Friday, January 13, 2012

Baan Santisuk

 Komin cheesin' for the camera
The boys got toy cars from a lovely family that visited and they LOVED them.  Kaleb was taking a break from playing.

As the older guys played soccer the younger guys used the goal for a couch. 
(Left to Right:Pauli, Koh Phan, Komin, and Bon)

Sweet Pauli 
He stole my heart...again.
For our first 9 days of vacation we spent our time at Baan Santisuk. I know I've said it before a million times, but this place is magical.  Scratch that, it's heavenly.  It is a piece of heaven on earth.  All the children came to Baan Santisuk neglected, abused, unloved, and feeling the brutality of the world. They were welcomed with the loving arms of Mark, Dorien, and the other home-parents.  The transformation is incredible.  The children are healing and learning to understand the greatness of God's love through the caring acts of the workers there.  I love watching the kids interact with one another, they truly are a family.  Of course there are the occasional fights and tempers, but that's normal.  That's the normal that children are supposed to have.  Not the normal they used to have before becoming part of this family. 

Caleb during the outreach for Muslims

Sarina has the best facial expressions.  I love her look as she was playing with the ice pack. 

Pauli and Kaleb helping rake the grass.  Everyone worked together and there was NO complaining!

I was joyful every day I was there.  Joyful because I could feel God's love and healing power.  Joyful because the look in the kids' eyes when they received a few gifts.  Joyful that we have grace in this crazy and sinful world.  Joyful to get to know these wonderful people more.  Joyful that I got to wake up and serve people that put others first daily.  There were so many reasons I could find to be joyful.  I'm so glad we went back and look forward to the day we can go back again.  

Bok Phan wasn't there last year, but she has fit right in and is such a sweetheart. 

Pauli looking cool with Jess' sunglasses on. 
I sponsor the little boy from this family.  His parents, Nu and Nit, are the boys' home parents.  Their daughter Paan is a darling.  Koh Phan's name means sledge hammer and boy does he fit his name--he isn't afraid of anything! 

Joe was pumped about his magic wallet. 

 At the 2nd night of presents Um waited patiently for her turn

Some of my favorite moments of the week were:  
-Working with Komin each morning, it was so special to get to know him and his silly ways...also I loved watching him work with my iPad 
-the hugs and love daily from Hannah, Sarina, Paan, and Ruth 
-Watching nightly soccer matches--Ruth was fearless playing the Joe and the older guys 
-Hanging out with Mark and Dorien at night--Mark's popcorn is too die for 
-The kids' faces when they opened Christmas presents 
-The outreach program for the Muslim neighbors 
-Dorien, Komin, and my walk on the beach--Dorien and I had a great talk, she has a true heart for the Lord 
-The food!  It was so delicious-Jess even learned a recipe and bbqed a fish while we were there 
-Jess got baptized on Christmas morning at the beach (thankfully I didn't oversleep)
-Pushing Sarina, Bon, and Koh Phan on the swings 
-"No play! No play!" -the kids would say this as Jess or I was about to tag them in a game 

Of course there are many more memories, but I had to narrow it down.  

 Dorien and Komin enjoying God's beautiful creation 

Komin and me after our walk on the beach

Hannah and Sarina got pretty new dresses for Christmas

I'm so thankful for this opportunity that we had to bless them.  God has really laid it on my heart to stay connected and build stronger relationships with them.  I don't want to just be a sponsor, I want to be to be part of their lives.  I try to pray for each child daily and the workers.  

Pauli and Bon (the other child Jess and I sponsor) showing off their tattoos

Hannah was in her element-princess diva 

The older girls--Ruth, Bok Phan, and Paan 

If you are interested in sponsoring a child or other ways you can help this great place check out the Baan Santisuk website.  It's really easy and your money will be helping one of the sweet faces you see here grow into the man/woman God planned for them to be. 

 Bon enjoying the beach

 I die. Look at for his cheeks! 

 On Christmas morning Jess got baptized.  It was such a special day and I'm so blessed to call him my husband-to-be!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Holiday in Thailand Part 1--Still Alive

Is it me or is returning from a holiday away so hard to come back from?  

We just spent the most amazing three weeks in Thailand.  It was divided into about three different trips.  First Jess and I went and spent time at Baan Santisuk with our friends we met last year.  (I will do a whole post on the orphanage). 

After the orphanage we headed over to Krabi to a local beach Ao Nang.  My sister, Katie, flew out to spend the time with us.  We had a blast.  We enjoyed the sun, rode elephants, ate, went snorkeling, kayaked, ate, laughed, got massages, ate, and more.  Here are a couple of the pics...I still need to get some from Katie.  

 You sneaky elephant...
 She was so thoughtful and stubborn going the way she wanted
 After riding elephants we hiked to a waterfall
 The obligatory sunset her!
 My soul-mate and me just hanging out at sunset
 God's beautiful creation
Being silly...

After the beach for nine days we went to Bangkok.  Jess and I had originally planned to go to the job fair there.  Thankfully we got jobs in BRAZIL before the fair so we had time to hang out and see Bangkok with Katie. (I'll do another post of Bangkok and on our jobs! )

Sorry this was so random, but I wanted people to know I was still alive.  I guess that's a theme of my blog...yes, I'm still alive.