Sunday, August 1, 2010

Chanty, Srey Ma, & Srey Mao

These are the sweet Khmer young ladies who live in the Cox family home, where I am currently staying. They have been my voluntary Khmer language coaches as mentioned in my update.

This Little Piggy Went to Market

I never saw this when I was here last summer, but I've seen it a bunch of times this trip. At first I wondered if the pig was already dead because I couldn't believe it wouldn't be squirming. But then I did finally see one of them moving its legs. I guess they have resigned themselves to their fate and given up, but growing up on a farm I never saw any of our hogs go to market so peacefully!

With my friend Srey Moch

Cambodia 2010 Update #2

I figure it’s about time for another update, so here goes.  This was a week of firsts:
  1. My first time to help make homemade tortillas - they are really expensive to buy here so the family who is hosting me right now usually makes them from scratch. Yummy!
  2. My first time to direct a tuk tuk driver using only Khmer - I didn’t always use exactly the right words, but I got the message across and got to my destination.
  3. My first time to ride in a ferry across a body of water - went on a trip to a village with Cathleen Jones from Children in Families (more about that in a bit).
  4. My first pedicure - Got it done for $3.00 (US) at the new Daughters spa. This is the ministry I worked with last summer when I was here which provides job training and employment as well as other resources to enable exploited women to get out and stay out of brothels.  
Since the time that the rest of my team left, I have been staying at the home of the Cox family.  Chris and Victoria are missionaries here and have three sweet little girls. They also have three great Khmer young ladies from their church living in their home. Chanty, Srey Ma, and Srey Mao have been helping me learn Khmer. They like to have a little fun with me too. One of them had me repeat the phrase, “K’nyom jong baan b’day.” I dutifully followed along and they all began to giggle. It translates, “I want a husband.” Nice. I joked back with them that maybe I should practice that one when they ask for announcements at church on Sunday. OK, maybe not. I’ve been encouraged that I am starting to become more familiar with the language. When I was first here last summer I wondered how I would ever get it. I’m far from even a survival-level mastery of it, but I’m excited when I can pick out words and phrases as people are talking and know what they mean. And my tuk tuk experience is evidence that immersion works!

I have been able to meet with a few more organizations since my last update. One of these is Mercy Medical Clinic. They provide medical care to impoverished Cambodians in and around Phnom Penh. They treat people regardless of their religious background and are also openly evangelistic, providing opportunities for patients to hear the gospel in a variety of formats. They have Khmer  Christians serving as chaplains in addition to solid Christian medical staff, so there are many opportunities for patients to receive prayer and to talk about spiritual things. I am scheduled to go back on Monday to shadow their PT for part of the day. Then on Monday afternoon I will meet with the director of the Phnom Penh Center for Independent Living which is made up of Cambodians with disabilities who are working to create more opportunities for people who are disabled.

Oval: Village GrandmasAs I mentioned previously, I went with Cathleen Jones out to visit a rural village this week, about  2 ½ hours drive (including the ferry ride) outside of Phnom Penh. She is one of the missionaries that our team met with during my first week here. Her ministry, Children in Families, is advocating a move away from the institutionalization of children who are orphaned or endangered and has started a foster family program which has been very successful so far. We visited with some very sweet Khmer families who have taken in such children, a number of whom have disabilities. I know that it gets hard to read these updates if I try to cram too much information into them, but I would love to tell you more about the great work that this organization is doing, the way that God is transforming Cambodian society through programs like this, and how I was encouraged by the possibility of being involved in something like this one day. So, just ask me! I’ll give you all the detail you could possibly want – I’m very excited about it!

Praises and Prayer Requests:
  • Praise God for health, safety, and His provision during my time here.
  • Praise God for the wonderful learning opportunities I’ve had this trip.
  • Praise God for lifting my spirits when some of the spiritual heaviness here started weighing me down. (Thanks for those of you who prayed about this for me!)
  • Praise God for the growing Cambodian church.
Prayer requests:
  • That I would make the most of my remaining time – just a little over a week left!
  • That what I have learned would stick with me both to inform and to encourage my preparation for the future.
  • For continued health – body, soul, and spirit during the rest of my time here.
  • For the continued movement of God’s Spirit to transform Cambodia one heart at a time.  

Grace & Peace,