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


Back into Mission Life…

Well we are back…As you would expect furlough was very busy for us. What with reunions, us boys being at Beaver Lake Camp, and seeing friends, we were always doing something. For me the highlight of the summer was working at Beaver Lake Camp…It was nice seeing old friends from around “home”, but I no longer fit in where I used to anymore. So it is hard in a way everytime we go back. Don’t get me wrong we had a good time but it wasn’t all easy. I got to stay in the states a week and longer than the rest of the family to work, which I really enjoyed.


Where most of the summer happened for me.


This girl was a personal challenge for me over the summer. Right at first she wouldn’t let anybody new hold her, but by the middle of the summer she would let me and one or two others hold her.


The biggest shock was coming back here to Cambodia. There has been so much stuff that has changed in just a 2.5 months that I’m not even sure where I fit in here anymore. Here’s a few of the changes: Michaels went home, Eltons moved to the village, and I don’t have the job that I used to because of school vacation. There are some other things as well but these are some of the most obvious. Regardless of the changes life moves on and you have to make your place again. It’s just not as easy as I wish it was sometimes.

Speaking of life moving on, it has really been moving since I got back. Alyssa, from our church at home, came back over with the family to visit for a month, so she was here when I got back. Two of my cousins were here as well. They came in on the same flight I did, so that was kind of cool. I knew they were coming but thought they were coming in that evening, and they thought I was flying in the night before, so we were all surprised when we ran into each other in the Guangzhou airport. Two days after I got back we got even more company. A group from Mountain View Nursing Home came to help out on the mission for their mission trip. Chandra used to work there so they really wanted to come see her.

We had a good time while they were here even though it felt a bit overwhelming at times. One of the main things we did while they were here was help finish out Goy and Nak’s houses. They had walls finished around the top, but the bottom foot and a half needed to be finished and they also needed doors so we did that the first two days. They also passed out Bible story books, helped paint a fence, and cleaned for Laura while they were here. They did some of the tourist stuff like the temples, silk farm, and we took them to see the fishing village.IMG_7972

I had a lot of fun with my cousins over this time as well. Whether it was playing volleyball with everybody, hanging out with just them, it was really good to have them around. My favourite day was the day they left:) Now before you judge me, read on. ..That was the only day we did anything as the family with just them. We took them to the Barai, basically a small lake that has huts with hammocks strung in them that you can rent for the day. We played games, talked, ate fresh fruit, and had a good time. All too soon we had to leave so they could  make their flight at three.


The day after that, the team from Mountain View left, along with Alyssa and Chandra. Leaving it much quieter around here. Soon it is going to be even quieter yet, but more on that when it happens…

Well that’s all for now.

Luke for the Helmuths…

Counting the Days

Well, the last while has been pretty much just the normal. The Ryan and Austin go drilling. I teach English. Dad, Dallas, and Forrest either work with well team or on some of the agricultural projects we have started. Mom and the girls usually have plenty to do around the house. There has been an added excitement though, Counting the Days…For the last month at least almost daily we hear how many days it is until we leave on furlough. We are looking forward to seeing at least some of you while we are in the states. 🙂

Several weeks ago Dallas found some squirrels in a nest that had a lot of ants in it, so he took them down and has been feeding them by hand since then. For a while it was feed them and then they sleep. Then it got to the point that they would play a bit, but now it’s hard to keep track of them. They can jump out of their box and love running around. Dallas is working on a cage for them today so they don’t get away…20170607_202850

We found a little tractor for a really good price the other day, so Dad bought it. It came with a little tiller so that will be very nice. We also made a hitch so that we can pull a little trailer with it. It has come in very handy so far. Forrest was on cloud nine when Dad asked him if he wanted to drive it. It has a clutch so it’s still a little difficult for him, but he loves driving.IMG_6256

Last Friday all of ALAM Staff got together for supper. Before supper we had a lot of fun; there was some tractor rides for the children, somebody got a soccer game going, and there was a lot of talking and laughing. Chhom grilled some pork for supper (it was delicious and there was plenty of it).




