Our life in pictures

So, since it’s been so long since y’all have had an update. I’ll share pictures from the highlights of the past couple months.

We went out to prelinging for a house raising party for Chuen and Sokna, a couple from our church. The one roundabout on the way out was full of flowers. It being in Asia, we had to stop to take pictures=) aren’t the children adorable though?!

He learned a little English while with us…❤️
A week or so after they were here, he started saying random sounds strung together. He acted like we should understand him. He said he was trying to talk like Forrest. He picked up really fast! I taught him to say “thank you ma’am” and the kids taught him “ariba”.
The old school building turned house. The top part is our living quarters and the bottom is a school room, SALT office and literature book room.
Also, one random picture of some beautifully wrapped, artisan chocolate. Only two ingredients, Cacao beans and cane sugar. I discovered a place here in town that makes their chocolate bean-to-bar. You can go and watch the whole process, and they even let you sample all their flavours at the end!

Hope y’all enjoyed the pictures.

~Heather for the Helmuth’s~

Yes, We’re Still Alive!

Well, things have definitely changed since my last blog post. I know, it’s been a really long time! We’ve moved to a house in the village. And Lanita and Lydia left last Tuesday. We have been working on getting settled in and getting everything into running order the last couple weeks. Moving tires you out!


The past couple months we’ve been working on getting the house ready on the side of everything else. After working on the house so long, I think all of us dreaded moving. However, now that we are finally moved, it’s not actually moving. I love the big yard with grass and lots of plants! I’ve been cleaning it up and planting other plants in my free time. I don’t know why, it just calms me down and makes me feel so happy.

I loved having Lydia and Lanita around often the last week before they left. We’d play spikeball, work, or just sit and talk together. We’d play games late into the evening. My favorite was when we convinced everyone to play hide-an-seek in the dark. It made some good memories!

Star watching

We were talking about it the other day and we all agreed that a day off was far past overdue. We’ve been so busy for such a long time, and we never had enough time to go do something fun. Even our Saturdays were too busy. Dad has to preach every single Sunday, so that fills up saturday, his only day “off”, with preparing the message for sunday.


So we took off. Kind of anyway! The guys ended up having to work until around lunch. We went to the temple restaurant and ate a delicious lunch then headed out to angkor putt putt. We were almost there when the truck went into neutral and wouldn’t go back into gear. We pulled over and the boys checked out what was wrong. We decided that dad would go back to the house and bring the truck back to pull the mini truck to the mechanic while went putting.


So after mini golfing, we drove back to where we left the truck, hooked it to the other truck, and headed for the mechanic. We didn’t get very far before Austin was motioning for us to stop. “The wheel is coming off” he hollered up. The guys got off and pushed it back on. Then, we just barely started going again when it started falling off again! We laughed at our luck, and shoved it on again. Thankfully we didn’t have to stop again after that. When we finally got to the mechanic shop however, they said they couldn’t fix it there. So we turned around and finally found another one!

Pushing the wheel back on😅


After all that drama, we went to a small rollerskating park. We were the only ones there. So we could do pretty much much whatever we wanted. A couple of us fell more then a couple times, but it was fun! It was the first time I had done anything like that since we’ve come over! After we were all sweaty and tired out from that, we went and tried out a delicious falafel and kebab restaurant.


Veasna’s little sister wanted to travel up to phnom phen with the girls to be with her sister there. We waited for her at lucky mall for a long time, finally we called to see what was up. “Oh! We’re leaving now, we’re leaving now” they said. Veasna’s sister messaged a bit later saying that they were waiting on a tuk tuk! The girls needed to finish packing up and it was getting late. We called them back and asked if they could meet us at makro instead.


We were started for home when Lydia remembered that their clothes were still at the laundry mat! After discussing what to do, we asked one of the Khmer guys close to there to go pick up the white teachers’ clothes. We don’t know what the Lady thought, but she did give them to him!


Thankfully, after changes of plans to our day, we did get Veasna’s sister and the girls did get packed up in time! They have now safely made it back to their families. I hope they have fun, but I can’t wait to have them back! It’s looking like a long couple of months right now!
This last week we’ve been working on getting the last odds and ends in place. It is finally pretty much all put away. This Friday, Thain and Austin put up a fence around a little section of land and we moved banana and lemon trees over to it. We’ll see if it floods that high or not this year, hopefully not. We’re wanting to grow a variety of plants on the plot.

