Sometimes it is really hard to think of something new/interesting to write on the blog, but this time it was really easy. Last week Dallas and I got the chance to go fishing with some of our friends from Kompong Phluk, the fishing village where we have done a lot of wells this past year. Right when we started drilling there the people were very closed to us, and also to the 3 Christian families living there. Now they seem to be a lot more open, and the Christians there are some good friends of ours.

Kompong Phluk is located on the Tonle Sap Lake. The Tonle Sap is a fresh water lake right in the middle of Cambodia. It is interesting for several reasons. First of all is the size, it is huge in dry season (1,000 square miles), but that is nothing compared to rainy season when it increases to around 6,200 square miles. Second is the depth, during dry season the average depth is 3 feet. During rainy season it can rise around 30 feet. The third thing is that there are at least 150 species identified in this lake! One more interesting fact is that the river that drains the lake part of the year reverses and fills it part of the year. You can read about the how and why online. You can find a lot of pictures of this village online if you google the name of the village…


Kompong Phluk.

The fishing season just opened two or three weeks ago, so the people there are busy trying to catch as many fish as they can before the season closes.  The season lasts for around 2-3 months, but the fish they catch in this time slot is their main source of income for the year so they really go for it. All of us boys, wanted to go with them fishing to see how they do it, and Dallas and I got the chance to go with them last week on Thursday.

On Thursday morning, I told Frank to ask them when would be a good day to go with them. Thursday afternoon at about 3:30 Frank told me that they thought that it would work really well to go out that evening and go with them the next morning. I rushed home packed some stuff into a backpack and rushed to the river for the boat ride down to the village. Even so it was dark by the time that we got there. After siting around and talking  for a while, we decided it was time to go to bed since we would be getting up at around 4:00 A.M. to go fishing.

I had gone swimming for a couple hours that day and was really tired. Since it wasn’t to hot I figured it would be really easy to get to sleep, but I was wrong. I don’t think I slept more than 2 hours that night, mainly because of the noise. All night long there was something going on. For a while, there was people getting home on their little boats. Their boats are very loud because they take the muffler off to make so the engine is a bit stronger. After most of the people were home you could babies crying and the occasional argument from the surrounding houses. Around 11:00 o’clock the big boats started going down the river as the first groups of fishermen headed out to the lake to get an early/late start. This kept up until around 12:00 when all of a sudden it started pouring rain. The rain made enough racket on the tin roof to keep me awake. Once  the rain stopped, the fishermen started going out to the lake again. On top of this every time that Dallas moved the house would shake a bit…All said it was a very long night.

That morning at 4:00 we got up and loaded up the nets on the the boat. Let me describe the nets a bit. They are gill nets, that come in sections or “hands” that are ten meters long and one and a half meters wide. There is a thin rope threaded through the top and the bottom of the net so that you can handle the nets, because the nets themselves are super thin and would tear with only a little bit of pressure. They tie 30 hands together with a little bit of space between each hand to make one stack. So one stack is over 300 yards long. Every 5 yards or 10 yards there’s a float tied to the top of the net to make so it  floats. On the bottom there are weights to make so the nets would stretch out nicely.

Soon Nak showed up and we headed out. Dallas was with Nak and his wife, and I was with Goy and his daughter Srey Neak. It was close to a 30 minute boat ride out to where we were going. It was relaxing heading out. There was clouds all around us, but right over head was a patch of clear skies with a bunch of stars. It just a little chilly (probably 77*). When we got close to where we where going, Nak and Goy headed to different parts of the lake to drop the nets.

When we got close to where Goy wanted to drop his nets, he turned off the boat and helped Srey Neak get things set up to get started. On the one end of the net they tied a float that had a flag on it, and to the bottom of this they tied an anchor to keep the nets from moving when we started dropping the nets. After the net anchor was set Goy started the boat and let it idle along. This pulled the neatly folded nets off the boat.  He was steering the boat and making sure the bottom of the net didn’t get flipped over the top of the net at the same time. While he was doing this, Srey Neak was making sure the stack of nets didn’t get tangled up so that the net could would pull off easily. When the first stack of nets was almost all dropped she found the end of the first stack tied it to the beginning of the second stack. They made it look really easy, but twice we had stop to pull some of the nets back onto the boat to get the placement correct. I was very suprised that there was already quite a few fish in the net in the 15-20 seconds in the water. The third stack they dropped at a different place, but did it the same way. All this time, I was going from the one place to another trying to stay out of the way.

