story shorter, but not nearly short enough, we joined a swimming and fitness place. It is very cheap to join these kinds of things here in Thailand, so we bit the bullet and did it. We have been swimming several times and are feeling much worse than we did before we joined. Nevertheless, we are told that perseverance will do the trick. We are also changing our eating habits. It has been wonderful. Saturday, I threw up, Sunday I was wiped out, and I can't even remember yesterday at all. Today it is rainy and cold and I am not going swimming in the rain and cold. Pneumonia ya know, is not good. Tom is juicing green stuff (veggies) every day and drinking a lot of it. He is wondering why he has diarrhea. DUH! Why is diarrhea so easy to get but so hard to spell that you have to do a Google search? However, we are committed...not to an asylum yet, but to our eating and exercise campaign. Pray for us. Getting healthy is no easy job.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The First Month Back in Thailand

Tom and I are headed in to our 4th week being back in Thailand. Tom is just now getting back on his feet...literally...after a miserable time with gout that had him crippled and on crutches. He flew to Bangkok a few days ago to get another opinion about whether he actually had gout or osteoarthritis. Yes, it is gout, which is much better than needing a knee replacement which is what the doctor here told him. A second opinion is always the best way to go. He is up and around and feeling fine. Amazing.

David Martin, from our home church in Fort Worth, arrived last night and is right now asleep on my couch having finally crashed from jet lag. He is only going to be here for 2 weeks, so I hope he gets over it quick. I know that when I travel to the US or back, it takes me at least that long to get my days and nights back in order. Ah, well, he is much younger than I am and he will probably recover much quicker. I hope so. He was able to bring over the things that we had to leave behind for lack of space in our luggage. He brought coffee, and chocolate, as gifts. Yaaay!!!

We are sorry to see Alyssa leaving in just a few days. We were delayed twice getting back to Thailand, and we have not had near the amount of time with her that we would have liked. She is a really fine young woman, and she has an open invitation to come back any time. I certainly hope that another person comes over to take her place.

I have finally gotten all the checking accounts balanced. No small feat considering I have 7 bank accounts here and 3 in America to keep straight. Financial accountability is very high on our priority list. We know where everybody's money goes almost to the dollar. It is a job that I really do not relish doing, but I realize how needful it is. Starting tomorrow, I will begin to clean up some of the files on the server and store them on drives that can be stored elsewhere in case of fire, flood or theft. I like this job much better, but it is tedious and very time consuming. We are once again without a full-time tech, but we are managing as best we can with our limited knowledge.

This has been an incredible year for me. The trip to Africa and spending a good amount of time with our grandchildren was, of course, the highlight so far. I am also thankful that we were able to see some friends that we haven't seen in several years in a couple of our supporting churches. I got to see one of my most special girls that worked with us off and on for about 4 years. Susanna Domangue is not married with a wonderful husband and young son and another boy on the way soon. I miss her very much. Her Dad is the pastor of the Galilean Baptist Church in Houma, Louisiana. This church has been standing with us for over 30 years. It doesn't seem possible that time could go that fast. It was so good to see all the Galileans while we were in America.

I wish that there were a few more hours in the day. I usually tire out before I can get done what I would like to, but I guess more hours would help, would it? What I need is more trength and stamina. Pray for me to that end. And pray for our staff. These are our current regular staff:

Pook - Office manager
Noah - Burmese coordinator
Asim - Urdu translator
Klo - Karen translator
Jang Lang - Hmong translator
Kaw - Hmong translator
Carolyn - Foreign language coordinator

We no longer have a video editor or a computer tech on staff. Please pray that God would raise somebody up to take over these jobs.

Please pray for Alyssa as she travels back to Oak Harbor, Washington, that she would have a safe journey and that she would be able to share her thoughts and the things she learned here with her church.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Returning to Thailand

We have finalized our tickets for Thailand unless, of course, we change them again! As of right now, we are heading back on the 6th of August. Tom is still in bad shape with gout in one of his feet, so hopefully he will be up and around very soon or we may truly have to postpone our trip back.

