Hello from Thailand!
During this first week of September, our thoughts and prayers have
turned outward, to people in states like Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas,
as Gustav bears down on them. We have Redemptorists in Biloxi, and very dear
friends, sponsors and volunteers in these other states. As one of our girls
said, "I don't know what to pray for, because they will be badly hit no
matter what I say". Gustav is said to be followed by another storm.
And here in Thailand, AIDS families west of us had their rice
crops ruined by flood waters, and here we are desperately pumping water
trying to save rice dying from lack of water. All the storms we depend on
are being pushed up to southern China, in areas already badly flooded.
Mother Nature has not been kind this year.
One of our girls, who has been "under house arrest" for months,
borrowed a motorcycle yesterday morning, ostensively to take a friend to
Udorn, and never came home last night. She has been traced to PraPuttabaht
(Buddha's Footprint) southwest of here. When she returns this evening, she
has to come to get school money from me. She will experience Uncle Mike's
Footprint, right on her derriere. Thank God she graduates next March, if she
lives that long. She is 18 years old, going on forty.
Hans and Natacha, who have been volunteers for 2 and ½ years, were
given a farewell party and had their wrists tied by all of us, priest, staff
and children, on Sunday Aug. 31. They will return to Belgium near the end of
the year. They gave up their home and jobs to come work, but Hans developed
a problem with his neck, the result of a car accident when he was young. We
will all miss them, especially the staff and kids of the House of Hope.
Speaking of the House of Hope, we have a new 2 year old baby girl,
named Mimi. Mimi's mom was sold to a brothel in Japan at the age of 19 by
her aunt. She gave birth to Mimi when she was 35, and at that time learned
she was infected with AIDS. Mimi is really cute; fat, but surly. She knows
what she wants, and yowls until she gets it. She was bullying the littler
ones, until she got in E.T.'s face. Mimi is a sadder but wiser runt now.
We are all doing relatively well, and pray for you and yours every
evening. God bless you!