Saturday, March 31, 2007

You would not believe how long my nails are here. They grow like I've never seen (Hair seems to grow fast too, in a tropical climate, but I've been glad of it -- it enables me to get it off my neck) and I should cut them, because they're getting in the way, but I'm curious to see how long I can get them. I'm not even really filing them.

Today is Palm Sunday. I'm getting a little misty today because next week is Easter, and I won't be home to see the new flowers, and freeze to death in the garden while we grit our teeth and take pictures in our spring clothes, then run inside and change back into winter. Three people yesterday told me that it is spring there -- oh, homesick! And yesterday Makera, at lunch, turned on the American channel so I would feel comfortable -- and they were showing video of driving around in North L.A. around Santa Monica........ohhhhhh. No chocolate bunnies either.

Today I'm doing research to go on outreach. I'm not finding out much that we don't already know. Keeping looking...

Friday, March 30, 2007

Dance Party

DTS Dance Party!!!

Thursday night they threw a dance party for us. We ate on the front driveway with flowers on the table and fried pork for dinner (a specialty here -- it's very time consuming to make). Then they tore down the tables, brought out the snacks, and cranked up the music.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Me with Larissa at dinner.

We danced a mix of American music and Khmer, and all the westerners tried their darndest to learn how to dance Khmai style. Khmer dancing goes in formation around and around a circle. Not like american folk dancing -- more like the electric slide, only with your hands also doing asian swirly things. I can't describe it, and trying to remember the foot pattern (to the beat, but the foot pattern doesn't alternate on the downbeat) and the hand twisties (not to the beat at all -- but must happen evenly over top of the foot pattern) is like trying to pat your tummy and rub your head with the wrong hand. I can do three dances now -- the feet at least. The hands are getting there. And I could do one really fancy schmancy line dance by the end of the song.(step step step kick, step step step kick, step step step ball change, left ball change, jump 180 degrees and kick. Repeat)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Dancing Western style. Sumuuen, Sombat, Molly, Phally, Alissa & Jessica. Sombat is the camera ham.

After all was said and done, my feet hurt, and I've never sweat so much dressed up before. But it was a blast, and a great way to have fun with the Khmer students as they taught us how to dance -- and then we taught them the lawnmower, the shopping cart, the sprinkler, the swimming guy, and the pony. That should hold them over for years.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Me. Collapsed in exhaustion.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Hog Heaven

Ahh. Garth lent me his Strongs Exhaustive Concordence and Tyndale Bible Dictionary. I'm so happy!!!!!

I'd neglected to bring my less-exhaustive concordence with me, and it's been driving me crazy! Now if only I could figure out how to take them in my backpack on outreach!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

French Architecture

I know every person who comes to a foreign country suddenly starts to think they work for National Geographic, and can take terribly personal pictures of total strangers for no reason. However. I'm going to add a few because it FEELS like I live in a National Geographic magazine sometimes. People walk past me with sarongs and baskets on their heads. A man with buckets hanging from a bamboo pole across his shoulders. Naked children eating sugarcane. A woman with a shop ironing clothes with a 19th century andiron -- scooping coals with a bucket into the mechanism to heat it. Women working late into the night in open shops full of sewing machines. Drinking 7-up out of a plastic bag full of ice chipped off with a rusted hammer. A woman on the sidewalk of a restaurant chopping up a whole chicken with a cleaver on a round piece of wood.

Here's my contribution:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
The French Colonial Architecture is everywhere in Battambang. If you want your fill of picturesque distressed plaster walls, come here.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
A woman riding past the YWAM base with her child. Since diapers are expensive, and washing cloth diapers impracticle for a society that washes all clothes in a metal bowl, most small children don't wear clothes on the bottom half of their body. And lots wear nothing at all. It takes some getting used to, especially when a naked little boy comes up to play with you...

