Thailand so far

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been in Thailand for almost a week, and I haven’t updated the blog once. Well, it hasn’t been for lack of trying. Some days, I have no time alone. Others, I’ve had no internet access. On the days in which I’ve had a little time, I’ve had to deal with unexpected issues that took away my attention.

Now that I have a few moments to myself, it’s hard to think about what I should tell you. Maybe I’ll just give sort of jumbled update and see if anything comes of it. 

We arrived in Thailand with my sister Julie, her husband Sam and their two kids, Anna and Ethan. Their family has generously supported Asia’s Hope from the very beginning, and Sam is now a member of the American board. This is their first trip to visit Asia’s Hope in person, and it was wonderful to spend time with them, enjoying the kids at the various homes and ‘talking shop’ throughout the day. When they left earlier this week, my kids were, admittedly, a little sad.

We were also joined by Glenn and Chantal Kelly and their three kids, Kaitlyn, Cassidy and Jeremy. Glenn and Chantal are members of the Canadian board, and Glenn also sits on the Executive Board. Glenn and Chantal’s church, Westview Bible in Montreal, sponsors our Battambang 1 home in Cambodia, so they were excited to be able to take their kids to see the children they hear about at home so often. 

Glenn and Chantal have for years worked tirelessly to support our Doi Saket 1 Thailand homes. In fact, this is the only home that we still have that sits outside of our normal church sponsorship model. We receive a portion of the total support from Chet’s Creek Church in Jacksonville, Florida, and the rest comes through the generous support of more than 100 sponsors — many of whom were Glenn’s friends and clients. Glenn and Chantal correspond with these Canadian sponsors, preparing updates and coordinating the collection and recording of the funds. This is a Herculean task, especially for busy people volunteering their time. A million thanks to Glenn and Chantal. We would have never gotten started in Thailand without their vision and dedication.

Anyway, Sam and Julie, Glenn and Chantal and all their kids have now left, and for a while anyway, it’s just our family. Since our arrival in Thailand, we’ve now visited 8 of our 9 Thai homes, and I’m pleased to say that the kids and staff appear to be doing great. We drove up last week to Wiang Pa Pow, our large campus about 2 hours north of Chiang Mai and killed a pig, feasted with the kids and staff and then distributed the meat to our other homes. The sow was probably 400 pounds, and died slowly, but deliciously.

We played soccer and were serendaded by the kids at Doi Saket 3 and 4, and toured the soon-to-be completed new home being built for DS4 by their sponsoring church, Grace Community in Fremont, Ohio. We spent a morning at the DS1 homes, and watched as the kids had their portraits drawn by local artists Glenn hired from the Chiang Mai night market. We played more soccer, and ran around playing silly games with the Doi Saket 2 kids, and worshipped on Sunday morning with all the kids and staff. The trip has been full, but rewarding. Today, we’ll be charting out the rest of our plans for our remaining two weeks in Thailand.

In Cambodia, I have a car to drive, and I can pretty much get around by myself. Not so in Thailand, so I find myself in the hands of others on a daily basis. Challenging for me, but the staff here is so accommodating it is really nothing more than an inconvenience.

I’ve also been unusually busy with correspondence – emails and phone calls and skype meetings often collide with each other, leaving me without much mental energy. But I’d better snap out of it and make the very best of my time in Thailand. I want to spend as much time with the kids as possible. I’m looking forward to the weekend, as the kids are out of school and available to play during the day.

I’ll try to update more frequently. Things here are busy, but pretty easy overall. It’ll get really complicated when I get back to Cambodia, and downright insane when I get to India.

More later…

Doi Saket 2 kids and staff

Doi Saket 3 kids and staffEvening soccer with the Doi Saket 3 and 4 boysMy daughter, Xiu Dan, and her friends from Doi Saket 3"Timothy," a former shaman from a Lahu villageLahu houses in a village similar to ones most of our kids come fromThe Wiang Pa Pow children's homeStaff and kids from Wiang Pa PowWaiting for pork at Wiang Pa PowPracticing guitar at Wiang Pa PowThis little boy is tired.Wiang Pa Pow children's homeGlenn Kelly and his daughter, CassidyThe entrance to our Doi Saket 1 children's homes

Portrait sessions at Doi Saket 1

Learning to make wax molds for silver rings