Tractor Rides:)




Friday was also my last day of teaching for a while. Micheal and Chandra nicely let me have 2 days off to get some things done (like writing the blog) before I leave for Canada. I head out tomorrow (Wednesday) along with Ryan and Austin. We are going to serve at the summer camp where Lori is in conjunction with our furlough. We will be there in Canada for 7 weeks before heading down to the states.

Next week on Tuesday the rest of them head for States. They will be somewhere in the US (it’s hard telling where exactly, cause it sounds hectic) until we are finished with camp then they’ll drive up to Canada to pick us boys up.

Here’s a little story that happened a while ago that I thought yall might enjoy. So I had taken Alaina to the market on the moto, and she was asking question after question. If i didn’t answer right away she yell my name to try to get my attention again, which would shift from her to the traffic . We finally got to the market and got what we wanted. When we started coming back it was the same story except this time she started wiggling yet too. She’s big enough when she wiggles it leans the moto a bit which makes it turn. This was fine for a bit, but soon we got into thicker traffic. So I told her, “Alaina you have to hold still. You are going to make us have an accident.” She says, “OK.” Paused to think, then, “But I don’t have to hold my mouth still.” and kept asking questions the rest of the way home.

And here are a few pics I really like…


I’ve only seen this kind of butterfly twice… It’s a Five-Barred Swordtail Butterfly.


Well that’s it for now…

Luke for the Helmuths

Visitors, Wedding and More!!!

This past month has been very busy. It seems as if we’ve had company all month long. If you count the whole mission we have! There were three or four days that our family didn’t.

If you remember from the last blog post the first part of the month we had a team from Hill crest here to help out. Two days after Hillcrest left, James and Ruth came. They were the first of quite a few people from Holmes County, Ohio that came for Jon and Veasna’s Wedding. James rode along with Dad quite a bit with while they were here. One of the more exciting things they did was go look at a house out in the village that we are thinking about renting. The whole family wants to move out there, but we are still getting numbers around and waiting on the board’s go ahead. It might not be such a big deal, but the house needs some remodeling, which might get expensive .

The first week of April was Jody’s last week of teaching. She was going home at the end of the month and letting Chandra fill her position, and there was a long break after the seventh for Khmer New Year. So she decided to just stop then and work on getting ESL supplies and worksheets organized. On the 7th we had our last day of English Class before the 2 week break for the Khmer New Year/Wedding. The Khmer school only took off a week and a half for the Khmer New Year, but with Jon and Veasna’s wedding at the end of the week we decided just to make the break two weeks long.

The morning of the 14th we woke up to quite a surprise. Some doors that we had shut and bolted before bed were open, and nobody in our family had opened them. After looking around a bit, we noticed that somebody had taken the keys for the gate and opened that and stole a few things. Whoever it was took a strange variety of things: my backpack for English teaching (but he nicely emptied out most of the contents), several pairs of flipflops, a truck battery, and a bicycle, along with a couple dollars of money. The scariest thing was that he was in the house. The only way that we can figure out that he got in was through a second story door that we forgot to close. We had never really worried about that door because there are no stairs. That  was the only door that was open, and all the windows have metal grates over them so that has to be the place he came in. Then the next week he came again. This time all he took was two truck batteries. I’d say it’s about time we got another dog…

Sunday the 16th a lot of Jon’s family arrived here in Siem Reap. Jon and Veasna had rented a house for the whole family to stay in, which was very nice for them. Those of the immediate family that didn’t show up on Sunday, got here the next day. We didn’t find much out from them, especially that first week. They were too busy running here and there trying to get stuff ready for the wedding.

On that Thursday, Dad took the board members that were here (James, Larry, and Delbert) to a very remote village that we had drilled some wells in. Well we got somebody else to drill them with a machine since we couldn’t drill by hand. They took along a submersible pump to put in the one well so most of the village can get water from there. It sounded as if they had a really good day.

