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Beginning language tutoring

Today we met the lady, Sue, who is going to be our language (Khmer) tutor. Sue attends KCC and has been in the US for the past 30 years. She was 20 years old and attending university in Phnom Penh when Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge took over the country. She was separated from her family and for the next 3-4years survived various concentration/work camps. When talking about how she survived the camps she said the she was “diligent in doing what was demanded” of her and that no matter how hungry she got she did not take the chance of sneaking any morsel of wild fruit or food that might cause her to become the recipient of a beating. Sue said that a friend of hers in the camp once snuck a piece of fruit from the jungle while on a restroom break and the guards saw/caught her and beat her to the point that she was no longer recognizable. Sue said that she prayed to be strong enough to starve to death rather than be beaten to death.

Sue was raised a Buddhist but in the camp she began to pray to the god, whoever it was, that was higher than any other god, to watch out for her and to give her the strength necessary to survive. She didn’t know the name of that god but continued to pray to him. One night she had a dream and in the dream she was standing on the top of a tall building and a beam of light came from the sky and illuminated her and in that beam of light she saw a bird, larger than a sparrow she said, like the size of a dove and in the dream it flew free. In Buddhist tradition people buy caged birds and set them free and thereby receive some reward or blessing for doing so and so from her frame of reference she felt that she was receiving an assurance that she would one day be free.

When Sue came to the US and was living with a sponsoring family she saw a picture of Jesus praying, illuminated by light and a dove descending to Him and she recognized the scene as being the same as the dream that she had in the camp. It was then that she committed her life to Jesus.

As our schedules permit we are beginning the language tutoring weekly starting next Monday evening. We know we won’t be fluent (or even close) but we do hope to have some basic phrases down and at least be becoming familiar with the language so that we are more prepared to be immersed in it come January


fits and starts…

well, it’s been a journey of ‘fits and starts’ that began late last summer (’08). well actually it began longer ago than that and for that part of the story you can click here… ‘ background‘. at times it has seemed to be more fits than starts, however right now it feels like the journey has jumped from a ‘starting’ pace to a ‘running’ pace.

In late April/early May we took a 7 day exploratory trip to Cambodia to meet some of the people that we would be working with, to get a feel for what they may want us to do and determine if indeed we would be able to come along side of them and assist them in the way that they needed/wanted us to. we looked at what our housing options/living situation would be like and we came back home feeling both overwhelmed and excited. overwhelmed with the cultural differences that we were and would be exposed to. overwhelmed with the genuineness and depth of their faith, and excited that there is the opportunity to serve with them to advance God’s Kingdom in Cambodia.

Two weeks after we returned home we met with the Missions Pastor at Kentwood Community Church (KCC), Phil Smart, and our own Pastor, Chad McCallum at Compass Church and said that we would go as serving missionaries to Cambodia and come alongside of the work already being done at the Wesleyan Bible Institute (WBI) in Phnom Penh and the Wesleyan National Church as a whole. Compass Church, our home church, will be the sending church but will be doing so in conjunction with KCC where I (Chet) am Network Administrator. Virginia is employed as the Bookkeeper for the W. MI District the local denominational office.

Some of the work that we will be doing includes the set up and installation of a Computer Lab. teaching basic MS Office (Word, Excel) skills and helping to teach English at the WBI. Because of the combined effect of small individual confregations and the They’ve also asked Virginia if she would assist in putting in place some initial procedures and tools to help standardize reporting being done for the national church.

So with the decision to go to Cambodia made we, on June 8th, put our house on the market. Our realtor felt that our house, being in a desirable school district, well taken care of and and priced reasonably with similar houses, would probably sell. But with what we heard about the housing market in Michigan and what we have seen and heard from others we weren’t too overly confident. Well on July 15th our house sold (5-1/2 weeks) and on the 17th/18th we had a moving sale which we had already scheduled several weeks before. Our house has sold, we’ve sold quite a few of our possessions, though we’re going to have another sale in 3 weeks as a fund raiser, and now we have to find temporary residence for about 4 months.

. . . like i said, right now it feels like our journey has begun to move at the pace of a run. But in it all we know His hand is in it and it’s His lead that we’re going to follow.