The time home this time has been a wonderful time of seeing our daughter and taking her to Africa with us, seeing our son-in-law and grandkids and seeing some friends that we haven't seen for quite a few years. It's all been good except for the gout.

We have several things that we have to do in preparation for our return as there always is, but it seems like everything hits the last week. It never fails. The summer here in Texas this year has been so exceptionally hot that we were not able to get much done outside. No matter how much we water the flowers, the heat is killing them anyway. The grass is crunchy from the drought and even breathing outside is difficult, almost like sticking your head in an oven. It is 10 to 15 degrees cooler in Thailand right now than it is here.

Lisa and the grandkids are now back home in Lithuania. Brian will be here for another month or so finishing up some meetings before he heads back. Lisa had to go back to get the kids back in school when it starts.

Going back to Thailand will be easier now that we know that our church is stable and our new pastor has his feet under him. It is so hard to leave friends behind, but I am so thankful for the internet. At least we can keep in touch in real time. The world is a much smaller place than it used to be.

Please pray for Tom that this gout goes away soon. He has a lot to do and not much time to do it, or we may have to delay our return to Thailand a second time.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Just Us Again

Brian, Lisa, and all the grandkids left on Thursday morning about 10:00 AM. The house was way too quiet after all the activity of the last month. I was so lonely that I almost put the movie "Ice Age 3" into the player so it would sound like they were still here. They watched that movie at least once or twice a day while they were here and never got tired of watching it.

During the month they were here, we all made a trip down to south Louisiana to visit the folks at Galilean Baptist Church in Houma. It had been quite a few years since Tom and I were there and many more than that since Lisa had been there. Susie Domangue was there to meet us. Her mom and Dad went all the way to Atlanta, GA to get her and haul her home for a couple of weeks so she could be there. It was a great blessing to see her and her family. It was hard for me to believe that I had not seen her in over 4 years. The old saying goes that "the days go by slowly, but the years go by quickly," and it seems that it is true. She and her husband Matthew Yaksh, have a little boy now named John who is 17 months old. I still have not gotten to meet Matthew, but he had to work and was not able to come to Houma. The time with the Galileans was so good, though and we enjoyed our time there so much. The next day we headed to Lake Charles to see Tom's family for the day and then we headed for Vidor, Texas, for Sunday morning services with Grace Baptist Church. Charles and Sarah Lott have been friends for many years and we were glad to get to see them again also, although the time was too short as it always is. Sunday night we were in a church in Humble, Texas, which is a church that took us on for support a little while ago, but one to which I had never visited. It was good to meet the folks there. This church also took Brian and Lisa on for support and we are so glad for that.

Brian, Lisa and the kids were able to do a few fun things while they were in Texas and Louisiana on that short trip and the kids got acquainted again with the fact that they are Americans. All four of them have lived their whole lives in Lithuania and in many ways are more Lithuanian than American. The kids stayed in Arkansas for about 3 weeks with Mimi and Papa Joe, their other adopted grandparents, while Lisa went with Tom and me to Africa. Brian was busy up in Illinois getting them moved out of the parsonage and ready for their new pastor to move in. The men of the church and Brian did a lot of repair and remodeling work and Joe and Jessie Morrell (Mimi and Papa Joe) were a tremendous help in keeping the kids while he worked.

As I am writing this Lisa and her family are on their way back to Illinois to their home church. Lisa and the kids leave for Lithuania the end of this month. Brian will leave the end of September. Lisa has to go back to get the kids in school. It was a wonderful time spent with Lisa in Africa and with the whole family for a month here in Texas. We will miss them very much. Two year gaps between seeing them is a very long time.

