Sunday, April 8, 2018

Trip to Siem Reap

First let me tell you that in mid March, David Burton from Lubbock, TX came and taught on the 7 Miracles in John.  He came during Spring Break week from his teaching in Lorenzo, TX.  That is a fast trip!  We are thankful for his heart and his desire to teach God's Word to others.

This weekend, we went to Siem Reap for a seminar that the church there was hosting.

The seminar was on what the Bible teaches we should do vs. what the world/culture teaches.  There were 6 different topics.

Rich taught 2 of those classes as well as the Bible class on Sunday morning.
 This is a picture of part of those sitting behind me.  I hate to get up and stand in front for a picture, so you will just have to use some imagination for what the entire group looked like.

As there aren't many Christians here, it is always an encouragement to be able to get together to sing, pray, study God's Word, talk, laugh, and play together.
 This is our students, Bunthai, on the left, and Leak, on right leading a couple songs during the seminar.
 After 6 speakers teaching from 8am to 4pm, it was time for games.


 Again, Rich taught the Bible class on Sunday morning.  His lesson on Ephesians 4:25ff fit right in with the seminar topics of the Bible vs. the world.
I couldn't resist putting this picture in.  On the screen behind him are the words "Kindness, Tender-hearted, and Forgiving each other"; he doesn't look like he is showing any of those things!

We were blessed to be able to be there with so many brothers and sisters in Christ.  Siem Reap did a great job hosting - housing, feeding, and planning.  It is wonderful the bonds we have in Christ! 














April 14th - 16th is the Khmer (Cambodian) New Year. 

Most of the Khmers go back to their home town/village and meet with family during this time.  These roasted pigs are often part of the family gathering.  They are really good!  Most people take off at least a week for this holiday.

For us, it is a nice time that the city is quiet and we can just relax.  For the Khmer Christians, it is hard as they are with their families - many of which are not Christians.  There is a lot of pressure to participate in the Buddhist events that are included in the Khmer New Year as well as numerous parties.  Please keep the Christians here in your prayers - that they can stand strong in their faith.

Much love,
Ronda

Monday, March 19, 2018

The countryside

 I just want to give you an idea of the countryside.

But first, on our way out of town, we see this security guard.  This is on one of the major street - so noisy!  He is dead to the world
 This is the picture of the front of the store that he is "guarding".  You can see him on the right side of the building.
 Also, we saw this motorcycle a bit farther down the road.  You really can't tell how funny this was.  We see lots of people on one motorcycle all the time. 

This woman in yellow is the 3rd adult on this motorcycle.  I hope you can tell that she isn't on the seat much and doesn't have any place to put her feet because the woman in front of her has the pedals.  What was funny was the woman in the middle has a jacket over her head so that she doesn't get the sun on her (common practice here), but it kept flicking back and hitting the back woman in the face.  So, she isn't hardly on the motorcycle and get hit in the face with the jacket.  On top of that, the guy driving the motorcycle isn't helpful...he keeps going in and out of the cars, speeding up and the stopping, then speeding up.  The lady on the back was just rocking back and forth with her feet sticking out, trying to stay on. 
 The family car...is a motorcycle.  I don't know how far they are going, but I imagine that her little child is probably getting awfully heavy. 

I might add, at this particular time, the heat index was around 100 F.  The hotter it gets, the more they cover up.  (You can see the girl in the sweatshirt on the motorcycle in front of them.) They feel cooler with more layers between their skin and the sun.  I would have a heat stroke!
 Truckload of workers.
 We stopped in a bakery in Gompong Chnang and I saw these bread alligators.  They are stuffed with meat.  I thought they were cute.
 This is how you get to the village without having to actually ride your motorcycle.  This is the back of a "taxi" .  They have vans that pick up people and all types of things and go back and forth between the countryside and the city.  So if you want to ride in a car, or if your motorcycle doesn't work, you just tie the motorcycle on.  We have seen them with several motorcycles tied on top of the van as well.
 Here you have a "company truck".  On the wagon is headboards for beds.  The wood that they use for these is extremely heavy. 

When people move to a new place, and have this kind of furniture, they get a truck with a crane-type lift in the back to move the furniture. 
 Just a pretty road.
 Every village area has their temple.  These are actually just the memorials that are beside the temple.  Sorry I missed the temple - Rich was driving!  Ha!
 There are all kinds of stands on the side of the road all the way down.

