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Hours Of Joy Heal Wounds Of The Heart

From Josef
Saraburi, Thailand

Family volunteers Stefan, Lisa, and Sumalee pose for a photo with some of the girls from the foster home, snacks in hand.
Josef gives instruction to an eager pupil.

The girls' curious expressions turned into big, happy smiles. It was a special day. For a while they could forget that they came from broken homes, had lost their parents, or had parents in jail. Today their hearts' desires would be answered. One of the girls had written The Family, "Will you come, and will you have time to talk to me?" Yes, we came—and it would be one of many visits.

The foster home is on the outskirts of Saraburi, a provincial town about two hours from Bangkok. Their simple quarters house about 120 girls, ages 6 to 24. We have now been visiting them regularly for over two years, each time bringing them food, clothing, snacks, and most of all love and attention.

On one recent visit we brought them a computer setup that had been donated by a Bangkok computer company. The older girls attend school where they are learning computer, but until now they had little chance to practice their newly acquired skills. They watched in delight and eager anticipation as I set up the computer in their office. The moment I switched on the computer and printer, they stood in line to try them out. Since they already had computer skills, they only needed a little instruction on basic maintenance of the equipment and a quick tutorial on some of the programs I had installed, and they were off. It was wonderful to see their faces shine with happiness and pride as they went to work.

Meanwhile, my wife Lisa, our son Stefan, and Thai Family member Sumalee treated the rest of the children to games, an English class that was as entertaining as it was instructional, and a special snack we had brought with us. For a while the girls forgot their problems and felt secure and loved, and we were reminded of this simple but profound truth credited to Saint Francis of Assisi: It is in giving that we receive.

Originally Published in 2001.