We have been back in Chiang Rai four months now, and we’reﬁnally feeling settled in. It’s hard toexpress how thankful we are to bereturning to a community of closefriends here, as well as to have thecontinued support of loved onesback at home. Upon returning, wewere unsure of the responses wewould receive coming back withoutOlive, but we’ve been grateful forthe kindness people have shown tous. It has also created a space wherepeople seem more comfortablesharing their own stories of grief and loss—stories they had nevershared with us before. We are both continuing withThai language study, as well asstarting to study Akha. Beyond this,Rusty has been focusing his energyon continuing to develop, “TheHouse of Weaving Dreams” projectin Chiang Rai. He has been helping 25 students ﬁnd jobs andinternships in town, brainstorming small business ventures, andmaintaining the postcard businessthat he started last year with thekids. He has also recently startedteaching English three mornings aweek at a Thai government school.I have been splitting my timebetween volunteering at a localgovernment clinic, teaching Englishto the foundation staff, andcontinuing to run the AYDC (AkhaYouth Development Center) childsponsorship program. We are getting closer toChristmas which will meantraveling to 13 different Akha villages for Christmas services andmobile clinics, as well as eating more pork than you can wrap yourmind around. We covet your prayers as wemake decisions regarding our timecommitment here, as well as for ourmarriage with all the changes wehave been through over the last year.
Some of the kids from the Akha Youth Development Center.
In July, Luka helped withthe ﬁrst ever digital recording of the bible in Akha. Many Akha in Southeast Asia areilliterate, so even though thebible has already beentranslated into their language,they cannot study the bibleon their own, outside of church. This will be a tool toreach out to the Akha living in Thailand, Burma, Laos,and the 1.5 millionunreached Akha living inChina.-In October, Rusty attended“Timothy LeadershipTraining” through ChristianReformed World Missions inCambodia with another Akha staff member from ourfoundation. They will also beattending another training inBurma 4-6 months from now,with hopes to eventually hostthe training here in Chiang Rai.