Micah 6:8 says 'What does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.' From around a dinner table - this has become the deep commitment and motivation for the Harrison family. Each are commited to giving our life to justice, mercy and walking humbly with our Maker. This blog is our journey....one where we will seek to live in such a manner as to promt the words from God...'well done my good and faithful servants.'

Saturday, December 22, 2007


We are back in Thailand and having begun an organization called Connect. This will serve to connect people and resources in Australia and America with the Karen people in Thailand. For more information and continued news of Connect's work as well as the Harrison Family in Thailand please visit www.connect3e.blogspot.com or www.fantasticfour100.blogspot.com (Harrison children). Thank you for your support. Ruth.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Make Straight Our Paths

Our prayer everyday is that God would make straight our paths. It is our hope and belief that God will indeed give us wisdom and understanding in certain situations and will then give us strength to act in the way we think is right(eous). This past week has been our hardest yet. Hard because we have made plans to come home to Australia. While there are a number of factors that have led to this decision, a major reason is timing. We realized that the next six months were crucial for us to begin preparations for a new work here. It looks certain that we will return to the Thai/Burma border (south of where we are now) to begin a new school for Karen early 2008. The school year here starts in May and we think it wise to be back here for that. We have just spent a couple of days travelling around the province of Ratchaburi and think that this is where we will 'plant' a new school. The Baptist church here (we hear) is wanting to have a school nearby for the villages and so it seems we will contact the Baptist Church in this province and begin the process of developing a new school. At this stage we will call the school Mhyrrlar (something like that) it means HOPE in Karen. We are beside ourselves with excitement and are humbled at this path that God seems to be making straight for us. For now though we are looking forward to catching up with family and friends in Australia. While there we will begin saving and speaking with some of you who may be interested in sponsoring Karen children. We can't prepare as we need here, and therefore see it best that we return for the second half of this year. We have spent a lot of time speaking with each other and there is deep sadness over leaving the students, but each understands and feels peaceful about this decision.

So......we fly back to Australia June 8 into Melbourne. We will spend about 10 days there and will head to Brisbane June 18 to see our families including two new cousins! July 11 will see us head to Cairns to live and work there for the rest of the year. Our children will go to school and Colin and I will get work. We hope to fly back to Thailand around March next year via New York and Canada where we hope to speak with friends who are in the Medical field. We need practitioners to partner with us and perhaps organize medical supplies and/or come and volunteer at the school/medical clinic. So....if you are a doctor, mechanic, teacher, bible scholar, photographer, artist, business person, hairdresser, student, a revolutionary follower of Jesus or good at serving people and fancy a stint in the Jungle....then let's have a coffee soon and chat!


Sunday, April 29, 2007

Our Children

Some of you have kindly asked how our children are doing living and serving in Thailand. I wanted to take a blog entry to show you. The photos show the 'predominant' attitudes and feelings. There are however many days...when sticking to Micah 6:8 (Love mercy, seek justice and walk humbly with your God) is extremely difficult. Please continue to pray for these four children. Pray for their safety, pray for their hearts to be soft, pray for wisdom and pray for strength. Thank you for loving our children.
We visited some of the student's home village (Sangkhlia). Our children swam and played with the children. The house we were staying in became the centre for play while our children where there.
After church at the same village we went to the pastors home for lunch. This photo shows Casey interacting with the girls...who could speak no English. Not sure how it is done...but Casey seems to communicate without a common language - making 'best friends' in the process. Kum is a student at Bamboo School and we stayed at his mother's house on mats, underneath nets, on a wooden floor. His aunt lived in this house also and has lived her life with severe mental disorder. She behaved like a two/three year old. On one of the days Casey and Kenz went down to the river with their new friends and Kum's aunt. Casey came home and retold the story of how the children had begun teasing the aunt and that the aunt (approx 60years) had begun to cry. Casey continued to tell of how she went to Kum's aunt and helped her across the rocks and hugged her. The aunt began laughing and sat closely to or held our girls hands for the rest of their time there. One night Casey needed to go to the toilet...which is down the ladder and out the back. Kum's aunt woke and walked with her. It seemed that she wanted to care for someone who had cared for her. We were able to encourage Casey saying that she was leaving that village having 'loved mercy and sought out justice'.Casey taught the children 'Duck, Duck Goose'. However she adopted the Thai word for 'run' (wing) to help them understand what to do. It was thrilling overhearing her teaching the giggling girls what to do. Kenz was her support teacher.
The rainy season is beginning. Our children run outside and bath/play. The laughter is loud and the rain brings refreshment.
The boys played football/piggy in the middle....many high fives were given and laughter shared.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


