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February 2018 update

February 14, 2018

HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!
    By the time you read this, I will have been in Thailand 52 years. Unbelievable. If I had known that I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself! I am in my 80th year, and recently twisted my knee for the umpteenth time. The older girls hiss that I walk like a drunk, or someone who has recently loaded their pants. It is so comforting to get such warm and concerned words! I went to the doctor, and he says I have an infection in my knee, and that is also causing my foot to swell, as well. I am the oldest priest in the diocese, and am getting invitations to speak to parishes about the history of missionaries who visited and formed them into real Catholic communities. I am the last of the foreign missionaries of the Redemptorist order in the Northeast. Two priests in their 90’s are in Bangkok, and another is stationed in Bangkok who is in the class behind me. Four of us left.
    The building and work at the 12 rai section is done. We have two cottages, one kitchen and laundry room; one machinery shed; an open sided garage to park two vehicles, and the priest’s house, with two bedrooms. It is lovely out there, quiet, and the morning fog and chilly weather makes that first cup of coffee taste really good. We have planted hard wood trees; fruit trees and a vegetable patch that is growing weekly. We released 3,000 fingerling fish in the pond. My main man, Mr. Auhn and his crew also put up floodlights, which makes the place look like a prison at night! But we need the lights. The place is crawling with snakes, poisonous millipedes, scorpions, etc., and anyone out and around needs the lights. We really appreciate the folks who made this dream possible.
    Now, though, we have to move the 23 girls from Our Lady of Refuge in Viengkhuk, to a new building in Don Wai, in close proximity to Nazareth and Sarnelli House. The Royal Thai Highway department put in a 4 lane highway that takes away the drainage canal that kept our property relatively dry. We have to move out by May, so have begun building a 40 meter long building to house 40 girls. We still get children with HIV/AIDS, but a greater percentage are girls as young as 11 or 12, who come beaten, abused, raped and trafficked. The courts, police and Welfare department send most of these girls to us, although some girls escape their miserable environment, and individually come to stay with us. We get no help from the government, but do get the necessary help from folks like you who help us help them. We could not do this without you.
    In conclusion, we are surviving day by day. We have not had to pour water into the curry, and no child misses school or is ignored when they need special help with AIDS. Being with these kids, and their lovely inspired staff of house mothers, etc., I feel truly blessed to be winding down in an environment such as this. 
May the Good Lord and His Mother continue to bless you!

Father Mike

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