A Trip Across the Sea…

After three amazing months without writing a blog post… We’re back! Furlough was really good. The only thing I would have changed is that we didn’t have enough time with everybody. It seemed like we were in the van traveling most of the time! Dallas and  I Traveled back before the rest of them, and stayed at my uncle’s place. We were picked up in Kentucky by the rest of the family on the 11th. They got there the day before and had one day to recuperate. We began our many hours in the van, new churches every Sunday, and living out of a suitcase for 6 weeks!
Our first destination was Ohio, where all dad’s brothers were gathered to visit Grandad and see each other. There was lots of catching up, retelling of old stories, and an abundance of laughter! We girls and mom had a lovely evening reconnecting with Veasna!

After all our goodbyes, we drove through breathtaking views on our way to South Carolina. We had a wonderful time down there connecting with old friends. We went with Charles’s for a lovely day at the lake. And of course, the boys couldn’t let any chance that they had to fish go!

From there we journeyed up to Kentucky and spent a day with Mom’s sister before going to mom’s family reunion. The reunion started Thursday evening and went through Saturday noon. Only being able to see cousins every one or two years makes you appreciate it all the more when you do! We went to a lovely creek and jumped off the bridge into the nippy water! And the last day, those of the cousins that were left made an excursion to Nashville. We strolled around Centennial Park, made a quick trip into the Parthenon, and finished the day by cooling ourselves off with ice cream! We spent the rest of the weekend there with another one of mom’s sisters, and dad’s cousin’s family.c633413c-b940-405e-a72d-4fb08663ef38

Sunday afternoon we started our long trek up to Canada to see Cordell and Lori. We spent Monday with dad’s aunt in Missouri. Monday night we started for Canada again, and were very, very relieved when we finally got there around 2:30 Tuesday afternoon. The time up there was definitely the highlight of furlough for us! Luke flew up the night before so we were able to all be together for a bit! Lori’s house is a bit small for 12 people, so Lori and Cordell set up a tent and a makeshift shower outside for the boys. Even so it took a while to get everyone through the showers at night! We spent several evenings around a nice warm fire after supper.img_20190807_222153 Of course, if you’re in Canada, and if you’re from our family, you can’t not go fishing. In the midst of all our other activities, we made time for two days of fishing! One evening we took food along and had a lovely little fish fry on the shore of the lake.img_20190813_143335-1

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Alaina was very pleased with her fish!!!

 

We had a nice afternoon with Cordell’s family at the park for lunch on Sunday. Tuesday evening came around all too soon! We hit the road once again… we drove through the night, the day, and into the evening again, stopping only for gas and food along the way. We arrived at our uncle’s place in Kentucky a little more than 24 hours after we left Cordell’s. It was just a bit too long a drive to suit us! (Luke went with us back down to S.C.)

We spent a nice day there. The boys went fishing and caught nothing. We girls took the youngsters swimming at a neighbors place, and dad went to work with Felix. We left early in the morning and by evening the next day we had again made it down to South Carolina. We spent the weekend there, said our goodbyes and headed to North Carolina. There, Shane and Tara came and all the boys went camping overnight. They had a blast. We girls decided to go swimming in a pond up on the mountain but soon after we got there it started pouring rain! So we went and visited in a coffee shop instead.

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Our last day was full of packing, goodbyes, and more packing! Luke drove us up to the airport for the first leg of our long trek back to Cambodia. In San Francisco we met up with Lanita Martin, our new school teacher. We are definitely very happy to have a school teacher this year! After traveling for another many hours we finally made it back to Siem Reap! It’s been good to be back and see everyone again. We’re pretty much back into our regular life now and the children just started with school, the boys are back to well drilling and dad’s as busy as ever!
Thank you for your thoughts and support!
Heather

God’s marvelous power!

I would like for you to meet Sophat (pronounced Sopat), a Single mom of 5. A sister-in-law to Sokhum and a member of our church. A few years ago her husband left, burned down the house, and later divorced her. After he left she was left alone to care for her children.

Earlier this year it was confirmed that Sophat has breast cancer.
With the money she made from her job as a hair and makeup stylist for weddings, and cleaning a house occasionally, she tried to keep her head above the water. But with payments for her medical bills, food and children’s schooling, she was unable to make ends meet. Finally she had no choice left but to ask for help from the church. She was unable to hold back the tears as she asked for financial assistance… the church said they would be happy to help with expenses. After church, Dad asked her to go home and read James 5, where it talks about anointing.