I apologize again for not keeping you updated for so long, just so much happened after we got back and I didn’t want to write. The precious little writing creativity in me vanished, to where, I have no idea. And there was so much to update on it felt like a huge task. I finally decided to just update on the past while for now, and if I ever get the urge to finish my unfinished the numerous others, I can. But I really will try to keep y’all updated more now!

Heather for the Helmuth’s

Home at Last!

Here is the last of furlough videos. This whole last part of furlough, as you know, was unexpected! We were going to leave on the 9th of September. But to get back home you have to have a negative Covid test within 72 hours of when you arrive! Our results came back positive! So we had a mandatory extra couple weeks of furlough! We quarantined with my uncles because we had been with them a lot beforehand and we didn’t have anywhere else that we could go…

Everything ended up working out! Our symptoms weren’t bad at all, so we tried to help Roger’s as much as we could! After quarantine we were there for a week. We did a decent amount then! Luke and steph came down for a couple days! Tony and Alex took us to do numerous things just for the fun of it! We watched home videos in the evening. And enjoyed the lovely fall weather! However I must say I was very ready to be home, to have a schedule everyday, and have a house to call our own! I’m glad to be back!

~Heather for the Helmuths~

The Wedding

Hello to all! Here is the next video. Sorry, I didn’t have many pics of when we were in SC, but it was definitely a highlight for me! I got to hang out with some friends from the area, and we did a lot with the family! It was relaxing for the most part!

Anyway, I think one more video should wrap up furlough! If you like the videos, with more pictures and videos let me know! I am thinking that I might keep putting videos together. It’s easier for me and I enjoy doing videos a lot more! Plus in my opinion, videos give you a lot better feel of what it’s like here! I don’t know for sure yet, we’ll see!

~Heather for the Helmuth’s~

It’s Been a While!

Hey everyone! I know its been a long time since I’ve written on here! The last time I did, we were getting ready to go to the states! We have been back for about a month, and out of quarantine for two weeks! Life has definitely been interesting since we’re back! But more about that later!

Writing about furlough and the wedding looked really big to me, so I kept putting it off! Finally I decided that instead of trying to catch up from all the way back in July, I’d just put together a lot of the pics and videos that I took and make a video with them. You’ll see more pics that way! And it’ll be easier and more enjoyable for me!

I’ve put together a few already, so I’ll link those for y’all now. And I’ll post the rest as I get the them done!

Until next time!

~Heather for the Helmuth’s~

Here’s a little update on our furlough…
Because of Covid, it’s harder than normal to get home. You need proof of health insurance, and a signed copy of a negative Covid test, no older than 72 hours, and you need to put a two thousand dollar down payment to get in. If at the end of the 2 week quarantine, you are still negative, you get most of it back.

Our original tickets were for Friday,the 11th, but our flight from Hong Kong to Siem Reap got cancelled. We rescheduled for Tuesday, but there was almost no way we could get the tests back in time since it was over the weekend.
So then we rescheduled for Thursday, and early Tuesday morning, we went to get get tested. It was not the most enjoyable experience! I dread having to do it three more times! We spent the next day not having any idea what was going to happen! The suspense was horrible! We didn’t even know if we’d get the results back in time! Thankfully we did! However it’s not the results I was hoping for! Dad and Dallas were positive, thankfully they didn’t get very sick at all!
So now we don’t know when we’re going back! Right now all of us have to quarantine. And since we don’t have a place of our own, we are staying at an uncles house. We’ve been here for a week already and we hate to be imposing so long but there’s nothing we can do! We all wish we would have our own house! But it is what it is! I am very ready to be home, to not live out of a suitcase, to have a schedule, and live in a house of our own again!
So this last week we have been living with uncertainty of what tomorrow holds. The doctor told dad that some people test positive months after they are over it. We are just praying that that doesn’t happen! Your prayers would be very appreciated and are definitely needed as we go through this whole process!

Heather for the Helmuth’s

A trip “home”

Furlough is over half way finished now! It went by so fast! But it’s been good!

It was quite surprising and a little bit depressing coming back! I knew COVID was pretty bad, but I had no idea how much affect it was still having on day-to-day life! I came back totally unprepared! Once we get here, I walk into a store and am blown away by the mandatory masks, directional isle markers and social distancing signs! It gives such a different feeling! People seem so much less friendly! You can’t see when they smile, and they seem scared to even come close to you! It seemed like for the first few days, that was all I heard! I have gotten more used to it now, but I still can’t wait to go home where everything is still pretty much normal!

