It's been quite a trip. I've shed some tears, especially the last few days as I've had to wrestle over issues with friends we've known for a long time. Drug addictions, broken marriages and tangled relationships. Hard to see especially with friends.
A drug lord in a region that one of our main projects is in has made things even worse as he is systematically trying to buy out everyone associated with us. He's offering them outrageous salaries to work as teachers, staff and even musicians. He's even tried to reach across national boundaries to get our people in other countries! It’s pretty obvious he hopes to shut some or all of our projects down and is slowly squeezing us right now. Crazy world, eh?
There are a lot of things shifting in Burma right now. It is way more evil than it was 5 years ago. Human slavery is on the rise there. I used to say some of our target areas were better than Burma controlled regions, now I really doubt they are. If you know how to pray, it’s a good thing to do when you can’t see through the mess.
My trip this time really clarified the reality of the changing world of child soldiers. There are very few constants in conflict zones. It’s requiring some serious rethinking of our work and tactics that may lead to some broader restructuring to try and protect the children we do have. I hope you will be able to stay with us as we ride out some bumpy challenges.
There is plenty of good news too. We have a very committed core team of nationals, who work harder than any other team I know to serve, love and rescue. Our children I visited with are doing fabulous –rocks my world. Our fruit trees at the Thailand children’s home are ultra productive. We get comments all the time and the kids get fruit from the trees all year round. We have tons of real and exciting opportunity to protect children from armies. We are building new strategic partnerships here and around the greater Pacific Rim.
I'm humbled and being remolded by the things I've seen and heard this trip both good and hard. Homeward bound very soon. Thanks so much for caring about our work here. I'm absolutely certain it's made a huge difference.