An Average Day at GES

A close friend of mine recently encouraged me to write more often in my blog about average-every-day things that may not seem so avereage-every-day to my readers who have never been to this part of the world. So to start off the beginning of my “average” series which may or may not be posted frequently, I’ve decided to give you a glimpse of the most prominent part of our lives: GES. For anyone who doesn’t know, GES (or Global English School) is the school that Solomon’s parents started in 1997 where Solomon and I currently work as part of the administrative team.

7:30AM: We walk out our door, name badges around our necks, breakfast in-hand and make our way through the school cafeteria and various buildings to the GES front-gate. We join Esther (Solomon’s sister and the third and final member of our administrative team) at the gate and greet parents & students and hand out tardy slips for the next 45 minutes. By this time Solomon has already made or recieved 5 phone calls concerning whatever tasks he’s been working on that week. Esther and I catch up on whatever we need to catch up on. And we’re all refreshed by the silliness & cuteness of children age 2 all the way to 18.

8:55AM: I make my way from my office to the GES playground. One side of the playground is bordered by our 4 story elementary bulding and the other by our kindergarten building. In the center of the playground are two flag poles: one for the King and one for Thailand. Students and teachers are making their way to their designated spaces around the playground, on the 4 floors of the elementary building, and in front of the kindergarten building. The Thai national anthem begins precisely at 9AM and all students and teachers stand straight and sing along while two secondary students raise the Thai flag. When the anthem finishes, I make my way to the center of the playground with my wireless mic and say in a cheery voice “Good morning GES!!” to which all 330 GES students respond “GOOD MORNING MRS. ANGI” at varying tempos. Then I pray and go through the day’s announcements (or we all say the school philosophy in Thai & English if it’s Tuesdays). I end my morning shpeal with “Have a great day, GES..AND…go get your learn on” and all the kids head to their next class.

11:25AM: The second of three lunch periods begins for elementary school (kindergarten preceded and middle & highschool will follow). From my office I can see the playground & soccer field  begin to fill with kids who scarfed down their lunch at turbo speeds so they’d have as long as possible to play. Some kids are lined up at the swings counting down until their turn.  About 20 are chasing a soccer ball around the soccer field…and some of the smaller boys are kicking a basketball at eachother on the basketball court. Two girls are walking around the soccer field giggling at whatever they’re talking about. Another is walking her friend to the office to get a skinned knee mended. The air is filled with the sounds of children playing until the bell rings and they all scurry to class.

2:30PM: About now, I’m tired of sitting at my desk and I try to think of things I can do to get out of the office. I make my way to the main office where I find our three faithful office workers. Kru Nee is a chubby, cheerful lady of about 60 who holds so many job titles it’s hard to really describe what she does. She’s always smiling and is the only office worker who speaks English fluently…so secretly she is everyone’s favorite 🙂 . Kru Lek is a fiesty, curly-headed middle aged woman who has the tough task of managing the GES accounts. Kru Poy is young and new and over the last week she’s worn a larg curler in her bangs to keep them nicely curled for when she emergest from the office. She does all of the stuff that Kru Lek and Kru Nee can’t do because they aren’t computer savvy. I greet them and speak my broken Thai which usually gets them giggling. They think it’s funny that I stop by for no reason too….but it gives me the energy I need to finish out my day.

3:40PM: School is out! Kids are playing, teachers are supervising, parents are mingling. I usually walk around campus a few times to check on things, say hi to kids, parents, teachers, and to grab an afternoon snack from my house (and let Juno out to potty). This year we had to make a rule that at 4:30 all students have to either go home or wait in a classroom to cut down on the number of students we have sticking around until 6 or 7 at night. So around that time I tell everyone to go home to which the teenagers respond with a shrug or an “I’m goooing”—such polite kiddos 🙂 Shortly after that, on less busy days I make my way home. Solomon follows sometime after that. He’s a busy man 🙂



45 Seconds

I recently had the privilege of spending some time with my brothers and their families in VA Beach. For my oldest brother, Daniel, it was an eventful weekend of hosting VA Beach’s biggest FREE Easter egg hunt with his church on Easter Saturday. It was the biggest event Daniel had ever coordinated and my first chance to see him in his new position at his church. Daniel was overwhelmed…to say the least…and not in a negative sense but in a “Holy Cow! This is a lot bigger than we expected it to be but..Praise the Lord” kind of way 🙂

