February 2021 Update

February 2021

Happy Valentine’s Day!

    The long, miserable cold snap is a thing of the past, although the weatherman tells us another round of cold weather is coming, and that will be followed by rain. That would be our “Mango rains”, which waters the blossoms on mango trees. We didn’t get those rains last year, and the mango harvest was kind of scarce. Anybody who comes to Thailand will never forget mangoes, coconut milk, and sticky rice.

    That said, what with the worst of the cold season behind us, thanks to some generous friends in Hawaii, we are going to buy chicks and ducklings. The rice harvest in 2019 was really bad, and we therefore had no grist to feed chickens and ducks. So, I had the boys repair our chicken and duck pens which are over water in our fish ponds, and will buy the fowl and raise them. From the grant money, there should be some money left for feed for them as well.

    Years ago, we took in three sisters, who were orphans. They were nieces of our departed Fr. Peter Leng, who was a good friend of mine. The mother died in a motorcycle accident and the father died of cancer a few years later. Last year, the middle sister Pawm Bam, phoned to ask for help. She and her husband and two young daughters live in Pattaya, and she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She asked me if I would take her back for treatment at the cancer center in Udon, a town 50 kilometers south of here. And would we place her girls in the Catholic school in nearby Viengkhuk. We instantly agreed to help, and she is undergoing treatment and the daughters are in Catholic school. Several years ago, a lady in the village begged me to buy her house so she could build another house and live in the fields. I really didn’t want to, but finally agreed. The workers named the house “Charlene Three”. Charlene One is our big guest house, and Charlene Two is a house with a dorm like interior for young people who come to stay and be with our kids. Charlene Richard was a saintly girl from Lafayette, Louisiana. Generous Catholics from the Lafayette area donated to build Charlene One, and still send a monthly donation for upkeep. Charlene Three turned out to be a godsend. We use it for sick people, with AIDS, TB and cancer to come and be helped and taken care of.

    Our weekly Outreach trips to the poor and sick have been curtailed, thanks to Covid. Actually, there have been no cases of Covid in our area. But people aren’t taking chances. There is a mask rule, and travel is sometimes forbidden from village to village. 
    Our new priest, Father James, a newly ordained Thai Redemptorist is now with us for 6 months, and is a ball of energy. The kids are happy to have a young fellow, since they have been stuck with an old man since Fr. Ole, Kate and Brian left. Brother Keng is still here, thank God. He has taken over many tasks, and is really capable and responsible.
We hope and pray that all are well, and especially safe from Covid. God bless you.
Father Mike

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