I glance around and, everywhere I look, I see the evidence. Solid proof that God has seen what's needed and made a way for the provision.
The early mornings find Waew and Mai busy in the kitchen, preparing food for the day. But they're not just cooks ... they do girls' hair, distribute hugs to kids who've come to love being hugged, they laugh and play with our gaggle of wild-ling boys. They're family.
Sanae starts his day earlier than he needs to because he chooses to help transport kids to school. So his truck pulls up outside the dorms around 7am and the bed gets loaded down with chattering students. That's just the beginning of the ways he gives of himself outside his job description every day. He doesn't have to do it, but he does it anyway. He's family.
Soon after all the kids are dropped at their respective schools, Jaew and Khit show up on their motorbike. A husband and wife team we had no idea we needed and yet, they've been gamechangers. We were asked if we'd hire them and we said yes wanting to help but we had literally no idea what to have them do. So they showed up and simply found their place. We've never given them a job description and we rarely ever give them instructions. They just look around, find the need, and then they go above and beyond. They, too, are family.
Maat and Bpa G, a mother/daughter duo who have made themselves of such value, as well. BpaG keeps the house side of the property looking clean, swept, and tidy. She has a green thumb and a willing spirit and she, too, just sets to work wherever needed. Maat grabs her mop and bucket and sets off for the dorm side each morning following worship and she makes the places sparkle. But both these ladies blend the work they do here with the love they have to offer. Like family.
Sue came on the scene when we were again asked if we'd hire her and we again had no clue what role to assign. To say we're not efficient employers would be the understatement of the century but God keeps making a way where we haven't got one. But suddenly we have an office manager, bookkeeper, and a lead for the gospel literature printing we do for distribution. Being stuck in an office could get dull but Sue's not having it ... she laughs and smiles her way through her days and the kids love her, too. Family.
Khwan is still a student, preparing to graduate this year and then we'll lose her to college. But she lives here with her parents, Sanae and Waew, and she's being working almost from the beginning. Tutoring the kids and making sure their homework gets done each night. But also filling their hearts and minds with so many scripture memory verses and we've watched her grow as a teacher over time. She's so well-loved because she's family.
Shelby is fresh out of high school and across the planet from her family serving 6 months in Thailand. Working with so many kids, in a foreign culture with an unknown language, might be off-putting to some others so young. But she's jumped in, learned quickly, and she fills critical roles in caring for the children. She's trustworthy, dependable, and stable. She and Abi room together and interact as sisters. More family.
Even Ahn, who works in at the Mission Post (church plant) cooking and cleaning, is always there to go the extra mile when needed. She showed up at the hospital when Robbie was hurt and just calmly sat being a friend and offering her homemade foods and support. We don't see her as often but sometimes family is like that.
We'd have never imagined the people God would pull together when we moved here. We didn't foresee needing staff and certainly not so many of them. We didn't anticipate the many and varied roles people would play in helping us provide a safe place for these children. And it's funny because every time we hire someone thinking we're doing it to help them, God turns it around and uses them to help us.
He's a God of beauty and order and this team of people are daily assisting us in trying to represent His character here by bringing beauty and order to everything around us. It's been a slow process but as my eyes span the property, I realize how far it's come from when we moved onto it. God had a plan even though we didn't.
He's gathered together a perfect mix of Christian and Buddhist. Because not all those working for us believe as we do. In fact, it's an almost even split among them. But we have an up close view of how God writes His love into a heart long before a person realizes who it is that's written it there. These people are beautiful and we see so many glimpses of Him through them.
I'm tired tonight and I feel like I've been sick for ages which is discouraging. But as I think back over the people God has brought to this place, I feel the sting of tears at just how faithful He's been. WE don't deserve this life or this chance to serve in this place.
We're not worthy of what we've been given, but that's exactly why we're so overwhelmingly grateful!