Me overlooking Battambang River

Me overlooking the river.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Teaching at the Youth Center

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Alissa teaching English

Teaching at the youth center has been my bar-none favorite thing about being here. Alissa and I team teach the 4 oclock English class. One week we decided that we'd use the story of Joseph to teach them to listen to spoken English for comprehension. We originally hoped to only take 3 days, but the story is long, even condensed, and took us six. The kids got really excited (I say kids, but most are teenagers, and some up to my age), and began asking really insightful questions (a HUGE step, since this culture values regurgitation of facts over analysis). We finished on Monday, and began teaching English curriculum again. But in the middle of class, during a lesson on "how far -- how near" a student raised his hand and asked if he could get a copy of the story of Joseph to read for himself. I was teaching and sort of was taken aback, and said "sure, anyone else?" The whole class raised their hand. (I'm working on typing up a copy now -- some Biblical words and concepts don't translate well into Khmer, and don't translate well either to people unused to 'religious' wording -- then Seeung is going to translate it into Khmer for all the kids) It's taking up quite a bit of work, but we're so excited that they're excited.

I love this part. I love teaching English -- because I LOVE the English language, and I love how telling stories engages them. Even better if it's a true story. And since Joseph is my favorite ever Bible Story...the best ever!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Seeung Translating into Khmer. His dream is to go to Canada for a degree in photography or architecture, but his family can't afford it. Seeung is 24 years old. Students that pass the exams to be international students are sometimes also required by the government to pay a 'fee' of about $3,000 to be allowed to go. Meiling's brother received top marks and the first place scholarship to study in Japan, but her family can't pay the 'fee.'

Jess and I wearing my new tops

Jess and Me wearing "stuff from the box."

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I got the box that afternoon with two pairs of shoes! I'd walked through mine almost, and the fabric part had holes where my toes had worn through. And not just flip flips == but sparkly flip flops!!! In red and green! And chocolate!

Thanks everyone who helped pack the box, put cards in, and send little hand lotions! Love you lots!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Life here is good. I've adjusted to rice finally.. The first few weeks I thought everything was delicious. Then one month ago I couldn't eat rice one more time if I had to. Now, since for the last month I've been buying less junk food, food tastes great because I can't just go eat whatever I want whenever I don't feel like eating lunch. Very yummy. I haven't eaten a bug yet,but I do love banana chips. I went on a mission to find a bag (8 kilos - 2000 riel) but I've been foiled so far.

Today I had my first major shopping excursion. I was out of almost every I had to go the Psar Bon Chuip to buy some. It's hard to know what to buy when all the brands are different -- and the ones you know are much more expensive. (I can buy Pantene here, but it's one dollar more) So today I bought one small Pantene ProV conditioner, Clinic Clear Itch and Dry Scalp Control VitaACE shampoo, Lux Vibrant Citrus Shower Cream with Vitamin C, Californian Oranges, Kiwi, and Grapefruit, CARE Hi-kamin Baby Powder with Cucumber, Apple and Grape (hope that doesn't clash with my citrus body wash). Toothpaste is the most difficult -- the favorite asian flavor being herb and salt. Gagh. So today I settled for Colgate Honeysuckle Herbal Salt Mint flavor. This should be an adventure.

Thank goodness yesterday is over. Friday is our voluntary fasting day -- and I've done it most of the time. This week though I started really obsessing about snack food. All week I jut couldn't stop thinking about it. Normally on Fridays people do different types of fastig -- it's not really strict -- and most people (including me) drink a lot of juice and smoothies to keep the blood sugar up through the hot day. Yesterday, given the junk food fetish for no reason, I went on just tons of water until after evening prayer time. AHHHH. I made it, but just barely. My neck was trying to go out too, so the combination of both put me in rather a bad mood all afternoon. But, once again we made it, and it's now our self-dubbed "Western Food Saturdays!!!" I had a doughnut and a three in one coffee for breakfast! For lunch we've bought peanut butter and jelly. I'll buy some drinks and chips, too. And hopefully banana chips as well!