The 22nd was the big day for Johnathon Gingerich and Veasna Bophin. Their wedding started at four in the afternoon. Well it was supposed to. It ended up getting pushed off for a little bit, because true to style, a lot of people were a little late. The wedding was a very nice “American” wedding with a Khmer twist. During the service there were children playing in the aisle and running around in the back. The reception was a lot more like a “Khmer” wedding. People kept coming in as the evening went on to eat and talk. Jon and Veasna had a bridal table, but they barely sat there. They were happily buzzing around talking with all the guests. When we asked some of the Khmer people what they thought of the wedding they said that they really liked the vows. In the Khmer wedding they wouldn’t verbally commit to each other as strongly.


Jon and Veasna with her Grandmother.

Monday the 24th we started up classes again after our break. Attendance was really bad the first couple of days, but slowly more and more students started dribbling in until now two weeks later we are up to about full force.

Tuesday the 25th Wesley Miller, who was here for the wedding, was involved in a moto accident. He got banged up pretty badly with a concussion, three smashed/broken toes (they ended up amputating one), a broken collar bone, and some broken ribs (which poked a hole in one of his lungs. The Hospital sent him down to another hospital in Phnom Penh, where he was for 4 days. Then after he was back here in Siem Reap he was readmitted to the hospital to put a metal plate on the collar bone which had slipped way out of place. He is not allowed to fly till May 16th, so he has an unplanned extension to his stay.

The last week in April was full goodbyes. Almost all the people who had come over for the wedding went home that week, but more importantly (at least in our lives) Jody left for home on April 30th . She had been staying with our family while serving here as an English teacher for a year and a half. She will be really missed…




We’ve been having some really nice sunsets recently.


Well that’s about it so I’ll wrap it up for now…

P.S.    Sorry I didn’t have more pics to go with the blog this time.

Luke for the Helmuths



Busy Times…

I know it’s been along time since I have written a blog post, but this time i can claim something more than just laziness. Our computer crashed and was down for a month or two before we could get it fixed. Then I didn’t know the password for the word press account since it was Lori who had set it up, and she didn’t remember either…

The last thing I wrote about was Christmas, and there has been a lot that has happened since then.  I’ll skim over some of the highlights and use parts of newsletter articles I wrote so some of this might be old news.

January 9th the well team decided to try to drill in a village that they had discovered through Chhom’s brother. They had driven back in to the village the week before to check things out and decided we should definitely put priority on drilling for them.

There are around 250 families that live there. Their only water supply is a pond that dries up in dry season. They also catch rain water from the roof but since it has practically stopped raining that isn’t any good. Once the pond dries up, they will either have to drive 4 miles to get water, or buy water from someone who makes the trip.

The road back into the village is so bad that even though it is only 4 miles it takes an hour to make it with a truck. Unfortunately there is too much rock in the area so they couldn’t drill by hand. So we discussed it with the board and decided that we would get somebody to drill with a drill rig. Since the price to do three wells is only a little more than a single well we decided to space the three within the village.

In the last of January we had something exciting happen after church. We had known for a few weeks that Chhom’s Mom was thinking about becoming a Christian, and soon after the service, Chhom’s parents told us they talked about it and both of them wanted to become Christians. So Dad, Elton, and Sen had a little meeting with them asking them some questions and explaining some other things. Once sure they understood, several of us gathered around them and had prayer with/for them. After that they wanted us to go with them to their home to take down and burn all their Bhudist things, and pray a blessing on the house.

