Summoned before the Gamagan, the community leaders, first thing on a Sunday morning – this could only be bad news! It was one week before our kids club activity day at Harrow International School and we were keen to boost numbers since the school was sending coaches and pulling out all the stops. We had been out in the community adjoining ours the day before helping parents fill out forms but now it seemed there was a problem. Nothing is ever straightforward here, our plans are often frustrated and we hardly slept the night before the meeting!
The last thing we expected was a request to see our child protection policy. The four women around the table looked stern but we warmed to them straight away. We were overjoyed to find others that cared about the safety of these children. They wanted to be sure that the children in our care would be well supervised and not taken advantage of. In a community where kids are often left to fend for themselves, this concern was beautiful. By the end of the hour they were announcing our trip over the loudspeaker system and encouraging families to sign up!
The day itself was awesome; we got to have fun and deepen relationships with the kids as the staff at the school did all the hard work! The Roy Rak team ran a jewellery workshop, we enjoyed a huge bouncy castle and the flip-flop wearing Rong Moo football team came home with the trophy!
Last Saturday was another special day for our good friend P’Soi and her family. Nine year old Kart has grown one section of hair on the back of his head since he suffered brain damage at six months. He has worn a thin plait ever since as a means of protecting his health. Cutting the hair and then letting it float away on the river is a Buddhist ritual undertaken around age nine. There is meaning around letting go of the past which this family have been doing a lot of recently!
We went to the local temple for a short ceremony led by a monk. He seemed a nice enough chap but he spent a long time lecturing P’Soi on how to correct the bad Karma that apparently led to Kart’s condition (actually the local hospital left him fitting in the waiting room instead of bringing down his high temperature.) We didn’t understand much of the content of his speech and it didn’t spoil the fact that we were celebrating Kart that day. However, it seems that P’Soi’s growing discomfort with the concept of ‘deserved suffering’ has re-kindled her curiosity about Jesus and she has been joining us for morning devotions this week. Please pray for her and her family!
The next two days look to be full of jobs that need doing before we fly back to the UK on Friday! Excitement levels are pretty high in our house! It’s weird saying goodbyes for a month and not knowing what will happen while we are away. Last night was a fun ‘cook your own’ meal out with the Roy Rak crew who have worked incredibly hard the last few weeks making enough jewellery for us to sell on our trip.
We are looking forward to catching up with many of you during the next month. We are sorry that we can’t get to more places during our stay which is already looking a bit of an ambitious road trip! We are speaking at eight churches, gulp! This is as much about sharing what we are learning as raising support but, as we plan towards engaging here long term and growing our ministry, we are needing to cover increasing costs. We hope to find more partners for prayer and financial support.
We have compiled some nifty little packs with postcard sized information cards and a pen-drive loaded with videos and powerpoint displays. If you are part of a church or a group of any kind that might be interested in finding out more about our mission would you consider doing a short presentation on our behalf? We’d love to pop one of these packs in the post for you whether you live in Shrewsbury or Sydney or anywhere in between! There are absolutely no expectations attached. We are thankful for the faithful support that has sustained us here this past twenty months.
Don’t forget, Saturday 16th July, 10.30-12.30, Shrewsbury Baptist Church Central, for stories, snacks and a chance to catch up!
With Much Love,
The Fletcher family x