Mission Accomplished

March 14, 2011
Well we are back in Australia now. We left Bangkok on Saturday night, and arrived in Sydney Saturday morning, then flew from their to Adelaide. Isaac and Jed were able to sleep a bit on the plane, but Lisa and I not so much. So it was good last night to have a good rest. It was great to see our families again.  Now we just need to adjust to the timezone.

We had an awesome time in Thailand, it was an amazing experience for us as a family. Thank you to all who have read this blog and kept in touch with us and especially those who have prayed for us. I hope you have enjoyed reading about our adventures. Now for our next adventure here Australia!

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Rats for Dinner

March 12, 2011
Well our last night in Thailand. From one perspective, it’s sad to be leaving but on the other hand when something like this happens I’m glad to call Australia home…
We thought we’d go down to our local street market here in Bangkok for a serve of a Thai noodle dish (Phad See Yu) . It was just a cheap eatery, the kind you probably wouldn’t eat at if it was your first time in Thailand. It cost around $3 for the four of us to eat.  We were sitting at the table eating, ants marching by our feet and being bitten by mosquitoes but we were enjoying our meal. Isaac was seated facing the back of the shop and part way through he says “What was that? It looked like a large rat or something”. He kept looking, and sure enough it was. That put me off the rest of my meal!
But that wasn’t enough to stop us buying dessert from one of the other street vendors. The boys had to have their last serve of roti with condensed milk and Harri & I had mango with sweet sticky rice and conconut milk – yum!

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Sauna in Thailand

March 8, 2011
If it wasnt hot enough outside, the hotel we are staying at in Bangkok has a sauna inside. Our boys love it, we've gone twice already. I thought it was just crazy Finnish people (like me) who liked saunas.

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The truth will set you free

March 7, 2011
On our way to Bangkok, we stopped for lunch and a buddhist monk walk past, to whom I offered a Christian tract. He gladly accepted and wanted to talk. He said he was a Christian. So I asked him what a Christian was, to which he replied, "you need to turn the other cheek" and then tells me he once visited a church in America. I then shared with him the good news of the bible. That even though you, me and everyone on this earth has broken Gods commands, and since God is a just judge he must punish sin. But as God loves us so much, that he sent his son Jesus to take the punishment for our sins. Our response to Gods grace, is that we should repent (turn from our sin to God), and put our faith in Jesus, who’s blood was shed to take the punishment we deserve. The bible tells us there is no other way to be saved from Gods wrath but through Jesus. Our "good works" will not nullify our sins.
Many people may call themselves a "Christian", maybe even you, but a Christian is actually a disciplined follower of Jesus (AKA: Disciple).

Some people may think, "why try and convert some Buddhist monk to Christianity, he’s not hurting anyone, let him have his own opinion". There are several things wrong with this type of thinking.
Firstly, if a man with a serious disease was given some useless medicine, by someone trying to make money off him, and you knew he'd been tricked, you would want to tell that man the truth. If someone is following a lie, and you know the truth, it more loving to show that person the truth.
Also, if a blind man was about to step onto a busy road and get run over, would it be more loving to stop him, and help him the right way, or to just let him get crushed by a car. This monk is blind to the truth, and will be crushed under Gods wrath if he is not saved.
My prayer is that he, and you, would know Gods grace and also become a disciple of Jesus.

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Phrae to Bangkok

March 5, 2011
On Monday evening we had a farewell BBQ at Ban Meata Phrae, and then on Tuesday morning we left. It was difficult to say goodbye, and there were plenty of tears. We drove to Ban Meata Petchabun, which is another centre run by Mercy Int. At Petchabun they have about 95 children, with a school on the adjoining land with about 1000 children enrolled from the local community and Ban Meata. In 2002 (?) we had stayed 6 months in the Petchabun facility and helped in getting the first school building ready to open. Its amazing to see how the school has grown. Isaac and Jed loved playing with all the children at Petchabun, especially having more children their age and older. So after 2 nights there, we left to go to Ban Meata Khon Kaen. It was good to see the children there, especially Sanya, whom we sponsor there. The Khon Kaen facility is right in the middle of Khon Kaen city which is a bonus, unlike Petchabun and Phrae, which are out in the sticks. We had a BBQ there last night with all the kids which everyone enjoyed. We left Khon Kaen this morning, and are now in our hotel in Bangkok looking forward to a rest.

