Sunday, July 30, 2006

Steve and Whitney Norris

Steve and Whitney Norris come to us from Batesville, Arkansas. Steve is minister at the North Heights church and is leading classes at the Sunset Bible School. This is his second trip to Phnom Penh working with the students. It is a blessing for Whitney to come with him this year. She is a sophmore at Harding University and is teaching in the PIP English school. How wonderful it is to meet the various people who come to work here.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Unexpected Blessings

God works in mysterious ways. We came here to work on the Mekong River to share God’s word and help medically. As of yet, this has not happened. What has happened was totally unexpected. As teachers share the Bible and invite these young students to church, few would come. By chance, we found that they love to sing! In between hours of study, we began to sing short praise songs. Many of the students responded positively, and now attend singing fellowships here at the PIP house.
On Sunday evening, a song service starts at 5:30, and Bill shares tips about notes and how to sing better. We then have a short worship service and offer communion. Several students are Christians and this is the only time they can attend. An added blessing is having some of the young men participate in the services. The young man in the picture is Veasna. On Wednesday, we start at 5:00 and sing many songs, and again have a short lesson. Having the services at the house had enabled many students to participate who might never be able to go across town to the Khmer church. Our prayer is this young group of 45 or so will become the Lord’s church and continue to bring their friends. Gail

Monday, July 24, 2006


We have had several writings about the Nutritional feeding program that PIP is involved with and how many children are fed bread and a vitamin supplement drink. When people come to teach, they usually want to take at least one day and ride out with the truck to interact with the villagers. Kevin and Catherine came to Cambodia with two suitcases of children clothing. In the picture above, you can see them handing out articles to the children. They were able to supply two villages with clothing for their children which amounted to about 120 children. As you can tell from past pictures, the kids are very hard on any piece of clothing. But everyone was proud of what they received and put them on with a big smile.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Mark Trotter

Several have asked about Mark Trotter. He is the dentist that I wrote about last January. Mark and his wife Lyla were planning to move their family to Cambodia last December when he was diagnosed with a terrible brain tumor called glioblastoma multiforms. Mark had surgery to decrease pressure and remove some of the tumor this past January and has been undergoing chemo and other treatments for several months now. Things have been relatively stable until recently.

Mark has regular cat scans to check the tumor for change and most importantly growth. His latest scan shows active growth of the tumor and with that growth, he is experiencing several unwanted neurological symptoms. Mark and Lyla are to travel to Duke University soon for possible alternative therapy. Join Gail and me as we pray for this family and the difficult unknown future.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Silly Scenes

It is always fun to see what is going on outside on the street. The first picture isn't too clear, but it shows two young boys on motos on top of the van that is leaving for the countryside. I doubt they rode up there, but they do know how to pack down these vans that take people and supplies to various destinations. The school children enjoyed the back up of drainage on the street in front of the house. They rode around in circles splashing each other even during the downpour. And I'm not sure if these oxen are headed to higher ground or the butcher, but they are loaded tight. Hopefully one day I will get a pictue of the transporting of a pig upside down on a moto. That is always a great sight to see!


Saturday, July 15, 2006

Dental Check Up

I have been a pretty bad patient! It has been well over six months since my last dental cleaning and check- up so I have decided to do something about it. I have an appointment this afternoon, Saturday, at two o’clock with Someth Hong DDS.
I have checked out my new dentist very well. I have visited his office on several occasions. Several of my missionary friends have had dental problems and I have accompanied them to his office. The office is very modern, equipped with very nice equipment and most of all, very clean! Dr. Someth received his dental training in Cambodia but has done several years of post graduate work in New Zealand. I have heard him lecture several times in the past on complex root canal surgery and feel very comfortable with his ability.
I am a little nervous just like we all are when we go to a “new” office. I must, however, get these heavy Vietnamese coffee stains off of my pearly whites. I will let you know about my experience later. Should be fun!

Friday, July 14, 2006


Another week has gone by, and we still are not sure about the timing of the boat. Every day is filled with new experiences, so our spirits are positive. I am thankful for Rick and his upbeat attitude. With a student the other day, we read the story of Sarah waiting for the promised son. I hope we don't have to wait as long as Sarah did, but I am glad to have a faithful man beside me. Gail

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Gail and I come to eat breakfast each morning with the WEI team and share in prayer and a devotional thought also. As Gail said yesterday, the group we have here now is a great blessing to us. After breakfast we all check e-mail or get ready for our first students at 8:00. This morning, Gail flips on the TV to see the overnight headlines and when she flipped quickly past ESPN, there it was. To my surprise and delight, we had stumbled upon the mid-summer Baseball All-Star game!
Kenny Rogers was on the mound getting ready for the first pitch. I was pumped! After not seeing a single game played by my beloved Texas Rangers all season, I might get a chance to see at least one or two of their players in this game. After my first student session was over, I ran back down stairs to see what was happening. I saw Gary Mathews, the Rangers center fielder, get a hit. That was nice but I was able to see the end of the game which was thrilling. Michael Young, the Rangers team leader and exceptional shortstop, came to bat in the ninth inning, behind 2 to 1. He delivered the game winning hit for the American League team. He was chosen the MVP of the All Star game and now I was really pumped!
What a nice surprise.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Fellow Workers

