Saturday, April 4, 2015

Along comes Benjamin

So much has happened in the last several months, including a really great trip to Canada that we will have to just give you the short version. Things are good, we are blessed. Each day has its own challenge and we rise to meet them as they come.
We would like thank everyone for making us feel so at home on the way too short trip to Canada. We are grateful for all the love and support.
We would also like to thank The Australian team, led by our good friends David and Jill. In a single week they transformed our motley farm house into a much more modern version. Installing ceilings, fixing the scary upstairs electrical, finishing the kitchen cabinets that I had nearly given up on, creating a pretty pink room for the girls. And also bringing a wonderful message of love to the local church which made a real impact with couples and even Anchalee’s mom and dad. Which started a very good season spiritually for the congregation.

Storage tank for irrigating tea via drip tape. 
Our agricultural projects are moving along. We had a setback with the tea irrigation however.  The water tank at the top of the hill completely self-destructed in a rather dramatic fashion.  It seems the pipe leading to the tea got plugged and the tank was overflowing until it could no longer handle the stress of 6000 litres (I had always been careful not to fill it to the brim, but we did not know it had stopped releasing water). We will be replacing it now with a plastic store-bought version. We no longer have the time or desire to build another concrete tank so high on a hill. Just another lesson learned in a world where it seems everything I do I do for the first time.

Water tank as it is now. The rest is scattered down the tea field.

And now for our awesome and most extraordinary news:  We have welcomed to our home a beautiful baby boy named Benjamin. Benji‘s mom was forbidden to take him home. Her parents already care for another child by her, and the fathers of both children are absent.  So she has given him over to our care. She did spend the first month with him, so he did get some natural nutrition. Benjamin is two months old now, he is in perfect health and he is a very quiet and happy boy except from about 8:30 PM until about 11:00 PM. At that time he is loud and demanding. We are working on it.

Benjamin, such a blessing.
We are very happy to have this special boy with us. We thank God for His tender mercies and His hand in all our works. This new life is such a comfort and a healing for the still strong feelings we have from our short time with David.

Pastor's house is finally under way

Another bit of news that I am sure many of you are wondering about is the construction of the pastor's house There was a long wait to get started but now the build is in full swing. The pastor and his wife are still overwhelmed with the generosity of those who contributed to this project.  The pillar and beams are up, the floors are roughed in, the walls are going up and the metal for the roof will be going up shortly.

Our Pastor and his family

Thank you once again to all our friends. We are so grateful that we are living this life, enabled to give a home to these kids, and to be a help to those in our community.  We hope to see some of you over here soon, so you can see for yourselves the fruit of your sharing.

God bless you all.

Kim, Anchalee, Jessica, Genny, Gideon, Shiloh, And Benjamin

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Goodbye David, We'll See You Again.

Farewell to David

If you have been following this blog you will have seen that our focus recently has been our youngest son David. David has left us to be with God. It is a sad time, but there is also relief and gladness that his suffering has ended.

We do not know all the thoughts of the Lord; there are times when His greater plan seems to conflict with our prayers and even our understanding. We have never prayed harder then we prayed for David. We prayed for his healing, for mercy, for his life and sometimes even just a rest from his constant battle to breathe. God heard the cries of our hearts. He has answered and set us at peace, but not in the way we declared and believed.

Our website is I registered that domain more than a decade ago; the name comes from a revelation that our concern should be for the least and the last among us. It is the things we do for those who cannot offer us anything back that demonstrates our heart most clearly. We cannot give God anything He does not already have, yet He redeems and shelters us. We should do what we see our Father do.

When we brought David home he had been abandoned and left to die. A local man had rescued him and David found his way to us through a pastor. He had only been given sugar water for days. He was tiny, weak and filthy. We cleaned him and fed him and he was a happy and quiet baby.  We did not know he had a serious heart defect.

