WOW! It’s been a LONG time!

It’s been a long time !

It really has been a long time since my last post! (Just over 4 months!)

Our Home

Our Home

A LOT has happened in our lives. We left Sunshine Orchard and moved into our new home in Mae Taeng, Chiang Mai. Its small but beautiful – right next to rice fields. We have our own banana trees, papaja trees etc. Really just wonderful – but small! Too see more pics of our house  click here.

Hmong Village

Hmong Village

I accepted the position as director of All Asia Studio, where we are doing recordings in preparation for DVD, CD and Internet Broadcasting. We are also preparing for Satellite Broadcasting. So lots of work to be done. One of my greatest joys is to do field work. Usually on Sabbaths we visit local village churches (many times these churches are just mere huts). We record sermons and then ask if there are any willing to give their testimonies. In the western world this would be like asking someone to preach a sermon! But for these sincere local village people they are all to willing to share their testimony. With tears streaming down their faces they tell of the stories how they came to love Jesus. We then distribute DVD’s , VOP cards and pamphlets in the village. Everyone is involved, from the smallest child to the oldest adult. It’s truly such a blessing!

First Studio

First Studio

We have recently decided to open a second recording studio. The first recording studio (see left pic) has been given to Ps. Phamor who is working with Karen children and training them in Media work. Our vision was to acquire larger premises in which we could not only house a studio, but in which we could facilitate other Institutions, like a Missionary Training Center, Lifestyle Center, Printing Press, School etc.

After much prayer and searching for new premises in the country, the Lord has opened up new doors for us!

Possible New Studio

Possible New Studio

A dentist in Chiang Mai contacted me, saying that he has property on which he has started to build. He confesses that he actually just started to build it as a project, not really having any idea for what purpose he was building. The 3 storey building is perfect for our use! Construction is underway and hopefully will be completed by April next year. It will have housing for staff and training facilities. The location is in the country, yet next to a main road which will lead to Chiang Mai’s new Airport. The best news is that the property has access to Fibre Optic Cabling for internet!! Something we REALLY need for Live Streaming! Praise the Lord!

Currently we are all working from home, filming in the villages, and editing.

Moving

The Blue House

The Blue House

It came as quite a shock when the old lady that owned the house we stayed in, decided that she wanted it back again. The fact that we had a written one year contract with her didn’t seem to mean much! After much debating and searching we have found a wonderful brand-new brick house! (Blue House – Left)

The couple who built it are separated and she no longer wants to stay in the house! We are the first people to move in the house. It’s BIGGER with 3 bedrooms – one of which has become an office. This is where the editing gets done!

God has amazingly provided for our needs once again. The owner was in favour of signing a 6 months contract – which would take us till next year when hopefully our new premises will be ready! Praise the Lord!

Songkran

Ever wanted to be part of the Worlds Biggest Water Fight? Songkran is the time of year to visit Thailand – Chiang Mai in particular! It’s FUN for all! Click here to see pics!

Abigail

Daddy and Abigail in the Jungle

Daddy and Abigail in the Jungle

Our struggle with getting papers for Abigail still continues. Inge has located a NGO which is trying to get Abigail a Thai Citizen Card. This will help us greatly, as we will then be able to travel freely with her. Also we will then be able to take the next step and try to file for adoption.

Please continue to pray for us as this is a HUGE burden on both of our hearts! Abigail just celebrated her two-year birthday in September. She is beautiful and VERY intelligent! Growing up fast and a real cheerful helper around the house. We simply adore her.

Visa Run

Our last visa run took us to the northern most part of Thailand. It’s so very beautiful as you travel North. Many, many mountains, green scenery and jungle trees everywhere. We loved it. This was one of the easiest border runs we have done. Within about 15 minutes we had crossed the river into Burma, got our passports stamped and headed back into Thailand. Stocked up with nuts from the local markets we headed back home again!

Foundation

I have just drawn up a constitution for a Foundation we are trying to establish in Thailand! (this is similar to a non-profit organisation). If we can get this then it would mean we could get work permits and long-term visa’s. (Visa runs are expensive). Please add this to your prayer list as well.

Finances

Thank You

Thank You

Finances are always tight. If you feel the Lord has led you to support our ministry, please click on the “Donate Tab”. Every small bit helps.

I will try to keep you posted with more pictures and videos, but lately I have been kept VERY busy! We miss you all so very much. We thank you for your continued prayers and support.  We would love to hear from you – drop us an e-mail to say “hi”

PLEASE visit our Photo album to see MANY more pics of Chiang Mai and other exciting areas! (Walking Street, Night Bazar, Songkran etc etc) Click here to visit our latest photo Albums.

May God continue to bless you too.

Michael, Inge and Abigail.

Posted in Posts | 1 Comment

Moving …

Big and Unexpected Change

It all started with a border run.

Abigail and Inge in a Tuk-Tuk

Abigail and Inge in a Tuk-Tuk

We needed to do a border run to get new visas for Thailand. This entails traveling straight across Thailand to the border crossing into Laos. The problem we faced was what to do with little Abigail. We did not want to leave her with strangers! We prayed for the Lord’s guidance and once again He answered our prayers. However He answered them in more ways than one!

Lena Adams and her family were looking after Timothy in the hospital in Chiang Mai. She suggested that we take a bus to Chiang Mai, and leave Abigail with them while we did our border run to Laos. This is exactly what we did. We got our visas and a further ninety days stay in Thailand.

A surprise turn of events . . .

On our return to Chiang Mai we wanted to spend a few days sight seeing!  After all, it was school vacation. A bright Sabbath morning was when God took us down a road that would overturn the world we’ve known for the past 7months.

Thai Church at Adventist Academy

Thai Church at Adventist Academy
(building on left)

There was a special Sabbath Service at Ps. Phamor and Jesus for Asia’s studio.  Lena left Paul and Timothy at the hospital, took her kids and the three of us over to the studio – about one hour from Chiang Mai.

Between Sabbath School and the Main Service, Bill Osborne offered to show me around at the studio. I was immediately impressed with the equipment and the order in which things were laid out. All very professional! What Bill asked me next, I was not prepared for! He said that he wanted to speak to me after Sabbath about the possibility of me filling his position as Studio Director!

WOW!

Wow! This was something I had not even dreamed of doing! I have always had a passion for videography and studio work. This was like a dream come true.

But what about Sunshine Orchard? What about our new family of friends that means so much to us? What about the students that both Inge and I were teaching? All these questions! Was this really God’s leading? This called for much prayer and guidance.

And so we prayed about it and we both felt that this was the Lord’s calling for our lives.

Rice fields

Rice fields

It’s now been a few weeks since that Sabbath.  And we have found a lovely new home to stay in right on the edge of beautiful green rice fields! We have more family too!  It’s truly a little paradise here! We feel sure that this is the Lord’s calling.

Please Pray!

Please keep our family back at Sunshine Orchard in your prayers.  They now need two more teachers, and school is starting in less than three weeks!  Pray that God will provide for their needs.  Please for pray for us, too, that God will enable us to do the work He has called us to do here.