The next time she saw dad she told him she wanted to be anointed. So that Wednesday, Dad, Mom, Sen, Frank, and his wife went to Sophats house. Dad explained that the oil itself does not have any special power, but it obedience to God’s word and asking for healing, but we want however God can receive the most glory. If he chooses not to heal her we still want to be faithful in the sickness, and if He chooses to heal her, God alone gets the glory! They then anointed her and prayed for her.

A couple days later Her Brother-in-law called dad. “Oh papa, I have the nice story for you today! Today Sophat went to the doctor for her appointment. The doctor said he just doesn’t understand it! The cancer was there, but now it’s not!!!THE CANCER IS GONE!!!” “Praise to the Lord!” Sophat’s mother is a staunch Buddhist and wanted nothing to do with Christianity, since Sophats healing she has been more open to Christianity!!!
God’s power never fails to astonish us!

Catching Up

It’s almost half way through 2019 already!!! I had half of a post sitting, waiting to be finished a month ago… but I never got around to finishing it. So I’ll start all over.

Alot has happened since my last post so i’ll just skim through and pull out the highlights.

  • The 22nd of March was Alaina’s 6th birthdayIMG_8153
  • Chum’s had a beautiful baby girl.
  • I started having class with Frank’s sister, principle of the Vessvan school, to learn to read and write khmer.
  • Dad was on the way back to a village and he saw some people skinning a huge snake. He stopped to watch, turns out it was a king cobra! Dad thinks it was close to 12 ft. long. They said it was going into it’s hole and one of their dogs came and killed it from behind.
  • We were planning on eating out, but some of us didn’t feel good, and the electricity was off all day so mom and dad went and got food to bring home. We decided to surprise mom, since she was looking forward to eating out, and set tables up really nicely up top and ate up there.
  • The humidity and heat has been really high the last few months, and it’s always in the hot season that they decide to turn the electricity off everywhere, all day long.    ( I don’t know if this belongs in the highlights or not!)
  • We had an IGO team of three guys here for a little over a week. Their names were Austin, Dallas,and Brian!

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    Left to right: Austin, Austin, Ryan, Brian, Dallas, and Dallas!!!

  • the IGO team gave us some money and dad & mom decided to get a small pool for the children.
  • James’s , their daughter and granddaughter , and Steve and his son, were here for a couple weeks. Alaina and Forrest both enjoyed having kids to play with!
  • Three people were baptized, and one became a member of the church.
  • I was teaching Alaina one day. She had a picture of a van, and two words to read and circle the matching one. She read the first word, J-E-T, so she knew it wasn’t that one. But I made her read the second word. She looks at it and sounds it out. She sounds out “V-A-N” but then reads it “CAR” and starts going on to the next question. I stop her and tell her to read it again. She sounds out “V-A-N” again and this time thinks a little bit longer then exclaims “VISTO!” (Visto is a kind of car) I get her to read it a third time, and she finally thinks about the sounds and reads it “VAN”
  • We had a ladies seminar while James’s were here.
  • Dallas’s birthday was on the 9th
  • I made lasagna for mothers day lunch.
  • It rained this weekend, and cooled everything down beautifully!

And that brings us up to today. We’re loving the cooler weather today! The boys have half of this week off because of the king’s birthday. So we’re planning on going up to battambang to see the bamboo train up there and visit some friends… So that should be fun.

Here are some of my favorite pics that I’ve taken recently…

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I think she is one of THE cutest kids around…

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She hasn’t quite mastered the peace sign yet!

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Isn’t she adorable?

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Best friends, well…when there’s a camera around anyhow!

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Well, Until next time.

Heather for the Helmuths.

 

Of Friends and Family…

It’s hard to believe that it’s already the last part of February! Not long ago we were saying” Wow! It’s already the middle of January!” Now January’s been and gone and it’s almost March!
We’ve had 5 sets of visitors since January, My grandparents, Dad’s Cousin Justin, Jon and Veasna Gingerich, along with his mom, and later his dad and brother Ken, and Eli Mast Jr. and his wife! The Gingrich’s didn’t stay with us, but were in the area.
Jon’s and his mom, Eva, arrived on the 19th. Veasna’s family loved having Veasna back and seeing their adorable baby girl for the first time.
Granddads got here on the 22nd. They really enjoyed going out to different villages and tasting new foods. Dad’s cousin, Justin got here Feb.5. That Sat. most of the family went out to the silk farm and the baray. Freda was adventurous and tasted a silk worm! The next day was Sunday and we ate lunch out at the pavilion with the Khmer people after church.
Some of the boys went out way back in the sticks for the night so they could get a head start on drilling a well and make it back before nightfall. They came back that evening with a blue crested iguana! We kept it for a couple days then let it go again.

