Holiday Travels

 

Last week we did something that we had been wanting to do almost ever since we came. Last week was Khmer New Year so everybody had off, our interpreter, Sen, invited us to visit his homeland for his father’s house-warming party. So we decided to make a trip of it, and travel around Cambodia…

 

On Wednesday, we went to a town by the Mekong River, and on the way there we stopped and ate lunch with Steven and Angela (Kayla’s sister’s)family. The second day, we were going to go up north and  get a ferry and keep going on the other side of the river. We decided to go a couple miles out of the way to get to the Cambodia Laos border. From there it was about 45 minutes to the ferry, due the bumpy road it took twice as long as it should have. Once we got to the ferry, we realized that was only meant for moto’s and not big enough to fit the van… so we retraced our tracks all the way to the town we came from. Then we went to hotel about an hour away. The scenery there was gorgeous, it was mountainous and everything was green. I was very surprised how many mountains there were.

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Sen’s family

We traveled around a bit more until Saturday, the day of the party. We arrived at Sen’s homeland around lunchtime. They made lunch for us, after sitting around for a while, we decided to go to the guest house and get cleaned up for the party. Since we are in Cambodia, you can’t have a party without LOUD music. It was loud enough that if you were in the house you could hear the metal vibrate. I, personally, was very happy to get back to our warm guest house (the air conditioners didn’t work). The next day was Sunday, we went to church with Sen’s family. We ate lunch with them, then we started back home. We were all glad to get home. Traveling is always fun, but in the end, There’s no place like home                                                                                                                                                       Until next time,  Heather for the helmuths

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March Happenings

OK, so I was told I’m supposed to take over the blog so I will try to give it my best…
On the fifth, we took the day off to hang out with Luke before he left. We had big plans for the day… but of course, things went Khmer style. We were going to go putt-putting earlier in the morning, but it got too late, so we just went to the reservoir for a bit. Then we went to the airport to surprise our cousin, who is here on world race. After that we went to Veasna’s mom’s place for lunch. We were there for a while, then we headed home to get ready to go to the water park, but when we got there, of all things, it was closed. So we ended up just going putt-putting instead… Then after supper we went to Swenson’s for ice cream.
The next day was busy preparing for Luke’s farewell supper. We all enjoyed the pork, bread, and cucumber salad. Luke told the Khmer people bye, then we headed home so Luke could get cleaned up and get his stuff together. Then we took off for the airport. And alas we bid our dear brother farewell. It’s quieter since he’s gone, we all miss him a lot.
On the fifteenth Ryan Austin and Dallas went with all the staff guys on a bike trip.
On the 18th we were all thrilled to have our cousin Melanie (the one that’s on the world race) and one of the girls on her team spend the evening with us. It’s not often that we get relatives through our neck of the woods.
The following day, Dad was driving down the road and he saw a girl who looked a Mennonite. He decided to turn around and ask … turns out she was and she lives right down the road from us. She’s here with an organization called Destiny Rescue.


And on the 22nd Alaina turned five. That whole week that was all she could think about. We were all relieved when the day came and we could finally get some peace and quiet.

Well that’s about all that’s happened recently.

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Why not take take a bath with your fish?

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Heather for the Helmuths

Leaving…

This past while hasn’t been that busy. Since the board left there hasn’t been that much going on. The biggest thing was when we had a seminar here at our house for everybody who wants or is considering baptism/membership with our church. There was around 70 people here for the day if you count all the children. We have started a weekly Instruction Class for those who want it, so that is very exciting…

Other than that there hasn’t been much going on, but for me at least there is a big change coming up!!!

I’ve been teaching English for the last 3 years, and today is my last day in the foreseeable future. There are mixed feelings that come with that. On the one side I’m happy, because planning lessons can become a drudgery. On the other side I’m sad, because I really love the children that I’ve been teaching. We have had so much fun together, both during class and after. No, they are not perfect, but then who is? I’ve been trying to teach them English, but at the same time they have been teaching me stuff. Like when I was trying to get a conversation started, and I asked them this question. “If you could have anything in the world what would you want.” Over half of them answered that they would want a happy/peaceful family. Some of these children don’t always know where their next meal is coming from…Maybe this doesn’t seem as big to you as it did to me, but it made me think again about what is really important in my life.

Well, I guess if you don’t know, you are probably wondering why I am stopping to teach. In five days I am going to be moving to Idaho where I’ll be living with my uncle! I will definitely miss my family and a people/country I’ve come to love, but I’m also excited about going. There’s going to be a challenges I’m sure, so I’d appreciate it if ya’ll would pray for me if you think about it…

Well that’s all for this time…

Luke for the Helmuths…

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

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