Following our time in Phenom Phen we headed to Siam Reap, the home of Angkor Wat. This is a famous temple (one of the Seven Wonders of the World) dating back over 900 years. It was lost to the jungle and found again a few hundred years ago by French colonialists - and it was one of the first places the Khmer Rouge desecrated when they took control. To walk over and around this once bustling city, now laying dormant was breathtaking. To watch our children run ahead of us, to have them listen as we read about a time long ago when Angkor was a power to be reckoned with, to watch them discover the past, to hear Jordan say 'I love history' was a blessing. Added to that was the opportunity for me to wander in my own world and take photos of the ancient, ruined world. There is so much I could write, but I will simply add photos....I want instead to tell you about the end of the day. On our return to the guest house we went past a hospital and saw a sign that was asking people to come in and give blood because of a severe shortage. I noticed the sign and so I said 'Colin' 'Did you see that....they need blood...we should go back right?' Colin said nothing but continued to stare straight ahead. I repeated myself 'Col.' 'We will turn back...ok...and give blood....we should do that don't you think?' . 'Can't say I am too excited about it' said Colin....with a blank stare. But that was enough of a 'yes' for me and so Zach asked the driver of our Tuk Tuk to stop and go back to the hospital. We all unloaded and walked into the hospital. We passed the mats where patients were sitting waiting to be treated. We explained we were there to give blood and we were ushered into a room where there was a doctor and nurse...which soon became a large group of doctors and nurses when the news spread that there were foreign children in the room. As one doctor began the initial tests (what blood group ect) for Colin and I - the children were interacting with the other 7 or 8 doctors...one young doctor took Kenzie and made her a bracelet out of tubing from blood bags (unused) and clamps. When our testing was over the doctor asked Colin and I to lay up on the beds. Colin was a little white faced...but ready and willing. As we lay there trying to encourage each other with slight smiles, the doctor came to me and said that my iron levels were to low to give blood. I sat up...and said "sorry babe...but I have to bail....you are on your own." Colin did valiantly and felt only slightly abandoned by me. Colin then received a bag with a Coke and shirt inside. He helded the shirt tightly and said 'This is great...I will really wear this with pride....' We left the hospital and returned to our guest house and Colin tried on his shirt....but....in a cruel twist of fate....it was too small and he had to hand it on to ME! So I now wear a shirt that states I gave blood in Cambodia....and apparently Colin doesn't feel the least bit bitter!

While there was lots of laughter this experience was really humbling and powerful to us also. Having learnt of so much bloodshed in the past, for Colin especially, giving blood was a practical act of service in the rebuilding of their future. It is very possible that a child's life is saved because of Colin's blood, despite him being a foreigner. For us it is often hard to constantly feel connected to those we live alongside, namely the Karen people. In various ways we are reminded that we are so different from this race. Our skin is different, our eyes, our hair and speach. But despite these differences, as our time in Cambodia reminded us, our blood is the same. We can be deeply connected with these people. Certainly the greatest truth is that it was Christ's blood, that he gave, that allows this connection to take place spiritually. It is His blood, spilt for each of us, that unites us and offers each person a promise of hope and freedom.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Killing Fields.

We have just spent a week backpacking through Cambodia. We had to cross the border again for visa reasons and decided to spend some time in the country this time, rather than walking into a customs office and out again.