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Isn’t it beautiful?

The time that our visitors was here went WAY too fast. Before we knew it, it was the 12th and grandads last day here. I think they were both ready to get back to the cold weather! Eli Mast Jr.’s came the night after Granddad’s left. Jon’s and Larry’s left on the 14th. Justin and Eli’s left Fri. the 15th.


Dad studied for his message on Friday so that we could do something as a family on Saturday. After sitting around half of the morning not knowing what to do we decided just to go putt putting. We literally ran around the house getting it cleaned up for company that evening. We had Chhom’s brother Chhun and his wife Sokna, Chhom’s parents, and one of Chhom’s nephews over for supper.
The nest week was pretty much just getting back to the normal grind of things.
At home we usually made donuts when it snowed, but here we usually do it when it gets ‘cold’. It didn’t really get cold this year, but we made them anyway.
Yesterday morning we had the first rain of the year. It didn’t rain much, but it rained. There’s something about the first rain of the year… it smells amazing, and everything seems fresher and greener. It was a little cooler too. We’ve been having some hot weather the last couple weeks!

And that brings us up to the present. That’s all for this time…

Heather for the Helmuths

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Of Cousins and Christmas…

It has been so much fun since the last blog post! To start, my cousin’s Shane and Tara were supposed to get here in the last week of November. However, on the way here they missed their flight due to short connections and bad weather. It took a while, but they finally got everything figured out and they were going to get the next flight out. Well they were getting their new tickets, and, both of their passports were within 6 months of expiring. Shane could get his renewed, but Tara was under 16, so she had to have her parent’s signature. they finally figured out that her parents could sign some papers and send them over with Tara’s birth certifcate.  They spent a week in  Hong Kong!
They FINALLY got here Tuesday, the 4th of Dec., a week after they were supposed to get here. We were so ready to have them here! We picked them up at the same time some of the ALO board got here.
The next two weeks, us kids spent some time going to the village, Angkor wat, the baray, and in general just enjoying them (ourselves). The board left after a week and 1/2 full of meetings and the like…


On the 16th the church put on their annual Christmas party. This year we had an actual planning committee, so it was a lot more organized than last year. The party was supposed to start at 3:00. By 5:00 a couple people had showed up and we finally started at 6:00. For supper we had Khmer noodles and curry. It was amazing how many random people helped out with serving food and cleanup.
Monday was really sad. Shane and Tara left. It was a real treat to have them here!
We couldn’t mope about them leaving for long though. Chandra, our old school teacher, came for a short little visit.

 


She left early the morning on the 24th. Since everyone had off work some of the Khmer guys thought it would be fun to go out to one of the ALO staff guy’s hometown. It wasn’t supposed to take long to get there. It ended up taking a couple hours. When we finally got there we set mats out in the shade, unpacked the food, and had a delicious lunch of rice, soup, and fried pork. There was “flower” that they had set out to eat with the food. Alaina, before she ate it, looked down at it pitifulingly and said “poor, poor, flower” then she popped in her mouth and went around telling everyone “guess what? I ate a flower!” There was a river close by, so after lunch was done, the guys got out their nets and poles and went fishing while the ladies sat in the shade and chatted. We were all worn out by the time we got home.

 

 
This year was probably the least ‘Christmassy’ Christmas that we’ve had so far. We really missed Lori and Luke! We ate a late breakfast, cleaned up, and then started fixing dinner. Of course the electric had to pick that day to be temperamental. We had mashed potatoes, grilled pork, salad and dinner rolls for dinner. It was delicious. Later in the evening we drank wassail and had a little family gift exchange.
On New Year’s Eve the church got together a service and we all brought a little something to snack on.
That week we started moving to Elton’s old house. It took a while, but it’s finally finished. However there is still plenty of stuff to unpack and find places for stuff. Our new house is a lot closer to the village, so that’s nice. Last week was pretty much just getting unpacked and fixing up stuff around here.

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Our new house…

Heather for the Helmuths.

 

Cards…

Hey y’all,

If anyone has Christmas cards or pictures that they would like to send, my grandparents are coming the last of this month. As long as you get it there by the 18th it should be fine. Their address is 5314 Hummingbird Dr Millersburg OH 44654… we’re looking forward to hearing from you!