By the time the nets were all dropped it was daylight. After a bit, Goy drove back along the nets making sure that the nets were placed right. At one place, we had to tie the net back together because another boat had driven over it and the propeller hand cut the net, but that was the only problem.

After the nets are dropped, they need to sit for at least 2 hours to give the fish time to get caught. While we were waithing for this, we headed over to where Nak was and had a bit of a snack to tide us over till breakfast. After sitting and talking with them for a while we headed back to pull the nets. We started at the end of nets that was furthest from home so that we’d be working our way closer.

Pulling the nets is the work part of fishing. You need two people to do it. One person pulls on the top of the net and the other person pulls the bottom of the net. This pulls the boat along while picking up the net. While you are pulling, you try to stack the net neatly enough that when it comes time to clean it the net isn’t all tangled up. You also pick the sticks and trash out of the net.

For the first string of nets, I watched as Goy and Srey Neak pulled the nets in, trying to watch how they did it. On the second and third strings which were tied together, Srey Neak and I pulled the nets onto the boat while Goy paddled the boat along. This made so that the pulling wasn’t quite so hard. It was a bit tricky getting it right. You had to pull at the same speed as the other person so that the net stayed stretched correctly. It wasn’t hard work but pulling all the nets in took close to two hours. Once the nets were all on the boat,  we headed back to the house to eat breakfast and clean the nets.

There are two ways to clean the nets, you can either do it by hand or you can use a machine. To clean the nets by hand, you park the boat next to a hut or room that is completely screened in. The screen on the bottom is usually in the water so that the fish can fall into water staying fresh longer. You pull the net through the room and hit the net with loops of nylon rope, which knocks the fish out of the net. Or you can use the machine which has 4 pieces of hose connected to two wheels. When it spins it hits the net as you pull the net over it. The problem with using a machine is that sometimes the net gets tangled on hoses, but it’s a lot easier than doing it by hand.



You can kind of see the screened room.

After the nets are all cleaned, somebody will come to buy the fish. They scoop the fish into baskets. Each basket is then weighed, because this type of fish is sold by the Kilogram. Then the fish are poured into a cooler with ice. The day that we went along, the boat that I helped on caught 111 kg (244 lbs.) of fish!


It probably took 8 hours from the time we started dropping the nets till we were finished cleaning them. Goy said that sometimes they can do the process twice in one day.

Sorry I didn’t take my camera along to get pictures of the entire process. Well this is all for this time…

Luke for the Helmuths



Schools Starting and Stopping

The title might be a little deceptive, but it is true. Only it is two different schools instead of only one…

We (the English teachers) had decided a while ago that we were going to either slow down or stop having English classes when the Khmer school takes their summer vacation. The children’s attendance usually slacks way off when their school isn’t going, and some of the teachers were getting burned out from planning lessons. The teaching isn’t that bad they’d say, but planning the lessons is just work. I was the lucky teacher that had the students that still didn’t know the ABCs and therefore took very little lesson planning. So I was pushing to keep having some classes, especially since I really didn’t know what else I’d do during the day.

Around three weeks ago, my tune really changed. My sibling’s school books arrived at the post office, and less then a week later we started school. I got drafted in to being the teacher for the Dallas, Heather, Carissa, and Forrest until we can get a teacher to come over and take the job. That first week was hectic. I was trying to organize the school books, find all the answer keys, and set up lesson plans while still teaching two English classes. It might not have been to bad if I hadn’t procrastinated so long. I was going to do it on Saturday and Monday since we wanted to start school on Tuesday, but Saturday was one of a long list of busy Saturdays. So that left Monday to do the work I had planned for two days. I found out in a hurry that i should have planned at least three days, but eventually got most of the job done. Tuesday the 16th we started school (we wanted to start early enough that we can take a furlough in early may of next year). That morning from 8:00 to 8:30 I was so busy telling the three oldest what I had planned, that a very excited first grader didn’t even get to start school before I left to teach English. Within the first week, I saw that it wasn’t going to work to try to get the three oldest started and teach a first grader before school. So I asked Jody if she would mind teaching Forrest. She is going to teach him until the new teacher comes for which I am very grateful.🙂

During this time, we kept discussing what we wanted to do with the English classes. We finally decided that we would stop teaching English for 2-3 months, but we would go out every Friday to do more of a Kid’s Club.  Last week, we told them a Bible story and played games with them. While the attendance wasn’t just amazing, it was better than I expected it might be. We’ll see what happens with it as we go on from here.