This was a week that without exaggeration will change our family forever. We first went to the capital of Cambodia, Phenom Phen. Here we went to the Killing Fields. There are many places around Cambodia with this name but the one we went to is the largest. The largest because of the number of Cambodian people that were killed there. In 1975 ( only 32 years ago) Polpot and the Khmer Rouge took control of Cambodia. Their trucks literally rolled into the city and ordered people to leave their homes and to head to the country areas. Little children were playing hopscotch in the streets, others were shopping and cooking their next meal. All were ordered to leave and thus began 4 years of unimaginable pain and suffering for the Cambodian people. Polpot wanted a new country. A country where people did not think for themselves. A country where there was no religion, no outside influence, no individualism. The people lost the freedom to chose their own clothes, each were issued with a set of black clothes. Schools were used as places of torture and temples desecrated. Anyone who was educated was killed. After being tortured (to get information as to the whereabouts of their family) they were commanded to kneel, hands tied behind their backs and hit with farming tools, so as to save money on bullets. Doctors, teachers, lawyers even his own men who were educated were slaughtered under Polpot's leadership. Those who wore glasses (and therefore thought to be intellectual) were killed. Children of the educated (they were apparently smart by association) were killed also. We were told this history, and were overwhelmed. Overwhelmed because unlike the times that we hear of news on the television, we were looking at the skulls of these people. We could see the hole the hoe or pick or bamboo stick left in the skull, when the person was beaten to death. We saw the clothes that belonged to the victims. We walked next to their graves. We walked around the holes in the ground that young and old Cambodians just years before were often thrown alive on top of many other people and then covered with soil. We walked around the edges of these graves, and our guide (my age) would stop and pick up a tooth or a bit of bone or clothing and show it too us. While he had told many people this story before...he was visibly moved as he picked up a tooth and showed it to our children.
Our children were quiet, Colin and I were quiet. Our guide told us of the thousands of people who died from starvation and hard physical work. Our guide slowly and quietly told of how he was a baby and barely stayed alive being fed by his mother. His stomach was protruding and his head enlarged. He would stop talking periodically and take our girls hands and smile to them. Later he told us that he had no sisters and that was why he liked our girls.
He told us about the children who were brainwashed and taught to kill. Children our children's age. Jordan asked if they would have had to kill their parents and brothers and sisters and our guide sadly said yes. The guide went on to explain that the children would not have known they were doing so, such was the brainwashing of Polpot's soldiers. At the end of our time there, we were asked to buy incense and pray to Buddha for the people of Cambodia. We bought the incense, and knelt as a family outside the building holding the thousands of skulls and other bones. We prayed to God, our Heavenly Father, who we knew was grieving more intensely than we were. We prayed for the future of Cambodia. We prayed for the Christians in Cambodia, that they would be bold and loving and they would tell a new story to the people. We prayed that the smoke coming from the incense would be similar to God's love, that it would waft through the country and settle on people and give them a love they have never experienced.
I write this blog hoping that you...our family and friends would you pray the same thing for Cambodia and other countries around the world? Perhaps like our family you need to educate yourself and your family further. Christians need to understand how important education is in order for our families to pray...to really pray seriously for these people. In Micah 6:8 it says that God requires us to 'Seek justice". I wonder if we forget that some of our 'seeking justice' is to pray for it. To cry out to God to bring His justice to these countries. We are realizing that there is much to pray for around our world....we just don't open our eyes, ears or hearts to the pain. We long to pray better and to teach our children to pray....but we so often can't get past 'Thank you for the fun day and help us to sleep well and have a great day tomorrow....Amen' prayers. Please begin to research your world, to hear the stories of your brothers and sisters around the world who need you to pray for them. I have a friend who would always say that the best way to have God answer your prayer is to pray for what God wants. Let us pray for God's will to be done here on earth as it is done in heaven. Let us pray that God's kingdom...his ways....his justice will be done on earth as it is done in heaven. I believe God wants justice around the world. I believe God wants Christians to be bold in the way they live and love and serve. I believe God longs for leaders to turn to him for guidance. I believe that God longs for people deprived of dignity to know they are valuable and worthwhile. If you believe this, then join with our family as we pray for these things. The Karen people need you to pray, the Cambodians need you to pray, those without a home in Melbourne city need you to pray, and many others do also. So...let us pray.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Bulatoo is coming to spend some time with our family today. He is a student from Bamboo School but has no family to go home to in the holidays. His parents...from what we know....escaped from Burma with him and settled in Bong Ti (Village near the school) They sent him off to Bamboo School and when he returned home one day - he found nothing. His parents had just simply left and he has not heard from them since. With nowhere to go, our family asked if he wanted to come live with us for a bit. He seems to have somewhat of a connection with our family and he seems genuinely excited to be coming. Bulatoo is obviously a troubled teenager with anger that surfaces periodically. We will attempt to soak him in love and through that teach him a different story - a story that tells him his is precious and valued and was created by a God that wants to guide him, love and give him a peace that passes all understanding. There is definitely a softness that we see (not many people get to see it- so we feel privileged) and he certainly has the capacity to be a great leader. I love him dearly and am looking forward to treating him to a train ride and DVDs and Milkshakes among other things today.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Laughter, Eating and Connectedness

We took the blue boat to Piloke
Our family is feeling more and more at home here in Thailand. We care deeply for the Karen people and their futures. This past weekend we had the privilege of visiting a village about four hours away. This village, called Piloke, is home to 5 of the students that live (during the school term) at Bamboo School. Two of these students call us mum and dad - so visiting their home was a gift to them, but more so it was a gift for us.

