In my Christmas letter, I mentioned that we have plenty to be thankful for this year. Mostly, we are thankful for kind, generous people who helped us keep the Thundering herd fed and watered, and for other myriad expenses that seem to grow every year! It was a grim swim through 2009, and nothing indicates that 2010 will be any better. But the Lord got us this far, and we are not going to start doubting now. Unlike other groups here, we do not have any professional fundraisers nor do we get much exposure in the press, etc. But I guess that is sometimes good.
Santa Claus, aka. Father Chuck Beierwaltes CSsR who is built exactly how you would want Santa to look like, rumbled in to help for three months. This project is kind of bankrolled by old Redemptorists; Paddy Power is 86; Leo Travis is 81, Bishop George and Chuck are 76; Fr. Dave Polek is 75; and Frs. Jim Shea and I are 71. All are stateside, save for Bishop George, me and Fr. Travis. This makes the powers-that-be a tad nervous. No new blood! Anyway, there is no doubt about who put on the Santa suit this year! Olí Chuck damn near melted in the heat. We had to launder the Santa suit! The kids had a lovely Christmas. I gave each child $30 for Christmas, so they hustled off to the mall to buy things they wanted, save for cell phones and tattoos.
I took the Thundering Herd camping for four days. It was unseasonably hot, and I made the mistake of taking the whole crowd, even the wee ones (babies stayed home) climbing the Phu Kao Foi Lom mountain. I damn near died, trying to keep up with those miserable little mountain goats! We had a great New Yearís as the kids performed, sang, danced, sang karaoke and generally raised hell until the early morning hours. The older boys were making animal noises to scare the little ones. Mid morning found those very boys, animal whisperers, washing the pee out of blankets, as the younger
ones were afraid to venture from their tents to go to the bathroom. A big old green methane cloud hung over the site all morning! I think that might end the animal stuff.
Sunday, January 3, we had the tying of wrists for 8 guests with pizza, pop, ice cream and cake, and January 4,the second semester of school opened, Praise Jesus!! It felt great waving to them as they were trucked off into the early morning mist. The staff and I will then collapse for a day or so. May you have a very blessed, happy, healthy New Year! The kids both Buddhist and Catholic, the staff, Fr. Chuck and I pray for you and yours every evening at night prayer, and at Holy Innocents chapel on Saturdays at
Mass. God bless you for your generosity and sacrifice for these creatures!