Holidays!

There has been 4 holidays in the past two months…Thanksgiving, Water Festival, Christmas, and New Year.

Thanksgiving and the Water Festival were over the same time this year this made it nice for us because we could have off teaching English for both holidays at the same time. We had two days off for the two of them. For the water festival some of our family went down to the river to watch the boat races. We got started late so we only got there in time to watch the last race but it  was still fun watching all the people, especially the Khmer people. They had no idea that we could understand them. Most times they would just start counting. One, two, three… Six Children!! This was surprising for them, but it surprised them even  more when we told them that there was even more at home. Even though we only saw one race we still had a lot of fun.IMG_3333 Downsized

For Thanksgiving our youth group decided to do a supper for all the staff, and  a few other Khmer people. We spent most of the day setting up for it and getting food ready. While we didn’t have a totally american meal, it was still very delicious and we had a lot of fun with all our friends.

 

 

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This December Lori was here for a week and a half. While it didn’t seem like we did that much with her it was a lot of fun having the whole family together for a while again. We had a lot of stuff going right over the time of Christmas.

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Waiting for Lori.

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Lori’s Here!!!

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Catching up.

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First came the school children’s Christmas program. They did an excellent job with all their singing and a play about Mr. Scrooge.

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The Kindergartners.

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Dallas as Scrooge. Deanna brought him Pizza and tried to cheer him up.

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Scrooge in one of his dreams.

 

Christmas Eve we had a very good day that included a Christmas party one of the native families got together in the morning, swimming after lunch:), then our family gift exchange in the evening.

On Christmas day, all of the staff here got together for lunch. After lunch us youth tried to pull taffy. Simply put we made more memories than taffy:)

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The taffy started out looking OK!

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But something was wrong and soon it was just a sticky mess!

The Sunday evening after Christmas we had our annual Christmas party in the village. We spent the afternoon setting up, and making food. After the main part of the work was finished we had some time to relax before the party. After the party started there wasn’t time for relaxing any more it was rush rush rush until time to go home. We had a lot more people than we expected would come out. Nobody got a precise count but we know there was close to 250 people there. While having the party was exhausting, it was worth it for the opportunity to tell the Christmas story to so many people.

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Starting the Chili soup.

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Cutting up bread to eat with the soup.

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Almost finished.

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Relaxing.
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Part of the crowd. More people kept trickling in all evening.

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One of our two English classes. Each class sang two songs.

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Most of the people involved in the skit.

New Years Eve we got together for the evening and to watch the new year come in.

While it has been really busy the past while it doesn’t look like its going to slow down anytime soon, as there is company scheduled to be around from sometime in the next two weeks to the beginning of March. Not all of the company is for our family but it will keep things busy anyhow. One of the nice things  about having company come is that they can bring cards ect. along with them:) So if you wish to send us a card you can either send it to Matthew Millers who leave Ohio the 11th of January…If it doesn’t get there in time there are some youth that from the area that can probably bring it sometime in February. Their address is 7985 SPECHT RD
SUGARCREEK, OH 44681. Or you can send it to my Uncles who are coming the 11th of February their address is 22 Hickory Rd  Bonners Ferry, ID 83805. Thanks to those of you who got cards off in time for when Lori came. We enjoyed them.

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This time of year there are some amazing sunsets.

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Well this will be all for now…Luke for the Helmuths

Cards!!!

If you would like to send us a card or note you can if you hurry…Lori is coming over for Christmas!! (You can probably guess what the next blog post will be about:) You can send the cards to her at P.O. Box 171 International Falls, MN 56649 but it has to be there by the eleventh. Sorry we didn’t think about it sooner.

Luke for the Helmuths

Work, Dragon Fruit, Butterflies!

The past month has been really busy, but not with very blogworthy stuff. That’s what I thought until I downloaded pictures from my camera onto the computer…

One of the things that we did was put pavers down out at the Veasvan school. Because it is rainy season here the water level is only a little more than a foot under the ground there. As you can imagine, that makes the ground very soft. It was soft enough that the desks were sinking when you sat on them making it very difficult to teach.

First you make a retaining wall for the sand.

First you make a retaining wall to hold in the sand.

Then you shovel in 4-6 inches of sand. Level it out and pack it.

Then you shovel in 4-6 inches of sand. Level it out and pack it.

It took two truckloads of pavers.

It took two truckloads of pavers.

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Next you  put the pavers down…easier said than done:)

Day's after we started, and it's almost finished...

