Friday, August 17, 2018

Family Retreat in Thailand

Rich and I were invited to teach at a family retreat in Thailand organized by the Watcharaporn church in Bangkok.

This pictures is some of the people that attended.  We didn't take the picture until the last day and some people had already left.  But there was probably 30-40 couples. 
 The place we went to was Kanchanaburi, Thailand.  It is the location of the Bridge over the River Kwai, that was famous during WWII, and the story that the movie by the same name was based on.

I thought you might enjoy some of the town's light pole decorations.  Besides these 2 different versions of fish, I also noticed that one some of the small poles, there was just one fish.

 This is the view from the dining area off the river.



Rich taught 4 times to all the adults.
He taught on:
  - the importance of strong marriages
  - 6 things that strong families have in common
  - 5 main things that children need from their parents
  - having a balance between family time and church time
  - communication
  - the 12 things that kill communication
  - how to teach your families to serve spiritually

As we do not speak Thai, we had translators.  There were 3 different men that translated for Rich and 2 ladies that translated for me. They all did a great job!

There were 2 classes that were split between the men and the women. 

My classes were on marriage and families; primarily areas that the Bible is in conflict with our cultures and the world.  And then the practical applications to those in our lives.

Rich's classes were also on the practical application to God's Word in our lives.  He talked a bit about 'His Needs Her Needs' book and how those ideas fit into our daily lives.

Everyone was so sweet and gracious to us.  We thoroughly enjoyed the time we got to spend with them both during our study times and leisure times.
 On day, we took a barge down the river for a few hours.  This boat pulled up to the barge as we were going down the river, hooked on,  and started selling all kinds of food and drinks.  Her husband is in the back of the boat, but I wanted a close enough picture that you can see what she is selling.  She has dried squid in her hands - which is very good.
These are barges in front of us.  I didn't get a picture of our barge but you can see these.  This is actually 3 barges together (one in the front that you can't see) and they are pulled by a boat.  Unlike the back, the sides and front are open.  It was really enjoyable just to sit and feel the breeze and enjoy God's creation down the river and great company.
This is the boat that pulled our barge.




















As the place that we got on and off the barges were just downriver from the bridge, several of us decided to go on to see the bridge.  My family went there once; I think the 2nd year that we lived in Thailand, which would have been 1974.  I don't remember there being tons of people there then, like there was this time.  However, this was a holiday weekend in Thailand, as it was the Queen's birthday and Thai Mother's Day.
This is totally off the point of this blog but I thought it was funny. 

In the airport in Thailand, this is the sign after you go through customs and then the scanning machines.  As much as Rich has to unload and take off (wallet, keys, belt, shoes, etc.), I guess this sign is applicable.

Again, we had a wonderful trip.  We hope all we did was to God's glory.  We can look forward to heaven when we can all meet the brothers and sisters in the Lord that we might not have opportunity to meet on this earth.  The Thai Christians are wonderful people and I can't wait for you all to meet them one day.

Now, back to work in Phnom Penh.  Pray for us to have wisdom to know the paths that God wants us to take to do His work in this place.

Much love,
Ronda

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Asia Mission Forum

Rich and I were able to attend the Asia Mission Forum last week in Bangkok, Thailand.  The Asia Mission Forum is a few days each year that missionaries, as well as some locals, get together for encouragement, prayer, study God's Word, singing, fellowship.  We are grateful to those of you who give us the funds to be able to attend.

This year, Larry Henderson and Kelly Davidson were the keynote speakers.  Both of these men I have know for years as they grew up in Thailand and then returned to Thailand as missionaries with their families.  I was thrilled to be able to visit with them and catch up a bit.

This year, much of the time was concentrated on prayer; particularly, prayer for the cities. 
It is always nice to see old friends and make new friends and worship our God together.

This Friday, Rich and I will go back to Thailand for the weekend.  The Watcharaporn congregation puts on a Family Retreat that we will be teaching at.  Rich will teach 4 lessons and then I have 2 ladies classes as well.  Please keep us in your prayers that we might have God's wisdom and teach the things that He would have us teach.