The last Friday that we taught English we took out hot dogs and brownies and spent the evening with the children. Most of our regulars came. I think there was around 80 total.

Do you remember the string of busy Saturdays that I mentioned. The last 7 or 8 weeks we have had something come up. Whether it was helping people do modifications to their houses, help move a church, or natives wanting to come visit our house. We have been extremely busy. It was bad enough that one of the guys that works for us said,”The day that we usually rest is busier than the days we work.”

This past week and a half we had a team from Mountain View Nursing Home here. One of the main things they helped us do was build a bathroom for the school/church in Bakong. We still don’t have it completely finished, but they definitely helped us a lot. The girls also helped with cleaning and baking around the house. While we gave them a lot of work to do, we also had a lot of fun. Volleyball, Scotland Yard, and making bamboo firecrackers (for lack of a better term) were among the highlights for fun. We also took them to the floating village which was probably more of a highlight for them than me, but it was still fun.


The bamboo “firecracker/cannons”:)

Until next time, Luke for the Helmuths!

Birthdays, Thieves, and Accidents!

This past month has been really eventful. Birthdays, thieves, and accidents all took a part in making it that way.

There are other things that made this month  interesting  like switching up classes at school. Before this past month, I have always been teaching students that knew the alphabet really well and had a decent vocabulary, but this past month we decided that it was time for a change. Micheal had 20-25 students in the morning that were clearly at two different levels. There were some who could read easy words well and carry on simple conversations, and there was also the ones who didn’t know all the alphabet, and almost no English words. I had 4-6 students who could read very well, but struggled a little with conversation. Jody on the other hand had 2-5 students who could read fairly well and did very well with talking what English they knew.IMG_8850-1

As you can see the classes were very lopsided, because of this we decided to mix things up a bit. We mixed my class with Jody’s, and I took the half of Micheal’s students who didn’t know anything. So for the past month I have been trying to teach ABC’s and work on the students vocabulary. It seems to be going ok, but I guess we’ll see. We also mixed up the afternoon classes a bit, but it wasn’t as drastic a change as it was for the morning class.

In July, two of our family has Birthdays. Forrest turned six on the 1st, and Carissa turned 10 on the 13th. We didn’t do much for their Birthdays, but Heather made them each a cake, and Mom made them whatever they wanted for supper.

One day this month Mom, Carissa, and Forrest were in the kitchen playing dominoes. Forrest went to get something in one of the other rooms, but when he went to open the solid glass door to the kitchen it wouldn’t open. He thought it just needed a bit more of a push, when Crash the whole door came tumbling down around him. One of the pieces hit him in the back of the head making two parallel cuts. It ended up not being all that bad but it scared every body for a bit. We were all very thankful that it wasn’t worse. IMG_9089-1IMG_9091-1

One morning last week, Dad called up the stairs wondering where I had parked the moto the night before. I told him that I had parked it where we always parked it. He called back that it wasn’t there. We boys started looking around and noticed that some small logs that i had put in front of the one gate that we never use were moved around. When we went over and looked, we found the lock laying on the ground below the gate. Apparently they climbed over the gate and broke the lock with a hammer. Later we found out that the one neighbor lady had seen a truck sitting there with two men standing by the gate, but was to scared to yell. Long and short of the matter is, We now have one less Dream (moto) than we used to.

Yesterday as we were coming home from school we had a fender bender accident. We came through the traffic light turning left with 2 seconds left on the green (here they give you a second count down). When we came to the middle of the intersection Michael noticed that there was pedestrians crossing the street we were pulling in to. So we braked to a stop, just when we had good and stopped there was a crash and the car shook a bit. Here a moto had tried to make it through the intersection on yellow to red and didn’t see us stop. Nobody was hurt at all, but the brake light on the Visto is broken a little.

Ryan and Austin also had an accident yesterday. He was driving the moto and a lady pulled out in front of him. He was going around a curve already so he couldn’t swerve to much, but he had seen it coming in time to slow down quite a bit. He hit the ladies back tire just enough to lay his bike over. The lady wobbled a bit, but stayed up. Ryan slid down the road a bit on his backpack, which he was wearing in the front because Austin was riding. Austin stepped off when the bike went down, and ran down the road a bit to slow down. Ryan had a few minor scratches and Austin was perfectly fine. We are very thankful that it wasn’t worse. I am surprised that I don’t see things like this happen more often with the traffic the way it is.