Photo’s and Videos

We will be posting more photo’s of our new home as well as some video footage as soon as we have caught our breath . . . God Bless

Michael, Inge and Abigail

Posted in About the Studio, Latest Happenings, Posts | 6 Comments

Timothy

Throwing out a lifeline!

Throw out a Lifeline!

Throw out a Lifeline!

This is the first time that I am sending out a blog for a specific need. It was my intention to use our blog to keep friends and families informed about what we are up to. However, what is currently happening is something that is VERY close to our hearts!!

As you know we are staying in Thailand at a place called Sunshine Orchard. It is (among other things) a home for abandoned and impoverished children. The Adams family who have started Sunshine Orchard, opened their home to many of these abandoned babies, who were given to them by parents who were just to poor to keep them. Very often the mother or the father have both died.

Timothy

Timothy

With loving hearts the Adam’s naturally accept everyone! Even though many times it feels as if their home is bursting at the seems! But Satan is never pleased when people are doing the Lord’s work.

PLEASE! take the time to watch this heart moving video that one of our missionary friends made. It will only take a few moments of your time!

We are looking for a lifeline for Timothy! 

Please click here to see the video!

PLEASE HELP !

PLEASE HELP !

Please prayerfully consider helping in any way possible. Share this video with as many friends and family members as possible.

Timothy really needs YOUR prayers and support.

God Bless

Posted in Latest Happenings, Needs, Posts, Video's | 2 Comments

A Happy Sad Day

It was already dark when I arrived home from a dentist appointment in Mae Sot (two hours drive away).  I walked into the house and there was no sign of my wife or little Abigail. (At least one of them should have been asleep by now . . .). I unpacked the groceries that I had bought, and then put myself to bed. A short while later Inge came up the stairs with Abigail. She told me that Abigail’s father and grandmother from Burma, were here to visit Abigail!

We have been desperately wanting to get in touch with the father, as there are unanswered questions with regards to us keeping Abigail. Two students went off into Burma to fetch Abigail’s father. Asking him to come and see us. Now this may seem like an ordinary everyday event for most of us, however not so in the jungles of Burma!

Abigail’s father is a “porter” for the Burmese soldiers. As you know by now the Burmese soldiers and the Karen people have been at war for more than 60 years! A “porter” is someone that the Burmese soldiers use for whatever they like! Very often they send porters ahead to crawl on their bellies along pathways in order to make sure that there are no landmines which have been laid. They are terribly used and abused by the Burmese army.

Abigail’s village was attacked by the Burmese Soldiers and when trying to escape Abigail’s mother died in the jungle, due to sickness, malnutrition and exposure. Her father not being able to care for little Abigail (there are three siblings already) asked Sunshine Orchard to help.  When we arrived, we were asked to take care of Abigail (then known as Kukupaw). This we gladly did but soon fell in love with her. The idea of adopting her crossed our mind many times. But how could we? What would the father say?

Meeting with Abigail's father.

Meeting with Abigail’s father.

Early this morning we both went to meet the father and grandmother. This was his third visit to see his daughter since his wife died. He knew that we were keen to adopt her, and so we met. We had been told through interpreters, that he had no objections to us keeping little Abigail.

Abigail's Grandmother

Abigail’s Grandmother

The grandmother was concerned that she may never see her granddaughter again, but we assured her that this was not the case. It seemed that both were in agreement to let Abigail stay with us.

Adoption is undoubtedly a major challenge! Almost an impossibility! A little Karen girl with no identification, born in the jungles of Burma. No mother. The father does not even know when Abigail was born. And now she is a refugee, living in Thailand. All these seemingly insurmountable hurdles to face when considering adoption. Not to mention the fact that we are missionaries with no employment, living on a tourist visa, and no income! All that paints a pretty grim picture!

Guardianship Papers

Guardianship Papers

However we went ahead and drew up papers for “guardianship” of Abigail. The father signed (fingerprinted) the document along with the grandmother and three Karen witnesses. Photo’s were taken of all of us together. We helped them out with medicine, clothing, blankets and transport money, for which they were very thankful.

Abigail's Father

Abigail’s Father

It was a very sad, yet happy moment. Looking into the fathers face, one could only imagine what was going through his mind! The pain, the suffering! The memories of his wife! And now being faced with the decision to give guardianship to strange missionaries. My heart went out to him.

You may ask “why did we insist on guardianship at all”? Good question!

There have been many stories of children who have been left at our children’s home. Left for us to raise and to teach! To give them schooling and to teach them English! English being the most valuable asset. Then after a few years the parents will fetch their children (who now know a bit of English) and send them to the big cities like Bangkok. There they are to work; often with the little girls being used as prostitutes! Little English speaking girls are very sought after as prostitutes. They in turn become sex slaves sending what little money they can earn back home to their parents! That is the reason why we are so hesitant to return these little ones to their parents!

We pray for God’s guidance and leading in the decisions we need to make for every child that comes to Sunshine Orchard. How we would love to just hold on to them all. To shelter and protect them from the evils of this world. Especially the babies! We need lots of prayer and discernment as it is never easy when dealing with these precious souls that God has placed in our care.

We ask that you remember us in your prayers. We pray that the Lord will give us wisdom to know what to do in these difficult circumstances. Please keep all of our children at Sunshine Orchard in your prayers. They are all precious souls for the Kingdom. All precious in His sight.

We look forward to the soon coming of our Lord and Savior when we can all go home at last! Let us all remain faithful until that day.

Amen

Posted in About Michael and Inge, About Sunshine Orchard, Answers to prayer, Latest Happenings, Posts | 6 Comments

Karen National Holiday

No School!

National Karen Holiday

Karen National Holiday

Today is National Karen Holiday. For those of you who don’t know who the Karen people are, allow me to briefly explain. The Karen people live in Burma, and are a very peace-loving people. As the story goes, the British at the end of World War Two promised the Karen that they would be given their own land. However this never happened. The land was given to the Burmese people and the Karen got nothing. This has resulted in a war between the Burmese and the Karen people. A war lasting 63 years. The Karen people have been hunted down by the Burmese soldiers, and many villages have been burnt and so many Karen people have lost their lives. The Karen have been forced to flee the Burmese soldiers, and many have sought refuge in Thailand. Unfortunately mothers and many children are the casualties of war. For those who are fortunate enough to make it to Thailand, they have been kept in a refugee camp, where they are fed by the UN. They are not allowed to leave these refugee camps. They may not have their own businesses, or work outside of the refugee camp. They may not even travel anywhere in Thailand. It is reported that there are approximately 50 000 refugees in camps in Thailand. We at Sunshine Orchard are helping those who have lost their mothers and fathers. Those who are impoverished. Those who have never heard of Christ.

National Holiday

Karen Celebrations

Karen Celebrations

Today, February the 11th, the Karen people celebrate the day that Britain promised Karen that they would be given their own state! The Karen as I said previously, have their own army just across the river from where we stay. Today our school and many surrounding schools were invited to celebrate the Holiday with them. The kids were all very excited! School closed and everyone got ready to go across the river to Burma. The one condition was that you had to wear a Karen shirt or dress. This made for a very colorful group of children.

