February 2023 Update


    57 years ago on February 2, I arrived in Thailand. I came in via Japan, in a black suit and a big overcoat. It had been cold in Japan, but when I deplaned in Bangkok, the temperature on the tarmac was about 110 degrees F. I was certain I would have a heat stroke walking to the Immigration desk. Nowadays, in the north, weather here is bitter cold, at least for his old coot. Taking a shower is a real adventure. Hot water suddenly turns cold, thanks to our faulty pressure pump! This is the longest streak of cold weather in a while. Great sleeping weather!

    We just took in a three month old baby boy, from Ubol province. His mother is selling drugs, and abandoned her baby. Someone notified the Welfare Department, and the little fella wound up with us. We have 22 babies and toddlers, and the numbers are growing rapidly. We are going to take in two more young boys and a girl sometime this month.

    Among our volunteers, we have a Dutch couple. The man is about 60 years old and is a physical therapist. He works with a few of our children crippled by AIDS, and also wee children severely disabled, because their mothers drank alcohol and took drugs during pregnancy. He works as a team with his wife, and people in villages who were crippled from strokes have been helped tremendously by this couple. Folks who could not walk or eat by themselves are walking and cooking their own meals. They spend up to 6 months in Thailand, working with children and villagers. They then return to Holland and resume work and amass enough money to come to Thailand again.

    The Redemptorists in Thailand had our elections for superior and consulters, and this month the new team is visiting all our monasteries in Thailand; Chiangmai in North Thailand: Nongkhai, Khonkean and Thare in the Northeast, plus all the houses in the Central Plains and interviewing all the priests and brothers before announcing new appointments. There are only two of us Americans left. Fr. Joe Maier is 83, and runs a hospice in the Bangkok slums, and myself, age 84, up here in the Northeast. Our future appointments will probably be some Health Center or Old Folks Home. I have two young Redemptorists who give us invaluable aid, but they are being transferred. I don’t want to lose them, but they will know their appointments within a month or so, and if I will get replacements.

So, this is the latest news along the Mekong River. 

Fr. Mike, staff and children


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