The week after mom and dad came, they came up to Felix’s over the time of our cousin reunion! COVID, of course, changed how that worked out, it was a lot smaller, but we still had so much fun! Us cousin’s played ultimate frisbee, ate lunch and hiked up to a mountain!

After the reunion was over we headed up to Ohio to visit grandads! We were half way up there already when they decided he should probably go to the hospital to get checked out. Well, the results came back and he had double pneumonia AND coronavirus! That changed our plans! We stuck around for the week, hoping he would be released from the hospital soon. I really enjoyed getting to see friends from Cambodia there! It feels so good to see someone who knows where you come from, and knows the people you know!

Granddad is on the mend now, but we didn’t get to see him while we were up there!

Sunday after church, we headed down to Cincinnati area and met uncle Vernon’s, Luke and Ryan, at an Airbnb. We snacked and caught up late into the night. Early the next morning, we ate breakfast and headed out for the ark encounter. It was fascinating! Seeing the immense size of the ark! Seeing how they fed the animals, and all the displays! I learned so much just walking through! Vernon was more than happy to be our tour guide, explaining and pointing out interesting things, and leading us to the right place, well, most of the time! We got home mid afternoon and grilled steak for supper! We talked, and played games and laughed a lot! Luke and Ryan left later that evening…

The next day, those of us that were left went and toured the creation museum, once again with Vernon for our guide! We met some mennonites while we were there, so dad and Vernon made sure to introduce themselves and see if they had any mutual acquaintances! We used our last day with them and went hiking, it was very warm and muggy, but we enjoyed the beautiful scenery and the chance to be with them! It was sad to say goodbye!

At the moment we are in South Carolina, Cordell’s got here Saturday evening and Luke got here this morning! We have been so blessed by the generosity of the people here! We came to a supply of cookies, eggs, pancake mix, and much more! People have opened their homes for supper! And we have come home multiple times, and had baked goods, flowers, or notes on the porch! If you are one of those people thank you so much! I have loved being back here and reconnecting with old friends and making new ones!

So that gives you a brief summary of what we’ve been doing and where we’ve been! Sometime this week we are heading up to Tennessee to spend time with Luke and the Forry’s before the wedding. It is just around the corner! It’s next week already! And the week after that, we head home to Cambodia!

Until the next update, Heather for the Helmuth’s

Work Crews and Changed Plans

As some of you may know, the first three months of the year were full with work teams that came to help remodel the old school. The first group came in the end of January, while mom and dad were back in the states for a funeral. However plans didn’t go as expected! We didn’t get the work permit in time, so they came over without certainty of what they’d be doing. They worked on the big house a couple days but then APSARA said that it needed to be stopped.

You might not remember, but in March of 2018, we had an IGO team that came to help remodel an old house in the village. But the house ended up having termites, so it was just left as it was. A while back we got a permit to build a house on it, and since the permit was almost expired, we decided to do that instead. Due to the interruption of plans, the first team only got the foundation laid down and some of the sides put up.
The second team got here the day before Luke and Steph did. The team was lots bigger than the first one. We had the team over for supper a couple times. Sunday evenings were the biggest crowd of foreigners we’ve had over at one time for a long time! Our holdeman friends had family here since they just had twins. All together it was about 40 people that crowded into our living room! We took advantage of it and spent an evening singing! It is so nice to be able to sing English songs with so many people! One other highlight was having other American girls to play volleyball with. You rarely ever see Khmer girls play volleyball, so I enjoy every chance I get to play…

One morning some of the ladies from church and the women on the team got together to make donuts, eat lunch, and have a small bible study. Sounds of voices and and laughter came out of the kitchen. Eager children sampled the donuts. Well, devouring might be more factual! While Ruth was making lunch, a couple concerned ladies told Kompeak that they’re worried about how Ruth was making the rice. “She turned the burner off and the rice is still wet and soft! And she put seasoning in it too!” Kompeak then explained to Ruth that, after the rice is cooked, they turn  the heat and let it cook another 10 minutes. They say that if its still wet, they get a stomachache after eating it. They liked the food, but they were still puzzled why you would season the rice if it’s not for fried rice!

img_0626-collageI found the most out of the third team since Luke and Steph weren’t here. I helped a bit with painting, spent an afternoon with them at the water reservoir. We played lots and lots of dominion! We also took them rat chasing one day. It was really sad to see them go!
Thankfully it wasn’t as hard going adjusting as I was anticipating! While It was so refreshing to have other Americans close for a while, but it is also nice to be back to day-to-day life!

