Sua’sdey from Kampuchea,
So, how is the Spring shaping up? Any signs of the winter defrosting? Over here the cool 80 degree temperatures of winter have moved to the much warmer high-90’s, but April and the 100 plus temperatures are just around the corner. That said, the mangos are really happy and just dripping off the trees. Can you say, mango shake, mango salad, mangos with fried pork, mangos and chile sause; yes sliced, diced, slivered, and minced…. we’ve got ’em. But, I’d say green mangos straight off the tree with a little dip-mix of salt, sugar and dried chiles are best.
Anyway, here is the latest. Our teams were out in the provinces working up a storm doing everything from sharing the Word to installing solar panels. The youth team was back to Ratanakiri where they taught to over 200 youth from some very isolated villages. It seems our youth team’s arrival can not be kept a secret (not that it was ment to be), and what was intended to be an outreach to young adults had attendees with an age range that ran from 5 to 85 years old. I think no one wanted to miss out on the message or the music. Once again our ‘Young Lions’ showed they can both talk-the-talk and walk-the-walk. On another front, one of our goals is to get solar panels into all our church/orphans homes. Many homes in the province run two or three florence lights off a car battery to provide light in the evening, which works better and is safer than the candles and kerosene lamps traditionally used. The same car battery also runs the keyboard that gives each home their Sunday worship tunes. All that to say the batteries get a work out and every couple days they are off to be recharged. Of course, some homes run generators which work great, but gas prices are always on the rise and the bang and klang of a generator doesn’t do wonders during worship, or when the kids are trying to study in the evening. So, Khamera one of our ‘Jack-of-all-trades’ office staff was out and installing one of our latest solar units. Solar panels are the ticket because maintenance is minimal and as you know we’ve got plenty of sun. Did I mention the 90 plus degree temperatures?
One the Phnom Penh side of things; I have bounced back from the jet-lag, and the 15-hour back-of-the-truck dusty-dirt-road ride to the mountains of the northeast. And I have also joyfully bounced back into the classroom where I’ve got the grammar geared up, and the kids have the conversation cursing. I’m excited because we now have an additional 14 kids studying with us who come from the homes in the area around us. So, Monday to Thursday they join us for English, Friday night for worship and Sunday for church. Watching them connect with our kids, and in turn connect with the Lord is great. Their parents have gotten to know us because it’s a safe place for their kids to study in the evening, and I usually get to meet them a bit as I drop off the 5 or 6 kids who usually squeeze into my car for the one-minute ‘pothole-dance’ commute to the doorsteps of their various homes. It’s FUN! In the Sewing Room, the machines are humming again and the hand-stitching is getting far more intricate. This girls never stop amazing me. It’s always great when I arrive in the afternoon for my classes and a few run up to show me what they have designed or completed that day. Their talent and their confidence is growing in leaps and bounds with each new bag they put together.
Around the house, I am sad to say that Spud our 89 year old Yorkshire terrior passed away. But, he went out in a fashion that was perfectly suited for him. He was a champion at hunting down rats, and reptiles; not giving up until they were consumed or someone, whom he trusted, had taken care of the vermin. Well, about two weeks back Spud took on a cobra in our yard. Spud got him by the tail. The cobra stood up, spat its venom into Spud’s eye and Spud responded with a chomp to the snake’s neck. One cobra dead. Spud held on through the afternoon, but passed away in the early evening. No doubt, that is exactly the way he would have wanted to go. Thank you Spud!
On to the nuptials, well yes…. the hands are in the air, the winds are racing through the hair (what I’ve got anyway) and the date is set for May 3rd. And yes, Naomi and I have now gone out for a few coffees, as well as had x-rays, medical checks, thumb prints, visited to the US embassy, talked with the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and even met with the local village chief in Chom Chao. Not the usual list of dating ‘hot spots’ but it’s been fun. Soon, we should be able to talk a bit more about cake flavors (durian or mangosteen) and music (Gomez or Sokun Ganya). And one very important additional point of excitement is that my dad and brother will be here to help ring the wedding bells, or maybe it’s ride in the water buffalo. My language skills were not quite there during the discussion of events to understand that last part of the custom. I’ll let you know.