The year 2006 went by too quickly, but not as in the saying, "Time flies when you are having fun!"There were countless happy and joyous occasions that came along with sad and grieving times.Surely God's grace has sustained me through all the ups and downs.For that I am rejoicing.
I continue to help coordinate work teams that came to assist ITDP in building water systems and bathrooms in remote villages throughout northern Thailand.ITDP receives an average of 4 to 6 teams a year from ABC-USA, England, and Sweden.These teams come between January – May, September – December, and they sure keep all of us hopping between airport, guesthouses, villages, and (last but not least) the fun shopping and sight- seeing trips.I've been given the VIP card at the elephant camp and snake farm for bringing them "customers"!!!Hosting work teams can be very time-consuming and exhausting, but the end-results are much more rewarding than I anticipated.Everyone who comes shares the same goal:being a servant of God even in a hut in the middle of a remote village.By bringing teams into villages we are building a bridge between the "receivers – villagers" and the "givers – team members," only to see that the receivers become givers and vice versa.I've seen new friendships made, new believers from the villages, and stronger and more committed believers from the teams.When a team left a village the members left behind a love that continues to pour out through the faucets they built.For that I am rejoicing.
I spent more time at ITDP office helping not only the coffee project but involved with the handicraft and education/social project that got started in May 2006 by our Karen evangelist, Mr. Somsak.I am slowly learning the meaning of the phrase "Being Flexible."We are hoping to set up a handicraft center where the ladies from different villages can send their products for us to market for them locally and internationally.I spent 2 days/week at Lanna Café shop to help the staff with baking and the manger with overseas orders.Through local contacts Lanna coffee in ½ lb bags are now being sold in 2 big supermarkets both in Bangkok and Chiang Mai.The First Chinese Baptist church in San Francisco committed to buying almost 300 lbs of roasted coffee from Lanna every 3 months.It was a great support to both Lanna Café and the coffee project.In December another church in Fresno has committed to a large order of coffee for the whole year 2007.For that I am rejoicing.
Our family is now reduced to just 4 of us.Ryan and Robert have managed to keep me busy with enough activities during the day and weekends.Ryan enjoys painting with watercolors and continues to improve his social/academic skill in a limited setting with learning at home with Mom!He is happy and content, especially when he is out doing fun things with his dad!Robert is a happy 7th grader, his favorite sports are football and running (side note:Robert's Coach is from England and he insisted that we say football instead of soccer!) so when asked for his favorite subject at school, it is PE!!
It was great to have Richard and Melanie back home for the holidays, Christmas 06/New Year 07.Lots of baking and cooking for the 3 weeks they were home.Last summer we took a family vacation to San Francisco and we did leave our hearts there, for a few moments at the Golden Gate Bridge.Another trip to San Francisco is already on the planning for this summer when our family returns to California for one-year Home Assignment starting July 07. The boys are looking forward to getting re-acquainted with their old friends and classmates.
Mike keeps busy with his responsibility as the Global Missionary for Rural Development.He just spent 2 and ½ weeks in Kenya and Ethiopia in January/February.The next trip will be Nagaland in March.
We pray for God's guidance and wisdom for this coming year that the ministries will continue to make a difference in the lives of the villagers and farmers; for the coffee co-op to stay strong and overcome the temptation of making quick-cash when it's time to harvest coffee; for a smooth transition when we settle back in California in July 2007, for strength and energy for all the deputations awaiting us; and for a good reunion with family and friends.
Do not forget to entertain strangers for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.Hebrew 13:2