On the morning of the hunt his family and I arrived early (but not as early as he did) at the egg hunt site. I took his 3 year old son, Dylan, on a hunt to find daddy and say hello before things got hectic. We happened upon him in a golf cart, zooming around the parking lot, busy with preparations. When Dylan saw him, he waved and called out excitedly, “Daddy!”. Daniel acknowledged but then had to take care of a raffle ticket emergency. I walked Dylan back over to his grandma talking with him about how busy daddy was and how cool it was that he got to ride a golf cart. Dylan was happy to have just seen his daddy. A few seconds later, Daniel wooshed in front of us and said “Dylan! You wanna go for a ride?” Dylan responded with a squeal and climbed into the seat next to Daniel who took off and made a quick loop around the parking lot. When he came to a stop, Dylan climbed out and with the biggest smile and the utmost joy in his voice exclaimed, “THANK YOU, DADDY!”. I can still picture him with his orange wind breaker on, hands clasped in front of him, chin up, eyes squinted, grin as wide as physically possible….as if the joy was about to burst out of him….a picture of gratitude…a picture of a child who knows, in his 3 year old way, that he is loved. All because of his Daddy’s kindness in taking 45 seconds out of the busiest day of his year to love on his son.

God is like that too. I could write a book about all the times God has taken 45 seconds out of His busy day to show me kindness that I didn’t ask for or expect. God IS kind…and that is one of my favorite things about Him. His KINDNESS fills me with gratitude like Dylan in his orange wind breaker. The best part is that God isn’t just kind when I ask him to be or when I need him to be. He’s not like the friend who usually treats you harshly but will be nice to you when they know your dog died or you just totaled your car. God’s kindness speaks to me in the most ordinary of circumstances…on partly cloudy Tuesdays when my mood is mediocre, my day is typical, and my trust in and love for the Lord is unmoved. His kindness on my ordinary days shows me what Daniel showed Dylan—-that He loves me enough to take 45 seconds out of his day to make me beam with joy.

I don’t know, maybe you have no idea what I mean. It’s almost too simple to grasp. All I know is that the moments in my life in which the kindness of my Maker has been bestowed upon me unwarranted…even unnecessarily so….are the moments that pump me so full of gratitude and assuredness in his love that I can’t help but squeeze my hands together, squint my eyes, grin the biggest grin I have and exclaim, “THANK YOU, DADDY!”

Praise the Lord, all nations. Laud Him all peoples. For His lovingkindness is great toward us and the truth of the Lord is everlasting.Praise the Lord. Psalm 117

The Least

By now, if you follow this blog as sporadically as I publish new posts, there is no need to apologize for the delay in updating this blog. Truthfully, the fact that our lives are hectic is not the proper excuse for my rare posts. Instead, it’s a matter of my conviction that what I write here should not be a reflection of the external workings of our lives but instead of the internal working of Christ in our hearts. Since God is a patient god who takes His time first preparing our hearts for His voice before speaking to us….. the moments when I feel most convicted to write may be few and far between. But today is one of those rare moments…

A couple of days ago when Solomon and I returned from a long stent away from home we saw a homeless guy at our local 7-11. It’s not rare to see homeless people in Thailand but this person was unique because he was obviously a foreigner (i.e. not Thai). We were both taken aback by that fact and speculated as to how that could happen that a foreigner become homeless in Thailand. I saw him again the next morning purchasing a large bottle of beer from 7-11 at the same time that I was buying my morning coffee. Later that day I wandered down to a shop near 7-11 (it’s quite close to our house) to bring a gift to a friend of mine. Since she wasn’t there I stepped inside 7 to cool off and then purchased some watermelon from the fruit cart out front. As I was waiting for my fruit I saw a woman give the homeless man a bag of watermelon and few minutes later the same woman approached me because she overheard me speaking Thai.  She asked if I spoke Thai and I told her I did and with great relief she began to talk about how bad she felt for the homeless man. She was so moved by seeing a foreigner covered in dirt and his own filth, sleeping on the ground outside the 7-11 that she actually began weeping as she was talking to me.