We knew that God had spared him and brought him to us against the odds; that he had destiny and a purpose.  A month later his breathing became labored so we took him to the hospital where we learned he had pneumonia and a hole in his ventricular septum.

David lived just 22 months and about 16 of those months were spent in hospitals. Anchalee was by his side for nearly all of that time, night and day. With four more kids at home it was a time of testing for all of us. When we searched God’s Word we frequently returned to Job, a book that had more and more relevance for us as David’s troubles increased.

Through this time we prayed and read the Word, and many people around the world prayed as well. We heard from God about other things, but never anything about David. This too reminded us of Job, when the Lord was silent through his trials.

Despite David’s hard fight, when the pain was not too great; he was happy. He loved his mom and dad. Always ready to give a big smile and a high five. He loved to be sung to, despite our terrible skills. When we ran out of real songs the alphabet song was the standby. He liked that one. Other nights when he was just too stressed we prayed him to sleep.

About a month ago a drug resistant lung infection had made his condition worse. We watched him pass out from lack of oxygen 100 times or more, only to see him fight back.  He fought like his namesake, he never gave up. But eventually the doctors became convinced that it was only the drugs keeping his heart beating. They asked if we would agree to stop the medicine.

I had prayed that there would be no decisions like this to make. Devastated we put David in God’s hands and allowed for the medicine to be turned off. Expecting to see him pass away, we were surprised to see his vitals improve. For the next three days he was stable.

Despite our optimism it was made clear to us that we needed to be clear about funeral arrangements. Anchalee had been through such a fight for this little guy, and it only ever got worse. She decided that she could not bear to see him lifeless; she could not bear to bring him home like that. She was actually voicing concerns about her own sanity. Because of this I supported her decision to allow the body to be donated to the hospital.

At home on the fourth day, we got a phone call, informing us that David had only minutes left. We asked what we should do? We thought we should go there. They told us no, it will all be taken care of and that we could not possibly get there while he was still alive (the hospital is 120 km’s away). We were told to come in two days to fill out some papers.

Once again we felt he was gone. We mourned and comforted each other. We praised God for allowing us to share David’s life, that he trusted us with his time on Earth. Two days later we went to the morgue to start the paper work. We were shocked to discover the morgue had no record of David.

We went back to the ICU and were shocked again to find that David was still alive.  They never told us that he did not pass away as they had expected. We no longer knew how to think. It was so confusing, so emotional that no feeling would express it. We wanted to be happy, angry, sad, it was so wrong to be put in this position. Bewildered, we went and spent time with David.

David looked tired but peaceful. He opened his eyes and recognized us. He smiled and he held our hands. Anchalee gave him a kiss, and he tried to speak in a soft little voice that I had rarely heard because of tubes in his throat. It seemed like he had something to say, but he had not yet learned how to talk. It sounded like “dad”.

We did not know was that David was telling us goodbye. He waited for us - he was ready to go and he passed away shortly after. His face was the picture of serenity, something new for David. And so we lost him for a third and final time. But things had changed.

The stress had lifted, we were OK.  Anchalee changed her mind. She wanted a funeral now, we wanted to honor him. And God began to open our minds to the beautiful thing we were part of. David had been alone, discarded; no future, no health, no love, no family. We took him in and showed him love. We dedicated him to God and sacrificed our peace, our plans, and our time to protect and care for him. He knew that love we had for him, he understood it. And when it was his time he was received by our Lord and all the pain he endured in this world was forgotten as he passed into the presence of God.

We did not see him run or talk or even sit up on his own. We do not know why his life was short but we feel that his mission was to prepare us for things to come. We have looked deep inside ourselves and swept out the corners. We have forgiven all, confessed all, and praised God regardless.  We have tested the mettle of our faith come out the other side strengthened. We have grown in compassion for others and have learned so much about the insufficiency of our own understanding.

David was the ultimate symbol of our vision to help kids who truly have no one. We covered him in Love and prayer and released him to God. We miss him, but we know this world had nothing for him that can compare to the presence of God. 

