Saturday, May 30, 2009

Coming Home

Gail and I began blogging almost 4 years ago to keep our family and friends up on where we were and what we were doing. At times it is a joy and to be honest, sometimes it is a burden! This is our 700th blog and we had our 40,000th reader last week! Amazing stuff!
I am in Phnom Penh preparing to depart for home on Monday morning. Driving here took me 4 hours today and along the way I stopped to check on one of my previous patients. His name is Math Ly. Mr Ly is 66 years old and as you can see, he has serious health issues. After seeing him last week, I proceded to look for someone to help him explore his options. My good friend, Dr Hong Someth, the head of the Oral Surgery Department at the National Dental School, contacted an Oral Surgeon from Malaysia who will see him next Tuesday for a cat scan and biopsy.
Please pray for Mr Ly that he can be helped and soon. He is very close to being unable to swallow food and breath. I fear that he is a swollen sore throat away from the end. I am aware as always of the many blessings and privileges we have in the U.S. and the great suffering many others endure. He has been told many times over the last 10 years that there is nothing that can be done for him. Maybe now he can have some hope. Rick

Friday, May 29, 2009

Aunts and Uncle

On our trip around Missouri, Diane and I were able to visit with our dad's sisters and older.From left side, Aunt Jan lives in San Diego and is a nurse. Uncle Bob lives in Cape Giraudeau, Mo., where he enjoys fishing and bird watching. Aunt Sheila lives in Farmington, MO., and is the hostess with the mostess! She kept us busy with lots of fun things. She has retired from teaching but still substitutes. In another week, we will have the Northen clan in Arkansas and we are looking forward to that! gail

Thursday, May 28, 2009


I continue to be amused at times with the people’s names. We are currently in a heavily populated Muslim area. Their names are sometimes unusual and sometimes quite normal like the lady Marry I saw today.
Yesterday I did see two young people with different names. Piseth writes their names on the dental form before I see them. He writes it down phonetically I think. The first was a young man named Hot. The second was a young woman named Hey.
I immediately could not help but think of the conversation they might have. “Hey!” “You’re Hot!” “That’s Me”. I know, I know, twisted thinking but I cannot help myself. How would you like to be named Hey?

Prek Bak

We are in the Village of Prek Bak. This will be my last place to work although I will be on the ship as we move this Friday to the next stop. I am trying hard to prepare to get ready to leave for the trip home but I have one huge problem. Gail is not here to pack for me!
The longer I live the more I become aware of that “Madame Gail” has spoiled me rotten taking care of the details in most areas of my life. She does not go to the bathroom with me but almost everything else she “handles”. I am almost ashamed of the times over the last 3 weeks that I find myself just standing there not knowing what to do next! It really is quite pitiful!
Having said that I have managed to survive and even get a few elementary things accomplished without her. It just takes me so long not knowing where anything is or how to get the computer thingamabob to do what it is supposed to do. Pray for me that I can make it home all by myself! I may be wandering the streets of Hong Kong in a few days calling out her name.
Janice and Britt, take pity on my Son and Son-in-law. DO NOT do everything for them. They will let you if you want to. It just comes natural I suppose. For me it is too late. For them……there is still time!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Missing the Crew

Rick has been so great about me coming back early to go to the wedding, but I know he misses me! And I miss him. I also miss Piseth because not only does he speak the best English, but we work together in triage and cleaning. So, I think about them going about the daily work while I am enjoying some beautiful spring weather. I was also able to enjoy a great worship service on the Sundays I have been back. We miss so much the singing and being fed by gifted speakers and brothers and sisters in Christ. It is something that can be taken for granted until you don't have it. Send your missionaries an encouraging word now and again. gail

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Reminiscing Around the Fire

The picture is alittle blurred due to the smoke from the firepit, but I can't think a better way to reminisce fond memories! Diane and I visited with Janet and Susan Bailey (maiden names) who we grew up with in Chillicothe. We laughed and told stories but it would have really complete if the Emerson sisters could have been there, too! Our families had so many dinners and gatherings through our years in Chillicothe since we all worshipped at the same church and of course attended the same school. Thanks Janet for the hospitality! It is so fun to reconnect with friends, and now facebook is making that all so easy! (ha!) gail

Monday, May 18, 2009

This Road or Not?

Before we had the truck, we could move with the ship and enjoy the trip. Don't get me wrong, the truck is great to have for getting supplies for the ship, but now we have to traverse roads like this. Rick is contemplating whether or not to try it. But when the moto flew by packed with people, we decided to go for it. Can you imagine seeing a moto with that many Americans riding on it? Not! gail

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Kyle's Wedding

These three lovely people are my nephews and niece, children of my older brother Chris. Kyle was married last Friday night in Kansas City, Missouri to a sweet young lady, Gena. Diane and I were happy to attend this event. The kids grew up in Columbia and we have been able to see them through the years and are proud of their accomplishments. Travis, the oldest, is in construction and manages an apartment complex. Cristy, graduated surgical tech school and works in hospital. Kyle just graduated from university with degree in finance and has a great job. gail

Friday, May 15, 2009


When we are in the states, we want to keep the blog active but realize what we do in states is not all that interesting. With Rick unable to use internet and send me any info, I am trying to figure out what I can share. Soooo, I thought about the wonderful pictures that Diane Johnson (Little Rock) took when her and husband, Don, were here last fall. She is a much better photographer and if you notice a difference in quality of picture, well, that is her camera. Plus, I normally use email size and since I am in states, I thought I could post the higher pizel pictures. So the next few weeks I want to share a variety of scenes from Cambodia. gail

