Our bread sales are going well; almost too well. It has been a challenge to determine how to expand this great opportunity for them and yet still keep us afloat, as it all takes place in our kitchen, our oven, and our lives.
Thursdays just keep getting fuller. I go to Burmese class from 8:30 to 10am. Pyo Pyo & Nyein Nyein come at 10am and we begin baking immediately. Stephen goes off to Burmese from 10:30 to 12, while we make a few batches, let them begin to rise, and then begin second rises, begin baking, and transfer pans. We play a few games on the floor & occasionally run an errand or two. The goal of the afternoon is to not forget to purchase snacks for house church and eat lunch; oh, and also not to burn any bread! By 4:30 or 5pm, bread is nearing the end and we start our weekly Bingo games in the community space (enter 20-30 children & adults into the house). At 5:45pm, our translators arrive, and we start house church at 6pm. Snacks are served at 7pm, and we clean up. Dinner is usually scrounged up by 8pm.
And we are tired.
This week, on Wednesday night about 9pm, we were asked to bake cakes on Thursday, too. There were two birthdays on Thursday, and they were hoping we’d help bake some cakes for the little celebrations.
Of course! My oven is already on from 12pm to 5pm; what’s another hour right?!
So in between batches this week, I taught them how to make chocolate cake & icing. I showed them a few scattered decorating tips that nearly caused us a burn a batch of bread. Multi-tasking is not my specialty.
Per usual, we chatted throughout the day.
At one point, we talked about the floods in Burma currently. Both Nyein Nyein & Pyo Pyo’s families homes are flooded, so they are currently living in monasteries near their homes, which are built on higher ground. There are also some flood victims that have crossed over into Mae Sot and are living just down the street from us. Pyo Pyo told me that she had given them some clothing. She explained that I had given her a bunch, so she passed it on to them.
She lives in a hut that is also flooded from all the rain here.
In between baking times, we sat down to a game or two of Uno. Sitting on the kitchen floor (again, to prevent burnt bread!), they were asking about the oven. They asked if it was gas or electric, presumably since I have written down a fee for electricity-per-batch, but there is a gas tank sitting next to it. I explained that the oven is electric but the stovetop is gas.
Here, Pyo Pyo proceeded to tell me that I was very lucky to have a large gas tank.
It’s standard size for any foreign home. It was given to us with the oven, because it isn’t of such value to be sold separately, but simply comes with any stovetop in town.
And yet in their home, they have a smaller one. They have to refill it about once a month, she said; I have to refill mine once a year.
So I’m “lucky.” Never mind that an oven worth nearly $1000 here was just given to me by a friend! Never mind that we live in a home that stays dry and even keeps us “cool” (or cooler than them!) with fans and an aircon. Never mind the countless things that count us blessed.
After the bingo & house church chaos, we attended two birthday parties.
And we came home and cried.
Because we love this community. We love these families. We love the birthday parties and the cakes and the bread businesses.
But we love them enough that we want so many things for them. We want them to have enough spoons! We want them to have nice clothing and big gas tanks. We want them to know Jesus.
So we deliver beautiful flowers and bake bread; we study language again. We say another prayer for God to be here and be with us and in us and moving. We pray for God to expand the blessing beyond our home and into our community.
And then we take a date night away to breathe. We take another picture that, in some ways, is a pretense–we are simply pretending that our lives are picturesque, when they simply aren’t. And while not picturesque, our lives our blessed; so we can at least capture that.