Day’s after we started, and it’s almost finished…

Another thing we did was get a dragon fruit plant. While you can buy dragon fruit at the market, it is not near as good as the fruit that is picked when it is ripe. So we decided to buy a plant and hopefully next year we will have fruit from our own plant. At first we thought it would be easy to get the plant out, but it wasn’t. The plants have briers on them so it took four people to carry out one plant…It was enough work that we decided only to buy one of the 5 plants we were going to buy!

Digging out the plant.

Digging out the plant.

Almost ready to carry out.

Almost ready to carry out.

Dragon fly that was sitting on the Dragon fruit plant...

Dragon fly that was sitting on the Dragon fruit plant…

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This past Saturday we decided to go to a butterfly farm. I was disappointed that there weren’t more kinds of butterflies, but they had some very interesting flowers…Either way we had a lot of fun. On the way home we stopped at a little stand and bought a bunch of dragon fruit. Alaina especially seemed to think that they were delicious:)

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These two women were making these “candles” for a ceremony the monks were going to give for an old man that was sick and they thought was going to die. IMG_2334 Downsized IMG_2337 Downsized

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Two sisters sharing icecream…

Well that’s all for this month…Luke for the Helmuths

Doing things yourself!!

Recently life has been pretty busy, but in the midst of all the business you still have the normal things that you have to do. You also find some things to do that aren’t so common like making coconut oil. Making the oil is fairly simple, but it does take some time. First you have to take the shell off the coconut so that you can cut it open. Doing it to one doesn’t take very long, but if you have a pile of 40 coconuts you are definitely really glad for everybody that is helping.

Geting the peal of so you can crack open the shell.

Getting the peal of so you can crack open the shell.

After you have  pealed the coconut you need to cut it open and pry the meat from the shell. We had  15 kilo of just coconut meat from the forty coconuts.

This is only a little bit of the meat that we had.

This is only a little bit of the meat that we had.

Next you need to blend the coconut adding enough water to get it to grind it easily.

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When you strain this it gives you the coconut milk.

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Once you have the coconut milk you let it set over night for the cream to separate.

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You can see the cream on the top.

Then you take a dipper and scoop the cream off the top.

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Next you cook it, and that’s about all there is to it…while it is simple to do it is time consuming.

The brown stuff you need to strain out of the oil when it cools.

The brown stuff you need to strain out of the oil when it cools.

Another thing that we have been wishing for ever since we came was a better grill something that will put the smoke flavor in the meat like our green egg at home used to. Well Dad got the bright idea of making one himself. He bought two cement flower pots, and made a tray for the fire in the bottom. He needed it raised off of the bottom of the pot so the air could get under the fire so he made a form with sand and put the cement in this.

He put cement over the sand.

He put cement over the sand.

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He cut a hole in the side of the pot and put a metal slide over it to control airflow/temperature, and cemented a can over a hole in the top for a chimney this also helps with controlling the temperature. Right at first we had problems opening the lid since there are no hinges on it but soon we rigged up a pulley system so all you have to do is pull the rope and the lid comes up. While this might not all make sense to you, I’m sure you would agree that the meat that comes off of it is delicious and that is what is important.IMG_2015 Downsized

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Another thing that we’ve been having to do for ourselves is getting the truck unstuck…Usually it’s not to bad but sometimes it takes quit a bit of digging and pushing before it will come unstuck.

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Don’t think it’s going anywhere:(

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Hey!! It came unstuck:)

No matter how much stuff like this we do for ourselves it is still not even close to what the natives do…Take planting rice for example. First they till the ground and spread the rice fairly thick across the field. Then they go pull the rice all out and tie it in small bundles. Next they poke holes in the ground at even spaces, and poke two or three plants in each hole. A very time consuming process if you do it by yourself.

The rice was pulled out and tied in bundles.

The rice was pulled out and tied in bundles.

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Recently we had a team come down from IGO for a week and a half. They helped us out with various jobs. They did some teaching, helped clean up a soccer field, put water sealer on desks, passed out some 25 Bible Story books. It was a lot of fun having them around, not just because they helped with the work either!!

The IGO Team

The IGO Team

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Passing out Bible Story Books.

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Busy reading the new book.

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It’s a lot of fun to watch the children come running to get a book.

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Playing soccer on the freshly cleaned field.

Forrest started kindergarden and is learning how to read. He is loving it.

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First day of school!

Franks little girl is growing up, and it seems like she gets cuter every day. To the girls chagrin and us boys’ delight she definitely prefers us boys.

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The rest are just pictures that I thought you might enjoy.

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Orchids on the porch upstairs.

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MIRACLES

This past month a Miracle happened in direct answer to Frank’s prayer. Before you hear the story, you will need a little bit of back ground on him and his family so that you will fully appreciate it.

