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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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,