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Michael, or "How it all started"
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Yesterday, we took in a 4-year-old little girl named “Wow”, who has AIDS. Her mother is still alive, but in bad shape. Yesterday, Wow went to the University Hospital in Khon Kaen for a TB test. Two other children, Jo and Sawn, are critically ill in the Nongkhai hospital.

We are one month away from finishing our new volunteer house. It will have 6 rooms, a recreation room, and a kitchen and washer-dryer room for anyone who comes in. I hope to get money to build some offices under the building, just in case we get a phone line.

Right now, we are saving up for the kids’ annual pilgrimage to the Redemptorist Center in Pattaya! We are due to go the last week of April. I told the nursery kids yesterday (all but the tiny ones or very ill will go on this 5 day trip) that anyone who was still whizzing in their beds would have to stay home. I was just kidding, but a really cute little runt (Don Rak) threw a tantrum and wouldn’t eat the M&Ms; I gave her. I kept telling her I was kidding, but she glared at me for the rest of my time there. There is some unlucky boy out there whom destiny will tie up with this willful little rodent!

School is out, and the little girls of Viengkhuk House clamor to accompany me to town, to the gym, and are helping me get ready to move my gear and gym from Viengkhuk. Actually, they are driving me nuts. But they are so cute and think they are so helpful, that even when I growl at them, they are blissfully unaware that danger is near. And there is always a trip to 7-11 at the end of the day. Them for junk food and me for beer. The boys of St. Patrick’s are now digging postholes and fixing fence. Our 3 Mama pigs all have had big liters, and one mother will be off to the sausage factory, since she killed all her piglets. Boys are walking around with their favorite piglets, and Phi Wan has barred them from the kitchen, after finding pig poop under the table. Our 10 tots at the House of Hope also have learned to demand trips to “BIG Star Mart”. Housemoms took them to Lotus and now they sweetly coax me for a trip for pizza, ice cream or just “chop-ping” (shopping).

A lovely young AIDS lady came in Thursday. Her son died two years ago from AIDS. She is pregnant again, and asked for money for an abortion. Her and her husband are dirt poor, since no one wants to hire them. I have stopped preaching to people. I give them incentives to have the baby. Our program supports the couple during the pregnancy and we get ARV medicine for her in the last trimester, in case the mother is still not on the drugs. We take the baby as soon as it is born. And I pay her for three months as the mother recovers from the birth. We help them get jobs and monitor them regularly. She began to cry and sob. At first, I thought she wasn’t getting the message, but really she was so relieved and happy not to have to kill the fetus. She is nearly five months pregnant. Say a prayer she doesn’t change her mind. I am having Peh and Gung visit her regularly. Another Catholic lady who was about 10 years old when I was in Huei Suem (30 years ago!) came in to say she was pregnant with twins, and already had 6 kids and her husband had left her. If I didn’t agree to take the twins when they were born, she’d get an abortion. So, we will help her likewise, and in a few months, we will have three new babies.

Again, MANY thanks. May the Risen Christ bless you!

Fr. Mike
Father Shea
30 letters from Fr. Shea on 30 pages, go to page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
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