Frank is the only Believer in his family. He has four siblings. His oldest sister is the principle where we started out teaching school. We moved our English classes away from the school, because they needed the classroom we were using and we were not allowed to sing Christian songs there as it was a public school. We have felt that his sister has always been watching us to see what Christians are really like, at one time she started coming to church, but soon stopped because of the distance. His mom had attended church long time ago, but the pastor in her church was unfaithful, and did some things that later everybody in the church found out about, because of this his mom decided that if that was what Christians were like she wanted nothing to do with them. In the last few years however she has been watching our family and also Matt’s family, and now she says that she knows Christianity is a good thing, but she is to old to change. However she would like her children and grandchildren to become Christians.

In the past couple of months Frank’s mom has been struggling colon cancer, but there wasn’t much the doctors could do. This past month it was steadily getting worse. Thursday night she was vomiting and having some trouble breathing, so they took her to a hospital  here in Seim Reap. This hospital was known to be good and very cheap, but when they got there they found out that since a lot of foreigners had started going to that hospital they had raised the prices so much that they could no longer afford to keep her there for long. The doctors recommended a hospital in Phnom Penh, which is a 7 hour bus ride away. Since there was nothing more they could do for her that night they took her home, then on Friday Frank’s older sister took her to Phnom Penh. When they got in Phnom Penh the doctors started to do some testing ect. Since we found out that she had colon cancer our church here has been praying for her and the family. Our main prayer was that through her sickness she and the rest of the family could come to know God.

The next day was Saturday. It was very hot with an intense sunshine, as there were no clouds in the sky. This type of weather is very unusual in the rainy season. Frank was scared that if he didn’t water all his plants and his rice field they would die, so around ten o’clock he went out to get them watered. He started spraying water on his rice fields, but almost as soon as the water hit the ground it all dried up again.

While he was busy with this his sister called with some bad news. The doctors said there was probably very little they could do for her. If she got strong enough they could do surgery, but she was going to need more blood to regain her strength. The hospital had blood to give her, but there policy on this was that if they gave a patient blood they needed somebody else to give blood in return. So Frank, his brother, and Chhom needed to go down to Phnom Penh right away to give blood. When Frank heard that there his heart sank. He knew that he couldn’t go right away because he needed to finish watering the plants or they would die, and there was no one else around to do the watering. When he was feeling discouraged about this he thought about God, so he started praying. He prayed that God would help her because the doctor said that they couldn’t do anything for her until she got her strength back. He also asked God that if he heard him he would send rain to show him. Up to this point there was still no clouds in the sky, but around 12 o’clock it started dumping rain. Since it was raining, he no longer needed to water the plants, and could get ready to go to Phnom Penh right away.

Later, he told his some of his family and they all agreed that it was God that had made it rained.

Frank’s mom did regain enough strength to do surgery, and is recovering from that.

I have two prayer requests to go along with this. The first one is that Frank’s family could become Christians through this, and the other that his mom could be healed.

Luke

FURLOUGH!!!

It is hard to believe that our furlough is already gone…I guess time flies when you are busy. We did a lot of stuff on our furlough, but we started it off with the best thing of the entire trip, seeing Lori.

It all started on June 11 when we flew from here to the US, but it was the afternoon of the 13th before we arrived at Beaver Lake Camp in Canada. Needless to say we were very excited to see Lori. After the rounds of hugs were finished we went inside to eat lunch and do a lot of catching up.

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Lunch Time

If you knew our family before we came over to Cambodia you’ll know that our whole family loves fishing and that was high on our priority list. Fortunately for Dallas he was only fourteen and could fish under somebody else’s fishing license. So almost right away he was down at the lake fishing and caught a nice Northern Pike. The people at the camp said that they didn’t know that there was any that big in that lake. Dallas was one very happy camper. After a couple of days the rest of us got our licenses and spent a lot of our free time fishing. We had some really good luck for smaller pike, sometimes each of us catching over twenty in a day.

Dallas's 35

Dallas’s 35″ Pike.

Fishing, a family activity.

Fishing, a family activity.

The only walleye of the trip

The only walleye of the trip.

One day we decided to go back to the corral, a place set up for camping back in the sticks, to cook some chili soup over the fire for lunch. This was as close to camping as we got, but it was a lot of fun and the food was delicious. The corral is right next to a big field that had a lot of beautiful wild flowers in it. Heather and Carissa picked some beautiful bouquets, while the soup was cooking. The soup was really good but just relaxing together as a family was a lot better.

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One day we really enjoyed going to a picnic with all the Beaver lake camp staff. We had a lot of fun even though it didn’t get much above fifty five degrees with no sun and a nice cold breeze. It was cold for everybody, but especially us.

