Thursday, 25 December 2008
Tuesday, 23 December 2008
Susie cheating - as you all know that she does ...
The icing on the cake surely was the presents. I had a heap of fun with them as Donnie and Sophea's gift was reasonably large and all the other gifts were small sized. I explained that married couples get big presents and that next year we were hopeful that there would be many more large gifts. Our folk love to laugh and there were hoots and glances sideways ...
Pressies! Chantol and Bonna.
The laughter went up several notches when the Uno cards were brought out. The cards are the same, but they play differently - in a way that has them in constant hilarity! We had such fun watching our great team enjoy themselves so thoroughly.
We've been on the receiving end of some real generosity from friends in NZ and Australia. As a result, we have been able to honour our staff and volunteers - and we are so glad for this and grateful to you. Many, many thanks.
Uno - like I never did know
Elana - a one-woman evangelistic dynamo. Her last words to me - to get follow-up sorted for the van-driver because she led him to Jesus the day before!
It was a full-on, unforgettable experience for these guys and we just loved having them! Now we are a bit wiser too about what to expect in village outreaches ...
Monday, 22 December 2008
Grand-dad came to our home two weeks ago. He is 83 years old and has never, ever been to a city before, let alone such a big city as Phnom Penh. Further, he has never heard of Jesus; has no knowledge of Christians or our faith.
Daa (Khmer for grandfather) was suspicious at first. He could not understand why our staff and volunteers were so nice and caring to him.
Last Wednesday Chantol shared on the love of God at devotions. Daa got it. The penny proverbially dropped. He has become a big fan of Prrayer Ong.
He is such a character! The folk here are regularly hooting with laughter over his stories and his witty comments. His grand-daughter Channey brought him to us as he had 'itchy skin'. We reckon that she really just wanted her dear old grand-dad to hear about Jesus.
My very precious picture - so much colour and character!!
Julia had done three extraordinary things rolled into one.
1. She remembered how much I miss vibrant colours in this nation. Often I'm wanting to get colour into our world as we live in a city dominated by grey concrete.
2. She remembered the time last year when we happened to find a great art gallery with paintings by a resident French-Canadian artist.
3. She had a certain picture, taken by herself in the local vege market.
So, 1, 2, 3 - Jason and Julia got an artist friend to paint a stylised rendition of the photo in the style of the above artist. This is the result - an awesome picture that now has pride of place in our dining room. Walk into our living room and your eye will now be automatically drawn to this great splash of creative colour. Thank you, guys!!
Daughter Melody is not so generous in her 'Christmas-come-early' policy. Her gift to us also arrived in Julia and Jason's luggage ...
Watch this space - Jason and Julia are farmers and avid gardeners. They have done an impressive amount of research on tropical vege gardens and have a detailed plan of visually transforming the Healing Home land into a productive haven. Bring it on!!
Mangos every morning ...
Thursday, 18 December 2008
Donald Scott, the church pastor, sharing at morning devotions at the Healing Home on Tuesday. Chantol does great with her interpreting. Tana and Katerine are the other two team members in the pic.
One of the team members, Jan, is a trained school teacher. In her last two days she found her stride in teaching English language teachers in teaching creatively. This was great - as there is very little of this kind of 'outside the box' kind of training to be found here. We are always discovering new ways of serving and blessing the people of this nation. Well done, team! We totally look forward to your ongoing, purposeful and fruitful relationship into this amazing nation.
It was back to the airport the same evening to welcome Yew Meng, Elana and their team of 10 mainly students from Toowoomba, Australia. The neat thing with these guys is that they are all Asians studying in Australia. We have Singaporeans, Malaysians, Chinese and two folk from Brunei (Bruneiarians??) in this team.
They got introduced to Phnom Penh properly - gridlocked in magnificent traffic chaos in tuktuks on the way back from the airport. They have since been watered, bedded, orientated, involved in street-children outreach and last heard of, trying to find a tuktuk that had a remote idea of how to get them back to their hotel. To any members of the Christchurch team reading this - you know just exactly of what we speak ....!!
Tomorrow Jason and Julia from Brisbane hit town for over three weeks. We also have Nicole Willinks from Palmerston North safely arrived last week and with us for two months. I know, I'm blog-behind. Christmas will not be lonely in 2008!
Tuesday, 16 December 2008
Crossing the Tonle Sap River by ferry on the way out - a pleasent 15 minutes before the rough roads kicked in. That's our staff girl Bonna with Sue. Bonna's pink helmet was my signpost for six hours!
It was a very interesting day, so far from the now-familiar life we have in Phnom Penh. Little ponies pulling wooden wagons replace the tuktuks and pick-up trucks of the city. There were some vehicles, but mostly everyone else moves on the trusty motor scooters, bouncing along roads that have potholes big enough to swallow bulldozers (... almost ...)
Dtou's father was indeed a very sick man. It was very hard to get any definite information as to diagnosis. Sue is of the opinion that he may have Aids. The evening before we arrived we had word that he had actually died, and folk had gathered from all over in expectation of this. So we were pretty surprised to come to a village house with people galore gathered.
After spending time praying for him we went a few houses down the road where Pastor Mara grew up. Mara is an awesome man who is one of the pastors in the church here. This happens to also be his village. While we were visiting with his sisters and rellies he phoned in (yes, the village abounds in pigs, coconuts and mobile phones!!) and was real happy that we were in 'his place' looking at his wedding pics on the wall and meeting with his whanau.
Then it was back to Dtou's dad and more prayer followed by lunch. Bonna got to spend a wee bit of time with her parents too, much to her joy. Her folks run one of the three little eatery places in the village. Her dad starts work 3am seven days a week, getting the noodles ready. He works through to 10pm closing. Do the maths ...
In Mara's village home - some of his nieces who came to meet us. Not many pics sorry - left the camera at home and just used the phone camera.
Our latest report is that the dad is doing better. When he has gained some strength we will look to get him to the home. This is what we believe for.
One of the real benefits of this day in the province was to get a feel of what Healing Homes could look like in villages. Bonna is still a village girl at heart and it sure was a privilege being on her home turf and hearing her heart for her village. One day ...
As for Susie, she was an absolute champ. We were both a bit worried at what we had gotten ourselves into, but she handled the moto marathon real well. There was just one time when I felt her wriggling around and then seeming to disappear off the back seat. 'Whatever are you up to?' I asked her. Her cheery reply - 'I'm just farting'. It was a challenge to drive a straight line after that one!
Wednesday, 10 December 2008
Yesterday our devotion was about Jesus wrapping his arms around children whilst the disciples were trying to chase the little ones away. We talked about learning to have a Jesus heart instead of the predominant hard religious heart.
Cambodian striker in action
Danny spreading a little love around
Jan leading the hopscotch
Jan led a lively dramatic retelling of the Prodigal Son after the games. We had the dad, the sons, the party boys, the pig farmer - and squeals of laughter coming from ... outside the gate. This was a neighbourhood event and we had a good crowd of parents peering in from every vantage point!
The Christchurch team in 'My God Is So Big' song mode. Donald was taking pics.
Friday, 5 December 2008
Donald's eldest son Jono horsing around with the boys
Susie and I went across town yesterday to visit our lovely friend Srourn. He is the man who has a bad bone infection in his leg. He had been put into a Khmer hospital with a view to amputating his leg - but happily his leg is still with him. The doctors have carved a big hole in his buttock where he also has bad infections. Susie had a peek and her face was enough to persuade me not to even think about it.