Piloke is a Karen village surrounded by many others, accessible only by boat. We took a bus for a couple of hours to Tong Pha Poom and then took a boat to the village. We stayed with Apisit's family ( a 16 year old student from Bamboo School) he calls us mum and dad and introduced us to his family as his second family. I cannot portray in words how honoring it is to be introduced to a village as family. Piloke is a fishing village and so fish is the main food for each meal of the day. The family grow and prepare their rice also and so each day, three times a day, we ate fresh rice and fresh fish...incredible. We slept on mats and spent time at night laughing and talking with Apisit's family. They knew no English and limited Thai, so we spoke our limited Thai and Apisit (who can speak some English) filled in the rest of the gaps. On Saturday Apisit and his brother took our family fishing and hiking. We went by boat (there are no cars in Piloke) and then hiked into the jungle for about an hour and stopped near rushing water and swam while some fished. We drank water from the river and ate fish and rice.till our tummies were full. On our walk back Apisit's brother stopped our boys and said 'shhh'. His warning was a little late and a snake about a meter long and 5cm in diameter slid between Jordan's legs.

On the Sunday I preached in the Baptist church, this particular village is 99% Christian, most villages are 50% Christian and 50% Buddhist. The Baptist church is the only church, placed in the middle of the village. The bell rings and many of the 900 or so villagers begin their short treks to church. Apisit translated for me, something he had been telling me he could do for many weeks. He was so proud to be translating in front of his village, he was so proud to be introducing us to his village and he did a remarkable job. Colin preached at the night service and we returned home to sit and talk again with Apisit's family.

The following day we took photos with his family and said our goodbyes. The people had overwhelmed us with their love and acceptance. They ate after we had eaten, they cooked and cleaned up without allowing us to do anything, they hugged our children and moved away from their space on the floor for us to speep there. While we hugged and shook hands - Apisit's grandfather was bathing his grandmother on the bamboo floor of their home. His grandmother was very sick, very thin and frail. As the grandfather poured water over his wife, with his arm supporting her as she struggled to sit up on her own, we saw another glimpse of love. This family laughed with each other, they served each other and they were connected to each other. They owned very little and worked very hard. They are under constant threat that Burmese soldiers could come and attack them and probably have horrific stories of attacks or escapes in the past.

We heard a quote the other day, I can't remember it fully, but it speaks of today being a day that each of us were given. The challenge is to be present in the day. So often we long for the days past when we were stronger or lighter or younger or richer or single. So often we long for the days in the future where we will be retired or wiser or without young children or graduated. The Karen people don't know what the future will bring. They don't have freedom today and may not experience freedom in their lifetime. They don't know if they will have enough food next week, they don't know if they will get so sick that they have to travel two hours to see a doctor. They don't know if they con get permits to work or study in Thailand. They don't know if they will get permission to travel to the next town. They don't know so much. And yet....they seem to live today. Present in the day. Laughing, caring, seeking God and enjoying connectedness with each other. Today was a gift from your Father....did you live it? Really, were you 'there'?

On the right is Apisit's brother and his friend. Our girls are in the middle. They are scaling and gutting the fish that we ate for lunch. They were little fish that were put on skewers.

Here is Somgeit (a student from Bamboo School and Colin cooking the fish near the river. Our skin doesn't hold up in the sun like the Karen skin and we were a little roasted with the fish! The Karen thought it was hilarious that we had sunburn.

Here are our girls (and boys in the distance) eating from banana leaf plates...They absolutely love the fish...they eat around the bones and very happily crunch on the fins and head. Kenzie loves to get the head of the fish and mix it into her rice and then add sweet chilli sauce! Kenzie's face looks pale because she has yellow Karen face paint on. We covered ourselves in it to protect us from the sun. The Karen do this also, but it is now also part of their traditional dress.
This is Apisit's father. He has two sons and adopted our two girls as his own. The girls would wake in the morning and run to give him a morning hug. Our girls are wearing their Karen outfits...it was Sunday morning and we had just come back from church.

Our four....weary...but peaceful.


These are some of the precious Karen children dancing. They are incredible....we teach all of these children. Some are from the village we live in, but most live at Bamboo School.

This is Lukai...one of the older students. Our family helped build this house (hut). We dug holes for the main poles and split and wove bamboo for the walls. It is now finished.
This is Kum...another one of the older students. Kum and Lukai have become very good friends with our family. We value them highly. Kum is using an electric circular saw as he balances about 3 or 4 meters from the ground....for safety reasons he is wearing his glasses???
Here are our 4 children at a beach in Southern Thailand. We went to the beach for a few days when we last went across the border to renew our visa. I love this photo...!