Author Archive

March- April Life Center Updates

This month there is a lot of activities going on at The Life Center. There has been so many things to keep up with! We have had to repair the water system, create a trench around the center to protect it from fire, cut the grass, plant vegetables and welcome guests! It has been very busy, but we are happy and enjoying ourselves. We have also had the opportunity to join in worship with some local churches in the area, pray, preach and visit the sick, teach bible study, and perform a wedding ceremony.

We are very excited about the our new kitchen that we have expanded to include more space to stand, and store foods. Tatumo and I still go back and forth between our home in Teamekerlah Village and The Life Center which is located just outside of Chaem Luang Village. This last month we planted Avocado, Pineapple, and Banana trees at the Life Center. We have also expanded the storefront of the cooperative shop for villagers in our revolving fund to sell their produce. We are thankful here for your prayers and support. We are praying for your continued health and God’s blessing for you and your families!

Love in Christ,

Tatupa and Tatumo


January Update from HSFC

We are so thankful to make it though this last month! God has been faithful to bring us through the harvest and on into the new year. The last two months farmers have been busy working to harvest and sell their corn and clear their fields. Besides corn, farmers have also been harvesting coffee, black and red beans for sale at the market. Unlike corn, beans are bought locally, and we have the freedom to save the seeds for use in the next season. This past month most of our field work was confined to maintaining our irrigation systems. Moreover, each day is spent taking care of  small tasks such as watering our young cocoa, banana and coffee trees in preparation for the upcoming hot season.

We are thankful for a recent visit from Ajaan Rich and his team of students from Chiang Mai! For me, this visit was crucial for re-energizing both my mind and spirit for our journey into the 2017 year. It was so encouraging to have an audience of learners who could both see and appreciate our vision for Bala village and the surrounding area. I was continually reminded of the larger kingdom work that we have had the privilege to participate in. We are grateful for the time and energy that Ajaan Rich and his students brought with them.

20170129_102814

I would like to specially ask for prayer for the 2017 year. This year, we begin a two year program focused on planting perennial plants and trees such as avocados, macadamia, and Thai chilies. This will be a challenge for us, since these tree’s are more time intensive to care for, more so than bananas. Although the mountains are filled with banana trees, we want to continue to demonstrate that bananas are only the first step in sustainable farming.

20170122_092747

Finally, I would like to thank each one of you for your support, encouragement and prayers over the last year. May God continue to watch over you and give you wisdom for the 2017 year. We are excited to see how the villagers react to our new program. Although the work is tedious, and the weather is unpredictable, we trust that God will provide a way for the best possible outcome.

Love in Christ,

Witoon and Nayu Daleethong


Nov-December Update from HSFC

Each Saturday this month was spent in celebration of the new rice harvest. The Farmers are finally finishing up the rice harvest. However, this year harvesting rice was difficult due to the intense rainfall we experienced here in the mountains. We had to be vigilant of rainfall in order to keep the harvested rice dry in the rice field.

20161104_171836

Each year, when the rice turns from green to light brown we know the harvest should begin. We take our sickles in one hand and grab the rice stalk with the other about a foot off of the ground. With one quick movement we cut the top half of the rice stalk from the main stalk and lay the remaining top half in a pile on the ground. Usually, we lay the top half horizontally over previously cut stalks to keep the pile off the wet muddy ground. After piling up about four or five bundles of rice stalk, we move on through the remaining rice stalks, repeating the process until the entire field is finished. After the rice is freshly cut from the stalk, another group of farmers arrives to collect the piles and relocate them to an area designated for threshing. This area is generally cleared and covered by a large 20×20 foot blue tarp. We usually lay a drum, or piece of wood in the center of the tarp and beat the rice against to remove the rice from the stalk. After the surrounding piles of rice stalk are all threshed, we bag it and move it to our rice bank, usually located around our homes. This process can include many farmers and take many days.

 

However, through cooperation and hard work, we finish to the sound of music and celebration.Overall, some farmers lost rice due to the excessive rains. However, in spite of losing some rice, we are all thankful to pass through the season with enough.A few weeks prior to the harvest, the river around Bala village grew very large. According to the village elders in 30 years they had never seen the river get so full without flooding. We really praise the Lord for His provision and protection. As harvest season ends we prepare for the cold weather of December. Please remember to keep us in your prayers, especially the health of all of our children and village elders. Nayu and I would like to thank all of you, who have remembered us in your prayers.

May God bless you and keep you!

Witoon and Nayu


HSFC September Update

20160910_132427.jpg

Thank God for this month! At this time the farmers of Bala village are very excited to see effects of rain on their crops. The rice we planted back in July is almost ready to be harvested. However, we must pay close attention to the water levels in the rice field. If for some reason our irrigation has an issue and water doesn’t flow to the fields then our rice will have a smaller yield. For the farmers who planted corn, their crop is almost ready to harvest. Yet, the heavy rains have kept farmers from trying to overuse the roads.

14500729_1387012521329747_620051428173938714_o.jpg

Our family is very excited that our sister has returned from her 4 month stay in the USA.We are extremely greatful to Professors Mike and Ann Leming and everyone else involved in providing Daraporn a place to stay and a meaningful experience.Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

received_1176211062433686.jpeg

I myself am excited to plant cocoa beans this year. This will be a new and challenging experience for me, because no one has planting this crop in our area. Please pray for me as I try to introduce something new to this community. If the crop is successful it could give villagers another opportunity for income generation in our integrated farm system. It is always my hope and vision that villagers will pursue sustainable agricultural methods on their farms. I am very excited about the possibilities! May God continue to bless all those who have been involved in this process. May God grant you good health and strength for the coming days ahead!

Love in the Lord,

Witoon and Nayu


The Life Center September Update

This month I spent most of my time with students. I have had the opportunity to teach them every week, Monday- Friday.  On Sunday we usually go join worship with churches in our general area. This week, for example, we went to go worship at Nong Dang Church in Nong Dang village.

We had so much fun worshiping with other villagers. There were many members of the community present, we were surprised to see so many community members come worship in spite of the recent heavy rains. I had the opportunity to preach and my students performed a special song and shared testimonies for the congregation. I believe the congregation enjoyed our presence; every year we try to visit and encourage them. Because we have different students every year, there is always variety in our visits and reception. After worship, the pastor and village elders invited us to join them for a delicious and well prepared meal. On top of the great eating, villagers came by to visit and send us off with 3 bags of rice, and 100 kilos of pumpkins. We were so incredibly blessed by the kindness of the Nong Dang Church community and their great love for my students.

14446363_1808830279401694_606597431_o

This month I also had the opportunity to meet with leaders of 11 churches in the Musikee area in regards to local evangelization. The event was held at The Life Center, so Tatumo and her good friend Jitramo helped prepare food. Later in the week, my students and I went to go cut grass in the rice field. Of course, we couldn’t go to the rice field without fishing! So, we spent the rest of the afternoon catching river eels in the mud terraces. We also spent time cutting grass and planting plants and vegetables at The Life Center. I am so proud of my students. After months of practicing, I am confident in their ability to both preach and share the Word of God. Sometimes we go out and practice encouraging other members of the village. Other times we go up to the mountain of prayer and spend time in worship as a group.

14455848_1808830536068335_203363385_o

 

Please keep all of us in your prayers. We are currently in need of a projector for use in our classroom at The Life Center.

With much love and prayer,
Tatupa and Tatumo


The Life Center August Update

Throughout the month of August I have had the opportunity to live with and teach the Bible to three returning students, Nikomwee, Fah and Worachai. They have excelled in the program and hope to practice what they are learning in the schools, dormitories and villages in the surrounding areas. I can already see our students gaining confidence in sharing the Word of God with others.