David,we’ll meet again

Final Comments by Anchalee

Dear all my wonderful friends in Christ; may the peace of the Lord be with all of you. We are sorry it took so long to get this blog done; it is just hard to do.
I would like to say this: Through David’s life I have learned so much. He brought so much to us; I don’t know where to start.
We thank the Lord for him. We thank the Lord that He has given us the opportunity to love on him; he was so special to us.
In my life I never really knew anything about heart problems. To experience this and to fight alongside David was a journey for all of us.

This is what I have learned:
1.       To understand those who face difficult things.
2.       That there are a lot of opportunities to help others and to be kind.
3.       I have examined myself about the things that I do - the motivation behind the service.
4.       So much about medical tools and procedures.
5.       To trust God even more.
6.       How important each of us is.
7.       Patience.
8.       Never give up.
9.       Don’t judge.
10.   Appreciate what you have.
11.   God is our source, our provider.
12.   Love.

 Also I am thankful that I could do this and realize all the time that Jesus has given me the strength.

I thank the Lord that my husband supported me through all of this, all the time encouraging me and ready to do anything that needed to be done. I don’t think many can do what you have done Kim.

And I am also thankful for our friends and family that support us with prayers and finances. We totally could not have come through this without your help.

In everything the Lord has a good plan. Romans 8: 28-39

We have matured; God is turning bad for good. He has worked within us, cleaned us up. We have been through the furnace and purified to be used by Him for His kingdom.

Things happen we do not expect, we don’t understand, but we have to trust God no matter how we feel, how terrible the situation. He doesn't make mistakes, He sees all, knows all. Many times in the Bible he doesn't do what we think He would do. Because He sees beyond what we see, He knows what is best; and we need His best.

David is gone but he is in the best place, with our wonderful Creator who made him and loves him more than we can. One day we will meet again – no tears, just joy.

Thank you Lord that we are still here and standing in You. We have hope and peace in our heart.


Friday, May 9, 2014

Shakin' all over

A giant Buddha who lost his head in the recent quake.
I knew life in the jungle would be interesting, I did not expect it to be this interesting.

Where to start? Well, we had a 6.3 earthquake this week. The epicenter of which was 35 kilometers from our house. This is our second big quake. The 2011 quake was a 6.9 but further away so it wasn't as dramatic (FYI the same day Japan had their tsunami). This one hit us while everyone was standing in the same room, just a few feet from the front door. Recognizing what is happening takes a second or two. You’re off balance, there are sudden violent sounds coming from everywhere at once, and things that shouldn't move are now moving in front of you.

 “Earthquake” I said. “Get out, everybody out!” “But what about David,” asks Anchalee? “He’s fine - get out!” I had no idea if he was fine or not but I needed as many people out of danger as possible. Then it was just me in the living room, torn between running for David, and getting out. Logic prevailed; there was no way to get David’s oxygen generator out the door with him, and the spare oxygen tank is 55 kg impossible to haul through 2 rooms in the middle of a quake. So I stepped outside the door - leaning on faith that God would protect him when I could not.

Then the quake ended and although there was lots of adrenalin and excited chatter, nothing serious happened on our property. Many aftershocks followed, quite a few over magnitude 5, but thank you God, we are all fine.

David on the bed with mom. Tough little guy with an easy smile.
David is home from the hospital currently, which is a very good thing. The hospital he was in just days earlier was damaged in the quake. We actually drove back to the hospital the night before the quake, because he was struggling, but he improved on the hour and a half drive there. We asked God if we should go back home and we felt peace to return. What a blessing he was not there for the earthquake.The patients were taken outside and set up in temporary wards.  It would have been a frightening ordeal for Anchalee and David.