Waiting on bank of river

Waiting on bank of river

We eagerly waited on the bank of the river to be ferried to the other side. The boats that they ferry the children on, are very long canoe shaped boats. They have no rudder for steering but instead they use the long shaft of the propeller to guide the boat. Often it seems as if the canoe’s are going to sink, but they seem to know just how to load them. It really is a fun ride!

Parade Ground

Parade Ground

Once on the other side of the river all the groups are lined up into their separate schools etc. Flags are handed out and little stickers are given to everyone. Everyone files onto the parade ground where speeches are made.

Many casualties of war

Many casualties of war

I had the opportunity to take many photographs, and saw many Karen who had lost limbs in landmine explosions, in this terrible war.

Please feel free to visit our photo gallery to see more photo’s that I have taken. You can click on this link to see the photo’s.

The anthem is sung and everyone is dismissed. It’s then eating time! I was walking around taking photo’s when Brenda and I were invited to eat at a very nice looking wooden house. We had no idea what to expect. We filed inside and were then taken upstairs to what looked like a very important meeting place. This was where all the officials, generals and important people were eating. Laid before us was a table with many dishes of food, all of which (besides the rice) contained meat! We were invited to sit down and eat. We thanked them for their kind hospitality, but very apologetically we had to say that we were vegetarians! That we didn’t eat meat! This didn’t seem to be a problem at all. They sent orders down to the kitchen and in a few minutes the cook was frying up some vegetables and soy meat! We had a wonderful lunch.

Cheers to the President !

Cheers! The President and me !

Sitting right across from me was the President who speaks English quite well. We chatted a little, and then he got up and left. The Commander-in-Chief of the army’s son was serving us and he too speaks very good English. He has spent the last six years in California with his brother. He’s studying to be a nurse. We made good friends.

After a VERY filling meal, we were shown around the army camp. Taken to the medic/clinic, where they treat the wounded. Luckily there was no one there. I was amazed at how primitive it was. Just a raised bamboo hut with a few bamboo rooms inside. I saw no signs of beds (or even mats). No medical equipment at all. Just the bamboo structure.

Ferry Boats

Ferry Boats

After looking around at everything, we made our way back to the river to be ferried back home again.

My eyes have truly been opened to this warm hearted and friendly group of people. The Karen are really a special people. Kind, peace-loving and friendly. We can learn so much from them.

I made a short video showing what all happened during the day. If you would like to see the video please click here.

Our prayers are that the current cease-fire and peace talks will finally result in peace being returned to this war torn country. A time when the Karen will be able to return back home. A time where families and friends can be re-united once more.

Makes me long even more for that day when we too can all go home! To a country where there is no more sickness, suffering or death. Where peace and love, reign supreme. A place that our Heavenly Father has gone to prepare for each one of us! My prayer is that not one of us will be found left behind when He comes to take us home with Him.

Please keep us in your prayers! The harvest is great and the workers are few . . .

God Bless.

Posted in Latest Happenings, Photo's, Places visited in Burma, Posts, Video's | 3 Comments

Sabbath Blessings

Two Sabbaths Ago

Melamoo

Melamoo

It’s Sabbath and as per usual we took a trip up to Melamoo Village where we are holding a Branch Sabbath School. The trip is really quite an experience if you have never been there before! There is a “paved” road which runs right over the mountain to the other side where a small village sits, nestled among the bamboo trees and in the jungles. The road itself is in very poor condition and extremely steep. In some places there are more potholes than road. It gets so steep that even in first gear your 4X4 groans and moans as it tries to keep the wheels turning. It’s so steep that seldom do you get above third gear. Mostly second and first gear all the way! Twisting and winding up, up and eventually over the top of the mountain, and then down the other side. Melamoo is a good hours’ drive from where we stay.

We used to meet in a family’s bamboo hut where we would all crowd together on the bamboo floor. But last Sabbath we were in for a surprise. The family in whose hut we usually visited have obtained a small piece of land on the hillside for a church!

Melamoo Church Site

Melamoo Church Site

Some boys were hired and they began the huge task of “cutting out” a huge chunk of the hillside, in order to level it for the new church building. When we arrived that Sabbath, the leveling-out work was complete. They had a huge plastic sheet laid on the ground, as well as several mats to sit on. This was our new church site! Praise the Lord. If you would like to see photo’s just click here!

Sunshine Orchard Kids

Sunshine Orchard Kids

We always take a group of students with us when we visit Melamoo village, and everyone was excited to have our first worship service on the new site. A small group had gathered, along with curious on lookers! How wonderful it was to have church outdoors in God’s nature! Sitting among the jungle trees and listening to the sounds of nature, as well as the villagers all around us. We really felt like a “Light on the Hill”.

Last Sabbath

Mae Salit SDA Church

Mae Salit SDA Church

Last Sabbath we visited the local SDA church in Mae Salit. This is about three kilometers from where we stay. It’s a small wooden church built on stilts, up on a hillside. You need to park your vehicle at the foot of the hill and then begin your walk up a very steep pathway. You cross over a stream on a very rickety bamboo footbridge, and then up a steep cement pathway.

Inside Church

Inside Church

The little wooden church is soon filled to capacity with happy singing children. The many hard wooden benches are simply not enough to seat everyone. Mothers with babies sit outside on the veranda. Others sit in the shade under the church.

Today is a special day! Many babies will be dedicated, and that will take some time. Today is also a Baptism, followed by Communion Service. Then everyone will leave the church and go to the pastor’s house for lunch. But before lunch the pastor has asked that I  preach another sermon at his house! THEN we will have lunch! All in all it was going to be a very looonng day!

Baptism Candidates

Baptism Candidates

I counted six people in total that were going to be baptized. Two of whom came from Melamoo village where we hold our Branch Sabbath School. Praise the Lord! Already we see the results of seed that has been planted.

Baptismal Font

Baptismal Font

The baptismal font is a small brick pool which is outside the church in the open, and filled with cold mountain water. Everyone stands around eagerly watching and singing hymns, while the baptism takes place. If you would like to see a video clip of the baptism (6 minutes), you can do so by clicking here!

Footwashing

Footwashing

Communion Service is also a little different! The foot-washing gets done outside the church in the open. There is no separate place for men and women, you just find the nearest shady spot where you can wash someone’s feet. It’s very different yet very nice. Water is obtained from a huge rain water drum at the entrance to the church, and there are very few towels to go round. So after someone has washed your feet, you just stand in your  sandals (flip-flops) with wet feet and then wash the other persons feet. No real need for towels, as it is so hot your feet dry very quickly. The cold water on your feet is very refreshing in the heat of the day. Here you are surrounded by village huts, the local dogs, chickens, pigs,  crying babies etc. , not to mention curious onlookers!

Finally the service draws to a close and everyone walks to the pastor’s house. Luckily he does not stay too far from the church(about 1km), but in the midday heat you are thirsty and tired by the time you reach the house.