Tom and I are still in negotiations for when we will be leaving to go back to Thailand. I will let you know when we are going back when I find out myself. Until then, please keep praying for us and let us hear from you. The best way is Skype or email.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Africa Part 3

After leaving Krueger Park, the George Hammett family took us half-way to his dad's house and Sam Hammett picked us up and took us the rest of the way to Francisville, Botswana. The roads are very bad, but we saw many animals on the way up. There were many elephants, zebras, giraffes and monkeys.

In Botswana, we accompanied Bro. Doug Hammett and his family to a Sunday service. They are meeting for the moment in a rented room. There were about15 people in attendance not counting all of us. It was a really good meeting and we enjoyed meeting the people very much. The African people that we met were all friendly and accepting of us. We loved being with them for the short time that we had.

The next day we drove up to Victoria Falls. Tom and I had always wanted to see the place where David Livingston's heart is buried. As it turned out there is a monument on both sides of the Falls and I am still not sure which one is where his heart is buried. We stayed on the Zimbabwe side of the Falls. No other word can describe the place but awesome. Awesome is a very much overworked and overused word, so I do not use it much, but Victoria Falls is deserving of the word.

There is so much mist from the falls that the whole area around it is a rain forest. There are literally hundreds of baboons and other monkeys that call this area home. Baboons can get very large and they basically own the paved walkways and they are in no way intimated by people. If you meet them on the trail, you will be the one to move out of the way. Their teeth are reeeally
long. Seeing them up so close was almost as intriguing as the Falls, but not quite.

Africa was the trip of a lifetime and there are not enough words to describe the experience. The Lord made it possible and we will be eternally grateful for the privilege.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Africa Part 2

Wow, this is why blogging is difficult for me. Since last post Tom and I have been traveling with our daughter, son-in-law and 4 grandkids. We were in 3 churches and it was a real joy to renew friendships with folks that we have not seen for many years. But before I go into that, I will finish up the account of our Africa trip.

I can certainly tell you this...NO trip to a zoo will ever do much for me again. Seeing the animals on their own turf is a privilege that few experience and I will be forever grateful for the Lord's allowing us to enjoy it. We saw many, many elephants, zebra, giraffes, baboons and other monkeys, the lion, hippos, a couple of the major deadly snakes, but the snakes were not near us and I'm glad of that. We saw hundreds of Impala, and other large antelope, a few of them VERY large. We saw a bunch of warthogs which were very funny to watch. Other things included hyena, which was so close that we rolled the car window up. We are not Indiana Jones:) The Bushbabies were also cute and fun to watch.

We saw the Civit Cat of coffee fame for the stout-hearted or stupid, whichever you prefer. I personally wouldn't pay $40 for a cup of coffee that the beans went through the intestines of a small cat and were then collected, hopefully WASHED!!!!...and then the coffee beans are ground and made into coffee. Foldgers coffee will work for me just fine and is only a few cents a cup if you brew your own at home.

We went on a self safari, with Lisa driving our small rental car. We drove through a group of trees whose branches made a canape over the road. The trees were FULL of monkeys. They were running and jumping all around the car and were so thick that we rolled up the windows again because we were afraid they were going to jump into the car with us. It was getting dark and we could hear a lot of jungle noises, so we then left the windows up, because we are cowards and unfamiliar with the sounds we were hearing. When we got back to the camp the gate was closed and we were locked out. The guards must be familiar with idiot tourists though, because they were in the guard shack and let us back in with only minimal chewing out:)

All in all, it was the trip of a lifetime and will probably never be repeated by Tom and I. We are so thankful to the George Hammett and the Doug Hammett families who made it all possible. Thank you folks for your hospitality and friendship.

Part 3 will be Botswana and Victoria Falls, and the Baboons.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


We were in gone for a total of16 days, from May 11 thru the 27th. It took one full day to get there and a day and a half to get home, leaving us 2 full weeks on the ground in Africa. We flew out of Dulles in Washington, DC. Our Daughter, Lisa, met us in DC and went with us on our trip. Her husband, Brian, volunteered to keep their 4 children ages 12 to 2, so that she could go with us. It is a blessing to have a good son-in-law.

