So, have you taken the bike for a ride, slipped on the boots for a hike, or put the lounge-chair back another notch for a little more time in the sun? If not, you better get busy. That’s what summer is for, isn’t it? Well… where ever you are adventuring, I hope you are having all kinds of fun.
July, over here, has been all about the fish, or various kinds of fish, and the spotting of a few elephants here and there. Yes, of course the first fish is the colorful one you see shoot past your mask, or dangling on your hook, or like the one I now hear sizzling in the pan across the kitchen. Cambodia and Cambodians live by their fish, whether their fish are seared, steamed, fried or fermented. Roughly eighty percent of a Cambodian’s protein comes from fish. The other twenty percent is all peanut butter. Just kidding. Anyway, this month, like many, I have enjoyed getting to know and eat my fish smoked, boiled, even baked in mud and then served with everything from unripe mango shavings to raging hot chiles. There’s more than one way to fix a fish, and they all seem pretty tasty.
Now, for fish number two…. well… maybe 362. July, had one of FCOP’s (Foursquare Children of Promise) most exciting, action packed (and exhausting) events. This year we had kids bus, van and truck in from some or our remotest homes in the provinces for baptism and four event filled days. Most of the kids had never been more than a mile or two from home, and many had never riden on anything other than an ox or bicycle. So, needless to say, whether they were five of fifteen years old when they rolled into Phnom Penh and the Training Center they were all wide eyed and grinning, and to be honest some nauseously groaning as well. Ten hours down bumpy dirt roads in the back of a bus and then another two hours of weaving back and forth in stop and go city traffic will do it to you. However, a little rest, a bit of dinner and they were ready to get the party started. There were a million fun games that had everyone laughing and cheering, but more importantly all the kids quickly realized they were all a part of one big family and had brothers and sisters all across the country. The kids also had a road trip to the Royal Palace and a chance to explore more Cambodian culture and history. Visiting the palace is something that less than one percent of the population has been able to enjoy, so it was a special day. Pastor Peter later shared with the kids on the significance of water baptism, preparing the kids for the next day’s trip to Kampong Som. Up at 4:00am, the kids loaded onto seven buses for the four hour ride to the beach, and exploring yet another part of the country they had never seen. With the buses just coming to a stop, the kids were off and organizing themselves on the beach, decked out in color coded t-shirt, one-color for each home. Just off the shore, the pastors then met with and baptised the kids one by one. And, with 362 excited kids, it was good we had a dozen pastors. With all complete, the kids took to the water like fish; they flipped, flopped, dove and danced through the waves. Yes, these were dancing fish…very special! It was an amazing day. You’ve gotta love seeing a child’s face light up when they take their inner-tube over the first ocean wave they’ve ever seen. So, it was a fun, action packed day.
What going on with the EVT program?
Fish number three and our elephant sighting came straight out of our sewing room and the creative talents of our sewing girls. Not wanting any material to go to waist, they started trimming and snipping until they came up with some very cool fish and elephant shapes. Then lining, zippers, and a few accents were added to complete their new designs. One of the best parts, however, was their excitement when the very first few that had just come off their sewing machines were picked up and purchased by some visiting mission team members. So, as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been relegated to ‘errand boy’. They give me their shopping list of material, buttons, snaps, and string etc. and I head to the market, while they do the creating, sewing, and selling. I love it! Check out the pictures, and their creations.
By the way, all our 9th graders passed their national tests with flying colors. They are happy and enjoying summer vacation even that much more. Thank you for your prayers. Now, we are just waiting on results for our 12th graders, but my guess is that they did just as well as their younger brothers and sisters.
Well, if you are traveling, tending your garden, or just taking some great summer naps enjoy. We’re having fun!, and I think it’s just about time to enjoy that sizzling fish I heard in the kitchen to be served up with some coconut curry. Mmmm…..