The Time and Weather is for Hua Hin, Thailand where we currently live

Daily Bible Verse

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Water, Water, Everywhere. . .

On Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, September 28, 29, 30 and October 1st it rained. We had huge thunder claps and lots of lightening to go with the rain, but on Saturday, October 2nd, everything changed.

On Saturday the rains came as a deluge. Soon the streets were flooding as storm sewers and water canals overflowed. The waters just continued to rise throughout the morning.

Our home is up a number of steps so we were blessed with just getting water below the steps, but our hearts were saddened to look out our back windows and see people walking through the streets with water up to their knees. As we watched, four people came down the road pushing a floating car.

However, that was not the worst. The road that goes out perpendicular to our house slopes downhill as it goes away from our house. The homes on the streets in that direction used to be level with road, but they had flooding problems in the past so to try and alleviate the flooding problems they raised the road surface. . .3 feet. Well, as you can imagine with the road now 3 feet above the homes, and the gravity feed of the water, the homes now flood completely when there are heavy rains.

On Saturday, the water on the roads in this area was above my waist. Our hearts went out to all of the people who were trying to get their soggy belongings out of their homes. We helped people lift appliances off of the floor onto tables to try and keep refrigerators and other appliances dry. We carried people’s belongings blocks and blocks away to waiting trucks on higher ground. It took so long to walk through the nearly chest high water with our arms filled with as much as we could carry.

(Oh by the way, the water was not clean. Evidently septic tanks had given way and there was raw sewage everywhere. Gross just seems too mild a description.)

We were to have Youth Group at our house at 4:00, so we put out the word that all of the streets around us were flooded and that they should not worry about not being able to come. Well, we had 16 youth show up at our home. (I have talked to people from churches that have not come out to church because it started to rain.) I am so proud of the youth for forging through waist deep waters to get here for Youth Group.

At one point during the flood I looked out our back window and was astonished to see a fisherman with his fishing net over his right shoulder ready to cast. As he waded through the two foot high waters on the street behind us, it was just like watching the fisherman that I spoke of in my blog Casting Our Nets. He walked slowly with great patience looking into the water for just the right time to cast his net to catch fish. I later found out that a fish farm had flooded into the streets and the fish were out there for the taking. Later in the afternoon I saw some women and girls with nets on poles trying to catch fish in the street in front of our house.

The Lord laid it on my heart that even during disasters He can draw people to Himself, when we are willing to serve hurting people with the love of Christ.

Fast forward two days, to the Woman of the Word ladies Bible study at our home on Tuesday afternoon. The waters in the streets had mostly dissipated, except for a few really low lying roads. As we gathered for Bible study we talked about the flooding and about how so many people were forced out of their homes by the flood waters. At this time my good friend from the resort where we held the Youth Retreat, said “You will not believe this. One of my staff said that she saw my friend with the long hair, on Saturday helping people whose homes were flooded. In fact she said my friend had helped her husband move their things out of their home, before the flood waters damaged everything.”

I was amazed. I was amazed that this woman even recognized me because I had my hair tied back in a ponytail wrapped around four times, and I was standing in water over my waist, so that fact that she recognized me is incredible. Trust me I did not want my over 3 foot long hair dragging through the filthy water. Obviously, the Lord was doing a work.

The woman who saw me helping her family is a Buddhist, and knowing that I am a Christian and that I was willing to help the flood victims really seemed to have an impact on her heart.

The Lord is so amazing. To be perfectly honest I did not know the families that I helped, but it is awesome that the Lord worked through the situation even though I was oblivious to what He was doing.

Well, Bill searched our refrigerator and cabinets looking for food to share with the people from our flooded community. We had invited the displaced people into our home, but they declined. So, we fed the Youth Group, and then asked them to take all of the food outside for the flood victims, police and firemen that were congregating outside our front gate. Bill had set up the ping pong table that we have outside, and we covered it with vinyl table cloths and the youth placed the food out on the table.

After a little encouraging, the people started to come into our yard and eat. (They still refused to come into our home.) They were so grateful. Over the course of the evening, we must have had 30 people come and eat, get some soda or water to drink, or have an ice cream cone.

Thank you Lord for casting Your nets in our community during a time of trials.

Hebrews 13:16 NLT - "Don't forget to do good and to share what you have with those in need, for such sacrifices are very pleasing to God."

Luke 10:27 NLT - . . .`You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.' And, `Love your neighbor as yourself.'

Matthew 25:35 NLT - "For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home."

By April

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Ah, Puppy Love. . .

I have to say that when we went to America for 2 plus weeks in July, the last thing I expected to come home to was a pregnant puppy.

When we left in early July, our puppy Pumpkin was just 11 months old. When we came back, we noticed that her eating habits seemed to have changed, but we did not initially suspect why. Then about 3 weeks after returning to Thailand our sweet little toy poodle seemed to be developing a big tummy. Each week she grew larger around and wider, so we finally figured out that she was pregnant.

The reason it took a while to figure out that Pumpkin was with child(s) is that where we live the homes are surrounded by high walls and we have a 6 foot high sliding gate in the front, so the thought that a male dog had visited seemed somewhat remote. Although, there was that email from our neighbor that said that Pumpkin had climbed the four foot high fence that separates us from them. And oh yes, they do have a male dog. Hmmm. . .

They have a white Shitzu with short legs and a short tail, whereas, the puppies are all jet black with small areas of white on their chests and feet, and they have long tails. So the question remains, “Who’s the daddy?” DNA tests are underway. Just kidding.

On September 23rd Pumpkin gave birth to 6 beautiful, sleek black puppies. She has taken on the role of being a mama to those puppies in a wonderful way.

The last puppy born was about 1/3 the size of the others. Immediately the name Lil’ Squirt popped into my head. We will probably give all of the puppies away except one (or two, if I can talk Bill into it), so I guess I will let the new owners of the puppies name them in about six weeks.

So, we are enjoying the sweet little surprise gifts that Pumpkin delivered. We thank God for the gift of today, and for every good gift that He brings us. May God bless each of you.

James 1:17 NKJV - "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning."

Ephesians 2:4-8 NKJV - "But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,"

By April

Friday, October 1, 2010

Twenty Six Hours One Weekend. . .

On September 19th our first Youth Group Retreat in Thailand started. All of the youth and three adult volunteers were to meet at our house at 4:00 pm on Friday.

I had gone shopping with my friend that runs the resort, to get food and snacks for all of the meals that we would share together at the Youth Group Retreat. When my friend and I returned to the resort, I called Bill (my husband). He said that the youth started arriving at our house before 3:00 and that there appeared to be more than had signed up. Yikes!

After getting off the phone with Bill I quickly arranged for the use of a third dorm, as we had more youth than we anticipated.

Around 4:15 the vehicles left our house and transported the youth to the resort, and we were off and running. The retreat included dinner on Friday, then a Bible Study followed by a time of discussion. Next, they had free time – which a lot of the youth choose to spend swimming, playing board and card games, or doing art work. Then we walked the two minute walk to the beach for a bonfire – where we taught the non-Americans about the yumminess of s’mors. After that, we went back to the resort for a movie that ended around 11:00 pm, the youth went back to their dorms and we had lights out at 11:30 pm.

Saturday was to start with the youth waking-up at 7:30 am. I had planned to get up at 6:00 to spend time in prayer, reading my Bible and perusing the lessons we were going to teach. After my shower I heard talking, and sure enough a number of the youth were up and excited about the day, not long after 6:00 am.

Saturday went as follows: Breakfast at 8:00, followed by quiet time/prayer time, then about 40 minutes of free time (aka swimming, swimming and more swimming). Actually some of the youth did go for a walk along the beach, and some played games or worked on arts and crafts, but the pool and the slack line were the big hit. The slack line was like a tightrope across the middle of the pool. We then had another Bible Study, followed by a time of discussion. Next, it was time for lunch. As I watched the youth get in line to get their lunch and then find a seat, I thought about the cartoon that shows a whole fish on a plate and then something runs by the fish, and all that is left is bones. That was what feeding the Youth Group was like. There was a lot of food, the youth went through the line, and then there were empty serving dishes. I guess they liked the food.

After lunch we had free time down on the beach. The youth played Spud, volleyball with a huge ball, walked on the beach, sat and talked with each other, and made sand castles.

After brushing off the sand from the beach, we went back to the resort for the third Bible Study and discussion time. The youth then had 45 minutes of free time, which most of them spent. . .you guessed it, swimming and walking the slack line across the pool.

After all that excitement, we had the task of trying to get everybody back upstairs for a time of Worship.

We then shared dinner together, followed by packing up their belongings and clearing out of the dorms.

Before we left the resort, I gathered all of the youth together for a group photo. Standing toward the front was a young boy with two tears flowing down his cheeks, he tried to smile as he realized that the retreat was over and it was time to go home. Seeing that young boy and the emotion he felt about the retreat being over, tugged at my heart. Bill and I had tried to make the retreat a wonderful, fun, exciting time to learn about Jesus. We had been planning for months, so that it would be a meaningful time for each of the youth. Seeing and later hearing, how much the retreat meant to each of the youth was such a blessing for us. We feel so blessed to be used by the Lord. We are humbled and grateful. Thank you Lord!

We headed back to our house around 6:20 pm on Saturday. Upon arriving, with the youth and their belongings strewn around our yard and house, we served up the usual ice cream cones that signify the end of Youth Group. A lot of the youth hung out at our house well past 7:00 pm, reminiscing about the retreat. Praise God!

The Lord was awesome in bringing just the right youth to the retreat. With 27 youth from at least three different countries, there could have been disagreements or problems, but there were none. Thank you Lord!

Being in a foreign country it is amazing to see the Lord work in the hearts of the Thai youth. Only He can do that, as we are still learning the Thai language.

Mark 10:13-16 NLT - "One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch them and bless them, but the disciples told them not to bother him. But when Jesus saw what was happening, he was very displeased with his disciples. He said to them, "Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I assure you, anyone who doesn't have their kind of faith will never get into the Kingdom of God." Then he took the children into his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them."

The English speaking youth blessed us with a wonderful, huge Thank you card, and the Thai speaking youth blessed us with a great Thank you card that was artfully folded into an intricate heart shape.

Oh how we pray that each one of the youth would come to truly know Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

We want to give a huge thank you to all of you that supported us with prayer and with funding. Thank you for your faithfulness. We were able to offer the retreat to all of the youth at no cost to them. We pray that you will each realize that you are as much a part of the work that is being done for Christ here in Hua Hin, as we are. God bless you!

By April

Photo by Stefan Schmied