November 2019 Update

November, 2019

In nearly every parish in Thailand, a Mass is offered in each cemetery, during the month of November, for the departed relatives and friends of the parishioners. The cemetery for the villages of Don Wai, Pai Si Tong, and smaller communities in the area, is situated in the village of Don Wai, next to Sarnelli House. In a fenced in area next  to Sarnelli House, are buried to children, caregivers and special friends of Sarnelli. Fr. Dick Strass, Creston Smith, Gary Smith, Kim Kolberg all await the Resurrection, together with Grandma Wan and our deceased children. Villagers, both Catholic and Buddhist, come with food and drink to host the Mass goers after the ceremony. Mass is said and each grave is blessed by priests who concelebrate the Eucharist. Our staff and children squeeze into the gated area to be present for the blessing of the children’s graves, and the meal that follows. I remember the first burial in that cemetery. Now, it is nearly full, and I bought another acre and a half next to it, so as not to run out of space. 
November is going to be the month of the babies. For a long time, we did not get any new arrivals at the House of Hope, but now, we are awash with freshly born babies, and little ones only months old. The count is now 19 for the harried housemothers to feed and water. Several of the babies were born of mothers with AIDS, so they will have extra tests for months and years, to keep abreast of any health issues. The mothers refused to take their babies, but leave them with us to raise. 
Father Ole has been very active with the children’s sports activities, and especially football (soccer). The Rayong football club held a football tryout with boys 13-16 years old. From all over Thailand, nearly 500 boys attended, with only 22 boys chosen to join the team. One of these boys was our Beh. We will pay for his food and schooling, and the team will have him stay with them, so as to attend football practice.
Right now, we are anxiously hoping for the arrival of a storm that is entering Vietnam from the east. We are hoping and praying that it comes into our parched area and dumps a goodly amount of rain on everyone’s rice paddies. I checked our rice fields, and over half of the rice we planted is withered to the point nothing will help. I phoned a Redemptorist priest friend, Father Johnny Phairote, to ask him if his relatives down in Xang Ming were selling rice. He said their rice had been flooded, but might not have died. He later phoned back to say his relatives had rice to sell. I will buy it now, since the price of rice will double after New Year.
The children are back in school now. Two of our girls who had left us and had bad experiences are back home with us, and back in school. Girls get online with their cell phones, and manage to contact some real maggots. And then are stupid and naïve enough to believe them. 
We pray for you every day. In the month of November, Catholics remember their departed parents, relatives and friends and we remember all of or departed friends and benefactors who helped so much to make Sarnelli House and its work for children a real possibility. May the good Lord bless all!

Father Mike

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