Another thing that has changed in the past month or two is that it switched from dry season to rainy season. While rainy season is not near like I thought it would be when we first came, it still rains a lot. Some of the nicest thing about rainy season is that everything turns from a brownish-red to green, and the actual temperatures are much cooler (in the nineties) even if the real feel with humidity is often in the triple digits. The fields all have grass and the trees have the dust washed off.


When it really rains hard, our yard becomes a miniature pond.

Twice this month when it rained it poured. (Did you know that the saying when it rains it pours is a Mortons salt slogan? We really like to use Mortons salt durning rainy season cause the other stuff doesn’t pour.) The first time we had 3.65 inches in around two hours, and the second time it rained 2.5 inches in less than an hour. When it rains that much that fast it causes some flooding on the road in town because the drains can’t keep up. Some of the worst roads have had over a foot of water on them for a while, but it will go down again once the rain slows. IMAG0084-1IMAG0090-1

The disadvantage of the rain for me is that it is really hard to teach English if it rains very hard. The students get very distracted, and it is really hard to hear or be heard, because of the tin roof. The rain also blows into the open sides of the classroom. About the only thing you can do is postpone class until the rain slows down. We are very thankful that this year we have pavers for the floor. Last year we had major problems with the desks sinking.:( While heavy rain does make class more difficult most of the children love playing in the rain. The older ones especially like playing soccer while it is raining. The other thing that isn’t very nice about the rain is driving moto when you forget your rain coat. It makes for some very cold rides:)IMAG0086-1

And here are a few random pics from the past months.


Here is a jumping spider for all you nature lovers;)


Another Jumping Spider. Both of these are smaller than a penny including the legs.


Random Butterfly



Show Off???


Alaina saw I had the camera pointed at her. She was on the way to a smile but I caught this expression before the smile showed.


This is part of the one fishing village that we drilled in quite a bit.

Well that’s all until next time.

Luke for the Helmuths



A Quick Update

Things have been moving right along since May. There was a bit of a boring stretch where i forgot all about the blog before that, but all of a sudden it was so full that i didn’t have time to write on the blog when i did think about it.

First of all, my cousin Tony came for four days. He was in Asia for a mission trip and extended his stay a bit to come see us:) We had fun showing him what we do around here and take him to some of the local tourist attractions.IMG_7914-1IMG_7922-1IMG_8086-1IMG_8127-1IMG_8201-1

Two days after Tony got here, an IGO group came through and they taught both mine and Jody’s classes for a couple days. That was especially nice over the time that Tony was here so we had free time to hang out with him. The one big project we did with the IGO group was add a kitchen to Sen’s house.


If you don’t have a ladder use a table!


We took turns cutting so Matt doesn’t get all the credit!😉

Before Tony left, we took him and the IGO group rat hunting. This time we went on land instead of out on the lake. It was roughly the same area as we went before, but the lake has gone down so much that the area was dry. Well kind of…It had rained the day before we went and it was very muddy. Those of us wearing flip flops had a hard time of it. You could only go so far before you had to stop and get the mud off the bottom. It was still a lot of fun tramping all over the fields. At first we found a lot of half wild buffalo, a few snakes and only a few rats, but around midnight while we were driving home we saw rats run across the road. If the rat was close enough, we jumped off the truck and chased it down. This was a lot more exciting. We continued this plan of attack until the rain chased us home.

Soon after IGO left, Mom and Dad went back to US for a week and a half. Dad needed to go to some Salt meetings with CAM, and some of Mom’s sisters took the opportunity come up and see her. All of us children stayed home, it went surprisingly well actually. I was especially thankful that Jody was around. She did a lions share of the work that mom usually does.

While Mom and Dad were in US, Jasmine left to go back to Canada on the 5th. The sad part is that there are no definite return plans. Before she left, we had some really good times like playing hide and go seek throughout the compound with all the lights out. There are some really good hiding spots around. The last round we played Dallas was it and us boys hid for 45 min before we let him find us, and he had a light to look with.