We have been praying a lot about David’s situation. Truth be told, the doctors have not been very encouraging. His lungs have not improved and in his condition they do not want to give him the heart operation he needs. What we need more than anything is help in the spiritual battle for David’s healing. Please do take time to believe with us in prayer that David’s lungs will improve. They are full of fluid, partially collapsed, and we need them to return to normal.

Left to right: Zai, Margot, and Anchalee's cousin Nit
We were blessed with a lot of visitors lately. Normally we get very few. I finally got to meet Margot, Who is the wife of our friend Rudyard. She is doing important work determining if Thailand’s hill tribes are connected to the Miso tribe in India - a tribe which was declared in Israel, 9 years ago, to be part of the lost tribe of Manasseh. It seems there is a very good chance that my wife Anchalee is actually Jewish. Which explains why God loves her so much. Margot was traveling with Zai from India, who is the author of the book providing the evidence connecting the Mizo with Manasseh.

Kim and Diane Smith
While Margot was here she invited up her friends Kim and Diane, who are busy setting up a ministry in Bangkok. Kim and I have much in common; both of us are boys named after the book Kim, for example. But the similarities went on and on. Kim and Diane filled up our faith with their wonderful testimonies and we really loved their surprise visit. We were fast friends and we will see them again

David Blackmore and Anchalee: Friends from way back..
David and Jill Blackmore also dropped in with family members: Loraine, Renee, Daniel and Tully. It had been too long since they were here last. We had a great time working on projects around the yard and using stone-age technology to move a 1000 kilogram boulder which was blocking a stream. We also finished a dam I have been rebuilding. We christened it Tully Dam; after David and Jill’s grandson; who got his first taste of concrete work that day.  David also did a three part teaching on the Holy Spirit which was enjoyed by all. Thanks so much to all of you; it really changes things here for us, just by having some friends around.

Monocled cobra wasn't included among our approved visitors
There is too much going on to include all of it today. We are all doing fine, and our morale is up real high. We owe it all to our friends and our supporters, who keep us here in the center of God’s will, doing good works and demonstrating the reality of God’s love for all. Be blessed.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Hope for a Homecoming

Hi everyone. It has been a long and complicated time since our last blog. We would like to thank all of our friends for their prayers and faith for our family and the situation with David.

David, looking much better these days.
Last time I wrote in this blog the good news that David was home from the hospital. Unfortunately he did not stay home for long. David went back to the hospital in February and has been in one of three different hospitals ever since. All of that time, until two weeks ago he was in pediatric ICU’s. David has collapsed lungs, a hole in his heart, and he currently must breathe through a tube in his neck. He is still too small for the heart surgery he requires.

This has been especially difficult because the hospital system here requires family members to do some or most of the nursing for the patient. Because the hospital is so far away (one hour, one and a half hours, or three hours; depending on which hospital) has meant that Anchalee has been away from home for most of the last 6 months. It has been quite an undertaking for us to make sure our four other children (all under the age of four) were happy, as well as handling all the details of the farm, village, and church life.

Anchalee and David are both happy that since he has been released from the ICU,
 she is now able to hold David
This week we have some confidence that David will be coming home soon. They are currently training Anchalee to do the suctioning of the lungs and the application of medicines through the feeding tubes and assorted other things. So maybe even this week they will release David to come home.

Please pray for David to get past his recent fevers and for his healing to accelerate so that the doctors will release him to our care. It would be such a blessing to have our family back together again. Also because I will be returning soon to Canada for a month, it would be a great comfort to me personally if my wife was home with my kids. The trip to Canada has been postponed continually and can no longer be avoided.

Once again, thank you for your thoughts and prayers. The rest of us are well and we have made progress in many areas despite the situation. I would say more, but I want to share our news in person when I arrive in Canada.

God bless you all

Friday, January 4, 2013

David is Back Home

It is good to be home
The Glowing Hearts family would like to thank all of our friends for their prayers.  The day after I made the last blog entry, David was cleared to come home. We are very grateful to have our family back together again and Anchalee is especially happy to be sleeping in a bed once more and eating home cooked meals.

