June 2018 update

I just took in a 5 year old crippled girl with AIDS and a damaged heart. She is 5 years old but only looks like she is two. School has opened, and we have outfitted a batch of kids for the new school year. Besides our own Sarnelli kids, we have nearly 80 kids in our Outreach Program. We also help to enable a program from France, “Enfants Du Mekong” which sponsors poor kids. So, for the last two weeks, the staff has been run ragged buying and separating clothes. Each school has its own uniforms. Rosario school, for instance, has a red skirt and pants for girls and boys in kindergarten. Grade school has a blue smock for girls and blue short pants for boys; Junior high school has a long blue skirt for girls. As for senior high, just seeing a uniform and its color, tells you what school the child is attending. Plus that, we pay for tuition and books, travel and noon lunches. So we are really grateful to those who sponsor these kids. Money spent on college kids is really high, and we need help from companies and foundations, plus anything we get from the children’s sponsors. I think we help around 250 children in all.

              We hope the new building for the Viengkhuk girls will be finished in about a month or so. We still have not been able to get a back hoe in to dig foundations for our water tower, and we will have to clean up the site and put in a road and also a wall to keep girls in and boys out. The monsoons are working their way in so it could turn into a muddy mess. It will be nice once everything is completed. Two dioceses that own the land where the present Our Lady Of Refuge house for girls is located (Viengkhuk) are busy trying to sell the land (and buildings), so we need to move. The dioceses are going to pocket the earnings, so we won’t get the price of our buildings, well or electricity back.

              On the home front, Kate, our nurse and director of volunteers, and a hard working lady who wears many other hats, is also taking on a prevailing drug problem in the community. Her husband Brian, is a great fundraiser and also teaches at the Redemptorist Handicapped school in Nongkhai and gives English lessons to Immigration Police. Brother Keng and Brian join to evaluate and encourage our students. Bother Keng keeps in close contact with our college kids and others studying away. He takes them to choose boarding houses and makes sure the kids have adequate lighting and beds and fans for their rooms.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Brother and Kate also run our outreach program. Each house is run by a housemother or, in the case of the Gary and Janet home for boys, one of our young lads named Jay, who just finished college. They meet every Monday morning to discuss various problems and policies needed to keep the houses running smoothly.

              Again, thank you for your wonderful gift for the children and their education! I am heading home to the U.S. on June 20, and will return on Aug. 20. We pray for you and yours every evening.

Father Mike

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