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Family, Farm Visit and Future (waiting) - Nov. 11 2020

We are still alive and well! No news is good news. Well...good news would be that Thailand would allow us to return, and there is still no sign of that. They have begun to allow a few hundred tourists in from countries with low COVID cases, mostly Asian countries and a few European ones. So, we wait...

We spent a week in September with Daniel and Rebekah in Grants Pass, OR. Fires were raging and the smoke hung heavy in the Willamette Valley as we drove south. Despite the poor air quality we negotiated our way to Milo SDA Academy near Roseburg. There we spent the afternoon with Jeff Birth who manages the school farm/market gardens and work program — a foretaste of our dreams for Thailand.

Most of our time this fall has been spent working on our “garage” to create a rustic cabin. Jim replaced windows, finished the “water room” where the pressure tank will live, framed in the opening for the two garage doors, and Irene cut foam insulation to fit in the west wall.

Mid-October weather predictions of snow and temperatures in the teens prompted an expeditious move to Kathy’s house. We’ve lived in the Petersen’s 22’ travel trailer for five months and it now feels like “home” to Irene, so we decided to buy it. However, given the winter snows, sometimes 3 feet or more, we asked the Petersens to store it for the winter. October 23, we moved out, Ray moved the trailer, and we moved to Kathy’s mountaintop home in Husum, WA, (about 15 miles and 40 minutes away on back roads or an hour drive on paved roads)

Kathy was happy for help getting her winter wood in and Jim has done some minor repairs around the house and with vehicles. She thinks Jim is pretty handy to have around. :-)  We have settled in nicely and have the upstairs with 3 beds, bathroom and office space for our personal use.

We’ve been here three weeks now and settled in well. Kathy lives alone on 80 acres in a house with a solar array and a generator. She’s 15 years older than us and spent 13 years as a missionary in China. Part of that time she worked in western China where the Uyghurs (we-gar) live. The Chinese are right now committing genocide against this Muslim people group, much like Hitler did to the Jews in World War II. They are arrested, put in “re-education camps” and  women are beaten if they smile or yawn. People are killed and their organs are harvested to sell for a premium to Muslims in the Middle East, (because Uyghurs don’t drink alcohol or eat pork.) Parent-less children are placed in boarding schools and “educated” to be good little Chinese children. It boggles my mind that this can happen in our “modern” world without a humanitarian outcry and sanctions.

Our plans? Assuming we can’t return to Thailand — Spend the winter at Kathy’s and work on our property as time and weather allow, tear down a structure near the garage and prep an RV pad with cover for the trailer. We study Thai at breakfast and the short winter days may allow for more than that. And, we will continue to pray that the Covid threat subsides soon so that we can return to Thailand.

We also have news from Mae Leko school. They have 50 boarding students and 76 day students. A year’s tuition for a day student is 2500 baht (~$85) and a boarding student 5000 baht (~$170.) It is our understanding that some of the students are unable to pay but are accepted anyway creating a budget shortfall. We wish we were there …. but we aren’t. We believe we have donations enough to provide start-up money for the “school farm” when we get there. So, while we wait to return, we feel impressed to send any further donations to Mae Leko. If anyone wants to help support the school at this time, you can make a tax deductible donation here. (Just to be clear, donations are not used for our personal living expenses.)