DSC_0092

In recent years, we have sought to integrate sustainable economic principles and practice into our program. We are growing vegetables, herbs and engaging in small scale animal husbandry. Because this is rice cultivation season, we have spent time in my rice field. But it’s not all work! We also have fun catching river eel that make a home in the mud throughout our ricefield. My students have little prior experience in catching eels, so I jumped on the opportunity to teach them and give them some eel catching tips. One day, my students returned to The Life Center with over 1 kilo of Eel! Then, together we cooked the Eel, added spices and chilies and had a feast! Unfortunately, we don’t have too much free time, but the students are excited and have been talking about fishing eel.

DSC_0069

The other day, I had the opportunity to go preach at MaeLaOop Church. Due to the fact the village is more remote, many in attendance came from other areas. The topic was mother’s day, and we had a gift exchange. Please continue to pray for us in our small scale sustainable agricultural initiatives, as well as the new cohort of students arriving in mid- December.

Thank you and God bless you all!

Tatupa and Tatumo


“Talk Doesn’t Cook Rice!”

We are so thankful rain this month. The rains have allowed for the villagers to plant according to the annual cultivation period. At times, Thailand can be inconsistent in terms of when and how long the rains will fall. We are excited to watch our crop begin to grow, whether that be corn or any other produce we have planted over the month of June. With all the rain and abundance, maintaining our banana groves has kept us very busy. Due to the weather and the heavy workload, villagers must wake up very early in the morning to go out to their fields. Some villagers live fairly far away from their fields and must adjust their home life to be able to stay in their field in order to keep up with the demands of the season. Everyone is very excited and thankful for the rains, but tired at the same time.

As for our field, we have finally finished planting rice. We thank God that this year we have had no issues with rice cultivation. The color of our field has changed from yellow to lush green. My primary work has been preparing the rice field for cultivation. This month, we hosted two volunteers from America at the center. We are pleased and thankful for their great help with many things at the center, including fixing the main road. But most of all, I am excited that our two volunteers taught my wife, Nayu, some English phrases! As we get ready to move into the month of August, please continue to pray for us as we work to be a good steward of our opportunities and in our capacity to build relationships with those around us.

Love in Christ,
Witoon Daleethong

20160720_171215

 


Transition is Bittersweet…

Firstly, we want to give thanks to the Lord for everything He has done this month. I am having mixed feelings as I write this update, both sad and happy. I am very happy that Jonathan has had the opportunity to return to the United States, to both grow and develop as a man. We know that he will have a wonderful time among both family and friends. His departure is bittersweet, we love him and enjoy him as one of our own. We will miss him dearly.

13664493_10100720005834836_1630806024_n

 

Second, we as a community are rejoicing regarding the rains. We have not seen rain in abundance like this in years. Thailand often has an inconsistent rainfall, leading to drought. In fact, this year was so dry that our village water supply depleted. The Bala village community had to spend 2-3 days implementing a new water system for villagers to have adequate water for their families. Farmers are taking advantage of the rains and hastily planting rice, and corn. We are very happy to see our banana and fruits trees both green, and healthy. Our center and our family miss Jonathan very much, so this is an adjustment period for us, but we must continue to press on. This week we have to cut bananas for our Chiang Mai markets. We sell bananas about 2 times a month. In June, the main task is plowing our ricefield and cutting grass. We are so thankful for the rain, and reminded that God is always on time. We are very grateful for both the prayers and support. Please continue to pray for us through this tough season of transition, for both our family and for Jonathan as he transitions back to America. God bless and keep you all.

 

With great love in the Lord,
Witoon Daleethong


Planters of men…

This week, I spent much of my time cutting grass at The Life Center. Due to the fact that we have so much land, it takes a while to actually cut the grass. Because it is rainy season, we have planted many kinds of fruit such as avocado, plum, and mango. We have planted flowers and continued to raise our animals. It has been raining almost everyday, so we have begun plowing our rice field for cultivation.

DSC_0182

 

Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to be a guest speaker and trainer on the topic of the Christian family at a nearby church in Huay Thong Village, about 45 minutes from The Life Center. Approximately 60 people joined the seminar, and we spent time talking with each family. We had alot of fun and everyone was challenged! Last Sunday, I had the opportunity to preach at my home church of Nong Jet Nuay. About 300 people from our village showed up for worship. The church members were very active in the service, and we all laughed and had a wonderful time together. We could definitely feel the presence of the Holy Spirit throughout the service.

DSC_0171

Tatumo and I have been busy on our farm and at the center. Please remember us in your prayers as we plan to open up The Life Center for a special program this July. Some students from our previous program would like to spend some additional time together. So, I will be teaching the Bible, but at a little more advanced level for these students. Pray for us, as we cultivate men.

Current Needs:

At the moment, we don’t have very good chairs, so we are hoping to purchase at least 100 new chairs for The Life Center.

We are blessed to serve together! Continue to pray for us as we pray for you!

Tatupa and Tatumo


And then came the rain…

Its June, and the villagers are preparing their lands to cultivate corn on the steep mountain sides. For those of us who have fruit trees, we are enjoying an excellent harvest of Cherries this year. They sell at market for between 7-15b per kilo. Sale from Cherries have allowed villagers to be able to make a small income in another way. At this time our bananas are not very beautiful due to the intense heat of April and May. In fact, many of our bananas burned and few trees actually toppled over under their own weight. This month we spent alot of time and money cutting grass in our field. We have many acres of land to care for, so this was a full time job for a number of days. We also have began plowing our rice fields to prepare for rice cultivation. This year, the rain has begun to fall early, so we have adjusted to the rains. Our pond and newly dug out reservoir are beginning to collect rainwater from our mountain water source.

13396805_625929497563775_920262561_o

We thank God that although this year was hotter than most, the rain came early. Villagers in our banana cooperative were excited to be able to sell our bananas, even though our bananas are not very beautiful this time of year. The villagers say that although their incomes may be low, they are glad to know they can have at least one consistent stream of income through bananas. They can use this income to help pay off the electric bill and cover monthly food expenses.

This month we have watched our rabbits grow, and our aquaponics lab thrive. We also had a chance, this past weekend, to welcome and enjoy two Interns from Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Georgia to our farm, Katie and Emily.  We are very grateful for their visit and to Abigail for connecting us!

Finally, we would like to thank God for His perfect plan. We are growing confident day by day in seeing His plan unfold. We believe that God has, and will continue to bless both our family and our neighbors around us. May God bless each and every one of you.

 
Witoon and Nayu

 

 

 

 


Aquire Peace and Thousands Around…

What an incredible four months it has been. After living through the cool Thailand winter together for the last few months, we have all gotten to know each other quite well here at The Life Center. As we enjoy our last week together before graduation, I am reflecting on what I have learned this year.

Even among such a wonderful group, I have found myself asking for forgiveness, and retreating to my home on more than one occasion. I have learned more about myself, and more about those around me through this group of students. We have no former drug dealers, no current drug users, and no thugs. Only students. However, after a few weeks, its easy to see one another flaws, and shortcomings. Although very few words are spoken there is a code of conduct in terms of disciple and devotion. In this world, washing the dishes can even becomes a competition in showing worthiness to carry on the tradition being established among these students.

third

Although at times words are exchanged, the students do their best to be attentive in both mind and deed. As a North American man, its easy to see competence a common cultural value. The pressures to show thyself approved in both word and mind. However, the deep pragmatism of the people here tend to focus their attention towards actions and deeds over words and philosophy. Although any religion can be highly theoretical, the average individual is focused on the day-to-day regiment.

