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Weeks Blessings

by Virginia

God has been most gracious to us this first week plus. Lyrics to a song that keeps coming to mind are “God will make a way, when there seems to be no way. He works in ways we cannot see, He will make a way for me. He will be my guide. Hold me closely to His side. With love and grace for each new day He will make a way, He will make a way.“ One of the ‘ways’ is how He has shown Himself through our new friends and host Greg and Resie. They have truly been our lifeline as we are getting acclimated and set up here in Phnom Penh. We move into our apt tomorrow (Wed) and I feel a little like a teenager who is about to have the apron strings cut (although I know I won’t be abandoned)

Some highlights from the week…

We found an apt and have power-shopped the last two days to get set up. Feels a bit like when you first get married and are starting with nothing. We have been able to stay under budget for two reasons. First is our landlord,.he has been most generous supplying beds, wardrobes, dining table and chairs and possibly a TV and stand (not a necessity but would be nice if we have it). The place is more than I could ask for. It is beautiful and he has been very accommodating. I pray that we can build a positive relationship with him and the others in the building who have done all the work on our apt.(It’s brand new, as in they are finishing it up today!). The second reason we have been able to stay under budget is due to Resie and Greg who know where to shop and also speak the language so they can bargain on our behalf. The savings will allow us to get a car, instead of just a scooter, which will be nicer in the rainy season.

Scooters…Amanda, Bekah and I have all rode on a moto-taxi. The girls liked it but I don’t feel so comfortable on it. I enjoy the tuk tuk much more. A tuk tuk is a carriage pulled by a scooter. We loaded a tuk-tuk today as we did our power shopping!

Church has been wonderful. Both the Chapel at the WBI Sunday, where 4 countries were represented (Cambodia, Japan, Philippines, US) and the Int’l church (ICF) which I know represented many more nations but whom all spoke English. At the WBI I only understood the reading of scriptures (because I could read it myself) but afterwards, speaking to the people was so encouraging. Hearing their faith walks and reasons for being there (which was the message of the morning) blessed my heart. Diversity blended into oneness and unity. Later in the afternoon when we attended ICF I was reminded of the sovereignty of God. If I truly believe in the sovereignty of God then I am right where I need to be at any given moment to learn what God want me to learn. A great perspective to keep in mind, later when I am feeling scared, discouraged, lonely etc, that I must count it all joy knowing that in His perfect plan I am where I need to be to be molded into the likeness of Christ. I just need to remember the prayer of surrender that brought me here and will keep me going each and every day.

OK now a few funny things.

  • A 5′ refrig being delivered on a scooter standing upright between the driver and the person behind it.
  • A sign on the back of a truck “How’s my driving?” along with a phone number. If you have experienced the driving here or seen our videos then you would know the irony of this. There really are no rules.
  • An ice cream sandwich is what it says – ice cream between a sub bun. I think Subway should adopt this:-)
  • People like to pinch or poke Bekah (OK she thinks this is annoying not funny)

Well there is a glimpse into the first week of our journey here. Please keep us in your prayers as we begin our life here and I promise to keep you posted regularly as well.

Acts 2.42 – bookends on the first week

Our first week in Phnom Penh is behind us now and we’ve experienced much in the way of cultural and environmental differences and stress.  Processes that in the US may sometimes be stressful are definitely stressful for us here;

… going into a store (without an interpreter) and trying to determine product features and availability and not being able to do so… looking at houses and apartments and trying to discern the balance between embracing and living in the culture and living in a retreat from the culture… struggling with the desire to get to work and get it done (and knowing that those here are also anxious for us to do so) and realizing/knowing that the skills and abilities that we do have will be best utilized when we take the up front time to get ourselves oriented to our new environment… being reliant on others to interpret and navigate this new culture while knowing that their own culture and background impact how they have learned and experienced Cambodia and that that is impacting choices and decisions that we will make as we move forward…

…but… on both ends of that, through gathering with other believers on Sunday we were able to worship, and receive encouragement and exortation.  Last week we heard teaching on how David turned to God (reflected in the Psalms)  for orientation as he looked to God for wisdom and direction, how he turned to God in times of disorientation and confusion and how he looked to God for reorientation when he had been lost or gone the wrong way.  This week we looked at the early church and how they didn’t just stop at learning and knowing the teachings of the apostles they actually lived them out.   We were called to live out what we know.  Learning and knowledge are not ends to themselves.  We really only learn and attain knowledge when we actually implement and  live it out daily and discuss it in the midst of our day-to-day experience.

God knew that this week we would need to know that others have experienced disorientation and turned to Him for their orientation and reorientation.  He also knew that after this first full week we would need to know that walking our talk and putting into action what we already know of Him is what leads to real learning and relationship with Him.  And so fellowship with other believers, as bookends on the week, has been sustenance for us and I know will continue to be going forward.

First observations of Cambodia: by manda :)

  • At one gas station for every $10 you spend on gas you get a can of pepsi
  • the malls are tall, as is everything else, and is organized by level. Exp: level 1 grocery store and food. Level 2 clothes, level 3 shoes and purses, level 4 electronics, level 5 house furnishings
  • motor bikes= surprisingly comfy
  • I am 8630.36 miles from home (grand rapids)
  • they hang bags of water hang on windows to keep flies out, and it works! 🙂
  • cambodian houses are very tall. Average is probably 4 levels. My legs are getting a work out climbing the steep flights of stairs!
  • cockroaches are huge
  • Bekah has gotten poked and touched a lot, and it is really annoying her. I’ve only got slapped on the arm once. I’ve seen 4 KFC’s already
  • box of corn pops = $8.28 cocoa crispies =$7.10
  • The grocery store is called “Lucky”
  • there is a coffee shop called “Jars of clay” run by christian women. It tends to target foreigners because of the food. They are raising money for women to conquer human trafficking.
  • Whenever you go out you are bound to see monks in orange robes with yellow umbrellas. Esher, a 2 year old, calls them the orange men.
  • Their shower heads are on a wall in the bathroom, no separation from the toilet. There is the showerhead and a faucet below it. The drain is normally on the same side but next to the toilet.
  • A lot of the houses have gates on them.
  • Cars park on the sidewalks
  • you can make a u turn where ever when ever
  • you will often see people wearing surgical masks, to prevent from inhaling  dust
  • they have ice cream sandwiches that are icecream in between sub bread
  • in KFC they have a dessert that is jello w/ icecream total = $0.60
  • the heat makes you crave ice cream a little bit
  • air conditioning is very welcome 🙂

right now we’re just trying to get ‘settled in’ looking for houses/apts and figuring out where everything is! Wish we could just jump into something, but guess thats not the way God has it planned.
Thanks for all your prayers they are very much felt!!!!
“stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil! He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking fo someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.” 1 peter 5:8-9