March 2011

Hello from hot, smoky, dusty Don Wai! The hot season has arrived and there are less than two weeks from the end of the school year, and the natives are getting restless. This is the time when tearful girls (never the boys; their report cards are always better) come to show me their report cards, and last year, one girl, Ploern, had flunked 8 subjects. I guess they don’t make kids repeat the year, but they have to do make up work, which is difficult when you have to deal with homework for the new school year as well. I started calling Ol’ Ploern “008” (a la James Bond), and she came wailing after Mass this past Saturday, confessing that she didn’t complete the wipe out of 8 flunked subjects from last year, and might even have a whole new row of zeros this year. She is not a dumb girl at all, but just an airhead. And she isn’t even blonde!!

                Besides Matthew, Luke, Jonah and Eileen, we have another 4 month old baby boy named “Diamond”. He looks like he could have been Father Chuck’s love child. We are going to get a Chicago Cubs baseball cap for him, take his photo and post it with a comparable photo of Chuck! Diamond’s parents are blind and realized they could not take care of him. They came today with Welfare people to visit him and they are going to live in Nongkhai and be close to their son. The government gives each 500 baht ($16.66) a month, so I can see they will be part of our Outreach Program. They studied traditional Thai massage, and will open up shop in town.  

                Thanks to the German Lutherans in Oberhausen, we now own a tractor (Kubota) with a plow and mulcher type attachment (to break up lumps in the soil or straw) and it also has a blade. This church is fabulous; they have Muslims and Turks and African people at their services and help them with food and jobs and any way they can. One would think that they wouldn’t have the wherewithal to help anyone else. But they come to help Sarnelli House every year, with the money they collect at Christmas and New Year. They are incredibly generous and faith filled people. We will have a girl volunteering for 6 months whose aunt goes to this church, and the aunt suggested helping Sarnelli as a volunteer-missionary before going on to the University. Of course, we have repeat visitors from this church every year. They are very close to our staff and the children. Some of our staff have visited this church several times and they return realizing that the Holy Spirit works through these people and their pastor and deaconess in a very special way. At Sarnelli, there are not Jews or Greeks or Gentiles, to quote the Apostle Paul. There are people who know and love Jesus in an intimate way, and successfully spread the love of the Father for His children, everywhere. There are other religious and secular groups from other countries as well, and we will focus on them in the future.  

                 And so, we lurch on, nervously awaiting the onslaught of the Great Unwashed during the two month school vacation, as they look for action and trips and attention, we can only yearn for the new school year to hasten in! May the Lord bless you and yours!

                Fr. Mike

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