At the school here in Phnom Penh, Rich is currently teaching Ezekiel. 

Hopefully I will remember to take a few pictures at the Family Retreat.

Much love,
Ronda

Friday, July 13, 2018

I'm so sorry!!!

How has it been almost 2 months since I blogged????  I am so sorry that I haven't kept you up to date.

We were incredibly blessed to be able to spend about 5 1/2 weeks in the US with our family and friends.  I took LOTS  of pictures of the grandkids, some pictures of the kids, and, well, none of all the sweet friends that we saw and hugged on.  I won't explode this blog with all the cute pictures of my grandchildren - and they are many - but wanted you to know how blessed we feel to be able to be with so many of you.

We got back to Cambodia the night of July 3rd.  (Kind of a bummer that we missed the 4th in the US.)  We are getting back into our routine and work. 

Rich will start teaching Sermon Preparation on Monday to our students.  I am trying to get a Women's Ministry started and working to set up a workroom for the women to use to make Bible class material, cards for encouragement, etc.  On that note, if you have Bible class material that you are cleaning out, and they have good pictures (since they are in English, the writing won't help too much.), you might save them for us for the next trip.  I'd like to work to create of library of sorts, so that visual aids and materials can be checked out for teaching classes in the 2 congregations that we work with.

Added to that, we will be going to Thailand at the end of July.  The Asian Mission Forum will be the last few days of the month.  This will be the 3rd AMF that we have attended in the 11 years of being in Cambodia. 

Then on August 10th, we will be going back to Thailand.  One of the congregations in the Bangkok area has asked us to come for their family camp and teach.  We are grateful for the wonderful opportunity to be able to be with them.  Be praying for us to have wisdom to know what God would have us teach.

Thank you all for your love, prayers, and support.  You are truly blessings to our lives.
Much love,
Ronda

Friday, May 18, 2018

May Happenings


 On Monday, May 7th, we had our first Ladies Night.  In an effort to involve the women in the 2 congregations that we attend, we are going to start having a Ladies Night once a month.  Each month, we will do different things to try to encourage them to get to know each other outside of Sundays as well as find out their talents in the work of the Lord's church.  Please pray that we use this time wisely for the strengthening of these sweet women.
 On Saturday, May 12th, we attended the wedding of Try and Makara.  They are both graduates of CBI.  In this picture with us are several members of the University congregation.
 Sunday, May 13th at the Phnom Penh congregation, we were excited to add a new sister.  Sela was baptized by her brother-in-law, Boreth, who has been teaching her.  Please keep her in your prayers.
 She is perfect!!!  All her sins are washed away!


 Then, just for fun, I thought I would include this picture.  Rich and I were walking down the street and we passed this guy.  He is sound asleep leaning on his motorcycle.  This was on a relative busy corner and he is totally conked out!  I don't know how he sleeps like that.
We hope to see many of you soon.  Again, we will be in Broken Arrow on Sunday, June 3rd. Then at Whispering Hills in Broken Arrow on Wednesday, June 6th.  We will worship with those of you in Batesville on Sunday, June 10th. 

Much love,
Ronda

Monday, April 30, 2018

Dates of US trip and scenes around town

 First let me tell you that are plans are to be at Broken Arrow Church of Christ on June 3rd. 
We plan to be at North Heights Church of Christ in Batesville on June 10th.
We have not yet finalized the date that we will be at Whispering Hills Church of Christ in Broken Arrow.
We hope to see many of you at one of these places.

I thought I would just blog about things that we see around town. 

This is a small cow that is on a spit.  There used to be a lot of these, but the monks got offended and so they have to have a shop to cook then in now, instead of just along the street.  Obviously, this one hasn't started cooking yet.
 These are small marinated roasted pigs.  These are usually used for special occasions or, as in this case, Khmer (Cambodian) New Year. 

