April is, from what we have been told, by far the hottest month of the year. So how do the Thai's handle it? Well let me tell you! They take an age old tradition that started as a honouring ceremony whereby they slowly poured water over the elderly and a century later it has become an all out, no holds barred, government sanctioned, water fight. Yup you read that right, a water fight that takes place for an entire week throughout the whole country of Thailand - no place is safe!
This means that if your only mode of transportation is a motorbike, then you are very likely to get wet, and you will, as every street is lined with people, because everyone gets the week off of work, they are all armed with water guns, buckets, bowls and hoses. Their artillery? - empty oil barrels filled with shaved ice and water. If they are going to douse you, its gotta be chilly or whats the point!?
The main Songkran festival travels across the country slowly with each city and town picking its main day to play. This year all the bible college students, a few leaders and Baylee and Julia got in on the action, when enjoyed with safety in mind it can be a lot of fun and a great way to stay cool. But here's the problem, there is not a lot of care given to people's safety. If you are deep in concentration driving your motorbike through crowds of people and you don't notice the truckload of people loading their buckets and taking aim then there is a dangerously good chance that you are going to get knocked off your bike and possibly into oncoming traffic.
Here is something to ponder; with 21 dead in Bangkok protests, it's called a 'State of Emergency', while 212 died in the first four days of the Songkran Water Festival and it's called a 'successful party'. On day four they were eight deaths under quota, this was reported in the local news with a slightly disappointed tone. How's that for irony?
To end the Songkran Festival here in Sriracha they have a huge parade. This year Julia and Jan Jan, one of the students from Philippines, were our Thai princesses. It was crazy hot and I thought Julia may actually pass out at one point but it was still a lot of fun. It was a really great opportunity to get out into the community and make known all that the ministry here has to offer. We handed out, I am sure, thousands of fliers for all the different ministries we have here. Everything from the english outreach centre, to our music school, youth programs, apartment building and nursery. The entire city of Sriracha now knows all that we have to offer them!
April 24th marked the very last day of classes for VBCI-Thailand for the 2009-2010 school year. Sunday night was the graduation ceremony held at the church with a huge feast that followed. It was so great to see Fulgence as part of the student body. Even though he was only here for the last two months of school, he fit in so quickly it was like he has always been here. He has not had any issue with keeping up in class and consistently earned A's and B's in all the classes earning him a spot in the top five students.
With school now over until the fall, Fulgence has moved to our house and will live with us for the summer. He has gotten a job as a night security watchman for the dormitory for the month of May which is great as we are still in the process of finding him some sponsorship. If God lays this young man on your heart, please pray for him and pray about the possibility of helping him financially with his education and living expenses while he is here in Thailand. All giving is tax deductible.
Dean is heading back to Canada in just under three weeks. We have flip flopped back and forth several times about whether or not the girls and I should join him. Mostly due to the unrest here but the fact still remains that is it very expensive to travel and we do have Fulgence to consider, so it looks as though we will be holding down the fort while he is gone. All will be well though, and I do plan to take Baylee and Julia up north to do some outreach ministry. There will be lots to share with you all about that when we get back.
We love and appreciate you all so much!
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Dean, Kathy, Baylee & Julia