The house has a large sitting room area, and all the children shuffle in. There is not nearly enough space for everyone, so the rest of the children and teachers sit on the veranda, and the stairs leading up to his wooden house. The window shutters are opened and everyone is seated and ready for their second sermon. Just before it was time for me to stand up and preach someone walked in with a huge birthday cake!

Birthday Cake

Birthday Cake

Apparently it was someone’s birthday (I think the pastor’s son), and we all had to first sing Happy Birthday to him. Watch him blow out the candles, and then I could begin. I tried to make my message as short as possible, as I had an audience of very hungry, tired and thirsty faces staring back up at me! I’ve never had to preach through windows to people seated outside before – it was all very challenging, yet exciting.

I am not sure how your Sabbath was, but I must say I was truly blessed?

If you would like to see more pictures just click here! 

You can also click here to see the video of the baptism (6 minutes).

I look forward to that day when we can all meet together in God’s kingdom to celebrate that first Sabbath together in our new home!

May God keep us all faithful until that day.

God Bless

Posted in Latest Happenings, Photo's, Posts, Video's | 1 Comment

Coconuts and Sticky Rice

Coconuts

Boxes from Korea

Boxes from Korea

A few weeks ago our boxes from Korea arrived. Besides our own personal belongings, most of the eighteen boxes were jam-packed with clothing, stationery, and toys for the Karen children.

Thanks to the children at Donghae Samyook Elementary School in Korea, we were able to receive a large donation of clothes, and stationery supplies for the Karen children at Sunshine Orchard.

Each class took part in fund raising.

Saymyook Elementary School Donations

Saymyook Elementary School Donations

A box was placed in each classroom and the children were encouraged to bring whatever clothing, stationery and toys they would like to donate to Sunshine Orchard. The children were all very excited about this project and soon the boxes were overflowing with gifts from the school children. Some even decided to raise funds by having a special day where all sorts of cakes, sweets, cold drinks etc. were sold in order to raise money. Each class proudly posed as photo’s were taken of the donations they brought. You can see the photo’s by clicking on this link.

New Shoes

New Shoes

Praise the Lord all our boxes arrived safely, without any damage whatsoever. Then came the task of trying to distribute the gifts among the children. With over 230 children it soon became apparent that certain children would be receiving and others would not. So we decided to distribute the clothing ourselves. Inviting only the children with the most needs to come forward for shoes. Many did not have a single pair of shoes and their faces lit up at the prospect of owning a “new” pair of shoes. Many pictures were taken of shoes being tried on by all the kids to see if they fitted. Finally all the shoes had found new owners. See the photo’s by clicking here. How blessed we were to see the smiling faces of these kids.

Then we decided to distribute the clothing. This was so difficult as the Karen dress very conservatively, and they always are conscious of what they wear – even though they have little clothing. So Inge came up with a plan.

IMM Grade 9 Class

IMM Grade 9 Class

She decided to invite all the Grade 9 IMM students to our house for a fun evening of going through the boxes of clothing. Both the guys and girls were EXTREMELY excited. Boxes were unpacked and soon there were heaps of clothing all over our living room floor. Carefully the students went through each item of clothing, trying on different things in order to make sure that it fitted well. I was very surprised to see that they did not try to just grab everything they could get their hands on. Even if the clothing fitted, many of them would not take it. I questioned them about this and found out that they were only taking exactly what they “needed”.

Clothing Distribution

Clothing Distribution

They were very careful not to take clothes that perhaps someone else could use. Being so aware of the needs of their friends and other less fortunate school children, they would rather sacrifice not having, in case someone else who really did need, didn’t get! This was a real lesson to me in practicing unselfishness. I have witnessed all to often in our western world how that when things are given away for free, everyone just pushes, shoves, and grabs for the most! I have seen this sort of behavior all to often among those who have plenty! However I was deeply impressed by the humility of these children who had so much consideration in their hearts for others less fortunate than themselves. What a lesson it was for me.

After each child took exactly what they needed, the rest of the clothes were folded neatly and put back into the boxes. And then came the feast!

Coconuts

Coconuts

The boys had earlier on climbed the coconut trees that grow all around us and harvested many coconuts for a coconut feast. With expert skill these students took a machete and started opening the coconuts. Careful not to spill any of its precious liquid, the coconuts were emptied into cups, enough for everyone to have a long drink. Some just drank straight out of the coconuts. Mmmmm DELICIOUS! Then the coconuts were chopped open and we all started feasting on the soft white fruit inside. For those who love coconut, this would have been a most enjoyable feast. Definitely a  night to remember.

As for the rest of the stationery items we have decided to build special wooden boxes for each classroom, with locks on them. This way each teacher will be able to distribute to their pupils as and when needed.

How blessed we are to see the smiling happy faces of these children. It reminds me that it is indeed “more blessed to give than to receive”. To see the photo’s of this wonderful evening please click here.

Sticky Rice

It was decided that all the Grade 9 IMM students would go on a week-end camp! This was done to encourage teacher-student relations. To get to know the students better and build better relationships.

Camp Site

Camp Site

We decided to go to the top of a near-by mountain. With incredible views of the surrounding countryside it made for the perfect camping site. The cook came with all the necessary food and everything was dropped off at the camping site. Hammocks were strung up between the trees and some slept on the ground under the stars. A campfire was made and soon food was busy being prepared.

Scooter Ride

Scooter Ride

It was Friday evening and unfortunately both Inge and I could not join the rest of the group for the sleep over. We just did not feel that Kukupaw would enjoy sleeping out in the cold on the top of a mountain. So instead early Sabbath morning the three of us climbed onto the scooter for the long drive to the top of the mountain.

Camp Site

Camp Site

Inge was to preach and LeRoy would do the Sabbath School. We arrived just after breakfast and everyone gathered round for choruses and singing with someone playing a guitar. Inge’s sermon went off very well, and we were all truly blessed. Then LeRoy shared some wonderful thoughts with us about the Sabbath School Lesson.

The highlight of the day was Sabbath evening. We were about to experience sticky rice prepared over the fire in bamboo poles! This was something that really got my attention.

First you cook the rice in a big pot over the fire, then in a separate pot you cook unrefined palm sugar with coconut milk. Once the sugar has been properly dissolved you are ready to begin. Two sticks are planted on either side of the fire, each with a “V” at the top end. You then lay a horizontal branch above the fire resting on the “V”‘s in each stick.

Filling Bamboo

Filling Bamboo

Next it’s time to get your bamboo poles. These are thick green poles which have been cut in a specific way. Bamboo poles have natural sections that are closed at regular intervals. What you do is make sure that when you cut a bamboo pole that the one end is cut just below the closed section, leaving the other end open. You then you fill the bamboo poles half way with the cooked rice! The remainder of the bamboo is filled with the coconut/palm sugar mixture. Now all that remains is to seal the open end. This is done by getting huge leaves and folding them in half and half again. Smaller and smaller until they are big enough to stuff into the opening of the bamboo pole. Now you are finally ready to cook your sticky rice!

