13 times. 5 states and 2 countries. Pete and I have watched that moving truck pull away with all our earthly possessions. And now we sit in a local hotel with 4 suitcases awaiting customs clearance. Now we know this is just “stuff”, but your stuff forms a home for the inhabitants to enjoy. Cambodia was a huge, life-changing experience for us. A combination of love and hate. Loving our sense of purpose and Khmer co-workers while hating the harshness of a totalitarian, godless environment. And now our hearts are divided when people ask, “Where are you from?” In our 60’s still learning, growing, experiencing. On a day I was really struggling in Cambodia, the Lord reminded me to choose joy and find beauty in the things around me. (“Count it all joy…” James 1:2) And so on my daily tuk tuk ride to work I would renew my mind with the “joys” I’ve found in our mission work in Cambodia. These are some of the things I’ll miss…
Iced lemon tea, $8 foot massages, beef lok lak, tuk tuk rides, roosters crowing at 4am, Asian iced coffee, bare feet at church, moto rides with Pete, laundry washed ironed and folded for $2/kilo, cell phone plans- 2 phones $8/month, mangos, longyan, rambutan, custard apples, snake fruit, papaya, plimeon, red dragon fruit, and no sales tax.
I’ll also miss our beautiful, talented, amazing Khmer staff, little ones peeking into my office every day, being call Ya (grandmother) and Da (grandfather), simple gifts from Khmer friends: origami roses, fruit, homemade soup and our school director whom we now call “daughter”.
But I most definitely, will not miss… horrendous traffic, roosterscrowing at 4am, trash and filth everywhere, 90 days straight of 100 degrees, 3 showers a day, sewer gas, bribes, lice, pinkeye, stomach issues, diarrhea, techno pop music, dried crunchy laundry, corrupt police, dictatorship governments, no Ohio State football on TV, power outages, water dribbles for a shower, ants, ants, ants, reverse discrimination, strawberries $10 a pint, Cambodian beef (leather in disguise), rice 3x a day, no red Twizzlers, Durian (stinky fruit), Khmer words that has 4 different meanings, no Diet Dr Pepper and no Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving or 4th of July.
Do be praying for us and our work to be sustained in Cambodia. (#purpleschool) In God’s typical fashion with us, He has led us away from our finished work here for the Cambodians to embrace it for themselves, but He has not revealed our next “work” for us. Know anyone needing an awesome experienced Executive Pastor, a passionate experienced Mission Pastor, the best hands-on Marriage and Family Pastor or an advocate for the anti-trafficking movement? Please let us know.
Grateful thanks to you all for sharing this experience with us.
“Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children. Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!” (Psalm 90:16-17 ESV)