The challenge is on to present oneself as competent by way of resourcefulness, adaptability and mindfulness. How to acquire competence?  By finding one who demonstrates and champions these disciplines. In our North American white collar world, we tend to pass on knowledge, information, critical, and analytical skills through books, education, meetings, training and seminars. However, personal access and proximity does not always have a high priority on the value scale in our culture, but the need and the expectation of competence remains. This reminds me of the universal value of mentorship and asceticism. These are issues of epistemology and vital for those who desire to do any kind of work among people.

two

I constantly run into this fact as I tend to bring in my North American values and traditions with me everywhere I go. Recently, I was teaching English, and we came across a lesson I had prepared years ago on religion. As we reviewed new vocabulary, I couldn’t help but go on and on about Christian history associated with certain words, denominations and events. As questions regarding Christian history arose, so did my excitement about the subject. So, I decided to prepare a set of new lessons specifically focused on Church history starting with the early church, through the persecutions to the ecumenical councils etc.  It was 2am, and I finished my lessons. I woke up at 6am to exercise with the students. I was ecstatic, finally, I found something that I enjoyed and the students enjoyed. Usually, I have to be interested in whatever they are interested in, even if I don’t find a personal interest in the matter. After breakfast, I drove up to Temekerlah village to print off the lesson for the day. I made it back to the center just in time to teach at 9am. I ran to the pavilion where the students eagerly awaited. I started teaching about St. Ignatius, Nero, Trajan, Rome, Martyrs…etc After about 15 minutes the students where talking and laughing amongst themselves. My patience started to thin. Students would raise their hands, ask to go the bathroom, wash their face, get a drink of water…etc. Inwardly I was furious, but I tried hard to keep my composure. Defeated, I finally asked in if the students enjoyed the teaching. One student spoke up and said, we don’t understand. I realized, it was not of interest to them. I quickly closed the lesson and returned to my home, feeling defeated, and tired. The reality sank in, that in order to be appealing, I would have to teach in a way that was important to the day to day, stories, parables, and situations.

In the end, I am learning to not focus on what I can’t control, and to focus on today. I am sure I will spend the rest of my life on the journey, but it seems like the people here have a bit of a head start.

As St. Seraphim of Serov once said, “Acquire peace, and thousands around you will be saved.”

One

As we close out in our last week together, a number of students have committed to return to The Life Center in June. About six students will live here in community in order to worship together, eat together and farm together. Three other students will go on to study the Bible in Chiang Mai at various Bible schools. Others will return home to work for Compassion International, or with the Royal Project of Thailand. It’s difficult knowing all these new, budding relationships will end in a vital way. Although we remain friends, the substance found in mentorship, community and life transformation. It’s a bit sobering for me. As a comfort, I am reminded of the words of Jesus Christ,

Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Matthew 6:31-34

Jonathan Adam

 

 


Bala Village: January 2016 “Aquaponics and Local Veggies”

Jan 2016,

Our farm has finished the Aquaponics house. The purpose of this project is to protect local vegetables. Nowadays, it is hard to find local/wild vegetables because a lot of chemicals are used for farming.  Especially wild vegetables that grow along rivers. Villagers know these vegetables very well and really enjoy eating them.  If we just eat and don’t protect them, someday these varieties of local vegetable will lost.  Moreover, the next generation will lose their traditional knowledge and not recognize or even see the wild vegetables. “I have provided all kinds of grain and all kinds of fruit for you to eat.” (Gen 1:29) God created nature so we can cultivate it and guard it, and praise Him by caring for creation.

-Witoon Daleethong


Bala Village: December 2015

Dec 2015,

The villagers celebrate Christmas by caroling around the village. On the 25th, they play games and have lunch together.  At night they worship and enjoy the Christmas show.

This month, we hosted a foreign team who came to study and experience Lahu life.  The team did many activities around the farm such as making a sandbag dam to prevent erosion and catch rainwater, collecting fire wood, picking coffee, harvesting banana, and building the aquaponics greenhouse. They learned the process of coffee and banana, and how we can make income from the farm; all by doing! I thank God that for giving me a chance to share my abilities and knowledge with others, as well as the opportunity to learn new things from them.  As this month is the month for Christmas, the scripture of hope and love I would like share is this: “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life.” John 3:16

-Witoon Daleethong


Bala Village: November 2015 “Thanksgiving”

Nov 2015,

After harvest season, this month is the month for thanksgiving (eating new rice). The members of the church will bring the best produce from their fields to offer God in the church. Next, the local church will invite other churches to join together. After the thanksgiving service, we will have lunch together. Rice is the most important in this festival because every house will cook their new rice to share at lunch time. They will talk about the taste of the rice, and ask each other about how many bags they could harvest from their fields this year.  “Is it enough for a whole year?” we ask each other. Everybody wants to share their new rice with their neighbors.

A note from Witoon:  I would like to thank God for the chance to welcome a team from Japan who came to learn about Lahu life and culture.  I got to share my vision and work with new friends.   I also thank God for the villagers who came and helped to build a new bamboo guest house at our farm. By using their ability and gifts that God has given them to share with me, I have seen their love, care, sharing, and value in what God has created.  It would have been easy for them not to help me because they have lot of work to do in their own farms, but by the grace of God, they put my work first.  By myself, I don’t have the knowledge and skill to build a house. Without the villagers help I would not see the new bamboo house! Through good relationships we help each other in order to serve God by each of our personal gifts. “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit gives them. But it is one and the same Spirit who does all this; as he wishes, he gives a different gift to each person.” (1 Co 12: 4, 11)

 


The Life Center Feb 2016

As the weather continues to warm up, so we as a family at The Life Center begin to grow together. I have gotten to know the students better, and have had the opportunity to spend more time than ever before at The Life Center program. Two months in and we have had nothing but harmony through out the program.

What does our day look like?

12705755_10100616458130266_5174119322258895780_n

Waking up at 6:30 every morning we exercise, stretch and pray together. After prayers we break up and do our morning chores. Because I don’t have an assigned duty, I usually just plug in somewhere, helping in the kitchen, sweeping up leaves or watering the veggies. At 8:30 am we eat breakfast-with RICE, and at 9am Tatupa will begin to teach. At 11:30 am students break to eat lunch and prepare for afternoon lessons. At 1:30, I will teach English until 3pm. Students then prepare dinner and do evening chores and rest up before dinner. At 6:30pm we eat dinner and prepare for worship. By 7:15, Tatupa gathers the students and begins worship. This is not only a time of change but of real healing. As we sit around the campfire, we sing songs of praise and love. After worship one of the students has an opportunity to share with the other students about life in Christ. Although living together has its challenges, we have seen great growth in our students this year.

Service Trip to Chiang Rai

12654363_180465065651810_5810058250184385088_n

On the morning of the 22nd we gathered together in prayer for safety on our long trip to Chiang Rai Province. Students prepared their hearts and minds for a 11 hour trip to Ban Bala village, where Witoon and his family eagerly waited our arrival. In early November, Witoon decided to begin a final and massive piping project, to bring water to his center from over 4 kilometers away. Unlike our previous piping project, which brought drinking water to the center, the current project will bring water for a small reservoir located on the center property. After 11 hours in the car, we arrived at Witoons agriculture center with great excitement!

We hit the ground running, students joined Witoon and his wife Nayu in preparing a late dinner. After dinner, we worshiped and went to sleep quickly. The next day, we joined many Lahu villagers and Nate and his wife Stephanie. After two days of hard work, laughs, worship and testimonies we left Ban Bala village in good spirits, leaving with a sense of brotherhood and friendship. Witoon shared his life story, his struggles and hardships with the students as well as his victories. I firmly believe the students gained an idea of what to expect when they graduate from The Life Center.

