Many of you have contacted us to inquire as to how the COVID-19 global health crisis is affecting our work. The first case of coronavirus occurred in Thailand in mid-January, but we did not become aware of the need for social distancing until the end of February and travel restrictions were first implemented on March 5. This took place concurrently with the end of the Thai school year as students in Thailand take their summer holidays in March and April. So after our graduation ceremonies on February 29, most of our residents went out to rural villages to stay with family or friends. The staff have been in contact with them via phone and social media. As far as we know, all of our students and their families are safe and healthy. As tribal people, they have plenty of experience with living off the land. They are able to eat products from their own gardens, farms, rice fields, animal pens, and foraging in the jungle. If I ever had to appear on the TV show, “Survivor” I’d want a tribal person with me because they have been survivors for centuries! A small group of residents who did not have a safe place to go during the summer break are still living at the NLCF with residential staff. Other NLCF staff have been asked to work remotely from their homes until the pandemic subsides. Staff and students will stay where they are until the government gives permission for schools to re-open.
On a personal note, I have had to return to the U.S. temporarily during this global public health crisis because I encountered logistical problems that prevented me from accessing medication I need to treat an ongoing health condition. While this has been frustrating and disappointing, I am grateful to be safely quarantined in Ohio for the time being with many supportive friends nearby. I am continuing to work remotely. You are welcome to email me if you have any questions.
The New Life Center and I would like to extend our sincere love and prayers for God’s protection and provision for you and your family during this turbulent time.