Skip to main content

Sweat and Smiles - Working at CFPM

Our team arrived in Chiang Rai at lunchtime Wednesday (midnight Tuesday EST) after a very short night’s sleep the night before in Bangkok.  On minimal sleep over those 48 hours of globetrotting, our team hit the ground running in Chang Rai.  Dave and Diane treated the team to a local favorite, Cow Soy, for lunch.  It seemed our team had a love/hate relationship with the Cow Soy.  It’s spice was a challenge for a few tummies but most bravely tried it and many found a new favorite.

Our next stop was CFPM - Children and Family Prison Ministry.  The Fords have partnered with Alung, a local Akha man, and his wife who have started CFPM to address the needs of children whose parents are in prison.  Alung grows, roasts and sells coffee in order to care for 11 children who wouldn’t have a loving home without CFPM.  They have a vision to not only care for the children but also facilitate and support family reunification when the parents are released.  They are working on new buildings that include a home for boys, a home for girls and also one for Alung and his family. 

The current projects that we were able to help with are cabinet building for the 3 kitchens and cementing the driveway areas.  Our team donned their work clothes and arrived at the complex with eager work attitudes despite their lack of sleep.

We worked on these projects half of the day Wednesday, all of Thursday and all of Friday.  The team that filled the songtels (trucks that take us to and fro) at the end of each day  was dirty and sweaty but always still smiling.  These students impressed us with not only their work ethic but also their attitudes.  Our leaders meetings included comments about how there was never a need to ask kids to work harder, faster or happier.  That is very unusual.  This is an exceptional group of teens.

Our cabinet crew was lead by Phil Muston and assisted by Rob Dame and Fred Edmonson.  The rest of the team enjoyed teasing them about their “cushy” job since they were working indoors with fans instead of under the hot Thai sun.  This team skillfully planned, designed and began construction of 3 kitchen’s worth of  cabinets that will make the everyday details of caring for CFPM’s children much more efficient.  They accomplished an incredible start and will continue working there as everyone else  moves on to school ministry next week.

The rest of the team joined Alung, Bing (the oldest of CFPM’s children) and some local men on the cement production and laying crew.  There were three stations where cement was mixed; on in a motorized mixer and two in large tubs with people stirring.  Our team used bucket brigade trains to deliver the right amount of rocks and sand to each mixer and then to deliver the mixed cement to the place it needed to be laid.  Sometimes the bucket trains were long, sometimes they were uphill, sometimes they included a hand cart full of loaded buckets with a person as the mile in front and more in the back pushing.  We were in the hot sun, the air was humid, the cement dust coated our hands and legs, the rocks cut our fingers...yet our students smiled..

We interrupted our day briefly on Friday for an important moment with Bing.  He has been with Alung at CFPM the longest and has just graduated from high school.  We were all very impressed with his spirit and work ethic as we spent work days together.  After lunch on Friday he disappeared and the reappeared showered and in clean clothes with a tie.  We gathered around him to pray as he left for his first day of University classes.  He hopes to be trained and then be able to work with the CLAY Center (the community sports and outreach center that the Fords are beginning) in the future.  Watching Bing embark on this new phase of his life that God made possible through the ministry of CFPM was a highlight of that day. 

By the end of the third day we had completed a wide driveway across the width of the property with about 1500 sq. ft. of new concrete.  They still have a lot they want  to add, but this gave their project a jumpstart through many hands making light…..well, at least lighter labor!

Friday evening as we left I saw many pairs of work gloves laid neatly on the porch and heard the students discussing their plans to donate their gloves to the CFPS workers.  They have generous spirits….and apparently no plans to be laying more concrete at home for their parents!

Our hotel is a very comfortable place where we are all grouped by pairs in rooms on the 3rd floor.  It’s neighborhood is full of all the best of the city.  The famous Night Market is just a block away and gives the students many opportunities to spend their free time searching out deals on fun souvenirs.  Our hotel also has Diane’s favorite Thai Massage Salon just around the corner.  After long days of work, many from our team have taken advantage of those for less than $10 for an hour long massage.  What a great relief for tired, sore muscles!

We are happy, we are healthy and we are safe.  But best of all, our students are experiencing the blessings along with the personal growth involved in saying “yes!” when God calls!

UP NEXT: 
Weekend news from our sightseeing day and church
School Ministry happens Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with sports, dental and ESL

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Fear - You're Not the Boss of Me Anymore! - Part 1

I had a recurring nightmare as a child. It woke me in the middle of the night and kept me awake worrying about whether it would fill my mind as soon as I closed my eyes. I thought I would outgrow it. I hoped my adult brain would be able to see things my child’s brain couldn’t and I would be free. Instead, a panicky fear of my Dad dying followed me into marriage and parenting. I’m 49 years old and until recently, the nightmare still showed up in various forms.
This year my beloved Daddy died. I watched him take his last breath in front of me and imagined him arriving with the next in heaven. My whole life I’ve been clenched up around the fear that watching him die might break something inside of me and I couldn’t survive. 

It didn’t happen. I’m more okay than I ever thought possible. My dad isn’t living anymore, he’s not here on earth for me to talk to or touch and I’m sitting upright and in my right mind. Today I’m amazed at my okayness. Finally being free of this fear I’ve lived with s…

What You Need, When You Need It - The Glorious Table

We ate steak at the fanciest place in town, me and my sister, our husbands, and our parents. Around the table, we joined Mom’s reminiscing. We retold our favorite stories of family vacations and holidays. We revealed some silly childhood secrets. And we listened to Mom’s stories from fifty years she and Dad spent together. One of our favorite stories is of the birthday Mom expected a diamond ring but went home from their swanky dinner with a shiny new set of hot rollers. Whenever Mom tells that story, instead of making fun of Dad for his slow-moving ways, she praises his serious, methodical decision making. She points to it as proof of his dependability.My mom told stories. I told stories. My sister told stories. Even our husbands had memories to share. We retold some of the stories Dad put on paper in his journal for us. The thing we missed most was Dad’s voice in the storytelling.Rather than telling the stories himself, he locked eyes on the teller and responded, “By golly, that hap…

A Cup of Cold Water for Thirsty Mommas - Day 1

For the first time in nearly 20 years....I. Don't. Have. A. Preschooler.  Picking out gym shoes and putting a backpack on Ginger has put me in a reflective mood.  It's obvious that she's ready to begin school .....the question is, am I? 

The truth is, it's been an awesome run.  I'm incredibly grateful that I have been able to spend these years at home focused on soaking up the first years of my kids' lives.  I have loved being the one who teaches them colors, how to take turns during board games, why it's polite to use a tissue instead of a sleeve and being able to pass on my awesome Thriller dance moves.  It was an intentional choice that Scott and I made, right at the beginning, to order our little world in such a way that I could focus on being a mom.

You see, I believed my mom.  She told me to listen to what I've heard about women being able to have it all and do it all.  She told me to dream about a career, dream about being a mom, dream about ho…