While we were doing that, Dad was telling them about the power of prayer, and that if they ever get discouraged they should pray. Frank who was translating went on to tell them about a prayer of his that was clearly answered. Then Frank  looked over at Chhom’s brother and told him that he and his wife should pray for children. They have been married for six years and don’t have any children but really want some. When Elton heard what they were talking about he shared how he and Laura had a doctor tell them they would never have children, but somebody prayed with/for them and they now have 5. Then he suggested that we should pray for this couple. When Frank asked them if they  wanted us to pray for them the lady got a sparkle in her eye and said yes. So we gathered around them prayed that they could have children and through the answered prayer become Christians. Since then there have been several other converts in the village. Most of the new converts are others in Chhom’s family, but i think there are others as well.


Burning spirit houses ect.


While we were there to burn the things Frank found these butterflies and called me over to get some pictures.

There are several interesting conversion stories from out there. I’ll tell you one of them. One of the ladies who just got converted has a little baby, and she noticed that in week that followed her conversion the baby was always crying. So when Elton and Sokhom came out there the next time she wanted them to pray for it. So they along with some of the Christians from there gathered around. While they were standing there Chhom’s mom noticed that the baby still had a budhist necklace tied around it’s neck. She said there wasn’t any reason to keep that, so they cut it off and then prayed for the baby. Almost immediately the baby stopped crying, and a week later the mom said that it was still as quiet and as happy could be.

Early in February Dad’s cousin Phil Yoder brought his family over to visit for a week. We got them to do  some of the tourist stuff, but had even more fun doing things like taking them out on the lake, playing volleyball, ect. One very untouristy thing that we did was going fishing…Let me explain, there was a very small pond that we  knew had a decent amount of fish. So we set up two pumps to pump the pond dry. When it was close to dry everybody who wanted to got in the mud and tried to catch the fish with our hands. We had to be careful to try to figure out what kind of fish it was before we caught it because there were a lot of catfish there to. For those of you who don’t know a catfish has poison in two of the fins that feels about like a bee. So everybody was fairly cautious. We really enjoyed having them around.


Phil’s family.


We took Phil’s out to the lake and stopped to watch these guys fishing for a bit.


Two fish that the fishermen caught.


Trying out crickets.


All of the cousins in order of age…The bag that Ryan is holding represents Lori…She was really missed when Phils were here.

This month is turning out to be a very busy one. We had a team from Hillcrest come for a week. We put them to work part of the time, but we had a plenty of fun with them too. It was great having a lot of youth around even if it was only for a week.


The team that was here from Hillcrest.

The night before the Hillcrest group left we had two visitors come as a part of the SALT program we have. They were here to give some training to Sokhom, Hong, and Elton. We really didn’t find out much about them since they were staying at Eltons, but it sounded as if they got the training done that they came for.

The rest of this month sounds busy too. Jon and Veasna are getting married on the 22nd, and there are a decent amount of people coming for the wedding. So things will be busy from that too.



Alaina’s 4th Birthday was March 22. 


A little jumping spider

Well that’s all for now 🙂

Luke for the Helmuths.


Classes and Christmas

When I last wrote we had just started teaching English again (six weeks ago:). That has been a bit of a roller coaster. In the morning classes we started out with two classes I had all the students who didn’t know very much and Micheal had the same students that he had before vacation. Some of which know quite a bit. It started out that I had four little girls in my class. This was a small class but I was having fun with them. I could easily teach them the alphabet, some conversation, and still have time to play some games before the hour was up. As the next couple weeks passed however, I slowly kept getting more students till I was consistently having 10 students. So I told them that anybody above the ten that I had could come, but they wouldn’t get a book unless one of the others didn’t come. This was working pretty good until we told them that we were going to have a Christmas Party. Soon after we told them this, I had up to 25 students. It was to the point I couldn’t really teach them much of anything, but now that the party is over with the students are dwindling down to more manageable numbers.


The first four students.


Some of the many I ended up with.

