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May 2004
(20.5.2004)

Dear Friends and Benefactors,

I'm writing to thank all of you for helping us outfit the children for the new school year. Uwe Koether gave us 80,000 baht of your money as a start. Almost all of our children with AIDS are going to school this year. The new school year began Monday, May 17. It was a long summer vacation. No more guilt trips from kids "Where are you going? Can we come along?" We will have all but 14 kids going to school. We also have a lot of kids going into kindergarten that were too sick to attend last year. Younger kids get hand-me-downs like other families, but we have a lot more children this year. So, our clothes and book bills are high. We just picked up two very sick three year old girls and one four year old boy. All three have AIDS and TB, and one little girl is still in the hospital with shingles as well. They bring the AIDS population to 54 kids. The government is sending us three more 7 year old boys with AIDS next week. St. Patrick has 16 boys orphaned but without AIDS and the Girls' Home holds 32 kids.

We have the floor plans on constructing the prayer/meditation room at SARNELLI property. The children learn yoga and meditation at the school, and should have a place to practice it at SARNELLI HOUSE. The money to build and all the windows are now donated. We will wait until after the monsoon season to build, probably in late October. St. Paul de Chartres nuns gave us money to do the building. They are the ones who own the school here in Viengkhuk.

What with a TB breakout, it has been a rocky school break for us all. Three weeks ago Sunday, most of the kids went to Pattaya (on the Gulf of Siam southeast of Bangkok) for an excursion. The babies and tots didn't get to go, and neither did the seven in quarantine (They were treated to two trips to the mall for games, rides and pizza). We rented a bus this year. They kids had a great time swimming and slopping down food.

It has been three weeks since we learned that Fr. Dick Strass, who has been helping me here and is a great companion, cabinet maker and cook, has cancer of the lung, and now the cancer has metastasized in his brain. We are devastated. Dick took 10 days radiation in the hospital and then after a day rest, Fr. Leo Travis took him home for continued therapy. We hope and pray for the best. Last year, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center people said that the Samitivej doctors were wrong in diagnosing Dick with lung cancer. Looks like they were the ones who were wrong.

Again, thank you so much for your kindness! God bless you!

Gratefully,

Fr. Mike Shea
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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