The Holidays…

This holiday season has been a lot of fun. A lot of the reason for that was who we spent it with. Lori got here from Canada two days before Christmas. Then the next day Steven Kings (Kayla’s sister and her family) came from Thialand, to spend 4 days with us.

Christmas Day we didn’t do much that was extra special. Just had a good meal, played games, and enjoyed some family  time. I guess that’s how the next couple of days went.

The one day we took Stevens out to Bakong, and showed them a lot of what we do here. It was fun watching their boy Isaiah run around with Forrest. Their family lived in a city for three years and barely got out so anything nature related was really cool.IMG_9106.jpg

On Thursday Charity got here from Alaska. We four oldest children would have gotten to know her fairly well at Beaver Lake Camp this summer, and she and Lori made plans then to come over together…A couple hours after Charity got here Stevens left.

On New Years Eve, we stayed up late and did our family tradition of putting together a jigsaw puzzle until midnight. A couple minutes before 12 we went up to our rooftop patio, and watched the 2018 come in with a bang…Literally actually…From our rooftop we could see fireworks that people put off all over the city. We weren’t quite surrounded by fireworks but it was getting close…

On Monday Frank’s Family invited us and Sen’s to go with them out onto the lake for the day. We rented a big boat and went way out on the lake for lunch. Soon after lunch we came closer to shore and went swimming.

On Thursday our family went up to Kulen Mountain for the day. It was a real treat go there, because it’s a bit expensive. We hiked down to the falls and were there for a bit before heading downstream away from all the people that were congregated around the falls. Once we found a place downstream that we liked, we sat down and ate a snack. Soon after that most of us children were wading in the river. About 4 o’clock we headed back up close to the falls. Much to our surprise everybody was gone…Apparently the sun going down behind the mountain or the time scared them off. Either way we had the place to ourselves and a few of us jumped in the pool there for another swim…

Then on Friday we spent the afternoon at a waterpark here in Siem Reap. We really enjoyed it, but were soon wishing the slides were higher/faster.

Saturday and Sunday were pretty much just normal, except for Sunday afternoon Lori headed back to Canada…We were sad to see her go, but she wasn’t quite as sad to go this time as she usually is..:) Those of you who are in the know, know why. The rest of you I guess you’ll just have to wonder…

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Here’s a family pic we took since we were all together again.

Well that’s all for this time…

Luke for the Helmuths

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December Busyness

December has been really busy right from the beginning of the month. On Monday the 4th Mom and Dad, went to Phnom Phen to meet with a lady about getting some paperwork in order. The meeting went well and they came back late Tuesday evening.

Before Mom and Dad got back from Phnom Phen, my cousin Kayla Yoder got here from the States. She is teaching my younger siblings for the rest of the school year:)

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Around the 10th the Khmer Christmas season officially started… Well, that’s what it seemed like anyhow. Over here all the churches do a Christmas party involving a service, food, and very loud music…We’ve been invited to at least 5 this year, and I know of 5-6 others…Maly’s church has their party early so that people aren’t as busy yet, so that was the first one we went to, which seemed to kick everything off.

I started teaching English again around on the 12th. I hadn’t started teaching English again after furlough, because I had to teach my siblings until another teacher could be found…Chandra had been teaching the classes, but she was leaving on the 15th so I took over for her.

On Wednesday the 13th we had all the staff along with their families over to our place for a farewell supper for Chandra. We also used the opportunity to pack 300+ little gift bags to hand out at our Christmas party, which was planned for the 16th.

Chandra headed back to the states on the 15th…We did a lot of preparation for our Christmas party that evening. Some of what we did that evening was tent set up, butchering a pig, buying vegetables, and practicing some singing.

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Practicing…

Early the next morning, things started happening for our Christmas party. Tables, stage, and sound system were set up. Food was prepared, and songs were practiced one last time. Then came the wait. On the invitations it said the program was supposed to start at 3 o’clock, but it was close to 4:30 before we finally got started.

The program went well. We had singing, Sokhom told the story of Jesus’s Birth, and Dad had a message on salvation (our reason for the party).IMG_9016

Half way through the program we realized we didn’t have enough tables and chairs for how many people had showed up so we quick went and rented more. Our closest estimate is that there was 430 people there. We had only planned for 350.