Bean Toss

Bean Toss

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Another thing that we enjoyed doing was going out on the canoes on the lake after supper. It was a bit chili some evenings but it was still a lot of fun. Sometimes we just sat on the dock with the guitar. Either way it was still fun.

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We also helped Lori get the cabins ready for camp, painted some archery targets, and did some other odd jobs to stay busy and help out. All too soon though it was time to say good bye. Lori gave Forrest a stuffed moose as a goodbye present, and told him that if he missed her he could just hug the moose. Well for the first couple of hours he was crying softly and hugging that moose as hard as he could. All of us were feeling that way to some degree, but the younger ones showed it most.

From Canada we drove all night to Ohio to try to get there in time for a board meeting that Friday, but found out after we got there that the board meeting had been postponed to Monday evening. That was a bit disappointing, but it wasn’t the end of the world. Since we didn’t need to go to the board meeting, we went to straight a friend’s shop where he makes candies and had a tour of that along with some free samples.IMG_7106IMG_7134IMG_7123 Edited

I also needed to get training on a new accounting software, while I was in Ohio. We decided to do that first thing so that Friday I went up to CAM to get training for that. It turned out that they weren’t exactly sure what they were supposed to be telling me and I wasn’t sure either, so they gave me a basic over view of the software. It ended up that I had to fly up from South Carolina for another meeting a couple weeks later.

There wasn’t that much going on the next couple of days. On Saturday Mom really enjoyed meeting up with her best friend for coffee. Monday a highlight was shooting clay pigeons. Then that evening they got a volleyball game together for us youth while mom and dad went to a board meeting. We ended up staying till around 12 o’clock, and we still had to pack to leave the next morning early. It was definitely worth it though.

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We teach them young.

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It ended up that we didn’t head out the next morning quite as early as was planned, but by 8:30 we were on the road for a Yoder reunion in Tennessee. That evening we had fun catching up with cousins that were there. Lori and Tony, ya’ll were definitely missed very much. The next day we were planning on playing softball, but the field was about little league size with waist high grass just past the outfield. We knew right away that wasn’t going to work, so somebody ran into town and bought a whiffle ball set. We had fun playing that instead. Most of the day was taken up with that and some other activities. Since everybody was heading out the next morning after breakfast, some of us cousins decided to extend our time together by staying up all night. It might not have been the smartest thing to do, but we sure had fun!

After breakfast, we headed for South Carolina. We stopped at Grandad’s place on the way home to chat before heading the four remaining miles to our place. It was very different being at Grandad’s and not having grandmom there welcoming and fussing over us. It hit dad the hardest but she was definitely missed by all. After a while we headed on to our place. There was definitely some mixed emotions about getting “home.” This place feels like it should be home but yet it doesn’t feel like home anymore. (For me,at least. Mom thought it felt like home.) It was good to be back though.

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Friday we spent a lot of time cleaning up around our place and grandad’s place before all dad’s siblings got together to go through grandmom’s stuff. Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday we were together going through stuff.  One exciting thing that happened on friday evening was that Grandad and Freda Yoder announced their engagement. We had a good time with the people that were there, but all to soon everybody headed back home again.

Announcing the engagement.

Announcing the engagement.

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That didn’t mean stuff slowed down for us though. Instead of going into all the details of where we went suffice it to say that we had something going every evening. I really enjoyed everything we did while we were there, and all too soon it was July 16th time for Ryan, Austin, and I to leave. Ryan and I were headed to California to help my uncle put together chicken cages. Austin was going to the Idaho Wilderness Boys Camp as a camper. We would be states side 2 weeks longer than the rest of the family who came back July 21st.

Ryan, Vernon, and I had a lot of fun batching it and working. The next two weeks were full of work during the day, and fun at night. The second Saturday we went to san Francisco and spent the day walking around the wharf and going over the Golden Gate bridge. It was a lot of fun just watching the people and street performers. One night Ryan decided to give himself a haircut. This might not have been worth mentioning except for the style of haircut he did. It ended up that it was all about a quarter of an inch long. When he came down the stairs I had to look twice. The third Saturday evening Austin, my aunt Jean, and Jared came flew down from Idaho. We had a lot of fun that Sunday afternoon along with some amazing food. Early Monday morning we had to leave for the airport, and Tuesday evening we arrived back home in Siem Reap.

This is how bachelors cook:)

This is how bachelors cook:)

Before the haircut.

Before the haircut.

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and after.

Street performer.

Street performer.

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Life has been busy since we came back so I might start writing another post right way. But this is all for now.

Luke for the Helmuths.

