Hi from Dundee, Wisconsin!

Right now, I am writing this letter from Wisconsin, U.S.A. Cow country! A cousin of mine, with whom I grew up, has serious breast cancer, with heart touble from the chemo, and the cancer has metasticized some. She has improved considerably from a month ago. She is a real fighter and is not going to go easy!

In my five month absence from Thailand, Father Joe Ole is in charge, helped by Fr. Jettana (both ordained last year) and also Bro. Keng, who has a degree in counseling. Jettana and Keng will be going to Rome for a month for some spirituality courses, and Ole will then be “home alone”! It will be a nice experience for the kids to have young guys working with them, as the Old Pro is absent for nearly four months. I think the young priests are grateful that I am not panting over their shoulders, micro-managing. We also are helped on weekends by a lovely good hearted lady who is a successful business woman from Bangkok. She is helping with remedial reading; handicrafts and is on the new Education Board, which helps the kids in choice of schools, etc.

During this past dry season, we dug two more fish ponds and have four earlier ponds well stocked with fish. We hope we have a great monsoon season that will fill the ponds with water. We also built two chicken coops over the fish ponds. I am also building housing for two families who will guide and monitor the AIDS-infected boys who will live and work there. I also put in electricity at the tune of over $30,000. It is three phase 220 v. electricity and will run our fertilizer factory. The Dutch promised to build the factory and put in the four machines. We have to wait until the end of the monsoons, so that the fill will be firm and hardened. We just finished building a pole barn for heifers that will be bred and produce calves, eventually. What with rice, veggies, pigs, fish, chickens, geese and cattle, the young kids who have been handicapped by the HIV/AIDS virus, will not be abandoned, but be able to work under supervision. We hope to be up and running 100% by the end of next year. I started life on a farm, and it looks like I will finish up on a farm as well.

We have four college graduates looking for jobs, and they are getting some good vibes. All the kids are relatively healthy. They just finished school vacation. Some worked construction or on the farm, so as to get money for things they want. Some of the girls are making jewelry or Thai handicrafts. Other are taking remedial reading and other special classes. We try to keep them involved and busy. The days of the big vacation together are over. There are too many of us and people don't invite kids with AIDS. For this reason, I built a camping area up in the Nongbualampoo mountains. I came home before I had a chance to take the boys up for repairs. The young fathers and brother will have to do that.

Again, thank you so much! We pray that the Lord sees your interest, compassion and sacrifice for these children and blesses you abundantly with good health, quality of life and happiness. All the kids, Buddhist and Catholic, pray for you every day.


Fr. Mike