Wednesday, December 5, 2018

NOVEMBER - Guest Blogger

Many of you know that Ronda is recovering from cancer surgery. Things are going well. Thanks so much for your prayers and encouragement during this time.   While she is incapacitated, I will fill in blogging.

Here is a picture of her in the ICU a day or so after surgery. Fruit and flowers courtesy of Christians from Alaska who know her parents.

Here are some fun pictures I came across in the hospital. It is a Thailand run hospital in Phnom Penh. Communication can be so difficult.

This is my board while teaching the four beasts in Daniel 7.  My smart-aleck son said, "Like the Dinosaurs dad".

Can you guess what is coming in, about 1/2 mile from our house?   I am so excited!!!!!

Hope you enjoyed the quick look at what we see. Come see us sometime.   P.S. My mom is here now for a visit. She is a great help with Ronda and all the things that need to be done. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

October Happenings

This month, Rich has been teaching Daniel at CBI and Veasna has been teaching New Testament Church.  Veasna is also teaching a Basic Bible class to our new student.

We had 2 new students, Ratanak and Sona.  But Sona didn't pass his 12th grade exam, that they all take at the end of their 12th grade.  It is different here, because you don't actually have to pass high school to go to college.  We know of several of the Khmers (Cambodians) that have their university degrees and then go back to get this high school diploma.  Honestly, I haven't figured out why that do that yet.  One of our students told us that Sona didn't want to leave CBI, but his father made him come home and take 12th grade again. 

Rich will be teaching Luke next. 

As most of you know , I have been diagnosed with breast cancer.  We have now found out that it is the easiest kind of cancer to cure and we caught it early (which is truly a gift from God since I go to get an "annual" physical about every 5 years).  We are good.  We are confident in the care I will receive here.  It doesn't look like it has spread.  I will be meeting with the doctor on Friday to finalize the treatment and date of the surgery.  Please pray for the doctor and my recovery.

On to lighter things:  this is a picture looking out of our gate.  This was on Oct. 26th.  They are putting up a big tent in front of our house and the landlord's house (who lives next door).  Thankfully, they only did the morning procession and ceremony at the house, so the tent was only up for 24 hours. 
 This is the front of the tent.  They were still setting up when I took this picture, so they didn't have the bride and groom's picture in front or the fancy chair that they put out.

To get into our house, we just had to walk in the tent and then turn into the landlord's gate (we don't have a wall between our places in the front) and the try to stay out of the happenings to get to our door.

In the evening they rented a facility for the dinner.  The groom and bride are in the yellow and our landlady is standing next to Rich.
This is another sight that I thought you might like. I didn't get a good picture because I didn't want to be obvious. 
This is on our street.  You probably can't read the box on the back of the motorcycle, but this is the Krispie Kreme delivery.  See how uptown we are!  We have had Krispie Kreme for a year or so now.  Thankfully it is in a different part of the city so we haven't been tempted to go.  And no, we haven't called for a delivery.

We are however, getting a Carl's Jr. about a mile from the house and Rich is very excited!

Another funny sighting.  When we first got here, many of the Lexus' had the name "Lexus" in large letter on the side of the car.  However, they were spelled right. Ha!  The owner might not even be aware that it is spelled wrong.  (I did look and the car is really a Lexus.  Sometimes they put Mercedes Benz symbols, or some other expensive car's symbols, on a cheap car.)

We thank you for all of your prayers for us personally and the work and Christians here.  The All ages Church Camp will be Nov. 21-14.  Since that is the week that I will most likely be having surgery, we won't be going.  But please pray for those attending - that they may be uplifted and their faith grow stronger.

Much love,
Ronda Dolan

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Graduates Meeting and Trash Pick Up Day

We had Graduate Meeting on Sept 24th and 25th.  To remind you, Graduate Meetings are a time we invite our graduates to come back for study, fellowship, and prayer.

The Theme for this meeting was "Because God Is on the Throne". 

Veasna, Rich's coworker, started off with Biblical examples of people who truly believed that God was on the throne and their responses to that belief with their lives.  Some of the examples were:  Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Sampson, Ruth, Esther, Job, Jeremiah, David, Daniel, Jesus, Stephen, Paul.
Then the application to us - do we really believe that God is on the throne and live accordingly.

Serevuth taught on "Because God is on the Throne, we must live Christian Lives".

Khemrin taught on "Because God is on the Throne, we must be His Servant".

(This picture is of Kimsroeun leading some songs)

Choeurn taught on "Because God is on the Throne,  our spiritual work and our physical work should be what".

Kimrun taught on "Because God is on the Throne, In Times of Trouble, we should be Faithful"

And Sokun taught on "Because God is on the Throne, we must Love Our Neighbors".

Thanks to so many of you, these men were able to come and study God's Word and are able now to go out and teach others.  Their lessons were well done.  I enjoyed getting to hear them preach again.

(This picture is Veasna as he is teaching). 

On the first day, Monday, Navy had a holiday from work, so she prepared the meals.  On Tuesday, I prepared lunch.  A friend and brother in Thailand sent me some wonderful marinade/BBQ sauce, and so we enjoyed sharing his gift by fixing ribs and chicken.   Tuesday night, we had Bunco night and Pizza. 
 The University congregation had another trash pickup day.  As we split into different groups, I can only get pictures of the ones around me.