After leaving Bala village we continued our journey northeast towards Chiang Rai the morning of the 24th to visit Tatupas younger brother Boonperm. After a night of good food, and worship we enjoyed great hospitality and a good night sleep. As we woke up in the morning of the 25th we prepared for a long trip southwest to Chiang Mai city and northwest to Musikee. Leaving Chiang Rai at 10am we arrived at The Life Center at 9pm on the night of the 25th.

As we settle back into to our lives here at The Life Center, we are thankful and remember all those who have partnered to enable such wonderful things to take place. Ahka, Lahu, Karen and Foreigners such as Nate, Stephanie and myself had the opportunity to join together in fellowship in a country where ethnic lines are clearly defined. February truly has been a challenging yet exciting month for us.

Until next time,

Jonathan Adam

 


The Life Center 2016

I cannot believe that one month has gone by since my time in America. As usually, I had a wonderful time and have returned to a busy season at The Life Center with Tatumo, Tatupa and 11 great students!

111

I must say that after two very frustrating years of groups, we are pleased to welcome a number of students who really are seeking direction, instruction and mentorship. In my 6 years of knowing Tatupa and Tatumo, I have never seen them more happy with their students, nor have I seen students quite as happy to be with them. I am excited to have the opportunity to both teach and live among some of the most amazing up and coming leaders I have met here in Thailand.

So, lets get to know this years group of students!

Worachai and Sombaht, two of the older students, decided to come and be mentored with Tatupa since last August. They also function as group leaders who assist Tatupa in all things, whether that is leading worship, being among the students, or carry out daily chores.

Jerry, a student from Tatupas village, was actually delivered as a baby by Tatupa. He comes from a very broken home, but has found his peace in living in Christian community among others.

Gwa, a student from the Bor Keaw area, is a quiet and reflective guy. He spends most of his time alone and has a huge crush on Tatu, Tatupa and Tatumo’s daughter. He has opened up over the last few weeks, but is still working to integrate into the group.

Wee and Guitar both come from Animist/Buddhist backgrounds. Guitar, and also Sombaht have both spent time in Temples as novices in the past. They have both started their journey into the Christian faith. Guitar is only 16 years old, and is very much his age! But Wee and Guitar are learning how to experience their faith and make it personal. I appreciate their bravery and willingness to open their hearts to something new and life changing.

Fah, Noo and Her are shy guys, I don’t yet know them too well but they both very young, helpful and always smiling. In fact, Her’s name in Karen, Nikomwe means “Smiley!” He is quite the athlete as well! Noo is attentive and helpful. Fah is young, I believe he is 18 or 19 years old.

Jah Rune, the oldest student in the group, comes from the farthest village from Tutumo and Tatupa’s center. He comes from a village about 3 hours away near the City of Mae Hong Son. He is diligent, helpful and praying to be an active member and participant in his village church, and an agriculturalist.

Finally, Toh the ONLY woman in the group is not only brave, but strong! She can survive among 10 energetic and very outgoing men. She is attentive, helpful and really desires to deepen her faith and be in Christian community.

DSC_0109

I am so privileged to be among such wonderful men and women. Please continue to pray for us as a group and a team. Pray for guidance and direction. These men and woman are not just here to learn, but to be mentored. We may, or may not extend the time frame for the program this year. Looking forward to watch how God works!

-Jonathan Adam and your friends at The Life Center

 


Bala Village: Oct 2015 “Rice Harvest”

1236598_10205467101700209_8131023423006615762_n

The harvest season is truly a special time to be human.  Not only is it a time when we are rewarded with the fruits of our labor, but also the time when we are humbly reminded of the limits of our labor.  While we must do our part to reap the product, we are ultimately dependent on conditions outside our control.  While life in the “developed” world can create the illusion that we are the masters of our own survival, our friends here in Bala village live their lives on the front lines of reality.  They have much to teach us about faith and the miracle that is a year’s harvest.  This month we look back on a season of hard work, and forward on the coming rest period, but most importantly we thank God for the rain and sunshine that will feed this community for another year.

The following is an update from Dara, Witoon’s sister, sharing some details of a Lahu rice harvest.  (scroll down for English translation)

เดือนตุลาคม เป็นเดือนแห่งการเก็บเกี่ยวผลผลิต เก็บข้าวโพด เกี่ยวข้าว เป็นเดือนที่ชาวบ้านยุ่งกับการเก็บเกี่ยวผลผลิตของตนเอง เมื่อข้าวโพดแก่แล้วก็ต้องรีบเก็บไปขาย เพราะถ้าทิ้งไว้นานต้นก็จะล้มแล้วจะทำให้เก็บยากมากขึ้น ยิ่งกว่านั้นชาวบ้านต้องการข้าวโพดที่มีความชื้นน้อยที่สุดเพราะถ้ามีความชื้นน้อยจะได้ราคาที่สูง ส่วนข้าวนั้นก็เหมือนกับข้าวโพด เมื่อข้าวเริ่มสุกก็ต้องรีบเกี่ยวข้าว เพราะถ้าไม่รีบเกี่ยวก็จะทำให้เมล็ดข้าวตกหล่นง่ายจะทำให้ได้ผลผลิตไม่มาก นอกจากนี้เมื่อเกี่ยวข้าวเสร็จแล้วก็ต้องตากข้าวที่เกี่ยวทิ้งไว้ที่นาอีกประมาณ 2-3 วันเพื่อให้ข้าวนั้นแห้ง จากนั้นถึงจะเริ่มตีข้าวได้ ในช่วงเวลานี้สิ่งที่ชาวบ้านกลัวมากที่สุดคือฝน เพราะว่าถ้าฝนตกลงมาจะทำให้ข้าวที่เกี่ยวทิ้งไว้เกิดความเสียหาย เช่น ข้าวจะเริ่มงอกใหม่ และถ้าข้าวไม่แห้งก็ตีข้าวไม่ได้ จะเห็นว่าเดือนนี้สิ่งที่ชาวบ้านต้องการคือแสงแดดไม่ต้องการฝน ดังนั้นชาวบ้านจะรีบเก็บผลผลิตดแข่งกับสภาพอากาศ เห็นได้ชัดเจนว่าอาชีพเกษตรกรเป็นอาชีพที่ต้องพึ่งพาสภาพอากาศเป็นอย่างมาก

เดือนนี้วิทูรย์ได้เก็บข้าวโพดขายบางส่วน และบางส่วนเก็บไว้สำหรับ แพะ ไก่ หมู ส่วนข้าวก็เก็บเกี่ยวเป็นที่เรียบร้อยแล้ว ขอบคุณพระเจ้าที่ปีนี้ฝนไม่ตกช่วงเกี่ยวข้าว และได้มีโอกาสช่วยชาวบ้านขนข้าวโพดขายโดยรถที่ได้รับการสนับสนุนจากผู้อุปการะที่ทำให้มีโอกาสได้รับใช้

“October is the month for harvesting corn and rice.  All the villagers are busy in their own harvest.  When the corn is ready for sale, we must rush to pick it because, if not, the corn stalks will fall down and be hard to harvest.  Moreover, the villagers want the corn to be dry because it will get a better price at market.  Like corn, if the rice is ready, we must rush to harvest it.  If not the rice grains will drop easily and will not get a large amount.  Next, after harvest we must leave the rice stalks in the sun for 2-3 days to make then dry. After that we will thresh it with a machine to separate the seed from the stalk.  At this time the villagers will worry about rain because if it rains, all the rice will be lost.  For example, the rice will start to sprout, and if the rice is not dry we cannot thresh it. This month the villagers want the sunshine, but they don’t need rain. So, they will hurry to harvest in a race against the rain. The life of a farmer is always dependent on the weather.

This month, Witoon sold some corn and kept the rest for the goats, chickens and pigs.  Our rice is already harvested.  We thank God that this year it did not rain during the harvest!  Witoon also had the opportunity to help some villagers take their corn to market using the new truck.  We thank our donors for this special chance to serve our community!”