Recent Highlights

In the past two months since Lori left there hasn’t been many blog worthy happenings, but I’ll try to tell a few of them. But first are a few random pics i thought ya’ll might like.

Frank Chillin out :)

Frank Chillin out :)

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Alaina…

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One of the highlights in April was a visit from Elvin and Ruth Martin. They live about 45 minutes from our place in South Carolina, but had been living with the DNI mission in Phnom Penh for 6 months. They decided to stop in for two days on the way up to Thailand. We had a lot of fun showing them around Siem Reap.

In the beginning of May they started filling in the pond across the road from us. Grrr. The little bit of country side around our house is fast disappearing. They finished filling the pond in and connecting the drain line the other day, and I am guessing that they will soon start building a house on the lot.

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On May 12th Ryan left to go back states side for Bruce Wagler’s wedding, and to work for a month before we come back on furlough. So far he has been having fun working and connecting with friends again.

The night after Ryan left we had a visit from some Mennonites that are starting a mission in Battambang. It was fun having visitors, even if we didn’t know them before. They were very glad they stopped in, because we told them about CAM’s 25 Bible Stories books that we had printed. They had been looking for something like them but didn’t know anybody had any in Khmer. They took a couple hundred that night. They soon had these all passed out and were wondering if they could have some more to hand out. We gave them 4000 more, and they are already wondering when we could do a reprinting as they would like to help expenses on it.

Then Monday the 18th a mission team from Hillcrest came to spend just a little over a week here. We had a lot of work for them to do and pretty much kept them hopping from the time they got here to when they left. Don’t get me wrong, we had a lot of fun with them to, but it was busy enough that a week seemed like 2 maybe 3 days. On Monday afternoon after they got here they went out and passed out Bible Story books at one of the village schools. We stood beside the road on both sides of the school, so that the teachers wouldn’t get in trouble for having Christian literature passed out in the school. Soon the kids started coming from the school and word got out that we were handing out books. A big crowd came rushing out and in a couple of minutes 400 books were gone and there were still kids that hadn’t gotten any. That evening a big storm came through that blew over 20+ electric poles and some houses, including Sokhum’s sister’s house. So Tuesday morning we went out to her place to help her take her house apart and salvage what building materials we could. We had the house apart before lunch so we took a long break trying to figure out if we could help anybody else in the area, before eating lunch and going home. That evening we went out to the village and they taught all the younger classes. Wednesday morning we went to teach English again. Then after lunch we went to the floating village…While there I sold my camera to one of them J, but after Wednesday I don’t have any pics.L Sorry for that, but I wanted it sold and wasn’t sure how I was going to sell it so I was very happy for that. Thursday we loaded up on the white truck and went to a poor fishing village to hand out Bible Story books. This village is back off the main road and the people back in there would see very few foreigners. Handing out books was a huge success. The children came swarming for the books, and even the adults were happy to have them. In 4 hours we had handed out all 2000 books we had along. The only downside of the day was that it was very hot. I think everybody was sunburned when we headed for home.  Friday we had a work day out at the school. We cleared out some brush and leveled out five dump truck loads of dirt by hand. On top of this we also spread out half of a termite mound. Needless to say everybody was very ready to go home by the time quitting time came around. Amazingly we still had enough energy to play volleyball for youth in the evening. Saturday morning they went to Angkor Wat with Mom and Dad, while us children spent a very relaxing day at home. Then after lunch they went to the silk farm with Matt. Monday the biggest project for the girls was painting Miriam’s kitchen for her. Then in the evening most of us went up to the mountain to watch a beautiful sunset. Tuesday morning they headed back to Phnom Penh to catch their plane back home. They were a big blessing to us while they were here. All the work they did and also just having more youth around was a lot of fun.

The house that blew over.

The house that blew over.

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Taking apart the roof.

Taking apart the roof.

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The floating village.

The floating village.

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Crocodile

Crocodile

Where did he go? :)

Where did he go? :)

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Isn’t he cute…photo credits Ashlin Good.

Some of them were brave enough to try the half incubated duck eggs.

Some of them were brave enough to try the half incubated duck eggs.

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Well that was up to two weeks ago, right now things are really busy, because WE ARE COMING HOME ON FURLOUGH TOMORROW!!! So as you can imagine with a family of 9 (the oldest two aren’t here) it takes a lot of work to get everything packed and ready to go, get the house cleaned, and do all the last minute things (like getting this post finished). We did have one disappointment though. We bought our tickets planning on being there six weeks almost seven, but found out this week that the tickets are made out for five weeks almost six. It looks like it will be a really busy five weeks and I will try to fill you in on what happened when we come back.

So until next time…

Luke for the Helmuths.