We have been blessed to get to know Michael, Tim, Catharine, and Kevin who are pictured above. They have come here to teach in the English school. Michael Stockton is a student at Sunset School of Preaching in Lubbock, Texas. He has come for three months while on his summer break to teach and share the Bible. Tim McElroy left yesterday to return to his family in Murfreesboro, Tennessee after being here for four weeks. He is a middle school history teacher, and also the minister at the Bridge Ave. Church of Christ. Tim has been involved in missions for many years and brought with him knowledge and a wonderful smile! Kevin and Catharine Carson are our new Canadian friends. They are from Edmonton, Canada and have two children, Jesse and Claire. Catharine works as a nurse in a cardiac unit and Kevin is counselor in a high school. Before settling in Edmonton and working with the church there, they were missionaries in Lithuania from 1997 to 2001. This is Kevin’s second trip to Cambodia and we hope not the last. It is definitely a perk to meet such wonderful Christians while we are waiting for the boat. Of course we are encouraging them all to return and join us at some time in the future! It’s great to work with an ever-changing team of Christian brothers and sisters. We feel so blessed. Rick and Gail

Monday, July 10, 2006

Pizza Party

We had another wonderful fellowship last night with about 29 young Christians and non-Christians alike sharing fellowship and fun together. Our ladies made pizza which most of the youngsters had never tasted! Most thought it tasted pretty good but several I talked to weren’t sure about the taste of pepperoni! I thought it was great but everyone liked the sweet tasting pineapple and Canadian bacon! Speaking of Canadian, a Christian brother named Kevin here from Edmonton Canada, gave an excellent lesson on the temptation of Christ and how Satan attacks us in the same ways. Kevin and his wife Catharine are wonderful servants and great with the young students.
Bill McDonough once again led singing and taught the students what it meant to sing in parts and how songs can be of different natures and speeds. Many of the students have never participated in any type of group singing before. At first, as you might imagine, we make some pretty interesting “noises”, but in a very short time we sounded pretty good making those joyful noises that our God likes so much to hear.

Saturday, July 08, 2006


We had another testing day to take new students at the Partners In Progress English school. As you can see from the number of shoes, we had quite a few. There were 37 prospective students who came to test to see if their English was adequate. Some cannot be accepted because their language skill is limited, and they are not able to communitcate well enough to read and comprehend the books that are used. We also interview them to ascertain their verbal skills. I'm a softie about the score I want to give them, but know we can only accept the more advanced. They know that the better English they speak, their job possibilities improve and then of course this opportunity is free to them. I am glad that the boat was delayed to allow me to be involved in the school. I think I have learned more from teaching the biblical lessons than many of them. Their questions concerning the stories of the Bible are innocent and humbling as I have commented in past blogs. I still have alittle culture shock about taking my shoes off everywhere we go, but I'm getting better. Gail

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Irrigation Canal in Cambodia

In the Commune of Thom Nop Thom, Cambodia, 638 rice growing families work the fields each year by hand with a few collectively owned oxen. About one out of three years, they get enough rain to produce a small rice crop which they are dependent on for survival. Congregations of the Lord’s church in this commune care for these families and help them through the rice cooperative that Partners In Progress started 2 years ago, and feed their children by the Nutritional feeding program that sends a truck to their villages three days a week. However, many of those families never have enough to eat even in the good years.
Ten years ago a UN funded survey team drew the plans for an irrigation canal, which if completed, would provide water to 416 of these families. There has never been money to fund the construction of this three-mile long canal.
Partners In Progress accepted the challenge to raise $110 per family to dig this canal.
A committee of responsible farmers was formed to govern it and to be oversee its maintenance. May 3 the digging began and next week it will be completed. Four hundred sixteen, or 80%, of the families in this commune will now have water to raise rice every year and no longer will they suffer from starvation. God Cares and uses Christians all over the world to do his will. Go to the PIP website and read about all the projects they are involved with and how help is needed.


Tuesday, July 04, 2006


United States Embassy

We live just a few blocks from the very impressive Independence Monument here in Phnom Penh. It signifies Cambodian independence from colonial French rule in the 1950’s. It is in many ways the national symbol for this country. July 4th is a day set apart to celebrate our nation’s freedom but as far as we can tell, there will be no celebration for the US Independence Day here in Cambodia. Even the US Embassy has no plan for a public celebration. The picture above was taken in front of the US Embassy. When I went to take the picture, four guards came running out telling me “No pictures, no pictures!” Fear keeps simple things difficult. We sang “America the Beautiful” from our church song books at breakfast, but I will still miss the tradition of the day.
The Apostle Paul told the Philippians they were not citizens of the world any longer. We are citizens of heaven now. I am trying to celebrate this citizenship much more often than once per year. Our independence from Satan’s influence and this world is to be greatly celebrated. We should celebrate who we belong to at least each day if not more often. My US passport says I am a US citizen but the stamp on my heart says differently!

Monday, July 03, 2006

A Great Day

Yesterday, Sunday, was a great day. I know there is a great day coming, but yesterday was special.
We have been praying for some time how we might get our English Bible students to be more interested in weekly church attendance. After much prayer and thought, we decided to invite them to our Sunday night home Bible study with a special emphasis on extra singing. Several of our students had recently responded positively to some group singing some of the teachers had started. We were hoping that a few more might come if we invited them.
We were overwhelmed when twenty four students and friends came to join the ten of us. There was a tremendous spirit and atmosphere of excitement and all stayed afterward for fellowship and some of Gail’s cookies.
We were so evicted and uplifted after they left at around 7:30. We stayed up until well after ten o’clock, very late for us old people, and sang more songs and praised God for who He is and what He does.
God is soo good to us. He often answers our prayers in mighty ways. Thank you Lord!