-Dara Daleethong

12118679_10205466997017592_5861571712177575493_n

Step 1: Rice is cut with a small sickle blade

11898750_10205467002497729_4572366677563103832_n (1)

Step 2: The cut rice is laid out in the field to dry for 2-3 days.

12065722_10205466985897314_2522270364295154_n

12063802_10205466973176996_6288474477950916974_n

Step 3: The rice is collected, bundled, and carried to the threshing station.

12038079_10205466966496829_3512067653342746633_n

Step 4: Dried rice is fed through the threshing machine to separate the grain from its stalk.

12039497_10205466963296749_8436211137357570354_n

The finished product! The rice will be stored like this and milled before use.  For Lahu people, rice is life!  This harvest will feed the family, 3 meals a day, for the coming year.  We thank God for another years provision!

12036683_10205467003777761_3565093758974906581_n

We are grateful for this opportunity to use the new truck in service to the community! Here, Witoon helped deliver corn to market for villagers without access to a truck.


Bala Village: Sept 2015 “Giving Thanks”

This month’s update comes from Dara Daleethong and highlights some exciting new developments at the farm.  Please scroll down for the English translation.  Enjoy!

ในเดือนนี้ชาวบ้านเริ่มเก็บผลผลิตทางการเกษตรแล้ว เช่น ขายข้าวโพด ราคาข้าวโพดในปีนี้ถือว่าดี เป็นช่วงที่ชาวบ้านเริ่มมีรายได้หลักเข้ามา ซึ่งเป็นรายได้หลักในตลอดทั้งปี แต่ชาวบ้านบางส่วนที่ยังไม่ได้ขายข้าวโพดก็ยังรับจ้างเก็บลำไย

เดือนนี้วิทูรย์ได้เชิญชาวบ้านมาร่วมงานฉลองขอบคุณพระเจ้าสำหรับรถยนต์คันใหม่และบ่อปลาใหม่ หลังจากที่ชาวบ้านได้ทำงานหนักมาตลอดหลายวัน เราก็ได้ใช้เวลาร่วมกันในการกินและพูดคุย เป็นวัฒนธรรมของพี่น้องลาหู่ที่จะมีการเฉลิมฉลองขอบคุณพระเจ้าในโอกาสพิเศษ เป็นวิถีชีวิตที่บ่งบอกถึงการมีส่วนร่วมของชุมชน เป็นการสร้างความสัมพันธ์ที่ทำให้รู้ถึงความเคลื่อนไหวของแต่ละคนในชุมชน ส่วนรถยนต์นั้น

“This month some villagers have started to their crops, such as corn.  This year, the price is good. For most, this is the main income for the whole year.  However, some villagers who are not selling corn are still picking longan.

This month Witoon invited the villagers to celebrate and give thanks to God for the new truck and the new fish pond.  After the villagers had worked for a long day, we had a good time talking and eating together. This is Lahu culture that we will celebrate and give thanks to God for a special time and blessings in our lives.  It shows the lifestyle of community participation.  It is a time to build relationships between villagers and help them know how their neighbors are doing right now.”

-Dara Daleethong

P1060882

The local government has named P’Witoon’s center as one of four demonstration farms for our subdistrict! This past month they supported Witoon’s work by digging this large new fish pond!

P1060915

P’Witoon stands by the new dam for scale. This pond will hold water for irrigation during the dry season, provide fish for the family, and serve as a nursery to stock future fish ponds throughout the community!

11953125_10100537060927896_3678699907870409163_n

Rabbits! Witoon is very excited for these new additions to the center! Rabbits are easy to raise, require low inputs, and a healthy protein source for farm families!

P1060928

Witoon has taken great care in designing this rabbit paradise.  The mystery trench from last month’s update runs along the perimeter of the rabbit enclosure. The foot of the fence is buried to keep out predators, but the trench is left unfilled so the rabbits can follow their instincts, running laps around the pen while “feeling safe like they are in a tunnel”.  The inner wall of the trench allows plenty of space for burrowing.

Here, we celebrated the recent blessings of the truck and fish pond by sharing a thanksgiving meal with the community.

Celebrating the recent blessings of the truck and fish pond by sharing a thanksgiving meal with the community.


Bala Village: August 2015

This months update comes from Dara Daleethong.  Please scroll down for the English translation.  Enjoy!

หลังจากการทำนา ชาวบ้านจะว่างงานเป็นช่วงรับจ้าง เช่นรับจ้างเก็บลำไยตามสวนต่าง ๆ ซึ่งเป็นกิจกรรมหนึ่งที่สร้างรายได้ให้กับชาวบ้าน ชาวบ้านจะออกจากบ้านแต่เช้าตรู่และขึ้นรถรับเหมาเก็บลำไยที่ผู้นำที่ได้ติดต่อสวนมารับชาวบ้าน เพื่อไปเก็บลำไย จะได้รับเงินตามปริมาณลำไยที่เก็บได้ ถ้าใครเก็บได้มากก็ได้เงินมาก ใครเก็บได้น้อยก็ได้เงินน้อย ต่ำสุดจะได้คนละ 300 บาท สูงสุดได้คนละ 500 บาท

ข้าวที่ปลูกในส่วนวิทูรย์ออกมาดีมาก และในเดือนนี้ที่สวนได้ปลูกชาเพิ่มอีกประมาณ 4,000 ต้นซึ่งได้ปลูกชามาหลายปีแล้วแต่ละครั้งที่ปลูกจะประสบปัญหาความแห้งแล้งเพราะไม่มีน้ำเพียงพอ จึงทำให้ต้นชาส่วนมากที่ปลูกไว้ตายแต่ปีนี้ขอบคุณพระเจ้าเพราะว่าพื้นที่ที่ปลูกชานั้นมีต้นไม้ใหญ่หลายต้นที่สร้างร่มเงาให้กับต้นชาได้ หวังเป็นอย่างยิ่งว่าปีนี้ชาที่ปลูกไว้จะทีโอกาสรอดสูงกว่าปีที่ผ่าน ๆ มา และขอบคุณพระเจ้าสำหรับความเมตตาที่ได้ประทานรถยนต์ ISUZU SPARK4x4 ให้ ซึ่งจะเป็นรถที่ใช้สำหรับขนกล้วยขาย โดยรถคันนี้จะเป็นส่วนหนึ่งในการับใช้ที่สร้างรายได้ให้กับชาวบ้านเหมือนอย่างที่พระเจ้าได้อวยพระพรผมเพื่อที่ผมจะได้เป็นพระพรให้กับผู้อื่น และให้เห็นถึงความยิ่งใหญ่ของพระเจ้า ดังที่กล่าวว่า“ขอให้เรายึดมั่นในความหวังที่เราทั้งหลายเชื่อและรับไว้นั้นโดยไม่หวั่นไหว เพราะว่าพระองค์ผู้ทรงประทานพระสัญญานั้นทรงสัตย์ซื่อ” (ฮิบรู 10: 23)

“After planting rice, the villagers are free and can find work picking longan* for other farmers. This is an activity which makes a good income for them.  After contacting a longan farmer, they will be picked up by truck in the early morning for a day’s work down in the valley. The villagers will get money depending on how much longan they can pick. If they can pick a lot, they get a lot of money, but if they can pick little, they receive little.  However, at minimum they will get 300 baht per day (10 US dollars) and 500 baht maximum (17 US dollars).

