August 2016


I arrived back at Thailand’s green shores on July 28. It was great to get home, and see all the kids and the workers. I had the July 30 Mass for the kids; that day being my 78th birthday. Despite a huge rain (which we needed) we had a big party in the Joseph and Mary hall. The children proudly put off their latest song and dances, and then I sprung for a pop and pizza party. Despite jetlag, I hung in there for the duration. I received great hugs and kisses, but was not sure if that was because of true affection, or probably because I gave each child 1,000 THB to buy what they wanted or needed. I also gave a similar amount to each worker. Whatever, it was a lovely way to return.

In my absence, Fr. Ole roused the villagers and they cemented the road from the bottom of the hill up past Good Shepherd church, and beyond the end of the property. The village itself remains to be cemented or blacktopped by the government, which has done squat in Don Wai. Now, we have poured a cement road into the property where Charlene Richard house is located, as are our offices. No more dust rolling into the offices, etc. Next, we have to fix potholes around Sarnelli and Nazareth, plus add gravel to the road leading to the Gary and Janet Smith building, in the fields. We will have to wait until the monsoons recede before doing this.

We had a great Ceboride in July in Wisconsin, with over thirty riders, and a huge amount of money (nearly $100,000) was garnered for the sick children and adults in our houses, and also Outreach program. I also was lucky to have friends and relatives put off the “Barn Mass”, where a great family empties out their machinery shed and we have Mass; an auction of handicraft and other gifts given for the AIDS kids. People bring their own “dish to pass”, and also beer and hard drinks. This year, we received over $40,000! Fr. Chuck, in Oconomowoc WI also put on his Asian Fair, with Thai handicraft he doggedly brought back each year from Thailand. Fr. Chuck received over $10,000 from the fair. All in all, the 8 week stint at my deceased cousin Barb McBride’s Eden House was a success. I even had time to play some golf this summer!

The children at our 6 homes at Sarnelli seem happy and healthy. The University boys and girls were also home, getting money to prepare for the new school year starting at various times this month. The military junta which replaced the elected government has decreed that any kid caught with drugs means that his or her guardian(s) will go to jail as well. Since I am the appointed guardian (by the government), this has caused me no little angst! Brother Keng met with the kids and told them what would happen if they got caught with drugs. I hope they were listening carefully!

We are getting good rains, and finally finished planting rice. We have an awful lot of rice paddies planted. We also picked up a lovely little 15 day old baby girl, with a full head of black hair and cute cupid lips, named Nam Fon (“rain water”) who sleeps a lot. One troubling thing is that the hospital sent along three types of ARV (AIDS) medicine for the tyke, and we have to check this out, really fast. That type of medicine is really hard on their little livers. I want to make sure the doctors knew what they were doing.

We are watching the flood waters in Louisiana and other places on TV, and now are watching our own Mekong River, which is riding very high these days. Our fate depends on the volume of water coming from the north and west, and whether the Chinese open flood gates to release their pent up excess of water. Stay tuned for the next episode!

Again, we thank all the friends of Sarnelli, which means all the kids, and ask God’s good blessings on all!             

Gratefully in Christ,

Father Mike

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