She explained how she’d tried to buy him water and food but the only things he would take were beer and fruit. She had gone to try to find him some clothes because he’d soiled himself but couldn’t find any to fit his large stature. She said that she’d tried to talk to him but he didn’t speak Thai and she’d been waiting to find a foreigner who might be able to talk to him. Many times throughout the ten minutes she talked to me she would choke out sobs and a steady stream of tears fell down her face. She begged me to try to talk to him and help him. She kept saying that she was so sad for him that he had no way to get home (to his home country).  I told her, quite honestly, that I was afraid to approach him on my own but that I would ask my husband to come with me and we’d try to talk to him. We did later that evening but were not able to communicate with him. I’m not sure if he didn’t speak English or if he was too drunk to respond. This morning I went to find him again (prepared to use the little Russian that I know because it seemed like the language he was speaking last night) but he was gone.

I believe that there are moments in life when God orchestrates time, space, and the workings of the human mind to bring us again to the point of deciding whether or not we will indeed take up our cross and follow Him. This experience was one of those moments for me….not because I made some sort of huge impact…because I didn’t. But because I know I will never forget that woman’s tears or the man’s piercing blue eyes…or the thought that God kept pulsating in my mind….”whatever you did for the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).

This whole experience brought to the surface an internal struggle I’ve been dancing with since I moved to Thailand nearly two years ago. I think it’s often so easy to love the hurting and broken when they’re presented in the form of an orphan or a widow or slave. I mean, what kind of person doesn’t have pity on an orphan? Or a young girl forced to offer her body to strange and disgusting men? Or a severely crippled homeless person who holds a cup by the side of the street? The truth is—it’s quite natural to love the helpless. But Jesus did more than that didn’t he? Jesus loved the woman who was caught in bed with another man (most likely on more than one occasion). Jesus loved the man who’d committed crimes so heinous he was sentenced to death on a cross (mercifully his cross stood next to the cross of Christ). Jesus loved the tax collector who was ashamed enough to hide in a tree but not enough to change his behavior. Jesus loves that homeless man near my 7-11 who spends his only money on beer and hasn’t much interest in accepting or acknowledging the help of others. Jesus loves the woman who stands on the street corner not because she was forced to but because that’s the life she has chosen for herself. Jesus loves me, the Christian who had to be begged by a Buddhist woman on the street to offer a word of kindness or glass of water to man so obviously hurting and broken.

What Christ calls us to do is deliberate, not passive. It goes against the grain, not with it. It’s not a “what kind of person wouldn’t act that way?” kind of life he’s required of us. If we think for a moment that all of these people were easy for him to love….we must not really understand that he truly became man and wrestled with the same weaknesses that plague us all. God is clear with us that sin is repulsive to him. Yet, he chose to mingle among those whom we’d identify as the worst. He called them the least. It was his interaction with these people that drew a crowd, caused speculation, and ultimately set him apart.

What strikes me about the passage I referred to in Matthew 25 is that there is NO hesitation between the recognition of need and the effort to meet the need. “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” These people didn’t have to pray about feeding the hungry or search the scriptures about visiting a criminal. They also didn’t make sure to share the gospel with the sick person or include a track with the clothing for the naked person. They took immediate, deliberate action…and activley loved Jesus in the process.

Let’s not confuse Christ’s love with that natural love that wells up in us when we feed a hungry widow, pray for a child soldier, or donate to a sex trafficking charity. Those aren’t bad things, of course, and they certainly honor our God…. But the kind of love that He spent half of the Gospels modeling is not natural at all….and it’s the kind of love that separates Christ’s followers from just plain “good people”.

2011: A Year in Review

It’s at this time of year that you write the date on your checks or letters (or whatever else you write dates on) and think, “Wow! Is it really almost a new year?”. This season especially comes as a surprise to me now that I’m living in a tropical climate in a country that doesn’t really celebrate Christmas or New Years the way America does. I stroll around in my shorts and t-shirt and wonder how it could possibly be December already.

These moments of realization and disbelief are always coupled with reflection as I look back over the year that has passed so stealth-like before my eyes. It has been a year of mountain tops and valleys, really, with not a lot in between. We’ve been incredibly blessed and seriously challenged this year but we’ve come out alive, haven’t we?

Our year began in a tent under a starry night in town in Northern Thailand. It was the last night of a mission trip we’d gone on with our church and I remember being so grateful for the chill in the air, the clear skies, and the crackle of the bonfire. In late January, we made a trip to the States to recruit the 6 teachers we needed for the coming school year. We traveled all over the U.S. and spent a week with my family in Missouri. We were blessed with snow that week which allowed my mom and brother to stay home from school and work. It was like Christmas in February. Shortly after we returned from that trip my beloved grandmother was diagnosed with cancer. The news felt like a blow to the stomach.

