Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Swabbing The Deck

We have learned to swab the deck literally over the last few weeks! Every morning the deck is covered with bugs which swarm to any light left on for security purposes. So every day they have to be removed with the many feet of hallways that somehow seem to get dirty even with no one walking on them. Living on a boat with many other people takes a major mind shift. Some times Gail and I just look at each other and shrug! Gail is so good to take the change in stride for the most part. How blessed a man is to have a wife like her.
We continue to work long days for the most part. A water filter systems was delivered today along with our computer systems. We are told we will be able to send e-mail though the ICON radio system being installed. I do not understand UHF and VHF and HF lingo but only trust that others will get us all fixed up. Tomorrow Gail and Marie Claire McDonough will shop for sheets and mattress covers for 28 beds! I will tackle portable mobile radios for the staff to be able to stay in contact whether shopping in a village or just somewhere on the boat. Sometimes I cannot find Gail for 30 minutes especially if she does not want me to! haha

Monday, January 29, 2007

Sunday Service

This Lord’s Day was especially pleasing for me. It was my first Sunday service since returning to Cambodia. Sunday morning, which is for English speaking people primarily, was very inspirational with outstanding fellowship and acappella singing. God must have been pleased as well.

Sunday evening services are for our Khmer brethren. I was overwhelmed that 47 were in attendance! Russ and Rosemary Burchum and the WEI teachers are mostly responsible for the wonderful turnout. They have inspired the young church to grow not only spiritually but numerically as well.

Next Sunday evening we have invited the Khmer church to worship on the Ship of Life medical boat. We want them to feel apart of the work we will be doing along the Mekong River as we help people and plant churches. Many of them will be able to join us in service projects from time to time. God continues to bless us in so many ways I cannot begin to explain. Rick

Sunday, January 28, 2007

First Ship Patients

Yesterday, Gail and I hosted our first guests aboard the Ship of Life. There were six WEI teachers here in PP. We were excited for them to visit us and give us first impressions of the ship. Of course, you see how they had to walk to get on the boat. Two of them had minor dental problems so I opened up the dental operatory and went to work.
Teo Soos was my first patient. I made her a spring retainer some time back to correct some minor maxillary anterior crowding. She is doing well and needed me to adjust her appliance slightly. Rosemary Burchum was my second patient. She had broken the lingual cusp of tooth #12 which had been restored with an MOD gold inlay 40 years previously by her dentist husband, Russ. We gave Russ a hard time about the quality and longevity of his work! Haha. Only 40 years! He countered that the inlay was just fine; it was her tooth that had broken! It is hard be critical of us, old retired dentists.Other guests included Emily Pownall, Doris Lowery, and Nita Mansholt. For desert we served fresh coconut milk!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Moving In

With some help of a couple of students, we carried all our belongings in this truck to the ship. If we had a rocking chair, we would look like the Beverly Hillbillies! We are now trying to organize our cabin, the office, kitchen area, and Rick’s dental room. Our trips to the market have been comical. What would take minimal time in the states, takes us several days here. Rick left me yesterday at the market to buy a large trashcan, liners, broom and small baskets. He went on to shop with dental supplies. This was suppose to be a quick stop for both so we could make it to church. We made it, but he called asking “where are you!” before I could even buy one item. This particular market is used more by local Khmer than for foreigners. I’m sure after dealing with me, the vendors had a few laughs at my attempt to speak their language. Today we looked for table and chairs for dining room and conference room. Found a few we think will work, but hope to look some more. At times we feel alittle overwhelmed because of all that needs to be done. But then stop and realize it will all work out and be great! Please pray for our hiring of employees. We placed an ad that will come out Saturday and hope to interview and hire as soon as possible. Gail

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

More Exciting than the Ship!!

I know the ship is very exciting and we are thankful for it being here in Phnom Penh. But I have to say that the next bit of news is way more exciting for me! Our daughter, Brittany, is engaged! She emailed us with the news two days ago. Zac Leslie is a wonderful man Brit met at Prestoncrest Church in Dallas. He has since moved to Palestine, Tx where he works in his chiropractic office. We are blessed to have a Christian man share his life together with our daughter. No matter how successful life is, you are happier when you have someone who helps you be a better Christian, by your side. Both Brit and Greg have supported our desire to work half way around the world and not be close by. God has answered our prayer for Brit, and I know he will continue to watch over both in their future decisions. Gail

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Ship Has Arrived

We have been praying for more than one year that the Ship of Life would be completed and allowed to come to Cambodia. It has been difficult for me to understand why things have been delayed and postponed for what often seemed “unreasonable” situations. But, my impatience has once again brought opportunity for God’s timing.

On Friday, January 19th, we finally set sail from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam at 5:15 P.M. We traveled for 3 hrs and then anchored in the river for the night. We continued our trip at 5:30 a.m. the next morning and anchored for the night after 14 hrs. On Sunday the 21st we arrived at the Cambodian border at 8:00 a.m. and waited all day for immigration officials to do their thing. We finally arrived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia Monday morning and docked at 8:00 a.m. There were no bands playing or confetti throwing but this moment seemed to me, to be one of the most memorable ones of my life.