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Just part of the crowd…There was about another time this many to the right…

After the program came the food. All of us staff and some volunteers tried to serve everything as quickly as we could, but it was  really really hectic for a while. After finally getting everything served and cleaned up, we staff finally had a chance to eat, but there wasn’t any food left…Well that’s what we thought for a while, but Frank’s sister had stuck some back for us right when we started serving it. She said that she knows the Khmer people in the area and knew there wouldn’t be any left even if we’d have had twice the amount of food, because they’d just have taken more home if there was extra…

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There was a major traffic jam leaving once supper was finished.

The last of the month has been busy too, but because this post is getting long already I’ll just wait a week or two to post about the actual Holidays…

Well that’s all for this time…

Luke for the Helmuths

 

The Past Few Weeks

The past few weeks have been busy ones… It all started on the day before Thanksgiving.  That was the day a team from IGO got here on their mission trip. On Thanksgiving Day, we as staff took the day off. This gave us youth an excellent chance to get out the volleyball net and have a day of fun before everybody got together for our Thanksgiving meal. 

 

The next day, one of the IGO team members (Lori) headed to Phnom Penh for a meeting she had set up down there. The rest of us headed out to Bakong to help Sen with a building he is putting up for his sister to use as a sewing shop, but due to some miscommunication he had hired some Khmer guys to do the work so we didn’t have much to do… So Dallas and I took the two guys over to Frank’s place and pulled water plants out of his pond and ran them through a chopper for him. After lunch, we helped the Khmer guys Sen hired to mix cement for the floor of the building.

The next day was Saturday so we had the day off. We decided that we would take whoever wanted to go rat hunting. Chandra and the three from the IGO team that were still in Siem Reap decided to go along. So we were out on the lake all day and had moderate success. Sunday we tried some of the rat meat. Everybody who tried it declared it was good, and some even accused us of changing it out for chicken as a joke…

Saturday was also the day that Mali’s sister was readmitted to the hospital. She had been in the hospital around 2 or3 years ago with kidney problems and was miraculously healed after the doctors said they couldn’t do anything. Through this, her parents both became Christians.

On Monday Ryan and Austin took the team along with them drilling to show them that process, while I stayed home and started school with the children again (they took off Thursday and Friday).

On Tuesday they went to Elton’s house and were working around there. They made a chicken fence and did some other yard work. That evening everybody went over there for supper. After supper Mali called and told us that her sister was not doing good again. So Mom, Dad, Elton, and Laura went to the hospital to be with her while we played games with the children.

On Wednesday, Dad took the IGO group to Phnom Krohm to pass out bible story books. Austin and Ryan stayed at home and worked on the truck with Goy. I must say they did a lot better than the mechanics around here…

The next day had a lot of different things going on. The IGO group went to Angkor Wat in the morning. That afternoon they wanted to play volleyball with us one more time, before they left early Friday morning. After playing volleyball they took us youth/children out for supper. Mom and Dad would have gone to but they were on their way to Phnom Pehn for a meeting.

About halfway to Phnom Phen, Mali called them and told them that it was looking really bad for her sister. So Dad turned the car around and came back. They went directly to the hospital, and when they got there the doctors were still doing chest compressions on Maly’s sister to try and revive her. It was all to no avail though. Her sister ,who was a christian, went to be with Jesus that Thursday night.

Friday morning, we got up early so we could have breakfast before the IGO group left. Soon after breakfast Elton’s took them to the airport…While it may have seemed to them that they didn’t do that much mission work while here, it was great having them. Since there isn’t many youth here (two besides our family) it is refreshing having more youth to hang out with.

 After watching them head off to the airport, Dad quick went and got a piece of plywood to make a casket. Once the casket was finished, we headed for the funeral. The first part of the day was spent helping them get ready for the funeral. Then that evening they had a short service, with dad giving the message.

Mom and Dad left early Saturday morning to go out for the burial. Typical Khmer style it ran a bit late till the funeral procession got under way. Once it finally started, about an hour late, it took an hour and a half to drive from where it started to where the burial ground was.

The burial was fairly normal but there was one thing that stood out to Mom about it. When they opened the casket for final viewing, Dy La’s Fiancé  put one of  his shirts in the casket with her…

Well that’s all for now…

P.S. I didn’t have a pic of Alaina for the last blog…So I decided I’d put one in now…IMG_8642

Luke for the Helmuths

Catching Up

Well, I’ve figured out that I’m really good at one thing, especially when it comes to the blog. Procrastination…I’ve been meaning to get this written for the past month but it just hasn’t happened. Which means there’s a lot of catching up to do… When I left off last time with my cousins, a friend from US, and Chandra leaving with the Mountain View team that was here. That left it very quiet, but in a week or two it got even quieter. Eltons went home for a wedding, and since they were spending the money anyhow, they stayed for close to three weeks.

