We headed to friends Patrick and Carol Kelly upon arrival - well, their place that is. They were in Perth for a break (missionary style; 43 meetings in 14 days ...) and pulled in 3 days later to a surprise birthday party for Carol - put on by the awesome team at Transform Cambodia (the multiplying education centres that they have pioneered).
Speaking about learning to drive, a week in and we hired a moto - as in motor scooter - as we are constantly heading out and about and really need independent transport. Traffic is very friendly here - totally optional what side of the road you drive on (tho' right side is recommended in most situations); nobody does finger waves no matter what goes down - all in all a very friendly place to learn to drive a motorbike. Even got my first ticket and made a very happy cops day - but we digress...
A priority was to get into our own rental place - so had a most interesting day going around the city looking for 'for rent' signs - met some neat Khmer people - and ended up getting pointed to a place that is literally a stone's throw away from the Kelly's. The owner 'just happened' to be showing someone around next door - and the long story made short is that we took it. Three stories; about 4m wide x 20m long; catches the breeze nicely. Quickly got Sue settled ...
... we had a lot of fun sorting a houselot of stuff without the language! We have set up our unit on the top floor - gives us a real nice patio area, bedroom, office and wee cold-water bathroom (it was to have hot water installed but the long story made short is - nope!) It is great to have our own space as our house looks to be filling up fast ...
We've been blessed with good folk gathering around us. Patrick and Carol have been and continue to be wonderful in helping us settle. Colleen with Asian Outreach and out of Mike and Janne Cullen's fellowship in Tauranga has wrapped her wing around us. Then there is Mike and Mel from Te Awamutu - Mike picked us up and took us to the big-screen bar for Tri Nations boks - with America's cup on simultaneously (multi-tasking eyeballs). Graham and Sue Taylor, also Kiwis with Hagar Ministries; another Sue with Hagar; delightful pommie Pam out here from Salt and Light, Worcester; the legendry Linda who runs Prison Fellowship - a bunch of people stories that I'll look to feed in on future blog postings.
We're internet connected here -
- which is a real plus. Scotty reckons our speed/costings make Telecom look wonderful so no more moaning out of kiwiland - OK?! We're just stoked to be able to check on the boats morning by morning.
Church - very interesting! Heard good things about New Life, so in the days before independent scootering we hopped on a moto (that's a guy who runs his motorbike like a taxi - 5 on every street corner) - as in we hopped on a moto. Lots of discussions and help from other moto drivers - got to New Life but hey, there's more than one in the city. More discussions with folk spilling out of the 'wrong' New Life - all good.
New Life Centre is a vibrant Khmer church of 600-700; mostly young, enthusiastic and great to be in. Get this - the pastor is Jesse from USA - perhaps 27 years old; came here with his parents as a teenager and speaks the language better than the locals. The church is hugely missional (oh, what a word!!) lot of evangelism and actively training leaders and establishing new churches in the provinces. First morning service is 7am. Yep, been there done that. Went to do it again last Sunday but somehow got a bit off the beaten track; grid-searched the streets for 20 mins and came home again!! Anyway, very happy to stay there as I had a real God-impression of 'do not go from house to house' while attending there first time.
Home is where the plants are - Susie in the market getting some green stuff; then two tuk-tuks employed to bring her preciousss greens home
Back to our home -
we've taken a 2-year lease on the property (which is about as little as you can get) - good as together with a 3-month bond it kind of narrows the options of doing a runner in the future! In the lease it is specified that we can 'do ministry' in the house - I like that! The kitchen/dining/lounge is on the bottom floor (and garage behind the gates - tho' most people drive their cars/motorbikes into the lounge because of 'gangsters' (thieves)!!).
Between floors one and two are two bedrooms with own bathrooms - we can use for people staying (Khmers or teams). Second floor has another bedroom and a large room; maybe 12 metres x 4m wide. This is our ministry room - could sleep a dozen team members; run classes; prayer/intercession room. We've just opened it for Sokhun and her little son Raita. I'm calling him 'Scooter'.
Sokhun and Scooter
Sue met Sokhun when she went to the hospital with pommie Pam. Hagar have been supporting this precious lady who has a cancerous growth covering a breast. Antibiotics have knocked back her infection so the hospital insists that she go as they don't want anyone dying there. There is literally nowhere for her to go. Hagar have organised foster care for her 4 children. We actually had 3 of her lovely kids here last night as the foster care kicks in on Monday and every day with them is precious.
Remember, one of our core purposes here in Cambodia is to establish 'healing hospices'. That may be an oxymoron, I don't know ... but this is a nation that has a total of 15 beds available for the dying. We want to open centres for such people - and then minister out of a gospel that carries not only the mercy of the Lord, but His power also.
So, things are starting sooner than what we had anticipated. Isaiah 58 speaks of bringing people 'into your own home'. We have been hugely blessed with a financial gift to seed this ministry and have been able to set up the room for Sokhun. Susie went out and bought Scooter some toys too. No boy needs to be taught what to do with a little car!!
I'm blogged out. That has to be a month of info! We also met with a lovely Khmer Christian mum last weekend - she and her 15-year-old son may also come live with us. We will meet again on Saturday together with Bill and Heather from World Vision. Another story; another blog!