My box arrived!!!! I have a picture of me and Jessica in the tops you bought. I couldn't wear both of them -- so I made her wear one for girls night that evening. I'm on the wrong computer to upload pictures, but I'll try to switch. Thank for the contacts...and best of all the CARDS!!!! I love them! And the chocolate is WONDERFUL!!! We can buy it here, but it's fairly (relatively) expensive. Most of it isn't really chocolate, but there is Cadbury and Snickers at the western store across the street from Psar Nat.

And Dad scanned a compassion letter that came in! Thanks Dad!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Drea, for your humor and benefit, the "recently overheard" section of my sidebar is up and running again.

Some other tidbits; I'm really too tired for anything else.

I saw a centipede today the length of a dinner plate. The general consensus was "Not dangerous. Not dangerous." But freakily unexpected, nonetheless.

The Barang are sleeping outside now, swathed in mosquito nets. Outside it's 78 at night, inside closer to 90. I hope to have a picture soon. My net is pink, Alissa's is blue, and Jessica's borrowed a green one. Katie said we looked like the shrouds of the three fairies in Sleeping Beauty.

We're doing relationship this week. And, my key relationship needing work is with God, who I believe horrible things about, and am now beginning the uphill battle of changing them. I'm still raw from the insights I learned about myself in mutual confession last week.

My box still hasn't come. It gets prayed for daily around here. Chocolate!

And I'm heading back in to the base. Maybe I'll get to read a little John Piper tonight after I study Khmer.

I met someone...

I met someone...

...who knows Joann Shetler. Our speaker this week (Relationships) lived very near them in the Phillipines. The YWAM base there is right next to the airport that houses JARS. They've met Joann, Doming and Loree. And best of all, Tekla's daughter, Ana, worked closely with them on the YWAM base, attended DTS, and then worked with them for several years before going to China. How cool is that? I got to hear even more stories over dinner. (This is Wycliffe Dinner Theater talk, for those of you who are lost).

They also have a lot of people in YWAM that came out of Compassion or WorldVision programs. I'm glad to see there's crossover in ministries. There should be, but I hadn't seen any so far. Hurrah. That made my night!

Friday, March 16, 2007


It is getting HOT in Cambodia. Everyone keeps saying "Wait until April." Well, we're almost there. If if falls below 85 at night we're really excited. Most nights sit around 90. (If it gets down to the 70's we pull out our blankets...funny how fast you acclimate)

A note on the wildlife. Outside my window is a rooster named Cornelius. He sits outside my bedroom window and crows at the rooster next door (Mercutio) beginning at about 4:15. This used to be a problem. Now, I kind of miss it when he doesn't get me up that early. My quiet time starts at 5, and if I've been up shaking my fist at Cornelius since 4, it's much easier to be awake. Sometimes Cornelius jumps the fence and comes to visit. He has the most beautiful feathers God ever gave a bird. Gorgeous, and he knows it. Noisy little sucker!

This week has been very difficult. My reaction to some of the various teachings, plus this being the "find out how far you really are from God's truth" have led to the unearthing of how much my relationship with God has been affected by other people, both directly in what has been said over the years about me, and indirectly through our family patterns. I had a doozy of a revalation yesterday, which I'm still reeling from, and it's going to be quite a process to change my thinking about God.

Confessing sins is easy. Changing habitual thoughts like "God doesn't really love me. I can't really please him. He only made me to be useful, not to love." oh and "This gooshy God emotion stuff applies to everyone but me." This is going to be a long process.

And anyone who wants to contribute to my ice cream budget, let me know!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I'm not dead

I swear. Not dead. Just busy, and eventually, even Cambodia gets into a routine. Get up early, run around all day, squeeze in some personal time, go to sleep.

