February 2019 Update


       The runts are all back in school, and already looking forward to the March-May school vacation. The senior high kids and kids in vocational school are studying and working. Our 24 college kids have a new study schedule that mirrors the college schedule in the West. Their school year opens late August and ends in late May. The grade school children are a happy lot and this old man is amazed at how quick they grow. They wear torn jeans like the older kids and every kid seems to have an i-phone type device. Thank God the schools have a rule that the kids must wear a uniform designed for each school, and also are strict about haircuts and tattoos. Without that rule, God knows what they would want to wear for school. We now have 155 children from mere months oldto 22 years.
Among volunteers we have received these days were 5 Catholics from Singapore who painted rooms at the House of Hope, and 8 high school kids from Holy Redeemer School in Bangkok who stripped and painted beds and cribs. All guests and volunteers are gone (except for three German Lutheran girls who are volunteering for one year, each), and we have a few weeks open to paint bedrooms at Charlene House, our guest house. Friends from Lafayette LA donated the money for the job. Then more guests and volunteers will come flooding in to help.
We have one persistent problem. Some boys who left us after 18 years of age have returned, beaten, used, with drug habits, and thoroughly defeated. They are kids who could not make it in school, and tried working construction and in agricultural jobs. They wound up starved, terrorized in some cases, and drugged with speed increase their work productivity. We have 5 girls who had the same experiences, but more degrading for them. They are good girls who left here hoping to do well and thank God, they did make it back. Some boys and girls we have never heard from again. We now have a rule that we hire the returning girls to help in the kitchens of the houses, or become house mothers, and not hire outsiders. I have the boys working on our farm, or helping our young village men who make repairs, etc, in our many houses. According to Thai law, I have to pay them. We have 6 boys and 4 girls to pay about $200 each. Minimum wage here is $300 a month, and we give these kids food, clothes and shelter so have to give them $200 a month. There used to be a government vocational school just 8 kilometers (5 miles) away, but then the Government made the school part of their reform school for boys.
Again, thank you so much for your interest and generosity. We pray for you daily.

Father Mike

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