We have had some of this and they are really good!
Unfortunately, we can't see this very clearly,  but along with the pigs hanging on the outside, there are ducks hanging on the inside of the cart.  Ducks and duck eggs are eaten regularly.
 I just thought you might enjoy this picture.   The ones that do welding usually wrap their heads as the guys sitting in the cart.  They will go down the street with their heads wrapped and sunglasses on (they use sunglasses for their welding glasses).
I hope you can see the guys standing in the cart has a phone stuck between his head and his motorcycle helmet. 
 While I was doing some errands, we got stopped at a light so I took a picture of this woman on the moto.  At the time I took the picture, it was afternoon and about 95 F or so.  The Realfeel temperature was over 100 F.  They do not like to be in the sun, so the hotter it gets, the more layers they put between their skin and the sun. 
So she has a floppy hat under her moto helmet, wool socks on her hands and, you can't see it, but socks with her flip flops, so that none of her skin is in the sun.
 I hate to think of the funny things that I say in Khmer that I think are correct but are probably more like this sign.   At least it is understandable.
 I was walking and cut through a wedding tent (it hadn't started yet, so I could cut through).  Again, sorry not a clear picture, but the man has 2 pig heads in his wash bowl and he is picking off the hairs.  Another couple guys were then cutting them up in smaller chunks and getting them ready to cook.  You can see the cookers in the background.
 The next few pictures are down on riverside.  On the east side of the city, the Mekong River and the Tonle Sap River come together.  This is the place that they do the annual Water Festival and have long boat races.  They have worked a lot on the park and walkway that goes along side of the river. 
 This is a shrine that is on the riverside across from the palace.
 This is part of the palace grounds with the park area in front.  What is pictured is actually the temple area that is on the palace grounds.
 Popcorn!!  It is like kettle corn and very good!  Especially down by the river and by the park areas you will see lots of these carts.

And you can see the tuktuks waiting for people who need rides.
 I wanted you to see some of the growth.  Phnom Penh had virtually no tall buildings when we got here - I can only think of a couple that were 5 or 6 stories.  Now you can see that we have MANY tall buildings. 

 I wanted this picture to contrast the poor, in the houses in the front and then new high rises.  Phnom Penh has very little middle class; most are either wealthy or poor.  As more people from the countryside move to the city and have office type jobs, the middle class is growing.  Land in Cambodia is very expensive compared to the average income and the cost of food, etc.





The family car.  Mom has to get all her kids from place to place.  I hope you can see the little one on the front. She has 3 boys and a girl - just like us!  And yes, they are all on one motorcycle.
This is their hearse.   They load the coffin in the back and the monks and some of the family ride beside.  Most of the people follow along behind, either walking or riding their motos or cars, to the temple for cremation.  Usually, there is a large photo of the deceased on the front of the vehicle.
 Rich's backpack strap broke.  As the backpack was in good shape otherwise, I went to look for someplace to repair it.  And I found this nice guy. 
 He sits in front of his place and has all these containers of different snaps, clamps, etc.  He took the broken plastic piece off, replaced it, sewed it on while I waited and it cost me $1.
He was a bit embarrassed that I wanted to take his picture.
 Our school landlord's family next door has a wedding.  This is them setting up the tent.  Under the far cloth that is hanging, is a man on a ladder.  They put rope between the legs of the ladder so that they can "walk" it up and down without having to get off the ladder and move it.  (I think it makes great sense!)

 He is about 2 stories up.  You can just see his arm outside the cloth as he is trying to tie it on.
And the end result is this.  They will have fans, sometimes chandeliers hanging inside.  As you can see, it totally blocks off the entire road and this tent blocked about 10 houses on each side.  I took this before all the tables, chairs, front decorations are up.  While we stood there, a girl had to have a couple guys help lift her motorcycle up and over this laid floor so that she could get to work.  When they block off the front of your house, you have to find another place for a day or two to park your motorcycle or car if you want to use it.

Because we have been here over 10 years and all of this is "normal" to me, I rarely take pictures.  I will try to do better so that you can see what we see.

Much love,
Ronda

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