Fruit stand. 
 Fruit in the front.

In the background, you can see containers with red lids.  I have never stopped to see what these were.  I figured that they were fermented fruit.

I'll show you another picture of them up close and tell you more about them.

 These are truck that are selling all kinds of pottery.

There are pots to grill on, pots to put your charcoal in, pottery animals - elephants, rabbits, and some baskets as well.


 This is a chicken truck.  Usually all of these crates have chickens in them.  His were empty, so he must have been to the market already.
 I cut off the motorcycle on this load of charcoal.  This is how our charcoal comes. 

In the city, there are carts that sell this charcoal by weight.  They don't use lighter fluid to start their fires.  They use rubber.  When I was doing a cooking class with my language school teacher, she asked me if I had a broken flip flop.  Then, she cut off a sliver of rubber, lit it, and put it in the bottom of the pot and it lit the charcoal.
 Can you see the plastic pieces?  It is bug season!  They way they catch the locust, and other insects that they eat are with these.

They hang pieces of plastic.  there is another plastic piece on the ground, shaped into a trough with water in it.  At the top of the plastic is a light.

In the night, the bugs are attracted to the light, hit the plastic, slide down into the water and can't fly out.  Then they are picked up and fried. 

It is interesting to look across the countryside at night and see all these lights that are in rows.
 We are used to seeing a lot of motorcycles, but this is a group with Thai and Cambodian flags on their bikes. 

My guess is it is a joint venture and they have come from Thailand, heading into Phnom Penh.

There were probably 50-60 motorcycles with this group.
 Some houses...
 Just some kids riding their bikes down the road.  You  need to know that this is Cambodia's interstate.  But unlike the US, there are carts, bikes, walkers, chickens, lots of cows, to go along with the motorcycles, trucks, cars, and vans.
 As we are in the dry season, the countryside isn't too pretty.  We are at the start of the hot season.  We go from our coolest season (Nov-Feb) to our hottest (Mar-May).  April is the hottest month of the year. 

So the crops are all harvested and it is brown until the rainy season comes and they start planting again.

 More houses
 Another furniture hauler.  This is 2 wooden chairs that he has on the back of his cart.
More kids
 Our version of a recycle truck.
 OK.  This is the containers that were on the side of the road.  When we stopped to eat, they had these in their shop, so I read the signs on the jars.

These are different types of fish that have been "canned".  Let me tell you, they look disgusting!  That is why I didn't take a picture closer up.  The different types of fish are used for different things - some for soup, some are used for fish paste that they add to their dishes, some can be grilled or stir fried. 
 Since this picture is taken from the back, you can't really tell that this is a taxi of sorts.  It is a wagon pulled behind a motorcycle.  The wagon has 2x4s roped to the sides of the cart at intervals, which are the seats for the taxi.  There are 5-6 rows of people on this cart.
 Hay cart.
This is a sign in Battambang City that Rich noticed.  It is in front of a school.  It SHOULD say, "Don't take a RISK..."  not "don't take a rusk".  The rest of the sign says "don't pass other vehicles in dangerous situations!" 


We laugh at some of the spelling on signs, but really, when I think of how I spell things in Khmer, I am probably much worse!  I just don't make big signs.

I hope you enjoyed the picture.  Maybe it will give you a little taste of Cambodia. 

Much love,
Ronda

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Trip to Battambang for Soklee's wedding


 Last week and weekend, we were invited to 4 weddings - 3 were our graduates, the other the school's landlord's family.

We decided to go to the wedding in Battambang where Soklee was marrying Kimlee on Sunday.  Actually, the wedding was Saturday but they had the wedding dinner (7 courses) on Sunday at noon.

Rich and I went early and enjoyed a day in Battambang city.  Then Sunday morning, drove to the village about 45 minutes to the south of Battambang city, where Sokun and Soklee work.

Sokun and Soklee are both graduates of CBI and they do a great job.  They not only teach children and the adults in their village, but are also active in the community, helping when needed and therefore have a good name with the village chief and the village leaders.

Always great to get to meet with saints in other congregations!  I am sorry about the pictures - I did a poor job of allowing you to see all of them.

Sokun is a good preacher.  It is always a blessing to get to hear him teach.  He and his wife have 2 sons.


 After the service, we walked a kilometer down the road to where the wedding party was. 

