The Amblings and Ramblings of the Ingalls Family

The travels and thoughts of Heidi, Micah, and Frances...

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Blessings.....

The three of us are heading out to a Christmas Eve service at one of the Lao Christian churches here in Vientiane city. We want to share with you all some of the blessings we have received this Christmas....the first of which you'll see is our beautiful healthy daughter Frances.
She is now smiling, laughing, and "talking" all the time. This cannot quite be captured in a photograph--but here you can see some of her many new

In these other pictures you can see the church in Hoi Kam Village in our district. It is the only legally recognised church in Sangthong district, and we are rejoicing this year that they were given permission to hold a Christmas service.

Hoi Kam Village is one of the poorest in our district, and the Sangthong Primary Healthcare Project I (Heidi) work with has been very involved here to bring clean water, latrines, and to train village health volunteers and a local midwife. Upon arriving at the Christmas service I was met by the midwife who shared with me about a woman whose newborn baby had just died the day before from an infection that I recognised was very preventable and could have been easily treated with access to medication. After the service I met this woman and it was painful to hold my own healthy baby in the face of her loss. But she asked God to bless me. It is hard for me to express to you as well as to her how blessed I was to witness God's presence and peace in that place. The simple church has a dirt floor and many inside it don't have enough food to eat or clothes to keep them warm this season. Yet I recognised many people I knew in that church, people whom I've met and worked with and didn't know were Christians. We were warmly welcomed and Frances was held and passed from hand to hand throughout the service. It was like finding our family in Laos. These pictures show only a glimpse of the church, some faces. I hope this Christmas as you meet with family and celebrate our Lord's coming into this world, you'll remember your Family all over the world. Maybe particularly you'll think of those parts of our Family who suffer from want of basic things, and those who have lost their children. May God bless you all with Joy and the Peace of God which passess all understanding. We'll write again soon to share with you more of our lives here and our Christmas.
Love and Merry Christmas,
Heidi, Micah, and Frances Ingalls

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Winter Chill and Blessed October

We have, yet again, been some time from our blog. We have returned to our work and daily lives in the village. Our projects are moving along happily but relentlessly. Frances, now two months old, sleeps well at night but is up with the roosters in our village (it is a fallacy, by the way, that roosters arise with the dawn- generally they begin to crow around 3:30 or 4).

We wanted mostly to post new pictures for you all, and to ramble somewhat less than usual. Two or three of the pictures do not need explanation as they are pictures of Frances sleeping.
Frances and Bear In hammock

These are pictures of Frances carried in her sling, which is how Heidi usually tows her around in her work in the villages. This method of carrying a baby in a sling across the front is characteristic of the Lowland Lao, who comprise the majority of our neighbours. Other groups, such as the Khmhu and Red and Black Thai, tend to carry the child on the back in order to leave their hands free for work.

Micah with Slinged Daughter Heidi carrying Frances in Sling

This is a picture of Frances being held by Nang San, a Khmhu woman with whom we have become friends through our work. Like many of the Khmhu in our district, she lives in a new village, made up of people who, due to national policies, have had to leave their homes. She is a widowed mother of four children and has been recently diagnosed with cancer.

It is our hope to post at least once more before Christmas, so if you have not given up checking this blog entirely, you may hear from us again soon.

All our love and blessings. Micah, Heidi, and Frances.

post-script: Frances does not go by Frances here (and, when she does, it is rather more like 'Flan suh'). Since before her birth we very much wanted to follow the Lao practice of giving two names. Accordingly, we have named her Dtulapon, or Blessed October.