November update

Happy Thanksgiving!

Especially during this Thanksgiving season, do we appreciate all the help people give us. We have all kinds of mini projects going on, and we have begun to harvest our big rice crop. Right now, we have folks out at the cattle barn, rebuilding it, so the cows get shelter from driving rains and the cold winds that will be coming in from the Lao mountains, right across the Mekong River. Borther Keng and our Aussie nurse Kate run our Outreach Program and also work with older students and in the children’s clinics. Kate is a godsend when it comes to writing organizations, looking for money for medicine, education, and food for the Outreach Program. I also am capable of writing up project presentations, but since most of this has to be done by computer, poor Kate winds up entering it all. Kate goes home late this month for her sister’s wedding, and will stay on with her Mom and relatives until late January. She deserves these breaks.

Last year, we completed the Gary and Janet Smith building, out in the fields. I have been spending a day or two a week there, but now, what with the huge influx of kids, we will move the 22 older boys of Jan & Oscar building there. We will take girls from the Viengkhuk House (Our Lady of Refuge) and the overflow from Nazareth House, and have them join to live in the Jan & Oscar house. Right now, we have 155 kids and another 50 on the Outreach Program. (Kate told me that we have taken in 24 new kids this year, with one more baby girl on the way). Plus that, we help 22 infants of local people with milk and food, etc. We have to build a decent road to the new building (the monsoons made the road to the fields nearly impassible), and pour a volleyball court for the boys. Fr. Ole and Brother Keng have 6 mushroom “farms” among our houses. We wind up selling most of the produce, since the kids can’t eat the mushrooms fast enough!  

Three more children from downriver joined us this past Monday. The little girl went to the House of Hope, since she is too small to go to school as yet. It is never a pleasant time for any new kid, but we just hope they learn to relax and enjoy, as do others. A newborn baby girl with jaundice is out of the hospital after one month, and has joined 18 other wee ones at the House of Hope.  

People have been writing to ask what I will have for Thanksgiving. The Thai do not celebrate Thanksgiving, so we used to have our celebration during the annual Redemptorist meeting on the third week of November, in Pattaya. I, however, am the last American Redemptorist up in the mission in northeast Thailand, so there probably won’t be any turkey for me this year, since I am not attending the elective chapter. I do have a great friend and Redemptorist fund raiser for the kids, Fr. Chuck Beierwaltes, and he is also a great cook, and came to Sarnelli last week. Maybe we can scare up a butterball turkey and some gravy and spuds. One would need a chain saw to cut up one of our local turkeys! 

Again, thank you so very much for your interest, compassion and generosity to the children of Sarnelli House! May God bless you and yours special, on Thanksgiving Day, and every day!


Fathers Mike, Chuck, Ole, Khai, Brother Keng, Kate and all the staff & kids

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