Right now I'm down to my last book I've brought with me. I'm reading Pride and Prejudice aloud to Jessica. I'm reading Phillip Yancy's Finding the Invisible God (or something like that), and I'm reading Le Lion, Le Sorciere Blanche et l'Armoire Magique. That's right. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe in French. And it's not too bad. Les Enfants are on the way to the stone table, racing Edmund and the White Witch. Winter is melting away, and Spring is coming to Narnia. When do I have time to read in the middle of all the schedule? I get asked that a lot -- but you all know how fast I read, and I read just a chapter or two here and there in a spare minute. I'm still picking up Khmer, though not as frantically as before, and I have two new songs to learn and memorize.

I told the story today of our Flogamockers Song of Solomon Party. They couldn't believe that we read that book outloud, and in mixed company. (If only they'd seen the candles and canopy, and Garlic stuffed lamb, too!) We read Daniel aloud last Saturday in the tried and true Flogamockers tradition. God was Australian.

In my English Class this week we've been doing 5 days of the story of Joseph. We've done stories before, both to help them to hear and recognize spoken English, and to meet the YWAM base requirements, and they've sat through them rather sullenly (some). They didn't much care for the feeding of 5,000 and Daniel, Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego. And they made up pat answers. But this week they're asking things like "Was Rachel mad that Jacob married her sister?" and "Did Potifar's wife sleep with anyone else?" They're loving this. I teach the dreams section today. I'm excited.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Killing Fields

Our first week in Battambang the foreigners were taken a few miles out of the city to a site of one of the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge; the killing fields. Here in Battambang, they are a series of caves which are accessable through openings at the top of the hill. People were shot and then fell to the bottom of the caves. Later, in an effort to save ammunition, they were simply pushed. Children were swung by their legs into the stone walls, shattering their skulls. Strong men were hung first, or beaten senseless. The caves are now shrines, and the remaining bones and clothes (that weren't taken as SOUVENIRES) have been collected into mesh cages.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Garth, Bona and the Barang checking out a gun pointed at the Thai border. Most of the area between Battambang and Thailand was heavily landmined, and was one of the last outposts of the Khmer Rouge in 1980-97.

At the top of the mountain is an old Pagoda -- originally Hindu -- there are still blue gods about, but now Buddhist. The blurring of religious lines is very common in Cambodia. Most have a hazy mix of Buddhism, Hindu, and some Chinese ancestor worship. Taoism also factors in, and some animism in the remote areas.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Me, Jessica, Suzy, Bopa, and Alissa overlooking Battambang from the front of the Pagoda.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Living it up back in my Mansion

Well, another week back in the routine. I'm continuing to get up every morning at 5am for devotions -- who would have thought I'd be an early morning person. 3-in-1 coffee helps -- the closest thing to coffee one can get here. That and a little yoga helps get the blood rushing to my head.

Our community outreach time has been solidified for the rest of our lecture phase. I'm pretty sure I'm going to be helping at the orphanage. I'm really excited -- I've always wanted to work at an orphanage. And we have some ideas about what we may be doing for our long term outreach into Cambodia. In Mondul Kiri we'll probably be doing orphanage work, teaching English classes, doing a sports ministry, and some parties in the afternoons for local kids. I'm thinking I'll probably end up doing orphanage and ESL classes there (since I'm the only native english speaker on the team). That makes me happy that what I'm doing here is practice for what I'll be doing there.

We have to fill out journals each week about what we're learning, both in lectures and quiet time, and our relationships (both here and back home). For the first few weeks we had assigned leaders on base to turn them into. Tomorrow we hand them into our outreach leaders instead. Both my outreach leaders are Khmer. One of them speaks English really well...but, I write words that a lot of native English speakers wouldn't know. So after some debating about whether to dumb down my journal, I decided that it's my commemorative journal, so I'll just keep going as usual. I gave him permission to share my journal with anyone he needed to to understand it. Funny the things that come up here.

And that's about all for me this week. Needing to have my pride hit on the head a lot. I love to be generous, and I'm learning more about serving, but I still am looking over my shoulder a lot to see if anyone noticed. Aargh. Pride is like the arcade game "stomp the spiders." Every time you squash one down, another one pops up. Argh Argh Argh.