In April, I traveled back to the States for a month while Solomon stayed in Thailand making preparations for the coming school year. I visited friends and family and ended my trip with a two week stay in Missouri for my brother’s high school graduation. I helped take care of Grandma during that time and a few days before I left she was admitted to the hospital and put on kidney dialysis. I didn’t know it then, but I got to spend time with my Grandma for the last two weeks she would live in a normal home and have a consistently coherent frame of mind.

In June, my freshly graduated brother, Paul, came to stay with us for three weeks here in Thailand. Simultaneously, our school year began and we started our first month as full-time administrators. We had a blast with Paul, taking him to and fro. It was so nice having someone from home experience our world here. He left at the end of June and two weeks later a team from Liberty University came for a short-term trip we hosted. A few young girls came to know Christ while the team was here. It was an incredible encouragement.

We celebrated our first anniversary while the team was here and my birthday on an island the week after they left. We slept almost that entire weekend—it was a much needed rest. A week after we returned we received news that my Grandma had passed and two days later we were on a plane back to Missouri for her funeral. We got to see family again and were blessed with the closure that came with it.

The rest of August and September were mellow. We stayed home for the most part and recovered from a very hectic 5 months. In October, which is when our first semester ends, we traveled to London for vacation with Solomon’s sister, Esther, and brother, Satta. We did all things football (soccer) related including attending a Manchester United game at their home stadium. It was a lifelong dream of Solomon’s (we don’t speak of the fact that his team played their worst game in history the day we were watching live).

We returned to a flood in Thailand that didn’t reach us in terms of water in our homes but it certainly affected the stock at our local grocery stores. The flood also extended our two week holiday to five weeks. In November, just before Thanksgiving, we traveled back to the U.S. for a convention in hopes of recruiting teachers for next year. I lost my passport just before that trip commenced and was delayed two days full of running to immigration offices and embassies so I could leave the country. When we returned home there were three weeks full of Christmas preparations left of school before another school holiday. We traveled abroad a total of 106 days of the 355 days that have passed in the year 2011. That’s roughly 90,000 miles of flying and about 30 total days of extreme jet lag for each of us. We plan to stay in the country for the remainder of the year.

Through it all we have learned that God is enough in times of plenty and in times of want. He has saved us and were He to withdraw every blessing from the point of Salvation until we go to be with Him in glory—we would still be called blessed. It has been a hard truth to swallow but God deemed in necessary to swallow it this year. We are thankful for the bountiful blessings He has lavished on us and humbled by His kindness. We are also thankful for the pain and confusion that comes when He withholds His blessing to remind us of His purpose. May He continue to teach our hearts to submit to His grace—for it is indeed and forever…enough.

We aren’t sure of what 2012 will hold, though a few plans are written in our minds (in pencil). I suppose I’ll be writing a long post about this time next year to fill you in.

We are very blessed to have loving and supportive friends and family. We wish you all the MOST Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. May God open your eyes to His mercies over the past year and give you confidence in His sovereignty for the year ahead.


Angi and Solomon Ektrakul (and Juno!)

The House on the Rock

I’m sure most of you have been hearing the news about all the flooding here in Thailand so I wanted to take the time to update you on our situation.

It is true that about 30 provinces (out of 70 something) have experienced severe flooding with estimated damage expenses nearing 1.5 billion dollars as of this month. The water has been closing on the capital (where I live) since late September but many other provinces have been dealing with the flood since as early as July. Back then it was just news to me but now it’s a reality.

A few weeks ago the government started warning that the floods were coming to our area. People paniced. They built walls around their homes and businesses, grocery stores ran out of dry foods, and the spirit of fear permeated our streets. Personally, we struggled knowing the line between succombing to fear and heeding a warning. It was a strange battle in the mind until I realized something significant. These people building walls and buying carts full of canned tuna were truly afraid and I was not. I have an unwavering knowledge of a protector and provider who guides the events of my life but they do not. I watched the news show people lining up to pay homage to the river and ask it for peace and mercy. They are living in fear and placing the little hope they have in something false. Yesterday Solomon and I returned from a two-week vacation in England. We went to the local 7-11 to buy milk and found it stripped of just about everything. As we made our way across the street to buy food from a street vendor I saw a line of people. They were waiting to purchase food to offer to monks or to set outside their shops for spirits. The offerings earn merit for the giver. It broke my heart to see such devotion to a lie. The sad part is–they really don’t know any better.