Sticky Rice Camp Fire

Sticky Rice Camp Fire

All the bamboo poles are placed next to the fire with the tops resting on the diagonal branch above the fire. The bamboo poles are turned at regular intervals to make sure that they do not burn. The question of course is “How do you know when the sticky rice is ready?” Well that’s simple! You cook the rice until the outside of the bamboo has turned totally black with charcoal. Then you know the sticky rice is ready!

Sticky Rice made in Bamboo

Sticky Rice made in Bamboo

You then remove the bamboo poles from the fire and begin to peal away the burnt charcoal skin of the bamboo. By the time you are finished you are left with something that looks like an overgrown banana! The inside has been cooked well and is stiff like that of a banana. All that remains is for you to enjoy the wonderful sticky rice treat!

As we sat around the campfire the students were all telling stories of how they survived the freezing cold of the previous night.

Campfire Stories

Campfire Stories

At sunset, campfire games were started and everyone had loads of fun. What a wonderful experience was shared by all.

How wonderful to all share in the many blessings that the Lord has in store for us. Friendships, campfires, stories, games, and VERY cold nights!

We all look forward to the next camping adventure. Hopefully next time we will be able to bring Kukupaw with for the sleepover as well! You can see photo’s of the weekend camp by clicking here. Enjoy!

Posted in About Sunshine Orchard, Photo's, Posts | 5 Comments

Wings 4 Christ

Medical Missionary Training Center

A few weeks ago I was teaching my Medical Missionary class, and trying to explain to them the difference between good fats and bad fats! The bad fats were easy as they all knew that meat had fat on it! They could also understand that oil for cooking was a fat and that it was bad for you. That was the easy part, however the challenge came when trying to explain – Good Fats!

Teaching Grade 9 Class

You see no one in my class had ever seen an Avocado before! Olives were also another challenge as they had never seen olives before either. Then I was totally surprised to find out that most of them did not know what Nuts were! Could this be possible! We Westerners take so many foods for granted that the local people in Thailand just simply never get to experience. If only I had a projector. I would be able to use powerpoint presentations and show the class pictures of what I am talking about . . . .

Little did I know that that would be the start of a whole new project – “Wings 4 Christ!

Travis who does a lot of our interpreting for us, mentioned to me that they do have a small projector which was donated to them. He took me to see the projector – smaller than the size of my hand! Wow – now that was small! But how bright could such a small projector be? We decided to put it to the test, and it passed with flying colors! It was bright and powerful enough for the whole class to get a good look at avocado’s, nuts and olives, and many wonderful fruits that the Lord has created for us! I was sold, and from then on I have been using this small little projector in all my classes.

It was then that Travis mentioned that he wished that the small projector could actually be put to even better use! You see it comes complete with solar panels and back-up battery, in a neat back-pack kit ready for evangelism. (Visit the Wings 4 Christ link to see more pictures. There are also photo’s available in our photo album, as well as a video of our test flight.)

Immediately I started thinking! . . .

Ultralight Plane

A short while back we were donated an Ultralight Aircraft (this is similar to a microlight ). We were somewhat unsure of what exactly we were suppose to do with the plane, when I put two and two together! Wings 4 Christ! It sounded like a great idea.

Slowly this idea began growing in my head. What if we were to equip the plane with a complete bible study presentation, projector, big screen, and sound system, and fly to remote parts of Thailand – maybe even Burma, and present big screen Bible studies! I thought it was a great idea! However there were a few problems.

First: An ultralight aircraft can only carry a maximum of two people!

Second: A Bible study presentation in the “Karen” language doesn’t exist!

Third: The ultralight would not be able to carry a second person and all the equipment!

So I did some more thinking and praying about it . . . .

I immediately started working on a powerpoint presentation that would do three things:

  1. Have a complete slide show ready for presentation to the Karen/Thai people, so that any pastor or lay-evangelist who can speak the language could use it!
  2. The second option would be to add an audio option for each slide, so that when the presenter clicked on the slide, an audio presentation would be heard in the Karen language. Hence no need for the evangelist to speak in Karen!
  3. The third option would be the most challenging. I would direct a short Bible study video clip for each presentation, in the Karen language. This way even if you could not speak the language you would be able to watch a Bible study video, in the Karen language, with a presenter in the movie doing all the talking – all on a BIG SCREEN.

It all sounded great! So I started work immediately by writing the script for the Bible studies / Video presentations. We have worked out 10 introductory topics to present to the Karen people. These lessons are tailor-made to suit the Karen needs. It is in such basic language, that even the person who has never even heard of the Bible or God, would be able to follow the studies without any problem.

Currently I am at study number 6 and have four more studies to go! Travis who has the time consuming job of overseeing the translation work, has his hands full with trying to translate simple English words like “Welcome” into Karen! (Apparently it doesn’t really exist).

We are all very excited about the project and know that the Lord will bless. But the problem still remained about the aircraft. One plane was not enough! Would it be too much to ask God for a second?

We have drawn up a rough draft of exactly what our custom plane should look like. The biggest challenge was to keep the weight down so that take-off and landing would require the least amount of runway – under 60 feet!

God Answers Prayers

The idea was to put up my blog and to request funding for the second plane. In kit form we would be looking at $17 000.00 excluding postage, customs, and licensing of the plane! But we decided to go ahead in faith!

Before I had time to post this blog God had already heard and answered our prayers.

  • We have someone in America who is prepared to all the necessary welding work for our plane – FREE OF CHARGE!
  • This same person has decided to sponsor us an engine for the plane – FREE OF CHARGE!
  • We also have someone who is willing to assemble the entire plane for us – (you guessed it) FREE OF CHARGE!

PRAISE THE LORD!

Now we are looking to purchase the materials for the plane! Rough estimates put the cost of materials for the plane at under $8000.00. We then still need funding for postage and customs which would probably bring the total up to about $10 000.00. But so far the Lord has not let us down!

We are stepping out in faith, claiming His promises to supply our every need! We are sure that God will move on the hearts of the necessary people who are willing to support this project.

If you would like to read more about this project please visit “Wings 4 Christ“. You will be able to see the complete projector kit as well as our current ultralight! There are many photo’s, as well as a video clip of the first test flight we did on the plane!

Please keep us in your prayers as the Lord continues to bless His project and to use those who are willing to support this exciting evangelism project!

Should you have any questions please contact us – by clicking here! Or feel free to leave your comments below.

God Bless

Michael

Posted in Answers to prayer, Photo's, Posts, Video's, Wings 4 Christ | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Scooter, Lights and Visa’s

A few weeks back we were really blessed. Transport has always been a challenge! The towns are many miles apart and in order for you to get fresh fruits and supplies, a two hour drive to Mae Sot (the nearest big town) is the only option.

THB 1000.00

A trip by car will cost you about THB1000.00. ($33.00 or R284.00) (That’s a lot of money in missionary language). All personal trips to Mae Sot or anywhere else is for the individuals own expense. The only trips that are covered by Sunshine Orchard are “hospital runs” and any other such necessary trips. So we are very careful when deciding to go on a shopping trip. Often we try to share expenses with other missionaries.

