Micah and I were thrilled when we set foot on Thai soil July 6, after our 2 ½ month stay in America. The weather greeted us warmly and contrary to our expectations the rain held off until we were nearly to the Sunshine Orchard school the next day!
It was late at night when our truck rolled down the hill and into the school compound. It was also raining madly, but to my astonished eyes I saw a line of umbrellas and flashlights marching toward us in the soggy darkness. Here were students and teachers braving the bad weather and late hour, to hug our necks and welcome us back. Oh the love the dear Saviour plants in the hearts of those who love Him.
It had been a direct answer to prayer for us to come to this school to work for two and a half months. Paul and Lena Adams who run this school were in America also. They had emailed me in May, asking if I could take up the responsibility of the school during their absence July through mid September. Lena Adams thought it would be too much to ask of me, but in her kind way she did not want to impose upon me. I was delighted to do it, but it was too late at night for me answer and I must have God’s approval first. I lay in my bed, asking God to please have Blet Jaw, (Our faithful Karen team mate) call me from Thailand in the morning if He wanted me to do it. The next morning at 8 o’clock Blet Jaw called me!! He had called me once in April, but since that time could not get connection to my phone in America. I spoke will Micah to get his input. He was delighted because he thought I might try to go to BYT during the rainy season, which really is impossible. I had my answer from heaven which filled me with joy. Oh, dear Lord, may I always be in the center of Your will. There is no other place I want to be, it brings peace and joy amid the storms and uncertainties of these last days.
Micah has kept very busy driving the truck for building supplies, food, water and patients. He speaks the Karen language well and this puts him in demand for interpreting everywhere he goes. One day at Meta hospital a group of Americans came in to be treated. They seemed so frightened and new in this hospital setting. They were much relieved when Micah stepped in and spoke to the nurses for them and answered their questions. It sure makes you happy when you are serving others!
My goal at Sunshine Orchard just now is to do as much as possible to prevent sickness. The rainy season is not a healthy season here. There is so much malaria, dysentery, FUO (fever of unknown origin), skin infections and respiratory problems. In fact even my feet feel like they are rotting, my clothes are mildew, books moldy and my body wet all day! Also this season brings thousands of mosquitoes, and tiny flies that bite you everywhere! Again I get used to going to bed on a mat on the floor with dirty feet! I cannot explain it, but these things do not seem like hardships we are so happy. The students are so glad to do the simple things we initiated to keep them well. How rewarding.
1) We put soap stations at each bathroom with piped water to it. Hand washing technique was taught.
2) Soapy water was provided in the kitchen and each student washes their plates and bowels prior to eating. Our cook is a creative genius! She designed a bottle with soapy water in it, suspended on a bamboo pole with a rope going to a tilted bamboo foot piece. Just stepping on that bamboo, tilts the bottle and soapy water sprits out on your plate!
3) Raw garlic and lemon grass is served often. These provide a natural antibiotic plus an insect repellent.
4) I found cheaper vitamins at the Mae Sot pharmacy and began giving them out after evening worships.
5) A 30 minute running program was started after morning worships. At first we ran only when it wasn’t raining. I don’t mind running in the rain, if the rain begins after I start running, but I usually don’t want to start running in a downpour! However, after 3 days of solid rain and no running, I decided we must run, so I began teaching a warm up callisthenic workout first in the building and then we go out to run. What fun we have together on the muddy dirt road of the new property across the street!
Very soon now we will welcome the new principle, Harvey Steck and his lovely family to their new home at Sunshine Orchard. Even now they are literally up in the air and headed this way! The talents of the entire family will be a great blessing to this school.
I will mention the great needs of this school. School will begin in a few short weeks, but vocational teachers are still needed in several different trades such as carpentry/building, music, evangalism, medical and computer classes. Bible teachers, and english teachers are also needed. Nothing is too great to sacrifice for these dear Karen people who have touched our hearts in such a special way.
As soon as the rainy season ends I will take up my work in BYT. My heart aches for those dear people living there, so isolated and hard to get at and in such great need.