What a great feeling for God to deliver this wonderful tool to be used for His glory. I somehow felt that the angels in Heaven were rejoicing with us at Gods goodness and His unquestionable timing of the ship’s arrival!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

About to Sail

Captain Nimh and Rick check out the map to see the route the boat will sail into Cambodia. The Vietnamese boat company will pilot the boat to the border then the Captain will take over. We enjoyed a nice dinner the night before boarding the boat to sail.
Here you can see Rick and Bill with Sparky, the electrician, to the right of Rick and then the Captain and Channy, the mechanic. The crew, along with Rick and I, will stay on the boat while in Phnom Penh clearing some more paper work and loading it with supplies and equipment. I hope the next blog will be the arrival of the boat into the Phnom Penh port! Gail

Friday, January 19, 2007

Morning Sunrise - Friday, January 19, 2007

I caught this sunrise this morning. I’m not sure why I had alittle problem sleeping, but I got up and sat on the top deck with a cup of coffee. Watching the small and large ships pass by was a unique experience. Rick joined me and it was very calming. It was soon time for me to leave for the airport to return to Phnom Penh. The tide was down so it was fun walking up the gangway with my suitcases in the position you see in the picture. I was going to leave everything on board, but we decided not to risk any problems with customs. At 4:00 today, the crew will board the ship and customs will check everything out. Then they will move the boat away from the dock so no one can come or go. The ship will then leave the port at 4:00 a.m. Saturday morning. It takes a day and half to sail to the border and then the process of clearing Cambodian customs begin. Hopefully, all the paperwork is in order and it is just a matter of the men there getting to feel useful and putting their stamp on the papers. The boat company has a crew of six who will be in charge of piloting the boat. They will stay on board until Phnom Penh even though Captain Nimh will then pilot on into the city. We hope to be waiting at the dock watching “The Ship of Life” arrive. Depending on customs, they should be here by Monday or Tuesday. We are so blessed to be a part of this work. and thank the Lord that he as allowed us to join him here in Cambodia. Gail

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

All Aboard!

January 17, 2007. This is the day we take our suitcases aboard the Ship of Life. Well, don't too excited, it is still not leaving the port! Ha! After staying in a hotel in Ho Chi Minh City last night, we decided to stay on the boat until the paperwork was completed to sail into Cambodian waters. There is still some painting and work being done so there are many people around. I wanted to help dust, but they didn't seem to want us to do much. The Captain, Sparky and Channy were going out to dinner as they usually do, so we decided to cook on board. We went to a little market and came back with Ramen noodles, Ritz crackers, milk and corn flakes. The noodles were very good and we even used chop sticks! For entertainment after dinner, we went on top deck and watched a crane tranfer bags of rice from one boat to another. There was a nice breeze and the stars were out. Bill arrives tomorrow and hopefully final preparations will be complete. We found out today that Marie-Claire and I will not be allowed to ride the boat back to Phnom Penh. We are disappointed, but the most important thing is the boat getting into Cambodia. Excitement is in the air!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Bus to Vietnam

I might exaggerate alittle bit about the bus ride to Ho Chi Minh City, but not by much. It was the wildest, bumpiest, and noisiest ride yet. The road is being repaired and what we rode on caused us to be thrown all over the place. Ok, that is a stretch, but the driver thought he owned the road and we went barreling down the road honking at motos, trucks, and people all along the way! We rode on the Vietnamese bus line instead of the Cambodian line. Here in the picture, we are crossing the river on the ferry. But we did make it safe, and Rick went straight away to the boat. He is checking on the progress of repairs and repainting that was to be done. I stayed in the hotel so my head could stop spinning. Tomorrow we will take our bags and sleep on the boat a couple of nights. This should be interesting so..... watch for "the rest of the story" Gail

Friday, January 12, 2007

Getting Ready

Soon we will going to Vietnam to check on boat, so Rick thought he better get in gear and get some supplies! Today we went to two dental shops here in Phnom Penh to check out what they had. He found a few things, but not totally happy. The pictures show that the shops here are alittle different! Both shops are owned by Chinese people. The good thing is the price is a fraction of what he would pay in the states!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Return to Cambodia

Stepping off the plane, it didn't take long to realize it is still hot here! We probably had one of the smoothest, no problem travel that we have ever had. I guess what really topped it off was being bumped to Business Class in the Taipei to Phnom leg back! It was so great to see Emily and Doris again. Russ and Rosemary Burchum who arrived while we were gone, always make things exciting! Russ has continued the Tuesday night new christians class, so we also saw several of the students. But jetlag set in for me, and I crashed about 6:30 p.m. We will start working on our visas to travel to Vietnam next week. Thanks for sticking with us during the slow postings and we hope to get back to a more regular update! Hope your year has started off with wonderful times with family and friends. Gail