Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year- Thank you

I got to talk with the children at Promise Home in Chiang Rai this morning before they all went to bed on New Year's Eve. Chatting with them reminded me of all the wonderful things that happened in 2017 and all of the wonderful people who helped make those things happen.

I looked at the children today and marveled at how they have changed over the past three or four years since we started this project. They are happy and healthy and are growing like weeds. They are getting a good education and have a stable family life. But most of all, they are loved. Loved by not only their house mom and dad and members of Charities Within Reach; they are loved by all of you who have supported us for so many years, giving generously to our fundraisers and donating just out of the goodness of your hearts.

Thank you to everyone who has donated over the past year, attended the Peace Meal dinner, welcomed Jermsak, Da and Care to the United States, followed along with Care as she spends her year in the US at school and finally, supporting the annual Thailand Sale for Charities Within Reach. Without your generous donations and support, we could not do what we do and we could not continue providing for the children in Chiang Rai.

May you all have a Happy New Year and may 2018 bless you as you have continued to bless the children and our project.

Till next time......

Much Love and God Bless,

Heather, Judy, Joan, Jim, Dana, Susan, Honey, Max, Big, Fon, Palita, Nittaya, Nom, Teerladet, Tin, Ahmorntep, Wiwat, Wareewat, Wandi, Yim, Jermsak, Da, Care and Swanya.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Promise Home Visit

Wow- a week sure goes by fast when you are having fun!!!! I have discovered that one week with the family and the kids is simply not enough for either me or for them.

Three of us traveling have had the joy of meeting and being with the children before so we introduced them to Tess who is now officially another big sister to all of them. One of the greatest things about the kids is their openness and joy in welcoming new people into the family. They greet new visitors as if they have known them all their lives. Tess was immediately enveloped in their love and their activities.

Everyone greeted us at the airport and we often get looks from others because we have the largest greeting group of all. They also marvel at the children joyously greeting us foreigners... I simply bask in their love.

Everyone greeting us at the airport 

Tin and his big nose

Nittaya and her big nose 



All the kids and their big noses- they came in gift bags from Honey and Tess

Friday evening we had dinner with our friends Jermsak and Da and we updated them on Care, who is still in Niwot studying for school. Care experienced her first snow on the Monday that we left and we shared pictures of her in the snow on her way to school.

The weekend was spent entirely with the children doing many things- the two newest did not have bicycles and Ahmorntep had outgrown the first one- he is getting so big now. They also needed new towels and other clothing items and thanks to the generosity of Joan's husband, Denny and her dear friends Vicki and Gar, we were able to get many things. The two newest children; Wiwat and Nery needed more clothes, especially warmer shirts and jackets. All of the children needed new towels and underwear. It was a fun shopping expedition. We did not use all of the money so we left the rest with Big to use for additional items.

Patiently waiting for presents 

With their little stuffed animals from Joan 

Some of the kids in their new outfits 

Before we headed out shopping, I gave all of the children gifts. They are all pros at this and they know when I ask them to sit around me on the floor, they will be getting surprises. I teased Tin by telling him I didn't have anything for him but he knew better. There was one blue gift bag left over and he was sure it was his. Indeed it was....

One of our board members also had several clothing items from her daughters, they were all laid out for Fon and Big to select the right sizes and items for the children.

Joan had purchased some small stuffed animals from the gift shop at the hospital where she works so she laid them all out on the floor and let the children pick one each. They each picked one and then some decided they wanted something different.

Fon and her new bike 

All the new bicycles


Nery and the ladies 

Joan and Wiwat 

After we shopped we went back to the hotel to freshen up before meeting the family for the Chiang Rai United futbol game. We had VIP seats and those of us from CWR got the meet Agnes and Tim who have been helping us with tutoring the children in English twice a week.  Agnes works with the kids and Tim simply has conversations in English with Big. Everyone's English has improved g great deal.

The evening was so much fun- CRU won the match and the rain held off until the end.

Everyone along with Agnes and Tim who are teaching the family English

You know who and Wandee

Our young CRU supporters 

CRU and Chon Buri

Final Score
Sunday we met everyone at church and spent time with our foundation partners, Pastor Prathuan and his wife Supannee. We also spent time with the children from Faith Home. Faith Home has a piece of land that they want to build a house on so the children are making shrimp key chains/backpack decorations to raise money for the home. We will have some of these key chains at the Thailand Sale in December. This family is so loving and welcoming as well.

Nery and Wandee in their new tops 

Pastor Prathuan and Ngow leading worship

Wit and Nok- lovely Faith Home parents 

All of us with Faith Home 
Sunday night was dinner with the landlord of Promise Home who had invited us to join them for the birthday dinner and celebration of their son. Dinner was supposed to be outside but it rained so hard they had to move it to the inside and under the porches. No worries for them. Everyone pitched and got things moved and we were able to have a lovely dinner and a nice conversation with the landlord.

Tuesday and Wednesday we went to Mae Salong and spent the afternoon with the Lisu Hilltribe where Wiwat and Nery came from. Had a most delicious lunch and then listened to the children sing and we even joined their games. You should have seen me doing musical chairs with the teeny, tiny kids chairs. Couldn't sit down so I always grabbed one and brought it to my hind end. Did this two or three times, then decided to lose so the kids could continue. Slightly unfair advantage on my part. :) Then Honey, Tess and I did the Hippo dance. That is indeed fun. We also gave each child notebooks, colored pencils, color books and crayons. After games and singing it was shopping at the 32 "stalls" set up by the women and children. We have to go through and buy something from each to make it fair. The items we pick up are used for the Thailand Sale for our fundraiser and this also helps the hill tribe families as well. That took just a bit. That all done, we went off to Little Home and spent a delightful afternoon and evening there.

Traditional Lisu dance

Just one of the 32 stalls

Grand mamma and a friend

Tess teaching the kids a song

Hippo Dance 

Handing out notebooks and color books
Wednesday evening was our goodbye dinner at Baan Noi. We had 21 people with us and we took one entire side of the restaurant. The children had been hard at work on cards for all of us and they presented them to us that evening. They are meticulously done and include heartfelt messages from the children. I have a collection of these that I treasure. The owner of the restaurant and her daughter are such gracious people that I have started including them in the gift giving.  I brought them both Colorado t-shirts which the owner proudly put on and wore for the rest of the evening. This is one of my all time favorite evenings with the kids.

The three cards that I got

The whole gang- Little hearts 
Thursday was time to say goodbye and we were sent off in style by every single person. While it is always difficult to leave, I am reassured knowing they are all being taken care of and they are thriving. They are happy, healthy, getting an education, but most importantly; they are loved by Big and Fon and they know that those who follow along love them as well. They know their lives would be different without all of you and I thank you for allowing me to be the one who passes that along to them. You have entrusted me with a great task and I only hope that I am doing the job you have come to expect. The difference I see in the children from the first time I met them to today is simply miraculous. The hill tribe teacher in Mae Salong mentioned that both Wiwat and Nery look happy and well. Your love and donations had done this. So, thank you for supporting our work and always following along.

Till next time...

God Bless,

Heather, Big, Fon, Palita, Nittaya, Nom, Tin, Teerledat, Wandee, Wiwat, Nery, Ahmonrtep and Yim

5 Year Anniversary and Still Going Strong!!!

Good morning~ I woke up this morning and realized that five years ago today, I began the first leg of a journey that would forever change ...