~Heather for the Helmuths~

New Family Additions

There’s really nothing quite as fun as spending time with the whole family is there?! Especially when you don’t get to see them very often! We were delighted to meet Stephanie! It’s weird to have a sibling dating and never have met her, but Luke definitely found himself an amazing girl! She’ll be a great addition to the family! I approve wholeheartedly of the match!

We had a work team here over the time that they were here so we didn’t get to do that much out of the ordinary… after a couple days we got to know each other better and the awkwardness vanished, and it felt like we’d known each other for lots longer than a couple days! Then we could talk about normal things and forget the small talk. Luke went to work with the guys a couple days, and took Steph to see the sights and meet the people she’d seen pictures of. His students were happy to see him! One Sunday evening, one of the Khmer ladies from Bakong invited some of the people from the church and ALL the Americans over for supper. And there was a lot of Americans! But she said she wanted to give them all a chance to try curry with rice noodles! It was a good experience for the team! most of them liked the it, but some were a bit hesitant to try Khmer food!d156a86e-773b-4cce-a781-7cb937965284

One night after the team had left from supper(it seemed like they left early that evening), after the house was cleaned up and we were almost ready to crawl in bed, I heard a shriek and laughter downstairs! I thought something must have hit the boys really funny! I pulled out the phone to ask them what happened and there was a loud banging and more laughter in the hallway by our bedroom… Carissa jumped out of bed to see what was so funny! She opens the door and screamed “LORI!” That was definitely not what I was expecting to hear! James and Ruth left early to go pick them up at the airport, they were the only ones who knew! Lori had us all feeling so sorry for her, she’d always send such pitiful sad emojis when she’d talk to us! It was around 11 when they got to our house. James had the key for the gate and let them in. Also this was the first time Cordell’s had been to this house so they had no idea what was where. All of the lights were off except for one room off to the side, they decided to just go in and HOPE it was a bedroom! Luckily for them it was, Mom, Dad and Luke were still up talking… We went downstairs and chatted for a bit the shock wore off and the drowsiness kicked in. It took a bit longer for the shock to wear off for Alaina. once she got upstairs she started weeping happy tears, she’d stop for a minute, come give me a huge hug and say “Joy! Peace! Happiness!” Then she’d jump for joy and start the whole process over again!

Thankfully we already had plans to take off and enjoy ourselves the next day! We went to the silk farm then at lunch and played games at the reservoir. Saturday evening we invited our closest friends over for pizza, and had an impromptu singing afterwards! Lori had so much fun surprising a couple of her friends! Mali’s reaction was priceless! She came out of the kitchen door, she saw Lori and her hands flew to her chest, “why?! What?!” Cordell’s were not here nearly long enough for us! Only six days!img_0699-collage

There was lots of laughing, story telling, and game playing in those 6 days. The lovely evenings sitting around the table, long after supper was eaten, talking of days gone by and days to come. Some especially exciting days to come! For starters, Mom and Dad are gonna be grandparents! We’re super excited! We tried to make the most of their time here, Luke and Steph’s flight got canceled and the left a day later, so that worked out nice for us! We honestly didn’t do that much, we just hung out and talked when we weren’t busy. We went shopping once or twice. Putt putting. Before we knew it, the time was up and they had to leave. Even though it was super short, we all loved it! The next time we’ll see each other is at Luke’s wedding!  686ba756-9689-4e7a-8fa2-a224a9d902c1

Until next time, Heather for the Helmuths

Weddings

I hope this finds y’all all healthy and hopefully not quarantined! I’ve been stressing out about getting everyone updated! There’s so much to write about that it was overwhelming! So I decided I’d break it up into smaller sections, and post them as they get done. Here is the first of many (hopefully)!

