This has been one very intense week and it seems to have been a particularly long one for both Steve and I.  It was one in which I experienced the best aspects of our current life but also some of the worst aspects of it.

I arrived in Chiang Mai last Saturday morning and spent a wonderful afternoon with a couple of women from our team.  Prior to returning to my hotel room, I decided to check my email only to receive a message that my Dad had suffered a major heart attack. While Steve tried to make contact with family in Canada, I tried to figure out the quickest way to get back to KL.  Unfortunately the next direct flight, not until Sunday morning, was fully booked, meaning I would need to fly through Bangkok.  By the time I thought these things through, I had heard back from Steve that Dad had had surgery to remove a clot and was stable. 

We made a decision that I would stay put at least long enough to get the conference underway as I had stepped in at the last minute to act as registrar due to a family emergency of another lady. Even as I was getting people checked in for the conference, I was hearing that Dad was doing very well post-op, and within days was joking and saying he had not felt so well in months. This seemed to confirm a decision to stay in Thailand.

Throughout the SE Asia and Pacific CHE Consultation, our days were booked from 7 am to 9:30 pm with exciting reports from a number of countries, opportunities to network with other organizations, and numerous learning activities. I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with people who are committed to the people in their countries of service and to the CHE strategy of community development that emphasizes the development of ongoing relationships with people in need.

Wednesday marked yet another birthday spent alone in a strange place. My birthday present was hearing that Dad had been discharged from hospital, tired but feeling well.  Also on Wednesday, I finally got to share a burden that has been growing on my heart for two years with a large group of people who not only fully understood my hopes but had the training, credentials, network and desire to meet the need.  There were four doctors in the room who were excited about the potential of taking on the challenge.  By the time I packed it in on Friday night we had a plan in place and the needed documents completed to move to the next level.

Thursday and Friday, were spent in a Founders Meeting for the International CHE Network creating vision and mission statements and developing an action plan for this coming year.  This will mean another set of responsibilities and another huge learning curve as I am leading a task group to explore the many issues involved in translating, contextualizing, cataloguing and storing lessons and materials in the many languages of south-east Asia.

In a week like this you realize not only what a privilege it is to be serving at this stage in our lives but also the cost involved. In the middle of all that happened this week Steve is alone in KL dealing with the challenges of his own work with its constantly shifting requirements, trying to provide me the information I need on my Dad, supported by a wife who only gets to communicate with him through text messages.

We are well aware that our families also share in that cost as they are left dealing with issues at home and that without their support we would not be able to continue here. We want to thank them and our many friends who have prayed for my Dad, and have sent us messages of encouragment and support during this eventful week.

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