Heather for the Helmuth’s

The Wedding…

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Today was extremely busy. Of course it had to be today, when we needed our wash to dry fast, to rain. Finally, I decided to just string up a rope from the grating on one of my windows to another. Then I hung up the clothes, and brought a fan in and dried the clothes like that. Most of us used the time packing… around 4:30, James and some of the Khmer guys came to take us to the airport. Guess what? We actually left on time!!!

11:40 pm we just got through security at Guangzhou China. After we got through security, we came up to a place where there was stairs and escalators. The escalators were motion censored, so they were stopped. Forrest saw that they were stopped, disappointed, he started trudging up the stairs. Dad got on the escalators, and when he caught up to Forrest, the beat out look that went across Forrest’s face was priceless! Now we are all sitting in the lounge, the kids are playing in a PlayStation right by us.

Oct. 2, 2018   6:40 AM well, we made it to the states! The time zones really mess you up, we left china at 1 this morning, flew for 14 ½ hours, then we get to the states around 4 the same morning!

After that we flew to Charlotte. Lori picked us up, we went out for lunch and stopped and got groceries on the way back from the airport. We spent the next few days at my uncle’s place then we headed down to South Carolina and stayed with our friends for the weekend.

Monday, we went to my Uncle Arlyn’s house for supper.

The 11th was moms fiftieth birthday! Lori made crepes for breakfast, and with the crepes made a cake with fruit and whipped cream. It was delicious! That afternoon the boys and some of our cousins went on a bachelor camping trip. I think they all enjoyed themselves immensely. I was going to make a birthday supper for mom, but there was a power outage a couple cities wide so we couldn’t get groceries… so those of us that didn’t go camping went out for Mexican food. The next day was dad’s birthday. And the day after that was Cordell’s. We now have four birthdays in October. Three of which all come a day after another.

The next two weeks were jam packed with wedding preparation. The week of the wedding, relatives started arriving. Everybody helped out a lot. Family and friends. Thursday we went to the church and set up tables, decor etc.…

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The day before the wedding was very busy and very fun (for me at least) A lot of the cousins were there. We did all the last minute preparations, then headed over to a park for the rehearsal supper. Uncle Roger made his famous chili… then we went back to the church and rehearsed. Over. And over. And over…

Then the day came for the wedding! We ate a hurried breakfast, ran around getting ready, then went to the church and took family pictures. We finally made our way inside… then all the hellos started. It was so good to see people. We had a mini Cambodia reunion. Matt’s, Jazzy, and Jon and Veasna with their adorable baby girl were there.

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Photo Credits: A Thousand Words Photography

After cleaning up, the relatives from both sides, and friends, went to ‘our’ house for a supper of leftovers. We had a FULL house, there was 80+ people in the one house. It was all good though. It was pretty late by the time everyone left.  The next day was full of goodbyes… the only bad thing about family being around, is that everyone leaves so soon.

That weekend we went down to South Carolina. Sunday we older kids went to our old church, and mom and dad went to Cold Springs. That evening we all went to Cold Springs, where dad gave a little devotional and gave a presentation of the work here. We were going to leave right after church, but they had a snack. We went back up to N.C. then. Lori and Cordell got back from their honeymoon that night.  Cordell was sick with a fever and a stomach bug.

Monday morning we went fishing with our ‘brother” Jonathon and his wife Tina. Lori and Cordell waited till around lunchtime to come. Cordell was feeling a little better by then. Ryan had very good luck! Most of his were 5 lbs’ers. Jonathon caught an 8.15 pounder! I, as usual, didn’t catch one until the end of the day, and even then it was a cute sized one (it sounds better to say cute sized than small). Lori came home from fishing not feeling well. That evening, Rogers came over for a  delicious supper of fried fish, bannock, and sweet potato souffle. After supper, Lori and Cordell opened and recorded their gifts. Then we just sat around and talked for a while.

Lori was sick all the next day.  We hoped and prayed we wouldn’t get sick on the flight over. We basically just packed  all day long. Took our showers, went to Rogers for a hurried supper, rushed back to the house, loaded everything up, and said tearful goodbyes and headed to the airport. This is the first time that we left Lori that she’s not alone anymore.

Flying back was pretty uneventful, Alaina did get a slight fever, and threw up once. But other than that, it was all good. When we stepped out of the plane, the wave of familiar smells, and the humidity was shocking. And now we’re back to normal traffic (it’s worse than it was when we left though), school, well drilling, and pretty much just everyday life.

Heather for the Helmuths