Xieng Khouang / by Joshua P Jacks

One of the many reasons why I like working with our organization over here is that we are not alone.  The organization always makes sure other people in different areas of our company will get together on breaks and such so that we are around like minded people probably going through some of the same struggles and victories. In Laos, there are two other families besides our team here in LP. This past weekend was one of the many times we got to get together with them for a few days of rest and refreshment. The person over the whole country has decided instead of just being a team that works together, we should be more like a family.  I enjoy that outlook since my family is so far away, I hunger for relationships similar to that I would have in the states. 

This weekend we traveled to Xieng Khouang.  It is east of us.  Since there are few roads through the mountains of Laos, we had to go south to go east.  We arrived after about 7 hours of driving in a 16 passanger van and Noah only getting sick once.  The weekend was filled with good food, good company, and good times. 

We went and saw the plain of jars, you can read about that here. (Plain of Jars Wiki Page).  As you can see it was very interesting as I sat there with couple of the older kids discussing what and why they think the jars are there for. My favorite was Maddy’s theory of there being a beast that looks like a saber tooth tiger, he stores his food in all the jars and sleeps in the big cave that is near the jars. 

It was Lao New Year so finding places to eat was more of a challenge than we intended.  Needless to say we still ate very well, including at a local indian restaurant where I ate so much I probably didn’t need to eat the rest of the vacation. 

It was nice. There were times we just sat around and played cards, or I would opt to not take a nap so I could sit outside and watch all the older kids as they ran around with their water guns chasing after their father and eachother.  It was great to have two moms there with children only a few months older than Noah. Silly to say you draw encouragement when you see the other mom’s out of breath from chasing their mischievous toddler around too!

We had several times of just meeting and planning, which included a man who is from Canada but has lived in South East Asia since 1971. He had many stories to tell including a story where he and his friend were taken hostage, walked 500 miles and were starved for 40 days while in prison. They thought they were  American pilots during the Vietnam war.

His lesson for us to learn in that story, is discipline hurts.  It is however one of the most loving and healthy things our Father does to us, so we should embrace the pain because we know he is teaching us how to be more like him.

It takes time to become a family, but I look forward to more times like this weekend. I really enjoyed my time with the people that have given up their lives in the states to come and serve the people of Lao (who by the way are people I love to serve!)  The departure was sad. It felt like I was leaving Ohio after coming home for Christmas.  I am so thankful that there are people like that in my life who are hard to say bye to.  That is what life is all about! Josh is back to teaching this week and the Lao New Year has given me a sense of renewed motivation.  So I will be trying to figure out what that looks like on a day to day basis.  Hope you all are doing well.  We do appreciate and miss you all.