Scooters – Everybody’s got one!

Most people use scooters to get where they need to go. I have never seen so many scooters in all my life, as I have seen in Thailand. It seems like every single person in Thailand owns a scooter.

Although the law requires a helmet – very few people actually wear a helmet. It’s also very seldom that you will just find a scooter being used by a single person. Why drive alone when you can take the whole family and friends with you? So sights of three, four or five people on a scooter are not uncommon (babies included!)

And then of course there’s the cost! A full tank of fuel will hold under 3 liters. Easily enough to make the trip to Mae Sot and almost all the way back! WOW! That’s real economy!

We really were praying that the Lord would open the way for us to be able to purchase a second-hand scooter. Well the Lord did one-better!

Friends of ours (the Sharon’s) who stay just above us, decided to let us use their  – almost brand new – scooter, for as long as we like, free of charge. What an amazing answer to prayer. A brand new scooter – free of charge! Praise the Lord!

Scooter and trailer

The Sharon’s also have a small trailer which gets hooked up to the bike with a rope, and that is your storage cart (or family trailer if you so choose). The trailer can take a good load with almost no effect to the scooter. This trailer they said we can borrow anytime we needed too!

Well that time came around all too soon! . . .

Our Passports

Yesterday we discovered that our visa’s in our passports were due for renewal. We needed to make a “border run” in order to get our visa’s renewed. This entails driving to Mae Sot, crossing the border into Burma and then coming back again. This will buy us another 15 days stay in Thailand, costing us a whopping THB500.00 per person! But we had no other choice so we decided to go. We took the trailer with us so we could stock up on fresh food and supplies. And off we went!

Just the three of us . . .

Me driving, Inge sitting behind me with Kukupaw sitting in a sling around her shoulder – for the next 2.5 hrs to Mae Sot. The trip there was pretty much smooth going, as Kukupaw just loves the bike, and very soon she was off to sleep as usual.

We arrived in Mae Sot and I went first to do the border run while Inge waited with Kukupaw, and then we changed and I looked after Kukupaw while Inge did her border run. As to be expected, Inge ran into problems at the border (somehow Inge and Immigration Officials don’t get on too well 🙂 ) They forgot to stamp her passport on the Thailand side and when she reached Burma they made her go back to get her passport stamped! So back she went – got her passport stamped and back into Burma! Finally she came back after what seemed like forever (especially, having to look after a 1 year old baby in the heat of the day)!

After getting something to eat and purchasing everything that we needed we were finally ready to to make the long trip back home! The sun was just setting as we left Mae Sot, and as soon as it gets dark, every flying insect you can possibly imagine comes out to greet you (face to face literally!) I tried putting my sun-visor down on the helmet but that made things so dark that I couldn’t see anything. So I had to drive with the visor up – and my mouth closed! Insects were flying into my face from every conceivable angle, it made keeping your eye on the road a near impossibility! It was only then that I discovered a second problem . . .

I was wondering why it was so terribly dark, and I was struggling to see the road – then it dawned on me – Only my bright lights were working! My normal driving lights had fused. With the additional weight in the trailer, my brights were now shining up into the trees passing by, attracting even more flying friendlies . . . Now I was really struggling to see where I was going.

You need to understand the road system in Thailand to fully appreciate the scenario. No Moon! Potholes EVERYWHERE! Dogs, cows, chickens and friendly flying insects all share the road with you! Not to mention the dark skinned Thai people wandering around the streets at night! Suddenly the trip home was turning into a quick-thinking, dodge-em game! Trying to avoid all sorts of calamities along the road. We hadn’t gone too far when disaster really struck – The main bright beam on the bike decided it was time to die as well! Now suddenly I was left with no lights whatsoever! It was pitch black!! I could hardly make out the painted line in the middle of the road (when it existed). What to do now . . . ?

Inge said she would pray – and I should slow down to 20km/h and drive! So she prayed and I drove! Then I decided to use the only other light source available . . . my indicator (blinker)! I put on my left indicator and with strobe-light vision we proceed home. Swerving to miss the hundreds of potholes that made up the road. Eventually Inge could not take it any more, and was determined to walk the rest of the way home – This called for plan B!

In the trailer

I stopped and put Inge and Kukupaw in the trailer along with all our groceries. This way she would have less back pain having to carry Kukupaw in the sling for so long. Also I would be rid of my co-pilot who was continually shouting orders for me to slow down! (I kept telling her that if I went any slower we would fall over – but that didn’t seem to help!).

So driving in second gear with a single flashing light we limped home at 20km/h. What should have taken 2.5 hrs turned out to be 4.5hrs of cold night winds, and many nasty potholes to keep you awake! Finally we arrived at home, with Kukupaw sound asleep, enjoying every bit of her wonderful outing!

I hope we don’t come across as ungrateful, but we will definitely be thinking twice before venturing out to Mae Sot again.

The lights are now fixed and the scooter has been washed and cleaned, and somehow it all seems like just another day in Thailand! Certainly a day to be remembered.

We praise the Lord for his constant watch care over us on our long ride home!

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Our New Home in Thailand

 Farewell Korea

It was not easy saying farewell to all our friends in Korea. We had made wonderful new friendships with many people in Korea, and to say good bye was not easy. We have promised to keep in touch with everyone as soon as we were settled in Thailand. Many of our friends have subscribed to our blog, which we hope to keep updated on a regular basis.

To move from what in many ways could be described as a “first world” country, to a “third world” country is never easy. To have to say good bye to so many things that we take for granted…things like running water, toilets, electricity, phone lines, cell phone signal, internet, fresh food, a furnished home….! These are all things that many people take for granted. However, what to many may be basic essential items, are to many others – luxuries!

A simple thing like a bed is a wonderful and unheard of luxury, that is equated with only the rich! The fact that you can choose to eat various different kinds of foods, is another luxury many take for granted. These are just a few of the adjustments we have had to make when saying farewell to South Korea, and starting our new life in Thailand.

Bangkok Airport

We flew from Incheon airport in South Korea to Bangkok airport, and from there we flew north to a small city called Chiang Mae. From there it was a 6 hr drive south to reach our new home. Our nearest “big” town is two hours away, called Mae Sot (2 hrs drive north).

As you fly north you can clearly see how the terrain changes from relatively flat to many mountains covered with trees and thick jungles. We immediately knew that our new life was to be a lot different to the life we had had before in Korea.

Sunshine Orchard

Sunshine Orchard

Our new home – Sunshine Orchard!

Sunshine Orchard is a children’s home for abandoned, orphaned and impoverished children. It is situated in Thailand, right next to the Moei River, which forms the border of Thailand and Burma. The mostly Buddihst Karen people have been fighting against Myanmar’s (Burma) central government for 62 years, which makes this one of world’s longest-running – and most brutal – civil wars.

The Myanmar army has been accused of gross human rights abuses against the country’s ethnic minorities – ranging from rape and forced labor to torture and murder.

