I still haven’t written about one of the main highlights of our first year in Cambodia. You know that we had some amazing visitors, but you haven’t heard much about it yet, at least not from our perspective. It’s been on the back burner long enough now, and it’s about to burn. I should do a poll…is old news too boring to bother posting, or do you like to hear it, even if it is a month (or three) late?
Anyways…Here it is, boring or not.
Finally, Amber walked around the corner with the rest of the family soon following. And the fun began! With them came luggage. Lots of luggage. Filled with goodies from lots of friends. We are so blessed by you. I requested prayer in an earlier post for some lost luggage…well, it came through the next day, PTL!
A Trip to Srey YOung
One morning a few days after Charles’s got here, we all piled onto motos and the well-truck-turned-caravan with its makeshift 2X6 woodens seats, and set off for a tour of the country. Srey Young is a village about two hours from here where the guys have drilled some wells, and we also helped them build a much needed bridge. The country between here and there is quite varied, so it makes for an interesting drive. (At least for the first hour. =/ ) We took along some candy and balloons Donna had brought along to hand out to children, and had fun throwing them out to the children along the road. I’ll let pictures tell you about our day.
The day got stretched out a little extra long when one of the motos had some trouble. (After we fed it some ‘go-juice’ it worked just fine.) We were all very tired and dusty when we arrived home, but it was a good day.
Phnom Kraom (Under Mountain)
One evening we packed a picnic and drove up a little mountain/big hill nearby – in Khmer it’s called Phnom Kraom, which means “the mountain underneath”. I think it’s called that because it’s located under Siem Reap. We got started a little late, so it was dark and the mosquitos were out full force by the time our supper was ready, but the sunset was breathtaking.
On Wednesday before Thanksgiving more lovely folks moved in. An IGO (Institute for Global Opportunities) team of five people came from Thailand to help out for the next ten days. We loved having them here! Deanne and Geneva stayed at Matt’s house, Crissy stayed with Gale and I, and Loren and Darrell stayed here with the boys. The guys especially had close quarters, but I didn’t hear too many complaints. The more the merrier I guess!
It was lots of fun to have so many people around here for Thanksgiving Day. Dad had bought a pig for a good price out in the village several weeks prior with Thanksgiving meal in mind. We fattened him up with our delicious scraps, and Thanksgiving day found Dad and Charles hard at work grilling him to perfection. In the afternoon people started gathering at our house for Thanksgiving dinner. Most of the regular church attendees came, along with Charles’ family, the IGO team, Matt’s family, and our family. It was quite the crowd. And quite the delicious food too. Not the traditional Thanksgiving spread for sure, but it sure was worth giving thanks for!
We really enjoyed the crowd after dinner when we all gathered around and sang together for awhile. It’s amazing how much life a few extra voices can add to a song!
Charles’s oldest son, Gordon, arrived late that night. He is in voluntary service at Hillcrest Home and wasn’t able to come for the entire time that the rest of the family was here. We were sad he couldn’t be here the whole time, but excited to have him around for at least a few days.
Floating Village & Angkor Wat
Saturday we took Charles’s family to a nearby floating village. The IGO team joined us as well, then went on to tour Angkor Wat for the rest of the day. Charles’s family along with the children from our family also went to Angkor Wat that evening, trying to get in after 5 so we wouldn’t have to pay the $20 per person fee. We didn’t get to see too much, but we did find some monkeys, which was a big priority for Amber. They weren’t too happy to see us, though, so we didn’t stick around for very long.
It was again good to have so many people around for church on Sunday. The IGO girls took care of the children’s Sunday school, and Darrell taught the adults. We had to chuckle at the size difference between Sen and Darrell. Dad was pretty sick, so Loren took his place teaching the Sunday school in Bakong.
Work?! Oh yes! Don’t let all the pictures of the fun days fool you. We didn’t just have fun. We worked too! (And had fun while we did it. =) The guys spent several days out in Bakong building a new shelter where we are planning to have English class, as well as SALT meetings and Sunday school. The IGO team took over the English teaching while they were here. (I plan to write another post about the IGO team’s activities.) Donna and her girls and the IGO ladies helped so much with the housework, and Donna even did some sewing! With more people around, housework just seems to multiply. Somehow, though, I don’t seem to have very many pictures of work happening. The ones I do have are mostly phone pictures and the quality lacks a lot. Oh well, better include them just so you know we did work!
Tuesday we had planned a trip to a village in Chhom’s homeland. They had been asking us for clothes, and we wanted to pass out some of the Khmer “25 Favorite Bible Stories” that we had recently gotten printed. The well truck had a small problem though, so Ryan took it in to quickly get it fixed before we needed to leave. We sat around waiting, and waited, and waited, and waited some more. Long story short, the truck had some BIG problems that surfaced after the little problem was fixed, and in the end the trip was postponed until later that week. Instead, the youth headed over to Matt’s house to sort the humongous pile of clothes we had gotten in a clothing bale from one of the local markets. Poor Lightning stood in as Frank’s mannequin.
The goodbyes started that night. After being treated to a delicious supper by Charles and Donna, we took Gordon to the airport. Charles’s family started packing the next morning and late that night we said our sad goodbyes. I guess those are the times we have to remind ourselves, “Don’t cry because it’s over…smile because it happened.” And we do! It’s hard to put into words how GOOD it was so have them here. I described most of the big events, but I think my favorite times were the times I didn’t write about…the little moments. Shopping at the markets. Piling four people on a moto and going to town. Blossom Cafe. Playing games in the evening. Swimming with the girls. Snow Yogurt. Just talking to our hearts’ content.
Thank you all sooo much for coming!! You blessed us so much, and we thank God for you! We trust that despite the heat and too much rice (I heard a rumor that someone thinks we had rice way too often =) ) you had as lovely a time as we did. Come back soon!
Yup. Now. Our visitors left, but last minute plans had our dear Granddad flying over a week after Charles’s left. We’re thoroughly enjoying having him around here. The kids in the village love him! It was especially nice having him here for Christmas. Seeing him walk out of the airport without Grandmom at his side was hard. It makes it so much more real that she’s not here anymore. But it has been good. He was sick for almost a week with an upset stomach. At first we thought it was just a flu, but finally Dad called our family doctor and he thinks it’s some sort of intestinal infection. He prescribed some antibiotics, and that snapped Granddad right out of his ailment. We’re so happy he’s feeling better!
Luke flew to South Carolina last Saturday. He’s spending some time with family and friends, and then this weekend he’s leaving for two three-week terms at Calvary Bible School. He seems to be having fun so far, but we miss him! I’m sure he’d love to hear from you while he’s there, so if you need an address, just let me know and I’ll be happy to give it to you. Please note. *You’re also welcome to send any extra Christmas letters or pictures you had to that address, and he will bring them back so that we can proudly display you on our wall. =)*
Well…it’s definitely bed time over here. Wishing you all a wonderful 2015 of learning to better know our Father.
‘Til next time…