So our family was over here “by ourselves”. Really it didn’t change that much except for on Sundays. Usually our family goes to one place for church and Eltons go to another, but now our family had to cover both places. Sunday evenings we usually get together with Eltons and Royce’s (a Holderman family that we’ve learned to know). Since Elton’s weren’t here, it was just us and Royce’s.

Recently we’ve noticed that Alaina has a “lazy eye” so mid-October  Dad took her in to see the eye doctor. The Doctor prescribed a patch on one eye for 3-4 hours every day and glasses. It took about a month, but the glasses finally came. So now Alaina has a “new” look. She’s supposed to go in for another checkup in 2-3 months.

On Mom’s birthday Royce’s took Mom and Dad out for coffee. I think that it was a coincidence that it happened on her birthday though as Royce’s were taking them out as a thank you, because Dad fixed their serger sewing machine for them. Either way though they really enjoyed it.

The next day was Dad’s birthday. It turned out to be a really eventful day to for the well team. They managed to get the well truck very stuck. It was up to the running boards on one side and almost there on the other. After a lot of digging and using a big winch that we had here at the house the finally got it out.

On the Oct. 25th Dad was pretty busy. First off, in the morning Elton’s came back from the States. So he had to run to the airport to take pick them up. Soon after that Chhom called and said that one of the ladies from Bongmelia (Bing) had been in the hospital for 2-3 days to have a baby, but things weren’t going right. So they wondered if Dad could give them a ride in to Seim Reap where Khmer ladies can get good Doctors for free. So Dad drove the hour and a half out there and picked them up…Chandra also flew in later that evening.

It was two days later then that Bing finally had her baby. She and her husband stayed at our place for three days before heading back out to Bongmelia again.

In early November all of us staff guys (Khmer and American) except Dad took a two day moto trip to Pailin. The first day was basically just driving. Then the second day we went to up in the mountains to a waterfall and were there until a little after lunch. Then we headed home again. We had a lot of fun.

While we were gone on the moto trip the water festival was happening here in Seim Reap. The main event is the boat races. Teams from around the country go to the nearest large city to compete. There are about 16 guys paddling each canoe. They compete in head to head races slowly eliminating teams. Last one standing (or floating:) wins. It is very interesting to watch since it takes extreme team work. If they don’t work together the canoe is liable to flip.

There is also a lot of little shops that pop up along the river selling anything from cotton candy to mattresses. And as is the case with most holidays around here there are hundreds of people that come to town. This makes traffic jam up really fast. I wasn’t here for the worst of it this year, but one year traffic was bad enough that a normally 5 min drive took almost 2 hrs…I was happy enough to miss it this year…

Well that’s all for now…

P.S. Mom said if yall want to send Christmas cards you can send them to Lori Helmuth at:

PO Box 171
International Falls, MN 56649

Luke for the Helmuths

Back into Mission Life…

Well we are back…As you would expect furlough was very busy for us. What with reunions, us boys being at Beaver Lake Camp, and seeing friends, we were always doing something. For me the highlight of the summer was working at Beaver Lake Camp…It was nice seeing old friends from around “home”, but I no longer fit in where I used to anymore. So it is hard in a way everytime we go back. Don’t get me wrong we had a good time but it wasn’t all easy. I got to stay in the states a week and longer than the rest of the family to work, which I really enjoyed.

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Where most of the summer happened for me.

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This girl was a personal challenge for me over the summer. Right at first she wouldn’t let anybody new hold her, but by the middle of the summer she would let me and one or two others hold her.

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The biggest shock was coming back here to Cambodia. There has been so much stuff that has changed in just a 2.5 months that I’m not even sure where I fit in here anymore. Here’s a few of the changes: Michaels went home, Eltons moved to the village, and I don’t have the job that I used to because of school vacation. There are some other things as well but these are some of the most obvious. Regardless of the changes life moves on and you have to make your place again. It’s just not as easy as I wish it was sometimes.

