December 2014 (Merry Christmas!)


We are only one day away from our first of four Christmases, and we still have a lot to do. Fr. Ole, the pastor of three parishes and our children’s chapel, is hard at work with last minute preparations. The kids voted not to go camping over New Year, so I don’t know how the staff will keep them occupied. (We have 157 kids!). The staff, of course, hates camping, so they were happy with the result of the vote.

Our last two arrivals are a 15 year old mother and her lovely baby girl. We are going to go bankrupt feeding that baby. It was in an incubator for nearly a month; her mother a victim of a rape. It drinks mother’s milk, and when the little mother can’t produce it fast enough, we feed it formula. It is really growing and only cries when there is not a nipple in her mouth! Another baby girl, now two months old; never seems to cry. She is a really good natured kid. At first, the parents of the twins refused to even support the mother, who is a University student. The girl’s sister is an identical twin, and she stuck up for her sister, who was being pressured to abort. Both sisters study in Udorn, so Sarnelli House helps with their tuition, board and food, and we will wait to see if the grandparents of the little baby come to their senses.

The rice harvest is over and the workers are baling straw for the cattle, for when grass gets scarce. We moved all the older boys to a new house out in the rice fields, and we are experiencing growing pains. The boys have some bad habits forming that will have to be dealt with. I want to build them a study hall, but I want to make sure someone is going to study there!

The older kids in their last year of Matayom are now trying to take exams to get into college. Some are taking 3-4 entrance exams, hoping for a college where they can pursue their dreams. I know of at least three girls who will graduate next summer, and a few others on our Outreach Program will graduate as well.

Children, both from our Catholic villages and also our Sarnelli crowd, are busy decorating for Christmas, and practicing Christmas plays. Kids love to enact the Christmas story and dance the angels dance before Midnight Mass. Even Buddhist kids come and join in, and their parents show up to enjoy the play and the Mass and music afterwards. We erect a stage on the soccer   pitch of each village and many adults and children come to sing and dance, and get prizes. There is always plenty of food for everyone.

May the Infant Jesus and His Mother bless you with good health, happiness and peace throughout the New Year!

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