Tens of thousands of Karen have been forced from their homes, their villages destroyed. Many have fled across the Moei River to take refuge in sprawling camps that cling to the Thai side of the river. Aid groups say there are around 160,000 refugees in Thai camps and hundreds of thousands more have been displaced inside the country. The biggest single group is the Karen people.

It is here that the Adams family run Sunshine Orchard. A home and learning center for children, including abandoned children, who have had to flee from their homes due to brutal killings, rape, torture, etc. by the Burmese soldiers. In order to read their story as to how Sunshine Orchard was started you can visit their web at http://www.karenoutreach.org.

Our New Home

Steck’s House

From our correspondence with the Adams family, we thought we’d stay in a bamboo hut with no doors and windows, just like everyone else does. We were wonderfully surprised to find that they have built two brand new “wooden” staff houses. As a matter of fact when we arrived it was not quite finished yet and we had to stay in another house (the Steck’s house), while they were away.

Main Rd through Sunshine Orchard

Sunshine Orchard is divided into two sections. The old section being the original property purchased, and the new section, being the most recent property purchased right on the banks of the Moei river. These two sections are separated by the main road running to Mae Sot.

The old section houses the teachers and dormitories, as well as the chapel, kitchen and school. The new section across the road is a beautiful piece of property, which is being converted into new housing and training centers. The old section is also know as the “lime orchard”, as all the bamboo huts are built between what is a lime orchard, which is in dire need of professional care and pruning. The children are kept busy constantly harvesting limes which are sold for a small income.

Our New Home

View of Burma Mountains

The picture on the left shows our new home. It is situated on the other side of the road in the new section. Currently there are only two new wooden homes there, however work is under way to build a third. The idea for these homes (as I understand it), was to house volunteer workers wishing to come and stay and help at Sunshine Orchard. We have been truly blessed with a WONDERFUL new home!

It’s small but very comfortable!! The view is stunning to say the least, as we look across to the huge jungle mountains of Burma. Around us are palm and banana trees, with our own fish pond right in front of the house. The air is so fresh and clean compared to where we were staying in Korea. All around us are trees and birds singing, with a host of other insects, frogs, reptiles and some very weird looking creatures. When we moved in their was no plumbing, running water, electricity, doors, windows etc. So I am being kept very busy trying to do my own plumbing and electrics. The house will remain without doors or windows, as the weather is so hot, things like that just aren’t needed. We have both fallen in love with our new home…

Inge and Kukupaw

When we arrived we were given an adorable little “Karen” baby to look after, while the Adam’s were on furlough. Her name is Kukupaw. She is 1 year old, and a real sweetheart.

Kukupaw came, brought by her father. The family had spent the rainy season in hiding in the jungle, due to an attack by the Burmese on their village. Kukupaw was born in the torrential rain.

Kukupaw

For one month she was nurtured by a loving mother but the exposure was too much, as they received word that the Burmese had left the village they returned. Upon returning the sweet mother of four young children including a two year old. died in her sleep and Kukupaw’s desperation for survival began. She soon lost her voice crying for mothers milk. One week went by and the father realized that she would not make it unless they brought her to us. He had no one who could care for her, the ten year old sister could care for the toddler and the other younger sibling, but not for an infant too. Life is hard and being used as a porter for the Burmese was the fathers lot, not owning his own life due to the civil war, he pleaded with us to take her.  After many days in the hospital we were told that her life was saved due to the care received from the Adams family.

Work

Medical Missionary Training Center

Currently I am teaching a Medical Missionary class for the grade 9’s who are doing the Intensive Medical Missionary course. With no syllabus, it has become quite a challenge to construct and teach a course that doesn’t exist. The Medical Center is an old building in need of repair. Slowly as the Lord has provided funding, we have started renovating the building. Things like floor tiles, shutters for the windows, electricity, lights, white boards, tables, chairs etc, all cost money – lots of money. The roof is very rusted and will either have to be treated or replaced. However for the time being it serves as a perfect school for the Grade 9 class.

Grade 9 Class

This is the first year we are having a grade 9 class. The students have specifically requested this class. So currently we have 11 students who are enrolled in the “Intensive Medical Missionary” program. In the photo on the right I am teaching the grade 9’s. They are really a great bunch of kids, and are eager to learn. The going is VERY slow as most of them can barely understand English.

Me teaching Grade 9’s

Here are a few pics of me teaching in the classroom. I am really enjoying teaching them. We are doing the NEWSTART course and they will be learning natural remedies and how to treat them. I teach 3 days a week, and Brenda Steck teaches the last two days of the week.

Grade 9’s in class

She focuses mainly on the medicines as well as natural remedies that one can use in place of the medicines. I will be focusing on the practical treatments, hydro-therapies, massage, poultices etc.

Inge’s Music Room

In the photo on the left is Inge’s Music room. It’s in the same building. Inge is teaching Music and she also takes them for  early morning devotions and exercise.

 Outreach

Elderly SDA couple

We have also been involved in preaching (with a translator), and on Sabbath afternoons we are visiting a village on the other side of the mountain. There’s an elderly couple who have been baptized a short while back, however there are still many SDA doctrines that they do not fully understand and practice. Both Inge and I have been visiting with them along with a group of students from the school. We sing songs together and share from God’s Word.

View from top of mountain

The trip over the mountain is quite an experience! The drive over the mountain is an EXTREMELY steep one. You travel in first and second gear almost all the way. But the view is well worth the while once you reach the top. In the pic to the right is (from left to right) Emily Adams, Gale, Memewah, Inge, Breck and Brenda Steck. Along the way you pass through the most beautiful tropical jungles and awesome waterfalls. We love to stop and take photographs along the way.

Waterfall

The pic on the left is of a waterfall that is very beautiful. We all just had to stop and put our feet in the water. Kukupaw especially enjoyed the water. She is a real water-bunny; and just loves anything that has to do with water.

Adams Old 4X4 Isuzu Truck

We travel in a 4X4 along what is suppose to be a tared (asphalt) road. However the torrential rains have turned the road into more pot-holes than road! The trip over the mountain is so steep that very seldom you get above second gear! It takes about an hour to get there and very often it is in torrential downpours that the trip is made and it is really quite an adventure every time. The Adams’ old 4X4 truck seemingly only just makes it. I am sure the prayers before we leave have been of untold blessings to us.

Steck’s truck

Once we reach the village on the other side of the mountain, we are greeted by happy smiling faces of an elderly couple and a few curious children. We try to go here every Sabbath as we are trying to start a branch Sabbath School there. We meet in someone’s bamboo hut and we all squeeze in on the floor. Please keep us and the old truck in your prayers – we really need them.

Branch Sabbath School

There are still many doctrinal truths they need to learn, including areas of health and lifestyle. In the first picture you can clearly see that the old lady still wears necklaces, earrings, jewelry, and many of the newly baptized members still chew beetle-nut, and make use of alcohol. These are all reasons why we have started to visit with this couple, and hopefully many more will join. These people are usually very open to accepting the gospel, however when it comes to putting it into practice, Satan has a terrible hold on them in certain areas.  Isn’t this true about any of us too?