It was a straight flight with only one stop in Dakar, Senegal, West Africa, to refuel and take on some new passengers, but since we didn't get out of the airplane, I don't count it as a country I have been to. In my world, I have to actually get out of the airplane and out of the airport before I count it as a country I have visited.

Dakar was about half way. Like I said it was a VERY long trip getting there and back. We landed in Johannesburg, South Africa, in the evening and were met by George Hammett. Then we set off on a 4 hour car trip up to the city where he and his family live called Tzeneen. Not sure of the spelling of this town. For the next week George and Kristin treated us like kings and were our tour guides, and hosts. We were able to go with George to one of his Studies and to meet several of the people he is working with in his city. It was great.

These folks also took time out of their lives to take us to Krueger Park, which is a very large game reserve, about the size of the state of New Jersey. We took two jeep safaris, one morning and one evening, and one driving tour in our own vehicle. We saw every animal there was, with the exception of the cheetah and rhino. What we did see were scores of elephants, zebras, giraffe, monkeys, one full-mane male lion about 15 feet from our open sided vehicle :O That was a teeny bit hairy! He did not seem surprised to see us and stopped in the middle of the road to look at us. We were all speechless to see him and nobody moved or breathed until he mosied on off the road and into the bush. This was the first safari and it was in the early evening.

More later, hopefully tomorrow. My grandson is trying to eat bugs. Gotta go!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Almost a Year Ago

My last blog post here was almost 1 year ago. A case of too much to do and too little time to do it. However, several folks have requested that I try harder and get the blog up and running again. No promises will be made, except that I will try in the time I have.

We are in the United States for awhile at the moment, but we are now living in Chiang Mai, Thailand, having moved from Bangkok over a year ago. Tom and I as well as our whole team like this city much better. Although it has 3 and 1/2 million people, compared to Bangkok's over 13 million, it has a small town feel to it. There is nowhere in town that we can't get to in a matter of minutes rather than hours, as it was in Bangkok. We have better housing, amenities, but much more important than all of that, we have access to a large and varied ethnic community of folks who want to help with the translation projects that are always underway.

Right now we have 7 paid staff, and 3 missionaries including Tom and I. In addition to these, we have short term helpers coming and going all of the time, much like it has always been. For all of of you who come to help, we thank you. For those of you who have stayed for the long haul we appreciate all of you more than you know. Many have come at their own expense, to take up the slack, putting their own lives on hold while working with us. God reward all of you according to His riches.

As far as Tom and I are concerned, neither of us are getting any younger and various and sundry health problems keep popping up. Fortunately, health care in Thailand is excellent and inexpensive, so for that we are most thankful.

Our 40th wedding anniversary was June the 4th. We were in Thailand, I sitting in my chair and Tom in the living room, when he told me that he wanted to go somewhere very special for our 40th. He asked me where I wanted to go. I gave it some thought, considering all the wonderful places we had visited over the years that I would love to return to, but I knew the one place that I had waited for 47 years to visit was the only place that would be "IT." I told him that I wanted to go to Africa! It was humorous in the fact of the dead silence that followed that statement. I guess the dollar signs were flashing in his head or he was in shock or something:) Anyway, he said, when his voice returned that is, "Let's start making plans." I said I wanted to go in the African winter, because I can't tolerate the heat well any more. Isn't it amazing that Africa was just heading into winter when our anniversary was rolling around? As I mentioned before, Tom and I both have health issues, but by the Grace of God alone, all of our ailments miraculously just halted for the 16 days that we were in Africa. There is no such thing as "luck." It was all planned and orchestrated by the hand of the One who is in control of it all. In the next few days, I will tell you about Africa and other blessings of the trip. I promise I will not procrastinate on this one.