In the afternoon class I had the opposite happen. When we started I had 20 students so we narrowed them out by grades. When we said that those in third grade or less couldn’t come I had 10-12 students, which is about the right amount. So I was teaching those, but of the 12 I could tell there was only 3-4 that really wanted to learn. The rest just came for the fun. Over the next two months the less dedicated dropped out till now I am down to a consistent class size of 4 with 1-2 others that come occasionally. Some of these really weren’t even trying to learn till I really started giving them a hard time. I showed them the attendance sheet and told them see, the two that have come the most are the ones that have learned. I asked the others if they really wanted to learn or only came for the fun. They all sheepishly looked at each other and said they wanted to learn. I must admit, since then, they have been putting a lot more effort into learning.

Some of the board (James Mullet, and Delbert Kline), and Chandra (school teacher for American staff) arrived here on the tenth. We had decided that Chandra would be living with Eltons so she moved in with them right away and started getting settled there.

We enjoyed having the board around even though this meant a lot of meetings. We especially enjoyed the Friday evening when they made supper for everybody. This included the Khmer staff and families. After a delicious American supper, they, the board, had some early Christmas gifts for everybody:) Then we watched the CAM Open House Slides. It was interesting watching the Khmer people realize that there are places that are far poorer than here.


It even looked like a Christmas Party.

One day while the board was still here, I planted a bunch of pepper seeds to add to my collection of vegetables. This time they came up. So far I have tomatoes and peppers, but I have plans to plant some corn and okra too.

On Monday the 19th the board started back to US. Then on Tuesday, we moved all of the school desks and books from our house over to the school house and tried to help Chandra set up desks ect. in the classroom. The next day they started school at the school house. For the first couple days Jody went over to help Chandra out, but since things are getting into a routine over there, she hasn’t been. I was especially glad that we finally had a school teacher because now I don’t need to teach English then try to come home and answer questions and grade yet.


We needed Mom’s sewing desk as a teachers desk at the school. So Dad bought one piece of plywood and made a new one with only hand tools. 🙂 This one is better than the old one.

That brings us up to the 23rd, two days before Christmas. Things still didn’t slow down since we had a Christmas party to get ready for. So Friday, Michael and I went and got a set of speakers for the party (last year one of the complaints was that they couldn’t hear). While we were doing that, Dad was buying soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and candy to put in bags as a small gift to give to whoever wanted it. Friday evening everybody got together for homemade ice-cream. After eating everybody pitched in to help put together the little gift bags. It took close to an hour and a half to put together 350 of the gifts. These would be handed out to everybody along with the 25 Bible Stories and the Torch of Truth magazines that we have translated into Khmer.

On Saturday everybody in our family, worked on getting things ready for the party. Washing bowls, buying ingredients for chili soup, grinding up 20 kg of chicken was only a small part of what happened.

Then came the big day…Christmas morning was busy loading up trucks to get everything needed out to Bakong. Around lunch time we got out there and started getting set up. While some people worked on chili soup, others worked on getting tables and chairs set up. Soon some Khmer friends showed up and helped out. We also had 600 loaves of bread to cut, with everybody pitching in everything got done in time.

As we were doing this, people were slowly dribbling in. Not everybody expected was there at three thirty. So we put off starting till around four o’clock. We had a few special songs, then Michael and I did a flannel graph of Jesus’ Birth with Sen translating. The most important part of the program was Elton preaching, since the reason that we have the party is so that we can share the gospel. After the program was over everybody got to eat some chili soup and bread. I was blessed with how all the Khmer people pitched in to help whenever there was a need. While the Christmas Party was a lot of work, we had a lot of fun too. Altogether we had around 385 people that were there that evening.


From where the work was done to where the party was being held.


Two little friends who didn’t want me to put them down.

On Monday our family was sitting around the supper table talking about the gift exchange that we were planning to do that evening. Carissa and Forrest were saying that Alaina had told them whose name Mom had. When Mom looked over at Alaina she piped up, “But I’m not going to tell Heather,” which was who Mom had…:)

Well, I should run the last English class before a two week break awaits me.

Until next time.

Luke For the Helmuths