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September 2008
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 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!

Father Shea
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