Speaking of life moving on, it has really been moving since I got back. Alyssa, from our church at home, came back over with the family to visit for a month, so she was here when I got back. Two of my cousins were here as well. They came in on the same flight I did, so that was kind of cool. I knew they were coming but thought they were coming in that evening, and they thought I was flying in the night before, so we were all surprised when we ran into each other in the Guangzhou airport. Two days after I got back we got even more company. A group from Mountain View Nursing Home came to help out on the mission for their mission trip. Chandra used to work there so they really wanted to come see her.

We had a good time while they were here even though it felt a bit overwhelming at times. One of the main things we did while they were here was help finish out Goy and Nak’s houses. They had walls finished around the top, but the bottom foot and a half needed to be finished and they also needed doors so we did that the first two days. They also passed out Bible story books, helped paint a fence, and cleaned for Laura while they were here. They did some of the tourist stuff like the temples, silk farm, and we took them to see the fishing village.IMG_7972

I had a lot of fun with my cousins over this time as well. Whether it was playing volleyball with everybody, hanging out with just them, it was really good to have them around. My favourite day was the day they left:) Now before you judge me, read on. ..That was the only day we did anything as the family with just them. We took them to the Barai, basically a small lake that has huts with hammocks strung in them that you can rent for the day. We played games, talked, ate fresh fruit, and had a good time. All too soon we had to leave so they could  make their flight at three.

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The day after that, the team from Mountain View left, along with Alyssa and Chandra. Leaving it much quieter around here. Soon it is going to be even quieter yet, but more on that when it happens…

Well that’s all for now.

Luke for the Helmuths…

Counting the Days

Well, the last while has been pretty much just the normal. The Ryan and Austin go drilling. I teach English. Dad, Dallas, and Forrest either work with well team or on some of the agricultural projects we have started. Mom and the girls usually have plenty to do around the house. There has been an added excitement though, Counting the Days…For the last month at least almost daily we hear how many days it is until we leave on furlough. We are looking forward to seeing at least some of you while we are in the states. 🙂

Several weeks ago Dallas found some squirrels in a nest that had a lot of ants in it, so he took them down and has been feeding them by hand since then. For a while it was feed them and then they sleep. Then it got to the point that they would play a bit, but now it’s hard to keep track of them. They can jump out of their box and love running around. Dallas is working on a cage for them today so they don’t get away…20170607_202850

We found a little tractor for a really good price the other day, so Dad bought it. It came with a little tiller so that will be very nice. We also made a hitch so that we can pull a little trailer with it. It has come in very handy so far. Forrest was on cloud nine when Dad asked him if he wanted to drive it. It has a clutch so it’s still a little difficult for him, but he loves driving.IMG_6256

Last Friday all of ALAM Staff got together for supper. Before supper we had a lot of fun; there was some tractor rides for the children, somebody got a soccer game going, and there was a lot of talking and laughing. Chhom grilled some pork for supper (it was delicious and there was plenty of it).

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Soccer

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Tractor Rides:)

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Rachel

Friday was also my last day of teaching for a while. Micheal and Chandra nicely let me have 2 days off to get some things done (like writing the blog) before I leave for Canada. I head out tomorrow (Wednesday) along with Ryan and Austin. We are going to serve at the summer camp where Lori is in conjunction with our furlough. We will be there in Canada for 7 weeks before heading down to the states.

Next week on Tuesday the rest of them head for States. They will be somewhere in the US (it’s hard telling where exactly, cause it sounds hectic) until we are finished with camp then they’ll drive up to Canada to pick us boys up.

Here’s a little story that happened a while ago that I thought yall might enjoy. So I had taken Alaina to the market on the moto, and she was asking question after question. If i didn’t answer right away she yell my name to try to get my attention again, which would shift from her to the traffic . We finally got to the market and got what we wanted. When we started coming back it was the same story except this time she started wiggling yet too. She’s big enough when she wiggles it leans the moto a bit which makes it turn. This was fine for a bit, but soon we got into thicker traffic. So I told her, “Alaina you have to hold still. You are going to make us have an accident.” She says, “OK.” Paused to think, then, “But I don’t have to hold my mouth still.” and kept asking questions the rest of the way home.

And here are a few pics I really like…

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I’ve only seen this kind of butterfly twice… It’s a Five-Barred Swordtail Butterfly.

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Well that’s it for now…

Luke for the Helmuths

Visitors, Wedding and More!!!