Mom and Dad made it back on the 9th, then on the 13th Matts family left to live back stateside for at least a year…So needless to say things are really changing around here. The fewer staff means that the jobs get spread to different people making things busier, but honestly it’s not as bad as i thought it would be. Maybe I’ll be singing a different tune on sunday when it is only our family, Micheals, and Veasna around. Then we will really miss everybody that left.



They say a picture is worth a thousand words well this look says it all.😦

Well like I said this was just a quick update so until next time Luke for the Helmuths.


In a lot of the post that have been done, we have mentioned well drilling, but we have never really gone into the specifics. A lot of that comes from the fact that Lori was doing the blog at first and that really wasn’t her thing. Then when I started writing it was old news. If you aren’t interested in the well process skip to the bottom:)

A normal day drilling starts at about 8:30-9:00 in the morning. It would be cooler to start earlier in the day, but Jody, Ryan, Austin, and I have Khmer class in the morning. By the time we are finished with Khmer class, Frank and Chhom usually have everything needed loaded up on the truck and are ready to go. Recently they have been going a lot further away to drill than they did when we first came two years ago. While there are still people close by that need wells, the places that we are drilling at further away need clean water much more than those close by. The village that we are currently drilling in is especially needy. Their main water source is a river going to the lake, or ponds close by…The water is a runny milkshake consistency because of all the clay sediment in it . Some of them would use this water to cook with ect. The drive to this village from Frank’s place is about 30 min.

Once we get there, we set up. This consists of getting the electric pump connected to our water filtering tank. Connecting the hose and first drill bit to the pump, and running wire from the generator to the pump. If there is a water source close by, they will set the gas water pump up to run water from there into the filter tank. If there isn’t water close enough to use the gas pump, we have to haul water in our big tank on the truck. While this is ok, using the gas pump is definitely a lot easier.

Jan 21 030 Edited

The blue tank in the front is the filtering tank. The water comes up the temporary casing and goes into the far side of the tank. The water flows over a lip into the near side. This catches most of the dirt on the far side. You can also see the water tank on the truck that we use. Ryan (the one in red) is putting on a drill rod.

After set up comes prayer, every morning right before they start drilling they say a prayer asking God to help the work go smoothly, help them to get good water, and to bless the people they are drilling for.

After the prayer they start the generator, then the pump. The pump pushes water through the steel drill rod, so all they have to do is turn the drill rod by hand. The water pushes the dirt back up the hole. Each drill rod is about three meters long. The drill bit is a piece of flat steel about three inches wide welded on the end of one of the drill rods. You clamp an handle over the drill rod to give yourself something to turn on. (The pics explain it a lot better.) Once they have drilled the first drill rod down, they take it back out and put in a temporary casing. The temporary casing is just a piece of steel pipe that is just big enough around that they can fit the bit down through and is 2 meters long. All this casing is for, is to keep the dirt on the top from caving in and washing out.

Feb 27 013 Edited

Here you can see almost the entire set up. The electric pump that pumps the water down the well, the hose, and the drill rods on the right.


Chhom drilling. You can see the handle that gets clamped on the drill rods so you can pick it up and turn it

Once the temporary casing is in, they put the drill bit back in and drill until the end of the drill rod is even with the top of the casing. Then they lift it a little bit (to make so it stops digging in the dirt on the bottom)and unscrew the drill bit from the hose. Once the hose is unattached, they attach one end of of the next drill rod to the hose and then the other end to the drill rod. After starting the pump, they are good to go for another three meters of drilling. After the three meters is finished, another drill rod is added Ect.

Once they find a good place to stop, preferably clay. They pull all the drill rods out and put in the permanent casing.  This is just 1 1/2 inch PVC glued together. They push the pipe all the way to the bottom, then pound it in good and tight with a piece of wood to make sure the end is sealed. Once the permanent casing is in and they have the temporary casing out, they put a smaller drill bit inside the permanent casing and start drilling again. This makes a cavity under the casing which fills up with water. Usually they drill 6 meters after the permanent casing is in.


Putting in the casing

After they are finished drilling, they blow air down the drill rods (with an air compressor🙂 to clean all the loose dirt out of the pipe. After they get the main of the loose dirt out this way, they take out all the drill rods and connect the gas water pump to the PVC and let this run until the water isn’t cloudy and there’s no sand in it.