David’s lungs are good enough that they let him go home, but he is not out of the woods yet. They sent him home with a cooler full of medicine that has a complicated schedule, and he needs to take this stuff for a month. At that point they will have another look at him and determine when to schedule the heart surgery. If you would like to pray, it would be good if his heart was healed without the need for surgery.

We will now attempt to bring our own lives back to some kind of routine. The holiday season skipped us by because we wanted to be together for that, but through some miscommunication the kids already got their presents, so we will probably just have a festive meal and throw in a few birthdays for good measure (Gideon and I share a birthday). Getting David back was the present we were all hoping for anyhow.

Thank you once again, Happy New Year and may it be the best one you ever had.

Kim, Anchalee, Jessica, Genesis, Gideon, Shiloh, and David

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A New Year Begins


Happy New Year - to all our friends, from Anchalee, all the kids and myself. 2012 was a good year and we have had many things to be grateful for. We have a good house, and we are making progress with our agricultural projects that will help us become self-supporting. And most of all we have a good family network here that has enabled us to have the kids well attended at all times. Thank you to everyone who prayed for and supported us in 2012. Thank you to everyone who responded to our November newsletter that listed our projects and needs for 2013. May all your good works be returned to you in Grace. We will now be able to purchase some of the items we mentioned.

In October we brought home a new boy we named David. We think he was about 3 weeks old at the time and premature (about 2.2kg). He had been abandoned and left to die in the jungle, but he was saved by a caring neighbor and taken to a pastor friend who then contacted us.

David was so weak form his hard beginning that we did not realize that he had other medical issues. We brought him to the hospital in November because of his difficulty breathing. At that point we learned that he had Pneumonia and a collapsed lung. He was then brought to a larger hospital where it was determined that he also had a heart condition. He has a hole between his left and right ventricles which causes the blood to be pumped inefficiently and forces his heart to work much harder.

David has been in the hospital ever since. And because Thailand’s government hospitals do not provide full care like western hospitals; someone has had to be by his side the entire time to give him oxygen, medicine, milk, and provide basic care while he recovers. Anchalee has done 90% of this care, and for this reason she has become my biggest hero, even more so than before. She sleeps on a cement bench on a balcony just outside the room and has to cope with, up to 30, very sick children crying on a continual basis. It is a sad place to be at, but she has continued to be positive and helpful; being there for the other moms who are also facing dire situations. You can see that the other moms look up to her, and there is a family atmosphere in the section around David’s bed.

David is going to need open heart surgery to fix the hole in his heart, but the doctors are waiting for him to get a little older so that he will be better able to undergo the procedure. He could come home with us, except that he still has pneumonia and they won’t let him come home until that is cleared up. The good news is that today they have taken him off oxygen, which is a good sign, and they will test to see if he can be off oxygen entirely.

David smiled at Anchalee today - for the first time. He has come so far in the last few weeks. Please pray that his lungs will fully recover, so we can work towards fixing up that leaky heart too. 

To our friends we say, shine on you crazy diamonds!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Long time, no blog

It has been way too long since our last blog. We got a bit smothered in all the activity here, and I guess this blog was left on a shelf too long. But no worries, we're back and there is lots of good stuff happening here.

First of all, I would like to thank all of the visitors that have come by to see us lately.
Tazza helped me with cabinetry and other stuff, thanks for that, sorry you and I got sick. But we got lots done on the good days. The house was still quite rough when you got here (no hot water in cold season,etc) but you were a real trooper, tougher than many missionaries I know.

Installing stairs with Dad
My mom and dad came here for 7 weeks. I was very impressed with their ability to adjust to the third world and they seemed to enjoy life on the mountain. We worked too hard, and I hope we can do more leisure stuff next time they come. It was great to work with dad again and I have never eaten so well in Thailand, thanks to mom.

