But what does this have to do with branch Sabbath School? Well, I had agreed to go help, but had misheard the departure time. Just as I was finally getting the water ready to boil, the phone rang for me. Asking if I was ready to go. Well, not really, but I left anyway with a handful of almonds in my hand and let Rob figure out how to make spaghetti.
The branch Sabbath School was interesting. It is actually an English class at the nearby public school, for kids I guessed to be 11 or 12. The teacher approached someone at the college a couple years ago and asked them to come teach English for their class, and they agreed if they could use Christianity as the medium. The teacher amazingly agreed because she grew up with a Christian background. So every Sabbath a group of people go and teach Christian songs and tell about God in stories with Thai translation. And these kids have to sit and listen and learn the vocabulary. Pray for this group, that God's Spirit will move on their hearts, that they will be teachable and learn so much more then just English.
While waiting on the compound for Oi to come, I met several of my former church members. I found Solomon and Rosie Agdon's house and gave them a nice surprise. I met the children they were able to adopt since I was gone. A 5 year old girl from the Philippines, named Precious. And a 2 year old boy from Thailand, named Ian. Solomon is Treasurer of the mission now. I also met Nelson, Elvin, Josephine, and Jantra.
Oi had arranged for us to be able to stay at the home of the director of the Language school. We took our things over there and then went out to dinner at the little shop I used eat at all the time near the church. This time it was my turn for a surprise, because the lady and her husband who run the shop remembered me! They had lots of questions and were happy to meet Araya and William. The food was good, just as she used to make it.
That night sleeping was a bit difficult, as I am no longer used to the noise of the city. The was lots of sound out our window. A new mosque now calls everyone to prayer many times of day and night. There was normal street noise, buses, taxis, horns, motorcycles, people, music. And there was an unusual noise I couldn't quite identify. At first I thought it was music from a bar. Then I decided that it was someone practicing on an exotic instrument. The pitch and rhythm would rise and fall. And it went on most of the night and started again before the kids woke up at 5:45 a.m. I didn't figure out what it was until I was in the kitchen in the afternoon and turned on the sink. There I discovered I could play the exotic instrument myself by how hard I had the faucet turned on. The mysterious noise was the pump for the apartment building!
Monday, Oi took me to see the language school in it's new location. For those of you who have been to Ekamai church. You walk out the small soi (street) to Soi 71. Turn left up onto the side walk and look across the street. Straight across the street is the door to their building. The language school is on the second floor. So convenient! I wish it had been that way when I was there. I met Mam again, who has been working with Oi since before I left.
We took the kids to the zoo that morning. It isn't very big, but the price is good 30 baht for adults and the kids were free. There was an interesting display of monkeys from the region and the four tigers were out pacing. We saw the elephants and some tapirs from Malaysia. Huge piles of dirt separated us from the giraffe and zebras, so we could only see them from a distance. Seems they were working on something new. The kids enjoyed it for a little while, but soon the heat was too much for Araya and it was getting close to lunch, so we said good-bye and went off for lunch.
Oi took us to Soi Tong La (Sukhumvit Soi 40) where there is a great vegetarian shop now. It looked like a normal menu, with even fish stomach soup, but everything was vegetarian. I chose something a little more tame. We got Phat Thai, and Tom Yum soup with "chicken" and fresh squeezed Thai orange juice. I got fried rice with tofu for the kids, but they didn't eat very well. And Araya was soon upset so we hurried them along so they could take a nap. I would like to go back there again and eat something more adventurous next time.
I had planned to stay several days, but Araya was having such a hard time being there that I decided to go back on Tuesday. In the morning we went to a book store and I got a new Lonely Planet Guidebook to Thailand and a comprehensive Guide to the Birds of Thailand for Rob. We took the kids to play at a park. William just loved chasing pigeons and they didn't seem to mind one bit. There was a huge flock of them where some school kids were feeding them. He was fascinated.
Our last stop was Villa, a grocery store with imported food items. I would have bought quite a bit, but I knew I was going to have to manage our bags and the kids and already had too much to carry. I bought some lasagna noodles and cheese for another woman and a few things for ourselves.
In the afternoon Oi took us to the bus station and got us on the bus to Muak Lek. She called and told them when we were coming, but somehow the message didn't quite make it to the right person and so no one was there to pick us up when we got off the bus. The drop off point is kind of a covered market area in the shape of an open sided red barn. Inside they sell curry puffs, thai sweets, and fruits, basically all the kinds of things Thais take as gifts when they visit someone. Araya needed to go the bathroom, but first we needed to call and tell someone we were there. After asking, we found the phone, which didn't work. We tried a second phone, but it was only for phone cards. So off we went to find the bathroom. It was a muddy shed, quite filthy. And we were too late. Sigh. We found a clean place to sit down and prayed that someone would remember that we were coming. The ladies in the booths were watching us, and I could hear them talking. It wasn't long and one finally came over and told me the phone was broken. Yes, I knew that. They wanted to know where we were going. Now that was a difficult question because I had never heard the Thai word for Mission College. I thought and thought and finally came up with the word for elementary school and added the Thai way of saying Mission and they figured out what I meant. One kind woman let me use her private phone in her shop. And soon Dr. John, the director of the school of science was there to pick us up.
After going away for a few days, and coming back, the house in Muak
Lek felt a little bit more like home.
Now put 1 1/2 cups rice in your rice cooker and add twice as much water as you do for normal rice. For me I put water in until it came up almost to the top knuckle on my pointer finger. (Turned out great for me the first time.) If you don't end up with enough water, you can add more toward the end.(This is not the Thai way of doing it. They use a steamer basket over a pot of boiling water. The American lady across the street does it this way and it turns out great.) When the rice is finished it will be soft and moist, with a little water left to give it a bit of pudding consistency. Add more water and cook a bit more if it is too dry or not soft.
Now, sprinkle in the coconut cream power, add a pinch of salt, some vanilla if you wish, though it was good without, and sugar to make it as sweet as you would like. Put it in some pretty dishes and it is ready to enjoy. It is also good left over out of the refrigerator.
How's that for easy?
There was some really good squash curry in the cafeteria. I am going
to try to get that recipe next.
One funny thing happened regarding Pu. Her name means crab, but Araya
didn't know that. She thought it was Pooh. And shortly started calling
her Pooh Bear. Pu didn't know what that was, but when I showed her a picture
we had, she liked it right way. So now she has a second nickname.
In my next newsletter I will also tell you about the trip we are planning
for Thursday through Sunday with the Science department Students.