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,

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,

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,

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 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,