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Week in Review

Had a few folk here from KCC for an Int’l Steward workshop for our pastors this last week. It was a packed few days but medicine for my soul – even when I didn’t realize how much I needed it :o)

Bekah and I took Kim up to Siem Reap for a quick visit. I enjoy the architecture of the old wats/temples – but the Floating Village still has my vote (and my heart). We had a different guide this time – so I got, not a different perspective, but a new perspective. Our guide grew up and still lives in the floating village. Boats that I saw before and thought to be family “travel” boats to get their fish to the market I found out were actually their homes. They were no more than a little longer row boat that you and I might take out for a leisurely afternoon, but with families of 4-7 people living on them!

You might recall me telling you about our last visit when a young boy hopped aboard to sell us drinks. Our guide encouraged us to show them that we already had drinks and motion them NOT to hop aboard. He told us that parents keep their children from going to school to help them sell items and earn a living; but that just the day before when a girl was jumping back into the boat with her mother that she fell in the water and was decapitated by the propeller. He watched as the mother cradled her dead child. He is passionate about taking care of the children and making sure that they get an education – an opportunity that he wished he had growing up. He speaks 7 languages; all self taught by just visiting with tourist like ourselves, but is unable to get a job as a guide in the city which would pay more because he doesn’t hold a certificate of formal education. If our kids could only see how good they have it….

One of my highlights was meeting a 14 yr old deaf girl and being able to converse with her!! Sign language is not a universal language – each country has their own and is not usually similar to one another. So my guess is that since Cambodia was colonized by the French and ASL has French roots that Cambodian sign language must also be derived from FSL. What ever the reason for us to be able to understand each other – it was definitely a kiss from God for me. My heart smiled and I realized that my passion for working with the deaf is still alive!

We’ve been so blessed – I hope that we were able to be a blessing to those we met. Still seeking to hear His voice and follow His footsteps. Pray for us as we continue to connect with people.

Virginia

Getting there – but not quite Cambodian yet

I have my days that make me smile as I realize that I am adjusting pretty well. Then I’m humbled as I realize I still have a long way to go…nothing bad, just not ready to be brave yet.

I am feeling pretty comfortable riding moto-taxis and to both Chet’s and my amazement, I am actually learning my way around the city quite well. I can even redirect my sometimes confused moto driver. I’m liking motos so much that I’m even thinking about learning how to drive one while here in Cambodia!

I realize, however, that I’m not so Cambodian when I don’t want to take a moto-taxi to transport 2 – 15″ wall fans – but I did. The driver held one and I held the other. I was still feeling uncomfortable holding just one fan, but my true realization that I was a wimp came when I passed a moto with someone on the back carrying 4 foot square plates of mirrored glass. I guess holding on to 1 fan isn’t so bad after all.

Tonight I had dinner with some of the pastor’s wives. It was a great time together and I ate my whole meal with chop sticks!! I’m doing pretty well with them. I’m learning the ways:)

Last night, however, when I went out to buy a grilled chicken from a street vendor, I got queezy as I saw the head still on the chicken 😦 Nope, not Cambodian yet. I had them remove the head (I couldn’t even watch) before I bought it. My moto driver asked if he could have it. He was laughing at me, but was quite excited for his “bonus” of the chicken neck/head :o)

Chet and I don’t like having to take the car out at night, it is sooo hard to see. Motos, bicycles and pedestrians are everywhere, all dodging in and out of traffic. But tonight…..I became a little more Cambodian!

As I said, I went out with some of the pastor’s wives. They drove their motos and I was one of passengers. I actually felt safer at night on the moto! I don’t think it was a special covering on us because we are Christians – I think it was because tonight we/I were the ones doing the dodging in and out instead of having to watch for those doing it.

Language is coming along…slowly, but it’s coming. I have learned my necessary phrases and enough little stuff to get a driver where I need or to ask for a few of the things I want. My driver last night told me I speak very good Khmer!! What a very nice compliment. But one of the phrases I have learned to say is “I can only speak a little Khmer”. You see, many times I am giving directions or asking for something and suddenly my driver (I use different people) thinks I can carry on a whole conversation! Woe….hold on, that would be a “No!”

Oh, one more funny thing to tell you. You know back in the states when it is taking forever for your food to come in a restaurant we say “They must have had to go kill the cow, pluck the chicken…etc”. Well just so there are no misunderstandings for any of you who are coming to visit; here in Cambodia, that may very well be the case!!

It is hot here, very hot! We miss people terribly!! But I am grateful for the adventure that God has us on here. I’m being pulled/pushed beyond my comfort zones – but blessings follow. I laugh at as many things as I get frustrated with – so at least there is balance :o) God continues to be faithful.

I’m adjusting. I’m getting there. I’m much braver than I ever thought I’d be. But even though I’m sure – no, I know that I’ll continue to expand my horizons and grow in the next 2 years; I don’t think I will ever be Cambodian, but I’m happy to be their friend.