This past month has been very busy. It seems as if we’ve had company all month long. If you count the whole mission we have! There were three or four days that our family didn’t.

If you remember from the last blog post the first part of the month we had a team from Hill crest here to help out. Two days after Hillcrest left, James and Ruth came. They were the first of quite a few people from Holmes County, Ohio that came for Jon and Veasna’s Wedding. James rode along with Dad quite a bit with while they were here. One of the more exciting things they did was go look at a house out in the village that we are thinking about renting. The whole family wants to move out there, but we are still getting numbers around and waiting on the board’s go ahead. It might not be such a big deal, but the house needs some remodeling, which might get expensive .

The first week of April was Jody’s last week of teaching. She was going home at the end of the month and letting Chandra fill her position, and there was a long break after the seventh for Khmer New Year. So she decided to just stop then and work on getting ESL supplies and worksheets organized. On the 7th we had our last day of English Class before the 2 week break for the Khmer New Year/Wedding. The Khmer school only took off a week and a half for the Khmer New Year, but with Jon and Veasna’s wedding at the end of the week we decided just to make the break two weeks long.

The morning of the 14th we woke up to quite a surprise. Some doors that we had shut and bolted before bed were open, and nobody in our family had opened them. After looking around a bit, we noticed that somebody had taken the keys for the gate and opened that and stole a few things. Whoever it was took a strange variety of things: my backpack for English teaching (but he nicely emptied out most of the contents), several pairs of flipflops, a truck battery, and a bicycle, along with a couple dollars of money. The scariest thing was that he was in the house. The only way that we can figure out that he got in was through a second story door that we forgot to close. We had never really worried about that door because there are no stairs. That  was the only door that was open, and all the windows have metal grates over them so that has to be the place he came in. Then the next week he came again. This time all he took was two truck batteries. I’d say it’s about time we got another dog…

Sunday the 16th a lot of Jon’s family arrived here in Siem Reap. Jon and Veasna had rented a house for the whole family to stay in, which was very nice for them. Those of the immediate family that didn’t show up on Sunday, got here the next day. We didn’t find much out from them, especially that first week. They were too busy running here and there trying to get stuff ready for the wedding.

On that Thursday, Dad took the board members that were here (James, Larry, and Delbert) to a very remote village that we had drilled some wells in. Well we got somebody else to drill them with a machine since we couldn’t drill by hand. They took along a submersible pump to put in the one well so most of the village can get water from there. It sounded as if they had a really good day.

The 22nd was the big day for Johnathon Gingerich and Veasna Bophin. Their wedding started at four in the afternoon. Well it was supposed to. It ended up getting pushed off for a little bit, because true to style, a lot of people were a little late. The wedding was a very nice “American” wedding with a Khmer twist. During the service there were children playing in the aisle and running around in the back. The reception was a lot more like a “Khmer” wedding. People kept coming in as the evening went on to eat and talk. Jon and Veasna had a bridal table, but they barely sat there. They were happily buzzing around talking with all the guests. When we asked some of the Khmer people what they thought of the wedding they said that they really liked the vows. In the Khmer wedding they wouldn’t verbally commit to each other as strongly.

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Jon and Veasna with her Grandmother.

Monday the 24th we started up classes again after our break. Attendance was really bad the first couple of days, but slowly more and more students started dribbling in until now two weeks later we are up to about full force.

Tuesday the 25th Wesley Miller, who was here for the wedding, was involved in a moto accident. He got banged up pretty badly with a concussion, three smashed/broken toes (they ended up amputating one), a broken collar bone, and some broken ribs (which poked a hole in one of his lungs. The Hospital sent him down to another hospital in Phnom Penh, where he was for 4 days. Then after he was back here in Siem Reap he was readmitted to the hospital to put a metal plate on the collar bone which had slipped way out of place. He is not allowed to fly till May 16th, so he has an unplanned extension to his stay.

The last week in April was full goodbyes. Almost all the people who had come over for the wedding went home that week, but more importantly (at least in our lives) Jody left for home on April 30th . She had been staying with our family while serving here as an English teacher for a year and a half. She will be really missed…

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Jody.

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We’ve been having some really nice sunsets recently.

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Well that’s about it so I’ll wrap it up for now…

P.S.    Sorry I didn’t have more pics to go with the blog this time.

Luke for the Helmuths