Thursday, August 31, 2006

Kampong Chhnnang

I recently went out with the feeding truck to a new village to feed a supplemental meal to the children. As usual, they were all well behaved and happy to see us. When I arrived the children were playing a game of chase where the one doing the chasing hopped on one foot and the others had to stay inside of a circle drawn in the dirt. They laughed and giggled when I hopped into the ring. Children are the reason we are here. Jesus loves the little children.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

New Sister

We are blessed to have another student decide to become a Christian. Bora has been studying with Teo for several months and Rick had the privilege of baptizing her into Christ. She will soon be leaving Cambodia to begin a new job in Kuala Lumpur. Bora is not a typical Khmer girl. She goes to school, is tutored in English, takes an extra computer course and then works at night to support herself. She did not have to struggle with a family that was against her accepting the Christian faith. So many students find it difficult to go against their family and Buddhism, even though they do not really practice or believe in it. They often feel like they are dishonoring their parents and traditions if they accept Christ. Really it is not much different than many people in the States that hang onto family beliefs and traditions because of the feeling that they may betray their family. Bora’s family is not in the city and she is more of a modern girl. Modern in the way that she supports herself and lives in her own apartment. We thank God and rejoice with the angels over her decision.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Arkansas Rules!

With six new teachers joining us here in Phnom Penh to teach English, we have an Arkansas majority. Wallace and Carol Randle are from Sherwood, Ark. This is their second trip to Cambodia and we sure love joking around with these two! Claude and Madge Lewis from Little Rick, Ark have been here before and they are serving as Interim Directors until a full time couple is found to come and run the English school program. Claude has contributed many hours of traveling and promoting the programs in Cambodia. Even though they are not from Arkansas,it has been a joy to meet and get to know Billy and Jean Moore from Montgomery, Alabama. Billy is involved with Faulkner University and Jeanie runs a preschool. The invitation is open to come and have a wonderful experience teaching here in the WEI Bible program.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Nutritional Feeding Update

In a previous blog, we reported about a project of PIP that fed area children. Someone responded to the blog anonymously wanting more information. Just to make sure you know, unless you respond with your name and email, we do not know who is writing. Hope this information is helpful. The Ministry of Health reported that forty-seven percent of the children under the age of twelve are malnourished. PIP was hoping to receive a grant to fund this project, but decided they could not wait and with limited start-up funds launched out in faith that others would step forward to help us keep the program going. The villages that had a congregation were targeted first. It costs about $40.80 per child a year to feed them a nurtitional drink and bread twice a week. Currently the truck is running daily to five villages. Before the program began, a visiting physician checked the children and documented their height and weight. Next month, we hope to reevaluate the children and see their progress. Please check out PIP website for further information and future reports.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Road Trip

We are on the road again this time to Northern Cambodia. When the boat is operational, the focus of our work will be to the north of Phnom Penh on the Mekong River where there are three main towns, Kampong Cham, Kratie, and Stung Treng. Stung Treng is close to the Laos border and was the most remote and interesting to get to. The highway between Kratie and Stung Treng is far from completion. It is being built by the Chinese government. There would be about 10 miles of paved road and then back to dirt again. The greatest challenge was avoiding the cows, chickens, pigs, and water buffaloes that would be walking down the center line. One chicken was not quite fast enough and I’m sorry to say it is still where we last saw him! We passed rubber plantations and fields of a plant we could not identify. Pepper plants and banana trees were in great abundance. There were still many rice fields, but the landscape was definitely more varied than what we have seen in southern Cambodia. The purpose for the trip was to visit each provincial hospital and Public Health minister. We have met once before with the different officials, but with the delay we wanted to confirm the project was still a reality. They are still eager for our help.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Rice Fields

This will be the last of pictures from our trip to Siem Reap. The rice fields were beautiful as we passed by. This is the planting season for the rice and the shades of green are the various stages. I caught the sun setting behind some clouds and the picture was interesting. When we were on the boat tour on the Tonle Sap Lake, children would paddle out in these wash tubs to greet us and that was fun to see. One thing for sure, there is always something interesting to see!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Fishing Village

While in Siem Reap, we took a tour to the Fishing Village community that has a population of several thousand. These families live in homes that float on the water. As the lake rises during the rainy season, they move the homes from one area to another. They have a school, health clinic, stores, basically everything a small rural village would have. One picture above is the traveling store that you can purchase items from as it comes by your house. This village was on the Tonle Sap Lake which is the largest fresh water lake in Asia. During the rainy season, water flows north from the Mekong River at their junction near Phnom Penh. I don't think we will have villages like this on the Mekong that the medical boat will come in contact with, but the people and life of the village is very similar.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Road to Siem Reap

Rick drove the PIP van with nine passengers going to the Asian Mission Forum in Siem Reap. It was a great way to really see the countryside and experience what Cambodia is really like. I finally got a picture of the pigs going to market on the back of a moto. It's always humorous to see! It was a five and half hour drive, but mainly because of traffic on the road and never knowing when a cow will step out in the middle of the street. So I was up front looking out for dogs, cows, motos, and ox carts!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Asian Mission Forum

The past few days we have been enjoying fellowship with 150 people who live or have worked in the mission field. What a blessing and uplift to be encouraged by those who have lived for 30 - 40 years in Asia, or have just began like us. This was the 45th Asian Mission Forum and Cambodia was the host country. The meeting was in Siem Reap because of the many sights available to see there. We will write more about it, but I wanted to get this posted so you know we were still around! The picture may be too small, but it gives you an idea of some of the people.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Khmer Wedding

This last week we experienced our first Khmer wedding. One of the young Christians, taught in the WEI English program, was getting married and someone suggested she have a Christian wedding a few days before her traditional Khmer wedding. She agreed and the decision was made to hold the ceremony at the Partners in Progress house. Several things were a little different than our usual wedding.

First of all, Lin met her husband to be five days before her wedding day! Her marriage, like many here, was arranged by her parents over the last few years. The young couple seemed to get along fine but their first kiss was after their vows. Wow! Her groom’s parents immigrated to the U.S. in 1975 just before the genocide happened here. He is very much and all American kinda kid with all of our customs and ways. She will have an extreme period of adjustment when she comes to Boston to live all the way from Cambodia! She needs our prayers to not only adjust to a very strange way of life but most of all to keep her faith. Her husband is not a Christian.

On Saturday, her traditional Khmer wedding will be full of Buddhist ceremony and religious implications. One of the teachers here, Teo, is in the wedding and it last from daylight until 9:30 at night. The bride and bridesmaids change into seven different dresses during the day. This is all at great expense even though few here have money for daily life. That is why the average male does not marry until around age 30! He can’t afford to! We learn more each day we are here.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Love for Children

Let me introduce you to some pretty neat people. Sam and Mary Carpenter live in Wedowee,Alabama, but have taken responsibility for the care of twelve orphans. They built a home in the village of Tum Nuk Tom for these children who are under the supervision of Kimson and his wife, Sokha. They have a vegetable garden, raise pigs, have English lessons for the many village children, and are the church home to a congregation of Christians. Kimson has been a dependable steward to care for this wonderful work. Sam and Mary wanted to give to a work that directly involved underprivileged children. They came to Cambodia and the Lord blessed their decision to proceed with this orphanage. In the first picture, Sam and Mary are standing behind Sarah Turner, who is Sam's sister. While here in Phnom Penh to check on the children, they are teaching in the English school at PIP. The second picture is of the children, which includes Kimson and Sokha's two children, on a day when they came to town. Once again, Rick and I have been blessed to meet and be around loving people who are living the Great Commission.