The rice in Witoon’s farm is growing very well!  Moreover, this month we planted around 4,000 tea trees!  Actually, we have planted tea trees almost every year but because of the hot weather and lack of water, most seedlings die.  Thank God that this year we could plant in an area with a lot of big trees to make shade for the tea plants.  We have hope that many tea trees will survive this year.  Moreover, I would like to thank God for his mercy.  He gave us a new ISUZU SPARK 4×4 pickup for carrying bananas to market! This truck will serve people by providing income for the villagers.  As God has blessed us, we hope to be a blessing to others, and to see how great our God is.  As the verse said, ‘Let us hold on firmly to the hope we profess, because we can trust God to keep his promise.’ (Heb 10: 23)”

-Dara Daleethong

*Longan are a large cash crop here in Northern Thailand.  While these small fruits are eaten fresh during the picking season, most are peeled, pitted, dried and sold to the Chinese market for use in traditional Chinese cuisine and herbal medicines.

The beautiful rice fields!

The beautiful rice fields at the Highland Sustainable Development Center!

P1060853

The new truck perfect for Witoon's needs as he serves his community!

The new truck is perfect for Witoon’s needs as he serves his community through agriculture!

This table really exemplifies Witoon's vision for his center:  Family and friends sharing in the bounty of the farm and forest, a celebration of Lahu local wisdom, and satisfaction with what God has provided.

This table really exemplifies Witoon’s vision for his center: Family and friends sharing in the bounty of the farm and forest, a celebration of Lahu local wisdom, and satisfaction with what God has provided.

P1060877

Stay tuned for next month’s update…

P1060874

to discover the purpose of this mystery trench!?


Bala Village: July 2015

11802108_505386619618064_106424876_n

This month’s update comes from Dara Daleethong!  Scroll down for the English translation. Enjoy!

ขอบคุณพระเจ้าสำหรับสายฝนที่ตกลงมาอย่างต่อเนื่องต้นข้าวโพดทีแคระแกรนได้กลับฟื้นขึ้นมาใหม่ทำให้ชาวบ้านมีความหวังมากขึ้นไม่ใช่แค่ข้าวโพดเท่านั้นกล้วยเมื่อได้รับน้ำทำให้ได้กล้วยที่ใหญ่น่ากินอีกด้วยทั้งนี้สิ่งที่สร้างความดีใจให้กับชาวบ้านได้มากที่สุดคงหนีไม่พ้นการได้ทำนาหลังจากได้เตรียมนาไว้ดังนั้นเมื่อฝนมาชาวบ้านจะยุ่งกับการปลูกข้าวทุกบ้านจะเร่งปลูกข้าวให้เสร็จเพราะเป็นช่วงที่ต้องทำนาแล้ว ดังนั้นชาวบ้านจะช่วยกันปลูกข้าวของแต่ละคน วันนี้ปลูกของฉันพรุ่งนี้ปลูกของเธอเรียกว่าการเอามื้อเป็นการแลกเปลี่ยนแรงงานในการปลูกข้าวเมื่อมองไปที่นาแต่ละแห่งจะเห็นต้นข้าวที่ปักลงในนาเป็นที่เรียบร้อยและรอผลผลิตที่จะได้การทำนาเป็นเรื่องสำคัญมากเพราะเราจะปลูกข้าวไว้เพื่อกินสำหรับ1ปีเพราะฉะนั้นเราจึงต้องทำนาทุกปีและชาวบ้านต้องการกินข้าวใหม่ที่อร่อยเป็นปีต่อปีเพราะข้าวเป็นอาหารหลักที่สำคัญที่สุดสำหรับชาวบ้าน

ส่วนวิทูรย์ปีนี้ได้ทำนาทั้งสองแบบคือการดำนาและการทำนาโยน เพราะต้องรอฝนถึงจะไถนาและเตรียมนาได้ดังนั้นเมื่อฝนตกจึงต้องรีบเตรียมพื้นที่ทำให้ไม่สามารถทำนาโยนได้ทั้งหมดพอดีกับที่ชาวบ้านเหลือกล้าข้าวจากการปลูกเราจึงได้กล้าข้าวฟรีและชาวบ้านได้มาช่วยกันดำนาให้กับเรา ส่วนพื้นที่ที่เหลือก็ได้ทำนาโยนเมื่อย้อนดูเหตุการณ์ต่างๆ ที่เกิดขึ้นทำให้ได้รู้ว่าพระเจ้ารักและไม่เคยทอดทิ้งเรา และมีเวลาของพระองค์เสมอดังที่ในพระคัมภีร์ได้กล่าวไว้ว่า “มีฤดูกาลสำหรับทุกสิ่งและมีวาระสำหรับเรื่องราวทุกอย่างภายใต้ฟ้าสวรรค์” (ปญจ 3:1)

“We thank God that the rain has come and the corn is no longer stunted. This has given the villagers a renewed hope for the harvest.  Not only has the corn recovered, but the bananas are also big and delicious to eat. The villagers are very happy because they have finally had enough rain to plow their rice fields and plant rice.  Every household hurried to finish planting their rice because it is already long past planting season.  Everyone works together to share in the rice planting.  It is an exchange of labor, so, if today we plant my rice field, then tomorrow we plant your rice field.  If you visit our rice fields now, you will see all are planted and waiting for the harvest in November!  Planting rice is very important because we need it to feed our family for a whole year.  We look forward to delicious new rice year after year because it is so important to our diet and culture.

This year, Witoon had the chance to plant rice by two methods; the traditional transplanting method and the newer throwing method.* Because the rains were so late this year, Witoon could not prepare enough seedlings to use the throwing method for all of his fields.  Thankfully, he was given rice seedlings by another villager that were left over after planting. Then, they came to help plant the rice as well! For the rest of the rice field he will throw the seedlings. When we look back, we can see that God always loves and never abandons us; he has a time for everything.  As the verse says, “Everything that happens in this world happens at the time God chooses.”(Ecc 3:1)”

-Dara Daleethong

*For those of you interested in the finer points of rice planting:  Traditional planting involves the manual transplanting of 3-4 week old rice seedlings in the flooded paddy fields.  Using the throwing method, we start the seedlings in shallow trays and transplant at 2 weeks by throwing them like little darts into the mud.  This method is gentler on the young roots and on our backs!

These new terraced rice fields have been carved out of the hillside entirely by hand!   Here, Witoon and his neighbors work to level the paddies and prepare the soil for planting.

These new terraced rice fields have been carved out of the hillside entirely by hand! Here, Witoon and his father work to level the paddies and prepare the soil for planting.

Jon loves to plow the rice fields!

Jon loves to plow the rice fields!

Everyone comes together to share in the planting.  It's hard work but great for building community!

Everyone comes together to share in the planting. It’s hard work but great for building community!

"Throwing" Rice

“Throwing” Rice


Bala Village: June 2015

This month’s update comes from P’Witoon’s sister, Dara Daleethong!  Please scroll down for the English translation.  Enjoy!

