September 2013

Dear Friends!

                It is great to be back at Sarnelli House, after 7 weeks in the U.S., trolling for shekels! The kids greeted me like I was a rock star. (I think part of that was because of their expectations of gifts from the U.S.!! Everything I found was either made in China or someplace in South America). Fr. Joe Ole returned from his spirituality course in Rome several days later. We found that newly ordained Fr. Jo and the two Redemptorist brothers did yeoman work in preserving the faltering rice crop, together with the staff. Excellent work by them and also the kids who sacrificed weekends pulling weeds and re-planting rice by hand.

                Back in late June, I had the folks begin changing a garage into a bakery for the girls. Our AIDS girls are great kids, and some of them have difficulty studying because of Dyslexia, brought on by meningitis. They might have difficulty reading but they love baking and we have an elderly retired Sister who comes to teach them. Their baking area was small and kind of squalid before. The new bakery was just completed when Sister Dominic came to teach again. Since we took over a house used by staff, I also added showers and bathrooms. This house is for junior high school girls, and we had decided to mix AIDS infected girls with healthy ones. We did the same for the boys, so as to have them divided by school age rather than health. The jury is still out on this move.

                We are also trying to finish the house out in the fields. This house will be for lads who are scarred physically and mentally from AIDS, and who otherwise would never have a chance to make it. To turn them loose at the age of 18 would be really cruel to them. The same will happen for the girls who are a tad slow. We hope to build housing for them, and they can work in the Good Shepherd Sisters’ Thai Handicraft center.

                Our nurse Kate is everywhere; in the clinic; on Outreach every week, or working on projects in the office. We mightily strive to coax her into staying a few more years. Her mom and some siblings will be here with us in the second week of September. Kate’s mom Bernadette is a fabulous fundraiser in Australia, for the kids of Sarnelli House. Kate’s latest newsletter will be out soon..

                The two Redemptorist Brothers here are working well. One of them, Brother Keng is 31 years old, and is from Srichiengmai. The other brother, Brother Dtic, had worked in North Thailand. He stays with the boys in Pai Si Tong and together with Keng, takes responsibility for the fields, gardens and orchard. Fr. Ole is quickly learning the ropes in administration. Since I am the last American missionary in the Northeast, I can see the writing on the wall, and am happy these young guys came in and are doing a better job with Sarnelli House than I ever did.

                Again, thank you so much for your generosity and compassion for the children of Sarnelli House. We pray for you every evening at night prayer.

Fr. Mike

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