This picture is from our table looking back toward the entrance.  Soklee is the guy standing in the yellow. 

In case you don't remember from other posts, during the day, the bride will change clothes (and accessories) usually 10 times.  There are 7 traditional Khmer outfits - the 7 different colors mean different things.  Then the bride will usually have about 3 wedding type dresses, like we are used to.  The groom changes his jacket to the color of the traditional outfit that the bride wears.

In the hour we were there, they changed twice.
 The courses usually start with some appetizers (they have sweet salty peanuts that are really good!), then different meats with vegetables for the next several courses, finishing with white rice and fried rice and then dessert.

I thought you might like to see some of the drink offerings.  This is quite good and very sweet.  We also had orange and green Fanta and water.

Also, I thought you might like to know that the 4th course was cow's stomach.  We were pretty full by then.
 This is Rich and I with Soklee.  Please keep him and his wife, Kimlee in your prayers as they start their new lives together.
 We enjoy spending time with our graduates.  Soklee and Sokun are a special joy.  We are so proud of the work they are doing.  And we are grateful to so many of you for the support to allow us to be here to teach and the support of the school, so they have a place to learn.
This is Kimlee and Soklee.  You might notice that she is the same height as me.  She is tall for a Khmer woman, but she does have on 5 inch heels!

After the wedding we headed back home to Phnom Penh.  It was good to get out of the city and the dirt and noise and enjoy the countryside and see sweet Christians in other places.

I did take some pictures as we were travelling to Battambang (I drove on the way back, so didn't take any more coming home).  I'll post those on the next blog so you can see part of the countryside.

Much love,
Ronda

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

John and Alex' trip continued; Loren and Penny Hollingsworth

 I am sorry that I am so late with this!  (I say that a lot, right??)

Let me wrap up the time that John Ward and Alex Mills from Batesville, Arkansas were here.

This is a picture of Alex teaching Wednesday Bible class with James Lork, the preacher translating.
 Rich took Alex and John to several of the villages where are graduates are out teaching and preaching.

This is the children's class in Borey's village. 
 And a picture of the children all together. 

Rich didn't get many pictures while they were in the villages but I wanted you to see a few.
 The last day that Alex and John were here, John lead the devotional talk at chapel.  Every morning (M-F) we start the day at the school with a chapel time; singing, praying and a short lesson. 

I hope they were uplifted and encouraged after being here.  It was wonderful to have them come from the North Heights congregation in Batesville to see the school and the fruits from the support that the congregation there has given for many years.
This is Rich with Sokun.  He is one of our graduates that is working with Soklee in Battambang province.  Alex and John were able to spend a few hours there in his village.










 For the month of February every year, my parents, Loren and Penny Hollingsworth come.  Dad teaches in the school.

This year, Dad is teaching Mark in the mornings at CBI and Rich is teaching Philippians (he taught I, II, and III John for the first 2 weeks of February) in the afternoons.

It is always great to have them here.  We try to enjoy the time as much as possible.  Dad is 81 years old and Mom will be 80 next month.  We don't know how much longer they can and/or want to make this trip every year.

After being missionaries in Thailand for 33 years, they now spend April though October in Palmer, Alaska.  Dad teaches/ preaches all over Alaska and frequently teaches at the Lectureships there. 

November 1st, they come back to Thailand.  Because of visas, they can be there for 3 months.  They spend those 3 months travelling all over the country teaching.  Then they come to Cambodia in February.  They go back to Thailand for another month (March), as you are allowed in Thailand without a visa for 30 days.  Dad will be teaching Romans 1-11 in Chiang Mai.  Their schedule is exhausting!  They both are tireless workers for the Lord and I am so grateful for their example.

Please keep them in your prayers as they travel and teach.  That they might have wisdom and strength.
Sunday,we were blessed to have Kimsrauv and Kimsrun with us from their village.

They are both graduates of CBI (along with 2 more brothers) and are working in their home village.

Please continue to pray for the work here. 
Pray for us that we use God's wisdom to best serve God and the people of this country.
Pray for our graduates that are out teaching; that they can be strong and stand against difficulties, and continue to grow in their faither as well.
Pray for the Christians here, that they may grow closer to God each day and walk with Him.
Pray for the lost souls here.  Pray that we see the open doors that God has placed in our paths and find those receptive hearts.

Much love,
Ronda