ปีนี้เข้าฤดูฝนแล้ว044แต่ฝนตกช้ามาก มองไปที่ไร่จะเห็นข้าวโพดแคระแกรนเพราะไม่ได้รับน้ำ ข้าวโพดถือเป็นอาชีพหลักที่สร้างรายได้ให้แก่ชาวบ้านในแต่ละปี ซึ่งไม่รู้ว่าปีนี้ข้าวโพดที่แคระแกรนนี้จะให้ผลผลิตได้มากแค่ไหน ไม่ใช่แค่ข้าวโพดเท่านั้น การทำนาในปีนี้โดยเฉพาะนาที่ต้องอาศัยฝนนั้นยังไม่สามารถไถ่นาได้เพราะไม่มีน้ำเข้านา กล้วยที่ขาดน้ำก็ไม่ค่อยโตเท่าที่ควรทำให้ได้กล้วยที่มีผลเล็กกว่าเดิมทั้งที่ในฤดูนี้กล้วยจะต้องมีผลใหญ่ ซึ่งได้ส่งผลกระทบอย่างมากต่อเกษตรกรเพราะต้องอาศัยฝนเนื่องจากมีการเพาะปลูกอยู่เสมอ เพราะเดือนนี้เราได้จัดงานอธิษฐานขอบพระคุณพระเจ้าขึ้นบ้านใหม่พี่เบนจามิน เป็นครั้งแรกที่ ชาวบ้านได้มาร่วมแสดงความยินดีกันมากมาย ในสวนพี่วิทูรย์ตั้งแต่เปิดโครงการ The Highlands Sustainable Development Center นอกจากนี้ชาวบ้านยังได้มีโอกาสมาเยี่ยมชมสวนเกษตรผสมผสานอย่างพอเพียง ซึ่งชาวบ้านเองนั้นมีความรู้ ความสามารถและประสบการณ์อยู่แล้ว และเชื่อว่าชาวบ้านจะได้ตระหนักถึงพระพรและคุณค่าความเป็นเกษตรกรที่พระเจ้าประทานให้ พระเจ้าก็ยังไม่ทอดทิ้งเราพระองค์ได้ทรงอวยพระพรเราอยู่เสมอ

“June 2015

It is the rainy season but, this year, the rains have come very late.  The corn in our fields is still very small because of the drought. Many villagers are worried because they make their main income from corn and don’t know what this year’s harvest will bring.  Likewise, the rice fields are also waiting for rain. We cannot plow the rice field because the soil is too hard and dry, and the irrigation is not enough to flood the paddies.  Moreover, bananas without rain are very tiny.  Normally, bananas will be biggest this time of year.  Farmers really need rain to cultivate their year’s crops.

This month we thank God that we had a chance to celebrate Benjamin’s (Ali’s) house warming. This is the first time that the villagers have come together to celebrate at Witoon’s farm since The Highlands Sustainable Development Center has been open.  In addition to the celebration, the villagers had a chance to look around the farm and our see our sustainable methods.  As the villagers already have knowledge and experience in agriculture, we hope that it will help them realize that they are blessed and have value in God as a farmer. We pray that the Bala villagers will have stronger unity and see the joy, mercy and love of God in their life. Truly, God has not abandoned us, but is blessing us all the time.”

-Dara Daleethong

It was so encouraging to see so many gathered at the Highland Sustainable Development Center to celebrate our friend Ali!

It was so encouraging to see so many gathered at the Highland Sustainable Development Center to celebrate our friend Ali!

Housewarming Celebration!  Ali (center) built this magnificent home with his own two hands!

Housewarming Celebration! Ali (center) built this magnificent home with his own two hands!

P'Ali killed his pig to share  a noodle feast with his neighbors.  Enormous empty pot=many full stomachs!

P’Ali killed his pig to share a noodle feast with his neighbors. Enormous empty pot=many full stomachs!

Delicious.

Delicious.


Bala Village: May 2015

229

พฤษภาคม 2558

หลังจากที่ชาวบ้านได้เตรียมพื้นที่สำหรับการเพาะปลูกเสร็จแล้ว สิ่งหนึ่งที่ชาวบ้านตั้งหน้าตั้งตารอคือสายฝนที่จะตกลงมาเพราะเมื่อถึงฤดูแห่งการเพาะปลูกนั้น ฝนเป็นสิ่งที่จำเป็นและสำคัญที่สุด ขอบคุณพระเจ้าสำหรับสายฝนที่พระองค์ทรงประทานให้ ทำให้ชาวบ้านเริ่มปลูกข้าวโพดแล้ว เดือนนี้พระเจ้าได้ทรงเรียกคุณ ปิตุลุ ประธาน คริสตจักห้วยป่าเป้ากลับไปอยู่กับพระเจ้าจากโรคหัวใจ เราใช้เวลา 1 อาทิตย์สำหรับงานศพ ทำให้ได้เห็นถึงความรักและความเป็นน้ำหนึ่งใจเดียวกันโดยไม่ได้แยกว่ามาจากโบสถ์ไหน เห็นถึงจิตวิญญาณแห่งการรับใช้ตามความสามารถที่แต่ละคนมี เช่น ฆ่าหมู ทำอาหาร ขุดหลุมศพ และทำโลงศพ

พี่วิทรูย์ เนื่องจากเดือนนี้แล้งมาก ทำให้น้ำที่สวนไม่พอใช้ดังนั้นพี่วิทูรย์จึงต้องทำที่พักน้ำที่ต้นน้ำเพื่อให้มีน้ำไหลเข้าสวนตลอด และตอนนี้ทำให้ไม่ต้องประสบกับปัญหาการขาดน้ำแล้ว นอกจากนี้พี่วิทูรย์ยังได้ตัดหญ้าในนาเพื่อเตรียมปล่อยน้ำเข้านา และในเดือนนี้ขายกล้วยได้ประมาณ 2,500 หวี ขอบคุณพระเจ้าสำหรับบ้าน เบนจามิน ซึ่งสร้างเสร็จแล้ว ซึ่งใช้เวลาประมาณ 4 เดือนในการสร้างบ้าน หลังจากนี้เบนจามินจะย้ายมาอยู่ที่สวนในบ้านหลังใหม่ของเขาและมีเวลาทำงานในสวนมากขึ้น

“May 2015

This month, the villagers have finished preparing their land for corn cultivation, and wait intently for the rains to come, as they are essential to the planting season.  We thank God for the first rains that have allowed the villagers to begin planting their corn.  On the other hand, this month God called Mr. Pitulu, a leader in our local Huay Pa Pao Church, to come and stay with him in heaven.  He passed away suddenly from heart disease.  We used one week for the funeral to show our love for him and support for his family.  Most people in the village will com11421719_10204685810288412_590603344_n (1)e to help no matter which church they come from.  Everyone will serve as they do best, such as butchering the pig, cooking meals, digging a grave, building the casket, or just spending time together.

This month has been very dry, so water at the farm was not enough to use.  Witoon made a small dam at the head of our water source so we no longer have water shortage problems.

Last week, Witoon cut weeds in the rice field and began flooding the paddies to prepare for plowing next month.  This month we sold about 2500 bunches of bananas!  Finally, we thank God for Ali’s new house which he built himself!  He spent 4 months building and will soon move into his new home at the farm. He really wants to stay in the farm so he can work and live there full time.”

-Dara Daleethong

Ali, Witoon's right hand man and proud new resident of the HSDC

Ali, Witoon’s right hand man and proud new resident of the HSDC.  See his handiwork below!

It’s pink!


