Well, I’ve always been a city boy. If I had to choose a place to relocate, it would probably be right in the heart of a bustling city like New York. Or Phnom Penh. I must admit, however, that there is a certain charm to life in the country. And that’s especially true when it’s hilltribe country in Northern Thailand.
Last night we drove about an hour and a half north of Chiant Mai to the Asia’s Hope farm at Wiang Pa Pow. The farm, which occupies about 32 rai of land about a half kilometer from the road that one would take to enter Burma, was a wreck about three years ago when we first stood in the tangled grip of the untended lychee grove, held hands and asked God to give us the land. The farmhouse, now graceful and bright, was dingy and in disrepair.
Today, the brambles and brush are gone. The house has been repaired, the lychee orchard restored, and the place is brimming with life. A small staff, which includes 4 widows rescued from a life of poverty in the hills, tends the crops and the animals, providing meat and fresh produce for our orphan homes in Doi Saket and Hot Springs.
Last night we enjoyed some of land’s bounty. Tutu and the staff cooked us an authentic Thai/Karen feast. The pork, courtesy of the sow that had been, until a few minutes before our arrival, snorting contentedly along with a dozen of its siblings, was prepared 5 different ways, all of them delicious (and one of them raw). The herbs, the vegetables and many of the spices were grown on-site.
The sky filled blushed as the sun set over the Hmong village mountains, and our team retired to the farmhouse, curled up on mats and slept on the floor, lulled by a cool evening breeze. We woke early; apparently chickens don’t have a snooze button, and we’re eating breakfast on the porch of Tutu’s cabin. In a concession to the western tastes on our team, she’s made us Ovaltine and peanut butter sandwiches. I think I’m going to look for the rice and the pork which I know is lurking around one of these corners.
Today, we will work on a master plan for this property. God willing, we will build at least two or three orphan homes, a conference center and a handicraft education center as He provides the funding. We already have a key partner in this effort – Crossroads Community Church in Mansfield, Ohio. They’ve sent teams over here a number of times, and they’re raising money to help us pay off the land.
I should probably stop writing now so I can focus on the company – Tutu’s playing guitar, and the staff is approaching. Peace to you all from Wiang Pa Pow farm. Pray with me that God will continue to bless this land for the sake of his children.