December 2009

Dear Friends!

   Christmas is looming up frighteningly fast! We have plenty to be thankful for this year, as we kneel in front of the crib. Mostly, we are thankful for kind, generous people like you who helped us keep our heads above water! It was a grim swim through 2009, and nothing indicates that 2010 will be any better. But the Lord and His Mother got us this far, and we are not going to start doubting now. Unlike other groups here, I do not have any professional fundraisers nor do we get much exposure in the press, etc. This obviously shows the power of God and Her love for these kids!

   Santa Claus came early this year. Sunday, Fr. Chuck Beierwaltes, who is built exactly how you would want Santa to look like, bulldozed in to help for three months. We are all happy to see him. This project is kind of bankrolled by old guys; Paddy Power is 86; Leo Travis is 81, Chuck is 76; Fr. Dave Polek is 75; and Frs. Jim Shea and I are 71. All are stateside, save for me and Fr. Travis. This makes the powers-that-be a tad nervous. Anyway, there is no doubt about who will put on the Santa suit this year! I hope we have a cold snap so Chuck doesn’t melt!

   Earlier this year, I bought 25 rai (12 acres) of paddy land on which someone had planted Eucalyptus trees. We cut all the saplings (these trees are horrible for the soil; leech too much water and their leaves are poisonous to any thing planted around them). I got a tractor to plow up the roots; and we just dug a three meter big fish pond. Then, we ran out of money. We do have time, and eventually this land will be for some of the AIDS-infected boys who have mental issues from the ARV medicine. They can plant rice and gardens, and raise pigs, chickens, fish and frogs. When I get more money, I will buy a tract of land for the girls, so they can have little homes, and work around the area, especially with the Good Shepherd Sisters Thai Handicraft projects. Most of this will be done when I am either dead or drooling, but it is important to start now, while land is still relatively cheap.

   The new kids are doing great. The two little boys who were nearly sold to a woman in Sweden are really lively, happy little lads. Mae, our AIDS infected girl of 12 who also has TB of the lymph glands, is doing great. Mae and Jawm are always famished and the cook loves cooking stuff up for them between meals. Both are going to resemble little porkers. Bomb, who also has AIDS and TB of the lymph glands, is working for the Good Shepherd sisters, needle pointing, and she always needs a special dollop to buy more food. It is great to see these kids recover so fast, and respond so openly to love and attention.

   May you have a very blessed Christmas and may the Lord continue to bless you throughout 2010! The kids, the staff, Fr. Chuck and I will be praying for you at Christmas Mass in Holy Infants chapel.

Fr. Mike

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