Bala Village: February and March 2015

กุมภาพันธ์  2558

044        ขอบคุณพระเจ้าสำหรับเดือนนี้ที่พระเจ้าทรงนำช่วงเดือนนี้อากาศทางหมู่บ้านเริ่มเข้าสู่ฤดูร้อนตอนเช้าจะหนาวและตอนเที่ยงจะร้อนมากชาวบ้านยังว่างจากการทำงานอยู่บางส่วนก็เก็บฟื้นบางส่วนก็หาปลาในแม่น้ำเพราะว่าร้อนมากในเวลาเที่ยง และชาวบ้านที่เป็นผู้หญิงก็จัดกลุ่มปัดผ้า ส่วนผู้ชายบางส่วนก็เริ่มไปตัดหญ้าที่สวนบางคน เดือนนี้พี่วิทูรย์ก็ได้ขายกล้วยให้ชาวบ้านประมาณ 2,000 หวี

อยากให้อธิฐานเผื่อการทำงานของพี่วิทูรย์ ให้มีสุขภาพที่แข็งแรงสมบูรณ์    และช่วยอธิฐานเผื่อสุขภาพของพี่นีที่ปวดหลังด้วยนะครับ อยากให้อธิฐานเผื่อการทำงานของอาจารย์โจนาธัน ให้มีสุขภาพที่แข็งแรงสมบูรณ์และการเดินทางของอาจารย์โจนาธัน

มีนาคม 2558

เดือนนี้ชาวบ้านได้เตรียมพื้นที่สำหรับปลูกกล้วย และในปีนี้ชาวบ้านปลูกกล้วยมากกว่าปีที่ผ่านมา เมื่อว่างจากการปลูกกล้วยจะตัดหญ้าในสวนเพื่อเตรียมพื้นที่ในการปลูกข้าวโพด ชาวบ้านบางส่วนก็จะไปจับปลาในแม่น้ำเพื่อผ่อนคลาย ปีนี้หมู่บ้านบาหลามีปัญหาเรื่องน้ำไม่พอใช้เนื่องจากน้ำแห้งเพราะว่าปีนี้อากาศแห้งแล้งและร้อนกว่าที่ผ่านมา ซึ่งทำให้มีปริมาณน้ำที่ลดลงเลยต้องใช้น้ำอย่างประหยัด เช่น ตอนเย็นต้องปิดแท็งก์น้ำเพื่อเก็บน้ำไว้ใช้ในวันต่อไป

พีวิทูรย์ขอบคุณพระเจ้าอย่างมากเพราะว่าได้ต้อนรับ คุณ โยซูวาเพื่อนร่วมงานใหม่ที่จะมาช่วยงานเรื่องเอกสารต่างๆ  และขอขอบคุณทีม SST ที่ได้มาช่วยชาวบ้านปลูกกล้วย ในปีนี้พวกเราได้ปลูกกล้วยทั้งหมด 1080 ต้น ด้วยความช่วยเหลือของนักศึกษาซึ่งเราได้มีโอกาสใช้เวลาให้กำลังใจร่วมกัน ขอบขอบคุณอาจารย์ไมค์ อาจารย์แอนที่ได้ให้จัดเตรียมงานต่าง ๆ และให้การสนับสนุนช่วยเหลือหมู่บ้านบาหลามาตลอดทำให้ชาวบ้านมีความหวังที่จะมีการจัดการที่ดินให้เกิดประโยชน์สูงสุด

ขอพระเจ้าทรงอวยพระพรทุกท่าน

“February 2015

Thank God for leading us in this month. It is quite cold in the morning and hot in the afternoon. Villagers are free from work, so some go to collect firewood for the year, cut grass in their fields, or go fishing. Some women spend this time sewing their beautiful handicrafts.  This month we sold 2,000 bunches of banana. We ask you to pray for Witoon and Jonathan’s work, health, and Naju for her back pain.

March 2015

This month the villagers prepared the land for planting banana trees. This year the village planted more banana trees than in previous years. After planting the banana trees the villagers cut the grass in other areas to prepare the land for planting crops. They also went fishing in the river to relax. This year the village of Bala had problems with the water supply because of the lack of rain and the weather being hotter than normal.  Both of these caused water levels to be abnormally low, and forced us to ration our water. For example, in the evenings the village water reservoir is shut off in order to conserve for the next day.

This month Witoon’s farm is very thankful for Joshua’s help with office work. We are also extremely grateful for the SST students who came to help the village plant banana trees. This year we were able to plant 1080 trees with the help of the students. The time we had with them was exciting and very encouraging. Thank you to A. Mike and A. Anne for organizing and over seeing this program, and for the help and support that they have given to us all these years. Thanks to their efforts, the village now has greater hope and optimism about returning the land to a better state.

God bless everybody”

-Dara Daleethong

11090821_10100445664182706_2035965787258317283_o

SST students off to work!

11043043_442597979230262_6085437355144755638_n

11414980_10204714116916060_1164692863_o New additions to the farm; baby goats and Ali’s new home under construction



A new year in Bala Village

This update comes from our sister Naju Daleethong, Witoon’s wife and invaluable member of the HSDC team:

มกราคม  2558

            ขอบคุณพระเจ้าที่ช่วงนี้ก็เป็นเทศกาลปีใหม่ของชาวบ้านทุกคนชาวบ้านทุกคนก็รู้สึกตื่นเต้นกับเทศกาลนี้เป็นอย่างมากเพราะเป็นเทศกาลที่ชาวบ้านทุกคนรอกันมาตลอดทั้งปี และเป็นช่วงที่ชาวบ้านทุกคนว่างจากงานและหยุดงานตั้งแต่วันที่1ถึง วันที่ 12 มกราคมชาวบ้านก็หยุดกินปีใหม่อยู่ที่บ้านไม่ได้ไปสวน ส่วนหลังจากวันที่ 12เป็นต้นมาชาวบ้านก็เริ่มทำงานของตัวเองตามปกติ ส่วนชาวบ้านที่ว่างจากงานก็มาช่วยงานพี่วิทูรย์  ช่วงนี้ชาวบ้านก็จะทำงานเบา ๆ ก่อนอย่างเช่นเก็บหญ้าไม้กวาด เพื่อที่จะทำไม้กวาดไว้ใช้เองในบ้านหรือไม่ก็ไปเก็บหญ้าคามาทำหลังคากระท่อมส่วนคนที่มีสวนผลไม้ก็จะไปตัดหญ้าให้สวน

ส่วนพี่วิทูรย์หลังจากวันที่12 มกราคม พี่วิทูรย์ก็เริ่มทำงานที่วางไว้  พี่วิทูรย์เริ่มขุดถนนและขุดนาใหม่เพิ่ม และพี่วิทูรย์ได้สร้างห้องประชุมที่สวน ขอบคุณอาจารย์โจนาธันมากนะครับที่ช่วยสนับสนุนในการทำงานทุกๆ ด้านของพี่วิทูรย์ และเดือนนี้พี่วิทูรย์ก็ได้ขายกล้วยให้ชาวบ้านประมาณ 2,500 หวี และขอบคุณมากเดือนนี้เราก็ได้ต้อนรับแขกของอาจารย์ไมค์ที่สนับสนุนครอบครัวพี่มาเที่ยวที่สวน

“January 2015

We thank God that this period is a time of New Year celebration for the villagers of Bala Village.  All of the villagers are very excited for this time and have waited together patiently for an entire year.  This period, after harvest and before planting season, we are free from heavy work.  We stop all work completely from January1-12, when we do not go into the fields, but stay home to eat and spend time together.  After the twelfth, we continue our individual work as usual.  At this time, the villagers have very light work, and many have the free time to help on projects at P’Witoon’s center.  We also spend time collecting grass to make brooms and use as roof thatch.  Villagers with fruit trees will be busy cutting weeds in their orchards.

After the twelfth of January, P’Witoon also began his low-season work.  With the help of many neighbors, he was able to dig a new road up the mountain (to help when harvesting bananas) and expand the rice fields.  In addition, we were able to build a small meeting hall and kitchen at the farm.

During the month of January alone, P’Witoon was able to sell about 2,500 bunches of  bananas from his village cooperative.  We are also very grateful for the many new friends that we have welcomed to the farm, who have supported and encouraged P’Witoon in his work.”

-Naju Daleethong

Traditional Lahu dance to celebrate the new year

Traditional Lahu dance to celebrate the new year

Witoon and villagers worked 3 days to dig this road by hand! We now have much better access to our higher banana fields!

Two of our Akha uncles putting the roof on our new meeting room and kitchen.

This new visitor/volunteer house and bathroom is a fine example of traditional bamboo construction and a comfortable place for P’Witoon and his family to host students at the farm.  We are so grateful for our local builders and volunteers who worked alongside them to create this masterpiece!