This is what happens when you blow air down to clean it out. Makes an excellent way to play a joke with someone new around😉


The depth that they stop at depends a lot on the soil they are drilling in, but it also depends on the area. They like to stop when the bit is in clay mixed with a little sand. If they stop when the bit is in all sand, the end of the permanent casing will not have a good base, and after a few months the sides of the cavity are likely to fall in, clogging the pipe. Usually they put the casing in 16-20 meters deep and drill another 6 meters. In some areas there is so much iron in the water down that deep that they will put the casing in only 6 meters and stop drilling the cavity as soon as they hit water. In the village by the river there is so much clay that they put the casing in at six meters then drill another 20 meters just to try to get a decent amount of water. The clay is so thick that the water has a hard time seeping through. Depending on the area and the well, when we put the gas pump on the well we can fill a 5 gallon bucket up in around 7-10 seconds. Not all of the wells are this good but around Seim Reap a lot of them are

We usually put a black steel handled pump in, with a little cement pad around it so they have a clean place to wash clothes ect. On a decent day, they can usually drill 2 wells, this doesn’t include installing the pump, but on a day when things aren’t going right and they hit really bad sand or rock it can take 3 days to do one well.


This is the pump I tried to describe:)

Now for all of you that have been bored with the well info, here is a little more for you:) The other day I was out cleaning the yard and i saw a brilliantly colored bird fly into the window of the house. I don’t know if it was just because it was still learning how to fly or if it saw a reflection on the window and thought it could go right through. Either way it was a little stunned and landed in the yard. I immediately went running for my camera. I had seen this kind of bird from the road a couple times and wanted to take pictures of it, but never had a chance. When I came out with my camera, it was still sleeping and kept sleeping until i had taken my fill of pictures.


Blue Winged Pitta

Mom, Jody, and Alaina came out and were admiring it with me for a few minutes, when Alaina asked, “Whose bird is this?”

“It is God’s bird,” I replied.

She got this shocked look on her face then exclaimed, “Well God can share!”

After I was finished taking pictures, I carefully picked it up to see if it was knocked out or just sleeping. As soon as I touched it, it jerked awake and started squawking. Soon it stopped and sat there calmly as i stroked it. I wanted to get some more pictures so i handed it to Jody who let it sit free on her hand. After a few seconds it flew into our shop and sat there for a few minutes before flying off. After searching online awhile I figured out that it was a Blue Winged Pitta.IMG_7289-1IMG_7293-1IMG_7315-1

A couple days ago we went out on the Tonle Sap lake ,with friends from the fishing village where we are drilling now. With plans to  hand out Bible story books at another fishing village about an hour boat ride away. They said that the children in this village had most likely never seen foreigners before, and they thought that we would enjoy giving them books. Well, once we got there the village was almost deserted. There were 5 people in the village and they told us that all the others had left that morning to go visiting other places for Khmer New Year. We were a bit beat out that there was nobody around, but we still had fun.


One of the 4 boats.



Local fisher woman taking a break during the heat of the day.


The harvest today is snails…We were a couple hundred yards from shore and the water was only knee deep.


The village we came to see only to find it was deserted. It took an hour each direction to get here.

Last month was Alaina’s birthday. She was one very excited girl.



On a different note…If anybody has suggestions of things you would like to hear about comment below. That would make writing this blog so much easier as half the work would be done:)

Thats all for now.
Luke for the Helmuths.


Everyday Life Update

I was looking back over the blog posts that have been written in the past and I noticed that a the majority of them have been written about the “highlights” of our life…visitors, vacation,  holidays, and things like that. When I saw the general trend, I thought to myself that it would be really easy to write an update on the “everyday” life of our family so here goes…

First off is Dad. Most of his time is taken up heading up the well drilling part of the ministry over here. Before we give somebody a well we go out and assess the need. We have a list of questions to determine the need, and the price. Yes, we charge a little for the wells we put in. It is usually not much but it helps give the people a sense of ownership over it. Dad is in charge of having enough wells assessed for each month so the well drilling team has enough to do for the month. He also determines the order of importance for the different villages. He  makes almost daily trips to the market to get fresh fruit and vegetables…One of the things he enjoys is making sure people know that they are loved by teasing…Must be a Helmuth thing because I think all of us children enjoy teasing too:)…


Next is Mom. She certainly doesn’t have a hard time keeping busy. I’m sure that any mother could say the same thing, but with 11 of us (with Jody) to cook, and clean for it doesn’t seem like she ever has off. She also does a lot of sewing. One thing that she enjoys doing if she does have spare time is sitting down with a recipe book and finding new recipes to try.