~Weddings~

In the last month we’ve been to two weddings. These were the first weddings that we were invited to the ceremony. (Here they only invite close friends and family to the wedding ceremony in the morning, then later in the evening, neighbors and other acquaintances come for the reception)

The first wedding was quite interesting not only because it was the first ceremony we were involved in, but also the boys got asked to be the groomsmen! It tickled me to see the guys in the traditional clothes! The groom was one of our staff members and comes to our church. His girlfriend lives close to two hours away, and the ceremony started at 7 o’clock, so we had to get up at 4 to get ready and left at 5. Despite the cold, I enjoyed watching the stars from the back of the truck! We don’t see many stars where we are because of the city lights.
I loved watching the ceremony, it was so rich in tradition. They had a very traditional Khmer wedding, but they also implemented God into it very much! They often set up tents and have the ceremony at the bride’s house. Once we got to her place they ushered us in. Every chair had a golden bowl setting on it with fruit or food of some kind wrapped in it. After about five minutes, everybody got up and walked down the road away. They call this part the “fruit walk” (traditionally the groom and friends would bring fruit to the bride’s family as a gift of acceptance). Everyone forms a line of two, walking beside someone with the same kind of food that your bowl has… the groom and groomsmen led the procession back to the bride’s house. When we got back to the brides house, her family met with the groom and they checked to make sure it was the correct house and the correct bride and groom, since all was correct, the fruit was given to the bride’s family.

After the fruit walk everyone was served shrimp rice Porridge for breakfast, with a side of loud music!

Later, two pastors, advocates for the bride and groom, asked the witnesses if the couple kept themselves pure. Some of the fruit that was brought was then put into two trays, given to the two families to taste, to make sure it is real fruit and that it tasted good. The actual ceremony asked a lot of the questions that a Christian wedding would have at home, if they’ll commit for life in prosperity or poverty, health or sickness.
One of my favorite parts was when they washed their parent’s feet to show their respect and thankfulness to them. Before they washed their feet they thanked them for what they did for them. It was emotional for both of them since both bride and grooms fathers are not living. So she had an Uncle stand in, he had his older brother stand in for the entire ceremony. They had a couple special prayers for the couple, then we finally ate lunch! Then everyone went home to rest and get ready for the reception.

At 4 o’clock guests that were invited for the reception started to arrive. The wedding party stood in the entrance welcoming the guests and handing out favors. They served 6-7 different courses, fish, beef, chicken, beef salad with ants (it was good!), soup, and a tapioca-lotus seed dessert! All accompanied with loud music! Sophon tried to get them to turn it down but they kept turning it back up! No alcohol was served, which was an answered prayer for the Sophon!

By the time we left, I had a throbbing headache from dehydration, the heat and the loud music!

If you’re interested in watching their wedding videos you can find them here and here.(notice the many different outfits throughout the day!)

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Here the guys have lavender shirts…

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and here they have on blue shirts (the pictures were only taken about 30 minutes apart)

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the bridal party

The second wedding was my friend Sreynit, the only other youth aged girl at our church. She got married to one of the staff guys. There is a bit of an age difference between the two, her only being 17 or 18. It was quite a surprise to hear that they were engaged! It was a bit hard for me to grasp, especially since she’s only a bit older than me! Their engagement was just over a month too!

The day before the wedding, Hong called dad and asked if dad could have a blessing prayer for them, he also said that we are supposed to be there at 8. Well, at 7 frank called and asked why we’re not there yet, it’s going to start any minute. Then we rushed! Once we got there everyone was lined up but thankfully they hadn’t started yet! It seemed like they picked the hottest and most humid day of the week to get married! Thankfully the church house had ac in it so it was bearable for a small part of the time. Sreynit’s wedding was very different from Sophon’s! Instead of having the fruit put on trays, they had a pastor and his daughter walk/dance up the isle and “picked” the fruit as they went. It’s interesting seeing different ways of doing it! They family then tasted the fruit (and made sure it wasn’t fake). Both parties were satisfied, so everyone went outside and ate rice Porridge together! We thought the music was loud at Sophon’s wedding but I think this was even louder! We were lucky to sit decently far away from the wall of speakers for breakfast! Their service was more westernized than Sophon’s, Sreynit walked up the isle on her father’s arm and wore a white dress (one thing very different from an american one was that all the bridesmaids wore white too). I sat in on a bit of it but most of the time I was out in the scorching heat, taking care of Selah. The poor girl was tired and the heat and loud music didn’t help! Poor Forrest took a couple too many turns on the merry-go-round, he declared that he’s NEVER going to ride one again! Their reception was at a restaurant later in the evening. They had lots of good sea food, octopus, shrimp, fish and seaweed salad, and a couple things that we are not sure of what it was!

Speaking of all these weddings, we are going to be having a wedding in our family this year! Luke and Stephanie are engaged!We are all super excited for them…

Till next time…

~Heather for the Helmuths~