Wednesday, 29 August 2007
Proverbs - intro and Wisdom
Proverbs on sexual purity
The righteous and the wicked
Seven things God hates (pride, lying, murder, deceit, rebellion, gossip, strife)
A small-group from last night, coming up with straight answers to crooked character questions.
It is pleasing to see numbers holding up. We started with 10, built to 16 and then with two people away sick yesterday we were at 14. One of our guys who was sick apparently needs an x-ray, and has to go to Vietnam for something that basic. I get a little edgy when I hear of NZ and Aussie critics speak of our health systems being 'third world'. They have no idea ...
Monday, 27 August 2007
Our 'chariot' to a night out - Susie and Colleen
Susie, Sue Hanna (of Jehu's Driving School fame) and Colleen
Thanks to all those who emailed in. We still have an adventure ahead - to see if Kara's card, addressed to Phnom Penh post office, makes it here.
Friday, 24 August 2007
Back in Toowoomba we got to meet Mary Kluck, a great doctor who spends about nine months in the year working here in Phnom Penh. We emailed her and yes, she is in Phnom Penh at this time and invited Sue to come on over and get poked and prodded. Her verdict is that a nerve has been cut and that Susie will need micro-surgery to get things back to normal - something that cannot happen in Cambodia.
Spot the sore one ...
God is good all the time and there will be an answer to this. We are in contact with our medical insurance friends who, at this stage, can neither confirm nor deny what our policy is good for - until we get more info across to them. Mary says that something needs to happen 'within weeks rather than in months' - so it is not urgent as such. Loretta in NZ is contacting a specialist friend and we are in contact with this amazing caring Creator ....
It is all a bit of a giggle for Sue, this pre-school education thing ...
Monday, 20 August 2007
Anyway, we decided to proceed with our planned week-end getaway to a little coastal town called Kep. Aussie friends Mark and Jo joined us too. We have been over two months in Phnom Penh now, and were seriously feeling the need of fresh air, green trees and sand between our toes. So following language class on Friday we packed and, seeing that buses were already gone, haggled a taxi fare for the 170km, three hour journey ($25).
Queen Sihanouk's holiday residence - ready for a spot of renovating
Home sweet home for someone, it would appear
Kep is a great place to do very little - read, walk, explore and sit around a dining table talking for hours. We checked into some modest little wooden bungalows high on a hill that overlooked the coast through to Vietnam. With a nice wind coming off the sea and some rain showers, temperatures were perhaps 5 degrees less than in Phnom Penh - wonderful!!
It was a bit wet and windy to do the half-hour boat ride out to Rabbit Island, where real white sand and blue waters lie. No problem - next time. Apparently the boats are reluctant to go much further out than Rabbit Island as the Vietnamese border is somewhere further offshore and it is not a good idea to annoy the boys with machine guns.
Jo and Sue exploring Kep a la moto. We booked a couple of guys for an hour - but 40 minutes was more than enough to see around this little town.
Bush walk with Mark and Jo. Susie insisted on a good snake-killing stick but alas, not a snake in sight!
Coming back to Phnom Penh was somewhat eventful. The bus had been towed out of a scrap-heap last year, I do believe. Five hours of bouncing has persuaded us that a few extra dollars for a taxi is the way to go - both ways! Never-the-less, we are refreshed and blessed - and looking forward to returning to our happy place every couple of months or so.
Saturday, 11 August 2007
In the end, this was not unexpected. We had Aussie friends at a hastily-arranged Chenla Theatre meeting last night, with Delirious. Part way into the meeting, the theatre manager came under such pressure from the authorities, he pulled the power. Mark says that they continued to worship the Lord in the dark!!
A long-time expat resident in Phnom Penh says that these days have a similar feeling to 1997 - when government tanks were on the streets last. Although Cambodia has much greater Christian freedom than say Vietnam or Myanmar, it is a mistake to call this an open nation. Never-the-less, the move of God here is unstoppable!
Yesterday we received a call from a great young couple from the church we are in, Jason and Angie. Angie too has dengue, and her doc now wants her evacuated to Bangkok. They have two little sons; one still a breast-fed baby. Jason asked if Sue could please accompany them and look after the children while Angie is in hospital in Bangkok. So, it has happened - Susie flew out 8.30pm Friday night with them. She promises to be back in time for her birthday!
Friday, 10 August 2007
Susie and I headed to Chenla deliberately late, so that Khmer people got in ahead of us. So, we turn up well after it is going - and get usshered like VIP guests to sit right up the very front - a couple of arm-lengths away from Joyce. What a giggle - and an excellent message too. We were temporarily dampened by someone taking a liking to Susie's handbag. PTLA - like loving daughter Kara says, it is good to know that Joyce gets all sorts to her meetings!
Back to the roller-coaster - at the end of the meeting it is announced that 'the authorities' are closing the Chenla Theatre meetings. Everything now must move to the church - with meetings split into morning attendees and afternoon attendees. The key Hillsong and Delirious events looked to be reduced to almost nothing.
Delirious concert? Martin getting all the under 25's to the front this morning during what looked to be 'it' - 45 minutes with the converted.
Exiting the meeting - my Aussie buddy Patrick and no-turn, no-smile Susie
If this looks crowded, you should see the roads!
Wednesday, 8 August 2007
Ravvy with Polpal
Ravvy came to the rescue again last night. The Proverbs study kicked off - but there was a 'whoops' - no interpreter. Happily, Ravvy had put herself into the class so she was quickly volunteered. I had specifically prayed for 10 people in the class. 12 booked in; 9 showed. I was a bit puzzled - then realised that Susie had also asked to attend. So, there was 10 after all!
Sunday, 5 August 2007
Anyway, we get to sit with head-sets on to get the translation through a FM frequency. Sue's headset was mis-behaving so I fiddled with the dials. Zip zilch nothing on the translation frequency .... but ... hang on, that's an Aussie voice. That sounds like a rugby league game - Roosters - wait, the Warriors - broke the tackle - Warriors have just scored!!! 18-16!
Now, to know me is to know I love the Word ... but (thank-you Lord) I had already heard the message in the earlier meeting, and the Warriors are on a roll and all men can multi-task; right?!
'Barang' is officially the word for French. In a wider sense, 'barang' means any foreigner, in particular those of the white-skin variety. Cambodia used to be a part of French Indo-China (encompassing Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia) so whities - Frenchies - it's all the same.
The 'klang barang' ability goes way past the humble mosquito. In a society that has yet to know the curse of political correctness, Cambodia is delightfully politically incorrect - at the barang's expense! Train tickets for foreigners are officially set at three times the local price. The medical centre proudly displays a sign for 'foreigner price ... Cambodian national price ...' Even the electricity bill is barang-loaded!
The electricity bill - before we took residency: 390 riel per unit - after we took residency, 720 riel per unit!
The best nose for barangs undoubtedly goes to the police. I got cop-stopped for the sixth time yesterday. That was precisely 24 hours after being stopped for the fifth time - for going through a green light. Re-read that - yes, that's correct!
I hope to get a pic of my favourite cop on the blog for you. He resides under the trees, corner 163 St and Mao Tse Tung, one of the main drags. I have realised that this fella is God's gift to me - my living lesson in overcoming intimidation. So, rather than avoiding this corner, I have chosen to embrace it. Four of the six pull-overs have been done by 'Henry'.
Interestingly, I see from this guy that when power is mis-used, authority is lost. It is a good life lesson.