Monday, July 20, 2009

Life with Dad, what a pleasure!

My last real post here was back in May and perhaps late July is kind of late to get caught up but believe me these have been exciting and busy months here in Sawang Dandin. So get a cup of coffee and "sit down and read a spell" and let me catch you up on what we have been up to.

First off, Dad is here and has been for almost two months today. Gail brought Dad back by airplane late May and we drove home to Sawang Dandin. It is an interesting new challenge to become reacquainted with one's father after being pretty much separate for nearly forty years. Of course, we spent some time from time to time while on furlough (or home ministry) but it is a different story if you are going to actually make your father part of your family. Since Mom has been with the Lord ten years ago next month, it has been a challenge to know what we should do about Dad. I would dread leaving the mission field to care for family, but many missionaries have had to do this. So we are doing kind of an expeiment. Thai law and other major steps to moderizations has made Thailand a true retirment destination.

We believe that Dad is very happy here with us. But we must take on extra responsibilities having him here....well actually most of the work falls on Gail. Gail must plan and cook for one more person, considering Dad's likes and dislikes. Other than that, she must do more household management, which means cleaning, wash, ironing, folding, putting things away. But we are able to get help for some of these extra tasks. Earlier this year one of our college age Christian girls here asked Gail if her mother could help. At the time, with added responsibilities with our growing ministries here, it seemed like a good idea to hire her mother to come twice a week to help with some of the cooking and cleaning here. So when Dad moved in with we decided for her to work 5 days a week. Dad is paying for this care from his retirement income.

Other responsibilities added to our regular work are getting Dad adequate medical attention. We have found a aging specialist here, Dr. Bunchuay, who is now overseeing all of Dad's medications, making recommendations for his further care. We were also able to get some needed dental work done for Dad at our regular dentist here. Dad just had a filling repaired, and a new crown done. We are pleased to report that he is very pleased with the dental work and the price is amazingly low. These extra trips to Udonthani fifty miles from here on Dad’s behalf have been combined with needed trips for shopping.

Duing the last two weeks, we decided to remove my entire office from it's location which had an unsused Thai style bath room attached. We remodel the bathroom to be a western style bathroom with a regular flush toilet, a shower stall, a urinal (needed since Dad has to go to the bath room often), and handrails for extra support while walking and standing in the bathroom. My office had a very nice wall mounted air conditioner making it like a classy hotel room. We decided to keep the bunk bed and trundle bed in the room so he can have roommates when we have visitors. That project is all finished as of today. Some one suggested we get some kittens for Dad and sure enough he is having a great time with them.

Dad eats all his meals with us and we care for his taking medications--which means he is getting as good care as he was in a hospital with the added benefit of being able to get out and exercise, cut the grass some, and listen to Internet based radio and TV news and other interesting intellectual stimulation. Even though Dad does not understand my messages preached in Thai, he enjoys knowing what is going on, whether communion (which he partakes of with us) or singing where he sings out in English, he also likes having our daily family devotions and Bible reading and prayer. I also get him messages from his favorite preachers off the Internet for him to listen to almost daily.

Talk about stimulation! How many of you could roll the car window down and pet the trunk of an elephant reaching in the window of the the car? Well Dad has done this just over a week ago -- and lots of other fun things since being here. Thailand has lots of new fruits and vegetables to learn about. Dad has always loved to eat rice and Thai food (and Chinese food, etc) so he is enjoying life here immensely. He of course has his ups and downs, but since moving into his new bedroom, he has little to complain about and hasn't. He even is checking Email now ( ) and answering mail too. I also linked him up with his family via our Internet based Vonage phone ( 1586-797-9019 ) and he has spoken with most of his own family since being here. Isn't that great!

At the same time when Dad took over my office for his bedroom, we had to move my office somewhere, so we took our guest bedroom which is off our kitchen / dining room and church auditorium and make it my office. That is an ongoing project. One of the nice things about our recovery house/church facility is we did design it to be flexible and changeable. So with a few hours work, we were able to disassemble my entire office and begin to move it to the former guest bedroom. Two major changes were necessary: (1) I needed an air conditioner in the office. Thailand especially this time of the year is very humid and hot and sticky. I feel I needed to get an air conditioner for the new office – not only for me but for the printing of study books and lessons used in our ministry here. (2) we needed to replace the solid panel bedroom door with a glass door for sake of testimony here. We feel that anything done in a room with computers, with guests for counseling or group ministry should be done publicly. By the way the old office still had the glass windows between the office and the auditorium, which now have curtains for Dad’s bedroom. Today, the air conditioner was installed and we are hoping tomorrow we will have our new sliding glass door installed.
As we work to make our home a home for three, Dad’s income has helped with the expenses. In fact, we are able to meet many of our needs using some of Dad’s help with the ministry financially. This is an added benefit during a time when our support has dropped off and expenses have increased. We believe it is from the Lord that these events have taken place. Dad has spent his life supporting us and other missionaries and now in his senior years, he is able to actually be an associate missionary here. The youth love Dad and like to practice their English with him. Asians view caring for elders as a noble practice and our Thai friends all think we are doing exactly what we should be doing. We were pleased that our sending church leadership and our mission board also approved of this proposal. So rejoice with us as we enter a new phase of our lives caring for our aging father here on the mission field.

I am hoping now that I am settled into my new office life will be more on an even keel and I can get back into the swing of things with my needed communications with you and other supporters. My next post here will have some pictures of the changes as they have taken place here. One thing at a time. Thank you for your fellowship in prayer!

No comments: