Happy New Year 2005.
As you have heard and watched the news about the disaster that struck many countries of south Asia on December 26, 2004, we continue to grieve and pray for the victims and their families who are left behind with practically nothing at all.May God show them His love and mercies though the aids and relief that are pouring in to help rebuild what was destroyed.
We spent the last week of 2004 and welcomed in the New Year 2005 up in the mountains near the Burmese border.
Our family joined Thai Team VI under the leadership of Steve Jenkins from Temple City First Baptist Church, California, went up to 2 Karen villages, Mak-o-jo and Hua Lo where the team assisted the Integrated Tribal Development Programme (ITDP) in building 2 water systems and several bathrooms/toilets for the villagers. There are about 20 households in each village, a total of 400 adults and children.These villages are located in a very remote area.It took us 5 hours of driving and the rest of the way (2 ½ hours) to the villages by walking and riding elephants.One team member decided that after 1 ½ hours of bobbing on top of the elephant it was better to walk!There were 26 team members, 22 from Temple City FBC and 4 from Judson Baptist Church in San Bernardino, our family of 6, and 10 ITDP staff in all working along side the villagers from December 28, 2004 until January 7, 2005.
I (Becky) worked with Sue Mischensko, a registered nurse from Temple City, every morning and afternoon giving out medicines, cleaning cuts and wounds, taking temperatures, giving eye drops, showing the young mothers how to brush their children's teeth, etc."Dr. Sue's Clinic" we called it was always filled with patients.The first morning at work, Sue and I thought of a very efficient way to keep a record of all the children that we would be treating by numbering their hands with permanent marker then I wrote down in a notebook of the medication or treatment that was given to each child with his/her number.We both agreed that was such a brilliant idea!Sue then proceeded to teach everyone the very basic hygiene, stressing the importance of washing hands and faces to avoid getting sick.I translated the lesson into Thai language then the headman who can understand and speak Thai translated it into Karen language.We must have done a superb job in making sure everyone stay clean the message of cleanliness was not lost in translation - because the next day when they all came back for the next dose of medication we could not find the number on any of the children¹s hands.
They were all washed and cleaned for the first time, the headman told us! No more number and notebook, we tried our best to remember each child from then on.One mother brought her 5 years old son with a big deep wound on his calf, turned out it was a dog bite from 3 weeks ago and was untreated. Sue cleaned it with lots of hydrogen peroxide then applied medicine on it then wrapped a clean bandage around his tiny little calf.Every day after that this little boy was always our very first patient when Dr. Sue's clinic opened.We took special interests in talking with some young mothers who were experiencing postpartum; one is only 19 years old and was pregnant with her 3rd, one is only 18 and has already suffered 3 miscarriages and was hoping to keep her 4th pregnancy this time.How I praise God for the opportunity to share God's love with these precious ladies.
The rest of the team spent their days digging, trenching, carrying pipe and cement bags to the water source, laying pipe, connecting pipe, burying pipe, mixing cements, building bathrooms and toilets.A temporary shower room was put up and everyone was grateful for a clean shower after the second day even though the water was freezing cold, coming straight from a small mountain stream.
On January 6 we celebrated the completion of 2 water tanks, 2 filter tanks, 6 toilets, 12 faucets for the 2 villages.What a joy it was to see the children playing in the clean water flowing freely on the turn of the faucet.Everyone was totally exhausted but so proud of his/her contribution.
The highlight of this trip was when one of the villagers declared his desire to quit being a heroin addict.Steve, Mike and some team members were asked to come to his hut to lay hands on him and pray for him; he also wanted to be washed to become a clean and new person in Christ.He handed over the container of heroin and the needle that he had been using the last 10 years to be thrown away.We made a fire and burnt the box that contained the bowl and needle.We praise God for the miracle of new life given to this man.
Lives were changed, new births, new beginnings, new friendships, all because of the team's willingness to travel across the seas to show God's love in action.The villagers and their families in Ma-o-jo and Hua Lo will not be forgotten.
Mike's traveling schedule is already filled up to May. His up coming trips are to Ethiopia, Northeast India, Cambodia, and 2 meetings in Florida (March) and Philadelphia, PA (May).We are still praying and looking for a new director for ITDP.
Our rental house is being sold and we must look for another house to move into by the end of June.Please pray with us that we will be able to find a suitable house for our family soon.
Richard is going to graduate on June 9 from Chiang Mai International School (CMIS).Melanie is enjoying her junior year.Ryan and Mom get along fine in home school.Robert is a happy 5th grader and a good soccer player! We are grateful for good health and safety every day.
Mike, Becky, Richard, Melanie, Ryan, & Robert Mann