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Dog Days of Ironing

This picture isn't very ladylike, but our good friends the Burchams just sent this to me and said it brought back memories! ha! Just to let you know, normal height ironing boards are available, I was just more comfortable sitting on floor! Well, I am in the states and Rick is on ship without internet. He is calling to check on emails and I regret his situation. We love this techno stuff until there is a problem that can't be figured out by ourselves. Rick is having a busy week though. The ship is at Kampong Treas and he said the first day was normal with twenty to thirty people. By second day, he saw more than forty. Yesterday, eighty people were in the dental line and when he gave out last number the people groaned and started pushing to front. He also is working without a dental assistant this week. Daven's wife had some heath emergency and he is gone all week. Next week, two more students come from dental school. Should be interesting, they are both girls! gail

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Back on U.S. Soil

When you have traveled abroad there is a special feeling when you land back on American soil. Even though at the international terminal in LA you still hear a lot of foreign languages, but at least they speak English and Spanish over the intercom. My return flights were timely and without incident. I was able to sleep on the long haul from Hong Kong to LA even though at times it felt like I was on an amusement park ride. Flying from LA to Dallas, the skies were clear and I could see down over the land we passed. It was an amazing view. To think about God looking down on us and seeing this mass of humanity, yet seeing us as individuals is quite overwhelming. I thank God for my safe travels and my son's face at the gate in Little Rock! Gail ps good to see my luggage, too!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Driving to Town

I'm not sure I will ever get use to driving here. Rick does a good job, but I always think he needs my help anyway. Today, I really was a backseat driver because the doctor and dental assistant drove in with us and I sat in the back. With motos and bicycles, carts pulled by cows, kids playing so close to the road, cows wandering across the street, Somebody has to help the driver! Today must have been the day the wood comes to town. We must have passed a dozen trucks stacked sky high with cut wood. Then there are the kamikaze Lexus and SUVs that speed past with no regard for "staying in your lane". But we arrived safe and enjoyed a pizza for dinner. gail

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Answered Prayer

Cody's surgery lasted six hours this morning as the doctors worked to remove the cancerous tumor in his liver. I talked to Shelly about an hour ago and she and Lance had already been able to visit Cody in recovery. To their joy, Cody was alert. The doctors were surprised about how well the surgery went. I am thankful for their skill but I am also thankful for God's hand along with theirs. They feel confident that all the cancer was removed. Thankyou for all your prayers. gail

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Does this remind you of the department of transportation road crews when you drive past construction zones? There is usually one or two people working while several others are standing around watching! This group is watching Hai and Piseth cut away the bamboo. Then, of course, there is Rick checking up on me. I am usually stationed in the x-ray room so I can watch the flow of patients to know when to bring down more. Or to catch the wandering person who walked on the ship without a number. I love it when I speak enough Khmer to them that they think I am fluent so away they go talking a mile a minute assuming that I understand. I just let them talk and while I am guiding them out the door. I can pick enough words sometimes to get alittle of what they are saying, but it boils down to .. no number, no come! On a personal note, since I cannot respond by email....Thanks, Brenda, for responding to the blog. Diane and I will be in Chillicothe May 16 and 17. Our nephew is getting married in Kansas City on the 15th and we are dropping by while in area. It is great to know you are following our adventures! gail

Monday, May 04, 2009

Bamboo Tangle

It is rarely a dull day on the Mekong. During the night, a tangled web of bamboo hung up on the anchor line. Fortunately, no damage was done. The ship moved a little but the gangway was pulled up because of the strong winds, so no damage. With most of the crew gone for the weekend, Rick and I and Hai worked to cut away some of the bamboo. But it was so thick we could not free it from the cable. With night falling, we waited for the next day. Two villagers decided to help us from their wooden boat. As soon as they cut away the bulk of the bamboo, another mess of bamboo came floating by and hung up on what was left. So it was finally decided to move the ship and tie the mess to land hoping it would allow the anchor cable to be pulled up. It worked. Hai and Piseth were able to cut it away. This is the first time for this to happen. Hai informed us that this year there is more floating debris because of the land falling into the water and pulling bamboo plants in with it. We can’t argue with that, however, we think that erosion is always happening along the river. gail

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Sand and Gravel

The ship seemed to be docked in the middle of two large gravel companies at Tonle Bet. Everyday, trucks would come and be loaded with gravel or sand from the boats. The gravel would be loaded by a backhoe into trucks. But the sand would be shoveled into a railcar that would haul it up the hill and be dumped. The picture is a bit shady but you can see the railcar going up. I caught these young boys gathering their own box of sand that they had loaded onto the back of a bicycle. I think they were distracted by the heat and decided to take a swim. They seemed to have more fun climbing up and jumping off the side over and over and over! gail

Friday, May 01, 2009

Morning Numbers

We have been at Tonle Bet this past week. The crowds were back. For some reason the last couple of months we did not experience huge crowds in line in the mornings. We would always fill our day with patients and the number we saw is all we could handle, but the masses were not there. It was actually a nice reprieve because it is hard turning away so many people everyday. Even though this is our third trip up the river we can’t see any kind of pattern where the location or time of year may cause this fluctuation of people. We are now staying five days at each location before moving on. This is a change from previous trips where we would stay two or three days at one village going north and then return for two or three more days when going south. Now we stay one week and do not return during the same cycle. gail