After Mom is Lori. She is enjoying her time as a personal worker at Beaver Lake camp. If you want more on her everyday life you can ask her…We still miss her around here:(


Ryan is the oldest of us boys. He keeps busy drilling wells…He does a lot on the manual labor side of the job. He really enjoys his job and is very excited  about the new well truck that is still in the process of getting a new bed put on it to make so that it can easily be used for drilling. The four wheel drive will definitely be nice.  In his spare time he enjoys keeping his moto in good condition, learning new songs on his guitar, and fishing Khmer style.


Next is ME!!! I teach one English class in the morning. In the afternoons, I often do odd jobs around the school or house. At the beginning of every month, I do the accounting for the last month. My hobbies are photography and reading.

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Austin finished high school around Christmas. Since then he has really enjoyed helping Ryan and the Khmer guys with the well drilling. He enjoys fiddling with small engines, and playing guitar. He is also the family jokester in our family.


Dallas is on his first year of high school. While school keeps him busy most of the day he finds plenty of time to go bird hunting with his blowgun, and also really enjoys reading.



Heather is in seventh grade. After school she helps mom out around the house, and even sewed a dress! She really enjoys reading, sewing, and baking.


Carissa is in fourth grade. She really likes going out to the village where they teach school and playing with her friends.

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Forrest is in Kindergarten. He loves playing any game that anybody will play with him especially indoor basketball.


Alaina is 3. She likes playing with her little dolls and tagging behind Forrest. If you ask me she gets cuter everyday.


I guess that takes care of everybody WAIT there’s Jody too! Jody is my first cousin, and she came over as an ESL teacher. Teaching keeps her very busy, but in her spare time she likes to read, spend time with people, and sharpieing.  She definitely fits  into our family very well.


Until next time Luke for the Helmuths


In early January  some of the ALAM Board were here for their yearly trip…The time they are here is usually filled with Meetings Meetings and more Meetings. This year James Mullet and Matthew Miller along with their wives were the board members that came over. While there was quite a few meetings while they were here, we also had a lot of fun with them.


Matthew and Anna Miller…Their first time back after 5 years.


James and Ruth Mullet…James comes over here yearly, but it was Ruth’s first time. This is a pretty good representation of meal times for all the board. They had a good time “documenting” the trip.

One day that was especially interesting we rented a van for the day and 16 of us went up close to Battambong for the day. We went to a public school to meet with the principal about giving out christian literature there. We also went and visited an orphanage and gave them Bible Story books and some candy. I was having so much fun playing with the children that I didn’t take a single picture:) The board also went around with us just observing “normal” life. It was fun having them around.

In early February Vernons came for two weeks. It didn’t seem like we did all that much, but looking back we sure got a lot packed into the short time that they were here.



We cleared a lot of brush by hand while they were here.



Dallas teaching Jared the ins and outs of throwing a cast net…Jared caught one first cast:)


We took them to a couple of the tourist attractions around town. Angkor Wat Temple, a silk farm, and some out of the way craft shops were highlights as far as usual tourist things. It was the first time that most of our family had been to Angkor Wat. While the structures are amazing especially considering that it was all done by hand, the best part of the day was just hanging out with family.


Angkor Watt





One evening we took them to the mountain.


These two did almost everything together.


Jody has been around long enough that she is definitely rubbing off on Alaina…Notice that both have hot tea.

All too soon it was time to tell most of them good bye, Jeanna stayed for another week. We managed to squeeze a day long moto trip around some mountains, and a trip to Phnom Phen out of that week, both of which were a lot of fun.



We past a lot of cassava farms. On the left you can see some people cutting the cassavas up to dry then on the right they are spreading them out to dry.


There were many of these trucking stations for the cassava.


A few days after Jeanna left, Ryan, Austin, and I went on a 6 day moto trip along with 5 other guys. We toured the North Eastern part of Cambodia and also spent 2 days touring some mountains and waterfalls in Laos. We had a blast making many memories along the way.





The thousand island falls of Laos.


A volcanic lake in Cambodia. 

Photo Credits for the last group of Pictures go to either John or Ken Gingerich.

As good as it has been these past two months it is good to be settling back into normal life again…Until next time Luke for the Helmuths