Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Sabbath

We were sad to find out yesterday that there is no meetinghouse anywhere near here.  We were so excited to get up and go to church in a different place, listen to their beautiful hymns (recognizing the music, not the lyrics!)  and have the children go to primary.  Another "hard" thing for them to experience.  Why is it that kids are so afraid to go to primary in a ward they are not a part of?!
If we couldn't go to church the next best thing was to go back to the orphanage.  I am so happy that the children want to spend as much time as they can there.  Our little morning routines have been that we get up and have the children read for 30 minutes (that is our way of "getting school in").  They then write in their journals about the day before and express how they felt and what made them happy or sad or laugh.  We close with family scripture study and prayer.  It has been working great.   Now they know the routine and just get up and do it.  This is what I will miss when we have to go back to real life.  These mornings together have been priceless.  We then load up and drive to the orphanage.  We spend the day there and usually stop at a little outdoor market on the way home.  The kids love to see all the meat piled up with flies all over it and nothing to keep it cool.  They love the big bins filled with all sorts of bugs and worms and wonder who would ever pay money to eat it.  They smile as all the Thai people point to them and touch them on the heads.  They love to find cheap stuff to buy and new foods to try.  To my surprise they have been so adventurous with that.  They have drawn the line with pig heads hanging from hooks, chicken cut open with their insides hanging out, and fish that are on a piece of wood still moving.  It is so good for them to see the way most people buy their food.  Albertsons will be a luxury now :)
We then get to the hotel about 5 and the kids swim for a little bit before dinner and bed.  That was a tangent, but the point of it being that they really have not had a lot of time to swim, go to the beach, or just hang out.  So, it makes me even happier that they want to go to the orphanages as much as they can.
We went to the Holland House today.  The second we walked in there we all just lit up.  I know this is going to be hard to understand, but it is a little bit of heaven on earth.  It is basically 2 rooms-one indoor and one outdoor.  There is also a little bit of  grass with some play equipment on it in the back. The "showers" are outside and there is a little area with a sink and stove.  Everything about this place is old, pieced together, humble and crude.  It is like stepping back in time.  But, the physical things are dimmed because of the light that is there.  These children exude happiness (except for 2).  The simplicity in which they live allows them freedoms that we do not have.  All the "stuff" we have takes up so much of our time and energy.
After the children ate their lunch I got to do the dishes.  (I begged her, as they will never let us help with laundry, clean up etc.) She finally said ok and I went to work.  As I sat there washing these dishes by hand sitting on a stool, with water coming from a filtration system spicket, and dishes that were mismatched and stained I was so content.  I found myself wishing my life were more simple like this.  I thought I would say to myself, "I will never complain about having to put dishes in the dishwasher again!" But I didn't.  I think the reason why I was able to relish in the moment was because of two things. 
Number one-I didn't have to go anywhere or do anything.  I didn't have to rush off and get to a soccer practice or music lesson.  There were no phone calls or emails to answer.  I didn't have to go fold all the hundreds of outfits all my kids have but don't need.  I was in the moment and it was actually very enjoyable.
Number two-I was doing something for these children.  Work is a pleasure when you are doing it for somebody else in need.  It is an amazing principle.  When we serve others, we forget ourselves.


  1. Allyson - this whole adventure is jaw-dropping. I loved your initial email, your reasons for going, the way you are teaching your children. I'm in shock - really - that you hauled all your little people across the world to learn how to love and serve those who are different from them. This is priceless. And I'm loving every post! Love you.

  2. I wonder if contentment is found in stripping away all of our luxuries so that we discover that peace that was there all along. Just wondering. And waiting for your posts.