School is officially done for the year! Most of the kids have gone home to whatever family they have so we're left here at camp with only a handful of kids. This means a lot of playing, some cleaning and ice cream! Everyone has been healthy and injury free! Praise God for taking care of His children! Thank you for your prayers! We have not had any hospital runs on a long time! A group of our students have just gone deep into Burma to fellowship with other believers and share God's love with others. Please pray for safety for them as they travel! And that they take advantage of all opportunities to show God's love to their people. May this trip be the first of many that they take to share what God has done for them- especially those who made the decision to be baptized. God is raising these kids up with a very special purpose! They understand God's love for them more every day, and in return, love Him more everyday. It is an honor knowing and being known by these children.
|The kids packed and ready to go!|
As some of you already know, I will be returning to Montana in May for three months. During that time, I will be working and saving money before I return to the Thai/Burma border in August. It is when I return that things will be different.
Both I, my parents, and the staff here realize that my time at Shekinah Children's home has come to an end. My heart is being pulled in so many other directions and ways to help the Karen, that I cannot be as committed as the leadership here need me to be. Here at Shekinah, they need people who are here 24/7 to watch, discipline, love, clean, and disciple the kids. For the year and a half that I have been here, I am forever grateful for what I've learned and how I've gotten to love and be loved by these Children. But my heart is not content to stay at the Children's home any more.
If you have ever read my blog before, I often talk about the many, many people who need help. The area I live in is full of young, starving, abused, Buddhist people that are desperately in need of help. Many people have never heard the basic truths of the gospel before. Many do not have the basic supplies they need to take care of their families. Through the support you have entrusted to me, I have been able to meet and help a lot of individuals and families in need. I also have been able to support a section of the Karen army that lives close by. They now treat me as an equal, like a sister or friend, and are no longer shy to ask if they need help. After talking to some Karen leaders about my desire and heart to help the Karen people in a more effective way, one of the main men in command asked me to please stay in this area so that I can continue to help, not just financially, but also with fellowship and just showing love to people that are so often overlooked. He even approached land-owners on my behalf so that I could build a house close to where I am now. I am humbled and honored. It is a privilege to know these men.
From the very beginning, I have been asking God to send me a friend, someone my age who I can laugh at things with, or share ideas, or get encouragement from-- someone who lives out here and understands how things are in ways that my friends in America aren't able to. Well, God has blessed me two-fold. Miss Ashley Sutherland has just finished a one-year teaching term at NohBo Academy school. She is 24 years old from New Zealand and she has very quickly become a good, good friend. What's even more exciting is that God has given her the same heart for the Karen as He's given me. She also will be returning home to work for three months in May and then we will come back and live and work together-- loving and serving the Karen people. I am so blessed everyday to have a friend in Ashley.
Many of you also know that I now have a boyfriend. My mother says people keep asking questions, so I'll do my best to fill you in now. His name is Chapoe and he is 100% Sgaw Karen. He has finished his high school education and is going to attend YWAM in the fall to do their discipleship training program. He has been a Christian for several years and is committed to that decision and raising his family after God, even though everyone else in his family is Buddhist. He is gifted at working with children and shows a love for them that is rarely found in Karen men. Because he attended NohBo Academy School, he can speak fluent English (and two types of Karen, and Thai, and Burmese) and is very familiar with Western culture. We have been in a relationship for a few months now and it has been wonderful. He is a good man who loves God and is always encouraging me to keep God first and trust Him at all times. Please keep us in your prayers that we may honor our Father in all we do. Also, Chapoe will be returning to Burma next week to work for his father and apply for a passport so he can attend YWAM safely and travel in Thailand without worry. Please pray that the process goes smoothly and quickly!
It is a bittersweet time of endings and beginnings. I am happy to leave Shekinah with a blessing from the staff, knowing I will still be seeing them often (and helping occasionally as needed). I am excited for what God has in store for the future. I ask that you please, keep me and Ashley in your prayers. That we can be guided by God and His wisdom and brought to the location and duty He has for us. We are both confident in His call on our lives to be with the Karen, but we both realize that we are young, single women in need of alot more wisdom and counsel than we currently possess. We are trusting that God will continue what He began in our hearts when He brought us to the Thai/Burma border and made us fall in love with these Karen people.
If you have any thoughts or questions, please send them to me! None of this could have happened without you, my friends! I pray as my journey here continues, you will continue to join with me!
God's rich blessings, joy and mercy to you all!
"I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5
"As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Abide in my love... This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends." John 15:9,12-13