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Snapshots

February 26, 2011
Well only a few days to go before we leave Phrae Thailand. Weve been here for over 9 months and we are leaving on Tuesday, to go to the other Mercy centres at Petchabun and Khon Kaen, and then heading back to Aus. I thought I should give you a little video snapshot of our time here (dont blink).

Snapshot

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Better than caviar

February 23, 2011
I haven’t mention the culinary delights of Thailand for a while, so I thought I’d mention today I got to try some ants eggs. Don’t know if that’s classified as caviar, (though I think caviar is only fish eggs), but calling it caviar makes it sound more palatable. Anyway, so how did they taste, well in the dish I had, they were quite nice. I think the chilli hid the flavour, but I cant see myself going for more.

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Fire

February 23, 2011
Scrub fires in Thailand during this time of year are an everyday occurrence. People light up all the dry grass, and there are many small fires everywhere. The sky can be very hazy at times. (Yes, this is all a big no no in Aust.).
Today we were all having lunch, and we could seek the neighbours paddocks were on fire, but the fire was a fair way off. John commented how he does this each year, and the smoke blows through the houses here at Mercy. A bit further into lunch, we could see the flames getting a bit closer, but no one was really concerned, and we just finished our meal.
Then before you knew it, the fire was getting a bit too close for comfort, and we called the fire brigade. The flames came within meters of the buildings, as we stood there with our hoses, and the fire brigade turned up to help. Then once we could see the fire near the houses were under control, we were back out laying blocks in the smoke for a new admin building.

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Community Visits

February 18, 2011
We went to visit Jeab again the other day. Jeab is always full of life despite her circumstances. She always is talkative - I guess when your alone 24/7, blind and lame and discarded by the community because of a HIV infection, it's good to have company. She was telling us how the Thai girls from the northern areas like Chiang Rai and Phayo are very beautiful but also considered "dumb" due to the lack of education offered to them.  This is mainly because their parents (this has gone on for generations) see females as a quick way to make money by sending them at about 12 years of age to Bangkok to become prostitutes and send the money back home.  Supposedly when a daughter is born into the family there is much rejoicing because they know that they'll be coming in to a lot of money. The family generally starts off poor and within a few months of sending their daughter to Bangkok to work they rip down their old house and build a beautiful, big new one! They are greedy and keep the girls uneducated so they know no better. Very sad!  i had heard this kind of thing before from westerners here but you don't know how true it is, but hearing it again today just confirmed the stories. Sin keeps generation after generation in bondage. They need a new way of thinking that can only come from God.

After praying for Jeab, we went to visit a 11 year old boy (named Gom) in hospital whom we have met before when we were teaching English in the schools. The boy has been orphaned due to both is parents dying from AIDS a number of years ago. He was infected with the same virus at birth. He's in hospital now because of a complication with an infection.  Our boys joined us in visiting him and they all made paper planes together. Gom is being looked after by his grandmother who is also staying in hospital with him which means she can't work to earn any money while she's there caring for him. In Thailand if you stay in hospital you have to have your own carer.  She sleeps on the floor by his side.  We were able to pray for them and talk about God with them. Please continue to keep them in your prayers.

 

Plk

February 8, 2011
The 2 new children Plk and Oht, were taken to the doctors here for a check up yesterday. Plk (2 month old) has a big lump on his belly button poking it out about 3 centimeters (and its not just an "outty"). The doctor said that it was a hernia, most likely caused from the a child crying and crying with no one comforting him. How sad that this child has been left for so long just crying that it now has a hernia. The doctor said if he is well looked after the lump should just go within a year. Please pray that it will be healed quickly. The doctor was also concerned about the weight of the baby, but will monitor that, now that it is receiving better care. Oht was generally fine, other than a big scratch behind his ear, and some skin blemishes.