December 2017 update


               We are in a frenzy of preparation! We have 160 + children, and 14 of them are babies. We also have 88 children in our Outreach Program. Right now, we are stuffing bags of candy for Christmas, and each older child will get a nice colorful racing jacket, that is the rave right now. Each child gets 1,000 baht (about $30) to spend for Christmas. I already had one party at our Outreach program for 19 children downriver. They live about 200 kilometers east of Sarnelli House. Our other Outreach will be a New Year party for nearly 70 kids and a bunch of adults here at Sarnelli, on Dec. 30. The children and staff are decorating their Christmas cribs, and Advent prayers are being offered for you every evening.

              We received our Christmas Angel a few weeks ago. A social worker from the Chulalongkorn hospital whom we knew from the days she worked at Srinakarin University Hospital in Khon Kaen asked us to take a 16 year old girl, with the I.Q. of a 6 year old. We usually don’t take older kids, because they are disruptive and unable to control. But the doctors at Srinakarin also asked me to take the girl. They brought her up this morning, with a bag of medicines she is to take. The girl is orphaned and abandoned; she has a lung infection from working in a cardboard factory in Bangkok. The AIDS virus has brought her to the point of real trouble. She was brutally raped and wound up with two venereal diseases at once, and is still taking medicine to cure it. The AIDS virus is hampering her recovery. And, on top of this, she has shingles. She is not a happy camper, and wants to get back to Bangkok and Grandmother. We are doing what we can to keep her for at least 4 months, until her CD 4 count rises, and her virus is suppressed.  But she is prone to outbursts of anger, and is with the girls of Nazareth, who don’t appreciate her reaction to things.

              The second shock I received today was a petition from the staff and 25 girls in Viengkhuk, up on the river. A guy put in fill behind the houses there to build a resort, and the government put in another two lanes of traffic on the other side of the property, which will completely cover the drainage ditch so badly needed during monsoons. We do not own this land (we rent from the diocese), and it will cost about $150,000 to build a two story structure to house a posse of 40 girls and their keepers. We would build that next to our Nazareth house, for older girls. We continue to pick up  trafficked girls, pregnant girls and girls sick with HIV/AIDS. A couple of girls argued earnestly that I should get this done fast, before I die. So, more trips with my tin cup.

              The first two boys moved to the first cottage on the 12 rai land. We cleaned up the property and also put down fertilizer in the garden. The boys bought  motorcycles with money they saved. We will build a little kitchen/ wash room next. I am sleeping out there now. It is really isolated. No barking dogs at night, and the sky is bright with stars, what with no lights shining. We are preparing land for the date trees next week. A Thai Forestry official is going to help us with other fruit trees.
              We hope and pray all is well with you, and that the Good Lord grant you all good health, happiness and peace during the New Year!

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