As for GES (our home and school), we are dry. Two decades ago when my father-in-law built on this property, he first raised it so it would be higher than the streets. He put it on a rock, so to speak. Some of our streets are flooded and in one classroom a small amount of water has come up from the sewer (gross!) but the whole of our campus is dry and safe, as of now…and I hear the waters are receding.

Since I first came to Thailand in 2006 I’ve known that it will take tragedy and fear to reach the people of Thailand for Christ. Pray that we see the opportunities God has put in front of us and that in this time of need He shows Himself to the people suffering around us.

Angi–No “E”

God’s timing is impeccable. You’ll notice I haven’t written much in months and the truth is I haven’t had the time. I have been either busy or exhausted for most of the last 4 months. I had planned to post all my frantic activity to show an excuse for my absence–I actually wrote a blog post in late June but never published it. Those aren’t the sort of details I wish to share on this blog of ours. I’d rather write about God’s impeccable timing than my lack of time.

Two weeks ago today my Grandma Angie passed away. I was named after her. When I was thirteen I took the ‘E’ off the end of my name so our presents wouldn’t get mixed up at the big Christmases we used to have out at her house. My whole life I’ve heard stories of when I was just barely walking age and my mother would bring me to K-Mart to visit my Grandma at work. There I would roam around like owned the place and giggle and grin at all her coworkers. Once when I was 5 or 6 she and my Grandpa planned to surprise my Mom with a “Word Processor” typewriter for her birthday. They made the mistake of mentioning it around me and I accidentally spilled the beans to my mom. I cried when I found out that I’d ruined the surprise. Grandma used to take me to our town;s “Merchant Showcase” every year and we’d always enjoy organge sherbet together. Memories flood my mind bcause she has been a fixture in my life since day one…

Her husband, my Grandpa, was killed in a car accident 2006. His death changed my life. Through it I learned that God is truly and purely good—which has become my anthem over the last five years. Ths anthem was challenged in April when Grandma was diagnosed with cancer. Before her diagnosis I wept on my bed for her asking God that it not be cancer—anything but cancer. His answer was “no.” When I was home in May I tried to help take care of her. By then, my joyful and active Grandma had become like the old women I used to take care of at the nursing home where I worked in high school. She was admitted to the hospital while I was home. The last time I saw her alive she was lying in a hospital bed with a machine hooked up to her trying to clean out her wasted kidneys. She never recovered—not her earthly body anyway.

Seeing this woman whom I loved dearly so rapidly return to dust made me question God’s goodness. Doubt isn’t the right word because the fact that He is good is irrefutable in my mind. It is as true to me as my own existence. But I questioned how this—which happens to so many all over the world all the time—fits into His goodness. His answer was in His timing.

Scripture divulges a lot of things about God and and His character. It also divulges the fact that we can never truly understand His thoughts or His ways. There are a whole lot of things that Scripture clarifies–but there are also a lot of mysteries yet to be revealed. God’s revalation in human experience is the same. He chooses for some things to be clear and others a mystery.

It’s a mystery to me how things like cancer, deadly tsunami’s, and child abuse fit into God’s plan without devoiding His character. But it is clear to me that God makes good out of situations that involve the kind of suffering that these mysteries incur. It’s a mystery to me how the suffering that my Grandma (and countless others) endured in her last months fits into God’s promises. But it is clear to me that He was acutely present in those months, intricately designing each moment and fitting it into his detailed and elaborate plan, however elusive it may be to me.