Communication

I guess a HUGE apology is in order to all our friends and relatives. We had promised to faithfully keep everyone up to date with e-mails. Sunshine Orchard had no internet until recently. The reason being that there are no telephone lines! Yip! No telephone lines whatsoever. Everyone relies on cell phones to communicate. Sunshine Orchard decided to put in a satellite dish in order to get internet. However, even with a satellite dish, the internet service is very erratic, to say the least! Not only is the  internet facility erratic, but it is located on the original property across the main road, at one of the teacher’s (Steck’s family) home. So in order to do internet one would need to walk across the road and to sit on the porch and hopefully get wifi signal so you could get onto the internet.

I decided I would try to install a connection on the property we are living on – closer to home. WELL! What a job it turned out to be. We first tried a wireless repeater, only to figure out that the distance was too far. Then we went the route of putting in about 4 or 5 telephone poles and leading an ethernet cable along the poles; under a culvert in the road; along 4 other telephone poles to the closest house above ours. Still the signal was weak – if any signal at all! So we then ran power cables along the telephone poles to midway and installed a “hub”, hoping that this would boost and solve our problems! (I am sorry to be boring all of you who are technically challenged with all my ramblings about internet).

Well finally we have got internet (all be it a weak signal), but at least we are able to communicate with the outside world once again. So my humblest apologies to all for not being able to communicate as promised. However things should be better from now on . . .

Chapel

Chapel

The picture on the left gives you an idea of what our church looks like. The bottom section serves as classrooms while the upper section is the church. This is also a water point for all the purified drinking water, which gets distributed to all the houses and classrooms. The small room is a store room for equipment.

Chapel inside

No seats or nice soft pews! No! You sit on the floor (a hard wooden floor), for about three hours! Believe me, if you are not used to it, you certainly will remember you have been to church for a long time afterwards! The guitars seen in this picture were a donation for Sunshine Orchard, and many children are learning to play the guitar.

Sabbath Morning Chapel

The singing and Sabbath schools are mostly in Karen. The preaching is done through an interpreter. Boys sitting one side and girls the other. No P.A. system or fancy slide shows. No just the straight message from the Bible!

Me preaching

The pic on the right shows me telling them a story for divine service. They love hearing stories, and even though it must go through an interpreter first, they still sit eagerly and listen.

Dormitories

Boys Dormitory

Both the boys and girls dormitories are in serious need of repair. Perhaps “repair” is the wrong word. Actually the entire bamboo structure needs to be pulled down and a wooden or concrete structure built.

Girls Dormitory

Bamboo does not last long, and needs constant upkeep. Also it does not keep out moisture, making it a perfect breeding ground for mold! That is why you always see clothing being hung outside or under the huts to air. Mold sets in extremely quickly in this weather. This results in constant sicknesses, fever, hospitalizations. This is probably first and foremost on our prayer request. Donations to rebuild the already over flowing dormitories.

Kitchen

Kitchen – Cooking over open fire

The kitchen facilities also need great improvement. Cooking for about 230 children takes place outside over a fire, under the shelter of a leaking “leaf” roof structure, and also inside on gas burners.  No electricity to this building, no cooling or refrigerators.

Somehow, God has always seen fit to provide enough food to fill all those hungry tummies every day. The sound of eating rice three times a day, may not seem very exciting to most people, but for these children rice and curry (with vegetable stew) every meal is an absolute feast. Sometimes there may not be enough curry to go around, but still for the rice they are very grateful.

Bamboo huts

Bamboo Huts

Every one lives in overcrowded bamboo huts. Built on stilts, they are able to stay somewhat dry through the torrential rainfalls. However the roofs are made out of leaves layered together, and don’t last very long. Some of the better looking huts are built on large wooden stilts high above the ground. This is how almost every one lives in Thailand.

Bamboo Huts for teachers

These primitive structures, although they provide necessary shelter, are also breeding ground for many mosquito’s. Malaria and Denge Fever are two very serious illnesses here. Constantly hospital runs are made to the nearest hospital (an hour away), to treat some baby or child with a very high fever, vomiting etc. We are really blessed to be staying in a lovely wooden house (all our own), on the opposite property.

Medical Missionary Center

Medical Training Center

The newly purchased property on the other side of the road is where we stay. It is very beautiful there! On the property there are two huge, old and dilapidated buildings on the premises. One is currently being renovated, and is where we are teaching. It is a training center for Grade 9 students taking the Intensive Medical Missionary course. We have a number of rooms in the center, which we hope to equip for training and treating people to treat diseases using natural remedies.

Renovations to Training Center

We are also teaching healthy lifestyle living, Bible, Music and English. As this is the first year we are offering this course, it has proven to be a very successful venture. The students are loving the classes, and learning lots. We, as teachers, are learning as well. We pray the Lord will continue to bless the program, and especially the first Grade 9 class, of Medical Missionaries.

New tiled floor inside Medical Center

The building work to the center is slow but at least we have tiles on the floor.

Praise the Lord.

We are in the process of putting in lights and plug points, so soon things should start looking like a real school. Please pray that the Lord will continue to bless and supply the much needed funding.

Vocational Training Center

Vocational Training Center

The vocational center is really in desperate need of repair. (and financing). This is where the students, after school, do vocational learning. They are taught weaving and sewing. As you can see in the photographs, the floor really needs replacing. Also there are no tables, and everything gets done on the floor. The students are currently making wonderful skirts, satchels, clothing, cloth etc.

Weaving

This building has been such a blessing to these kids. We have been donated sewing machines which the children are learning to sew on. However all hand work and cutting out of material takes place on the floor. We are grateful that the Lord has provided such a huge building for the students to work in, however once we examined the floor and considered the cost of repairing; it would almost seem more viable to replace the whole building altogether.

Sewing Machines

This is a picture of the sewing machines which have been donated. They are of the old kind that you peddle in order to get the machine to work. This has turned out to be very practical as the students are able to work even when the electricity is out – (which happens quite often).

Photo’s

Every one is asking for photo’s! Yip I am busy . . . . Internet is slow, and it takes time to upload a single photograph. I do however have some pics to show! My photo albums will constantly be updated, so I hope to have more pics soon.

You can find our pics by visiting our Web Site, or going directly to our Photo Gallery.

More later . . .

Kukupaw and me in the hammock

Well there is just so much more that can be said, but I will save it for the next blog! All that remains to be said, is that we are VERY grateful to God for the way in which He has led us thus far. It’s been a wonderful priviledge to be working for Him. He has taken such good care of us.

Boxes from Korea

Praise the Lord – yesterday all our boxes from Korea arrived safe and sound. We are very blessed. As I lie here on my hammock, my (our) thoughts go out to all our loved ones far and near. We miss you all dearly, and so much wish you could be here with us to share in our joys and excitement. We thank you for all your prayers and support, for which we are ever grateful.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers – till later

God Bless

M&I&K

Hard at work . . .

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