Peggy and Terry came up from Chiang Mai and we had a good time chatting with Terry while Peggy got some of her university research done by interviewing tribal girls.

Terry Wharf came up from Sriracha with all of the El Shaddai kids. They caught lots of fish and had some fun. It was good to catch up. The kids are all so much bigger now.

And our friend Rudyard came up from Australia for a couple of weeks. Rudyard is a construction machine, and we got lots done and more stuff figured out. Thank you so much for all of that. We now have filtered water and  the foundations for the workshop got done while he was here. Plus much much more.

New To Our Home: Jessica
All The Kids: Jessica is on the far left, followed by Genesis Gideon, Asia and Shiloh.
In December our family grew again, we welcomed Jessica to Glowing Hearts. She is 8 and she has come from another children's home. We have known her since she was 4 days old, so I think that was helpful for her to adjust to new surroundings. She is becoming a great babysitter and that is a huge blessing for us. It is good for the toddlers to have a big sister around. She also going to school in the village and she has made some new friends.

The Renovations: The rebuild is moving along. At first I was getting major things done to the point of being functional, and then I just moved on to the next. Now I am at the stage where I can begin to finish some things like the cabinets, the electrical (yes I am doing electrical myself, I learned it on the internet) Anyhow I hesitate to show many detail pics now because much of it is so close to being done. My main focus this week has been the workshop/shed, which I added on to the old barn building. I wrote about the old barn earlier (link)
My work shop; almost done
 Anyhow after Rudyard and I got the the corner posts up and the foundation in. I had to learn how to weld so I could make the roof structure. I gave welding a try and I learned as I went. It was a big first welding project, it took me three days of work with a couple of days lost due to flash burned eyeballs (don't worry I got an auto dark helmet since then) .
I had a friend finish the cinder-block walls, and this week I got the rolling  door on. Anchalee is very happy about this because currently all my tools and supplies are in the pantry, and she really really wants me and my stuff out of there.

Church in the Village:
This is our church, room for about 50 and we have chairs.
Something is happening in the church these days. When we moved to this village we were hoping we would find some way to help bring the local church back to life. God's timing is perfect and shortly after we arrived, Anchalee's cousin was ordained pastor of the church, and shortly after that Anchalee became assistant pastor. Talk about an open door.
Before we arrived the church  was essentially dead. On some Sundays no one would show up. Now the church is full at least once on a Sunday and there is a youth group (led by Anchalee). There is worship and or cell group on Saturday nights too. We have been truly blessed by this, and we take the responsibility for this revived group seriously. The relationship between Anchalee and her cousin is excellent and their kids often  spend as much time at our place as they do at their own. We see a great future working together with them for this church.

Anchalee's Sweet Shoppe:
Sno Cones and bubble tea, Anchalee makes them the best.
Anchalee has also become an entrepreneur. An opportunity came up for her to sell snow cone type drinks, bubble tea, and fruit at the village school. It has been going very well despite the school being small. She makes a bit of profit every day and she seems to love running her first business. Jessica helps too.

2nd Year coffee plant, next year it will have some fruit.
 It is rainy season now, and we are doing what we can to get some agricultural projects running. The coffee is doing well, almost everything survived the dry season so we have more than 1000 coffee plants, some of which will produce fruit next year already. I am hoping to get time soon to alter the frog farm into a fish farm, we still have some frogs, but we are going to try Tilapia (fish) this year to compare the difference. We also have a field of pumpkins which are doing well (pumpkins are a popular food here).  And we have corn on the hillsides and soon we will put rice in the paddies. The rice we eat and the corn belongs to Anchalee's mom and dad.

Coming up:
We have a list of other projects and things we need to accomplish them, but I am going to leave that for the next blog so we can give more detail. For now, I hope you all are doing well. We hear very little these days from our friends, of course life makes us all quite busy. God bless you all, and we will be back soon.