It was His timing that convinced me of His presence. You see, as I mentioned before, I’ve been incredibly busy…exhausted…overwhelmed by work over the past few months. In June, my Mom warned me that it wouldn’t be much longer for Grandma and every text message I got from her since then brought dread to my heart. I knew in June and July that I wouldn’t have the time to mourn muchless travel all the way home for her funeral. But on the evening of August 9, I was home alone with nothing pressing to do for, literally, the first time since April. I was in my kitchen baking cookies (my Grandma’s recipe) and watching a streaming video show. I didn’t hear the text message from my mom asking me to call her but my Skype was signed in so she just called me. There, in a stress free kitchen, with cookie dough on my fingers I learned that my Grandma had gone to be with Jesus. For the first time in weeks my schedule was free enough that the thought of taking off a week to go home for the funeral didn’t give me a heart attack…and after a week’s absence I’ve had two days to recoup as my work load has remained light. I’m not saying my life is so busy and important that I wouldn’t have found time to mourn for my Grandma and be there for my family—but it would have been overwhelming in so many ways had it happened any sooner.

It may not seem like much to you but to me it has been God saying, “Angi, I’m here. I meant for this to happen and I’m not ashamed that it did. It’s a part of my plan and –even if you don’t understand it—you can trust that plan.” God has designed my life in such a way that I do trust that plan.

In this and so many other experiences in my walk with the Lord I have seen the truth of Corrie Ten Boom’s statement in The Hiding Place “I know that the experiences in our lives, when we let God use them, become the mysterious and perfect preparation for the work He will give us to do.”

I tend to put off blogging until I have pictures to back up my posts. The downside of that is that I lost my camera charger in December so I have not taken a picture with it nor retrieved a picture from it since then. I guess you’ll just have to take my word for whatever I say here because there are no pictures to prove its true 🙂

This has been one of the best weekends we’ve had in a while for one reason: it was completely free of obligation. We cleaned our house yesterday and went to a movie. Today we went to church and napped (Solomon is still napping). Tonight we may venture to The Mall to pick up groceries for the week. The weather is pleasant—a steady 27 degrees celcius the last two days which is significantly cooler than the normal 32 or 33 degrees our days maintain (that’s 80 degrees instead of 90 for my American readers). Its nice not having to turn on the air and being able to sit outside without feeling miserable.

We recently acquired an adorable yellow lab puppy whom we’ve randomly named Juno (see picture below). She has been a mixture of fun and inconvenience but we’re learning a great deal about caring for someone who can’t intelligently care for herself. When we come home to huge holes dug in our yard and electric wires chewed its hard to believe she doesn’t do it knowingly. But the truth is she has no idea that humans care to have nice and neat grass for yards or that electricity courses through those wires to power our much used and appreciated air conditioner.  Despite the frustration it causes we can only try to teach her that its wrong without expecting her to understand just HOW wrong it is. It  sort of causes us to wonder where to place such frustration and we slowly, with clenched fists and accelerated heart rates, come to terms with the fact that blame has no where to call home here. It just has to be let go.

I recently read the story of Abraham from start to finish. I read it through then went back and outlined it–reading it piece by piece. I found a profound truth about God’s character in this story. You see, I sort had and still have a gut feeling that God gets incredibly frustrated with me when I mess up. Even when my mistake was made of ignorance or fear I assume that God holds me responsible, that He punishes me even when the punishment does not yield a lesson learned. But the story of Abraham proves this theory of mine wrong or at least shows that it isn’t ALWAYS the case with God. Abraham had to wait a LONG time to see God’s promises come to fruition. Some of them he never saw. God was very caring with Abraham, though. He reminded him frequently of his promises, increasing the amount of detail he shared depending on Abraham’s capacity for faith at the time. When Abraham did not display faith, when he flat out sinned against God—God DID NOT punish him. He didn’t lash out in anger. He didn’t turn a cold shoulder. He didn’t withdraw his promise from Abraham. He didn’t IGNORE Abraham’s lack of faith which led him to make poor decisions. But he didn’t punish it either. God knew that Abraham was like my Juno. He didn’t understadn the gravity of his actions. He just felt alone, didn’t know when his Master would show up again, and got all antsy in his free time. When the Master did come home I’m sure He was frustrated—but He let it go. He knew that  Abraham was technically to blame for the “chewed up wires and holes in the yard,” and that Abraham knew what he did was wrong. But He also knew that Abraham did not understand just HOW wrong he was and therefore punishing him would only injure the relationship. God valued this relationship that would eventually result in the coming of the Messiah more than He valued excercising His authority and voicing His frustration.

Now I know that I am responsible for those sins I commit against my God. I know that if I love Him obedience will follow. But now I know that HE knows that I am just a child (or a puppy) with limited knowledge and understanding and He values His relationship with me more than His authority over me.