 Unfortunately, one man told Khemrin that it was good that the foreigners (me!) lead them to do good things for Cambodia.  Khemrin told him that this was their idea and that this is the church cleaning up the trash.  So, probably for the next few times, us foreigners won't go out with them, so that it is the church that is getting noticed in the neighborhood instead of us.

Here we are wrapping it up.

All out of trash bags!  We picked up trash in the area for about 2 hours.
 Now for "random picture time".  These are lotus flowers.  They take the closed bulbs and turn down the outside petals to make the flowers look like this.
 Rich and I were talking in front of our neighborhood temple yesterday and I saw this cart.  Are any of you up for

deep fried frogs (not just legs, but the whole thing)

deed fried chicken feet.

Many of the Khmers (Cambodians) love to chew on the chicken feet.  I have told a few of them that there is no meat, but they said they just like to gnaw on them. 

Today starts the beginning of the Pchum Benh Holiday.  It is one of their biggest holidays - probably comparable to our Christmas.  Most Khmers go home to their villages.  It is a time for the Buddhists of ancestor worship, as well as family get-together time. Phnom Penh is pretty well deserted and shut down for a week. 

Please remember in your prayers:
 - the CBI school - that we will get new students that are excited about studying the gospel.
 - the churches
         - that the Christians can stand strong and their                  faith will grow. 
         - that our outreach will be effective to bring                           souls to the Lord.
 - for us - to have wisdom to serve God in this place.

Much love,

Sunday, September 23, 2018

This past week

 Just bits of this past week.

One day, on our walk to CBI from our house, we passed this lady.  We see this a lot but I usually either forget to take pictures or it is too busy.

I told Rich that I think I would have to train my neck to carry that many brooms on my head. 
 This is our Lowe's.  This shop is in near our neighbor temple and it has everything!  It is probably 10 feet wide but it totally packed.  I have bought plumbing fittings, chain, lightbulbs, rugs, brooms, nuts, bolts, hose, etc.

 Doris Morrison left Cambodia for the United States on Thursday night.  She has worked here for the better part of 15 years.  Before she left, there was a Going Away party at her house/school. 
  Rich and I hopped on the motorcycle to head out there.  I am really sorry you can't get the full effect, but this is the front of the light.  Since we weave in and out of the cars, it is all motorcycles at the front of the lights.
  It took us 40-45 minutes to get there.  The friends that drove their pickup took over 1 1/2 hours.  Motorcycles are the way to go!
 This is us with Doris.  She is headed back to Lubbock, TX.  We pray that she adjusts well to being back in the United States and finds a work that she can be involved in.
 Sunday morning, Rich taught Bible class at the Phnom Penh congregation on Ephesians 5:1-2. 

In the afternoon, with the University congregation, Virak preached.  Virak lives in the Pursat province.  He is supported by the University congregation.  He taught on the examples of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. 
This is another sight that we see a lot. 
A man is driving the motorcycle with the lady on the back of the motocycle holding the handles of the cart; and the kids are in the cart.  Usually the cart has recyclables or trash in it.  But this is one way to get all your family home without all being on the motorcycle, which is the normal way to do it. This is on one of the main streets in the city. 

Tomorrow will start our 2 day Graduate Meetings.  I'll tell you about it in the next blog.

Much love,

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Women's NIght and Battambang

On Monday, September 10th, we had a Women's night.  I made tortillas and they had their first taste of chicken fajitas.  Well, you can't win them about 4pm it started raining and rained until after 6m.  Since most of the women come on motorcycles, that puts a big dent in attendance.  So instead of having about 25-30 ladies, we only had 15.  That is to be expected at times when you live in a tropical country and it is rainy season.  

Our emphasis this time was on prayer.  We used different colors of index cards to remind the ladies to remember to praise God, confess to God, thank God and make request to God when you pray.
On Friday afternoon, Rich and I along with 8 others in our car made the trip to Battambang.  There was also a van from the BEST Center that went as well.  Phanat and Chakriya have recently moved from Siem Reap to start a work in Battambang.  Battambang is a large city to the NW of Phnom Penh.  
Phanat had arranged a seminar this weekend with topics from questions that he has been asked in the past.

 These are just pictures of the countryside.  I think the rice is such a pretty color of green.
Vannat, a graduate from the school of preaching in Siem Reap, was the first speaker.  He and his wife work with the church in Siem Reap.  They have 3 boys.

Vannat spoke on "How Do We Know God Exists?"
 We were all sitting on the floor, so it was difficult to get pictures, but there ended up being about 75-80 people there.  About 30 of those were from the community, so that was great!

Chakriya did a great job of planning the food and having meals for us all.
 One of the things that everyone really enjoys when several congregations get together is the singing.  Since our congregations are small, it is very uplifting to hear so many voices together.
 Veasna, Rich's coworker and a graduate of our school, was the next speaker. 

He spoke on "Why Do Christians say that Jesus is God and the Buddhists say that our parents are God?"
 I forgot to keep count of all the different song leaders that we had.  They all did a great job.

Most of the people were from Battambang, Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. 
 Rich spoke next. His topic was "How is Christianity Different from Other Religions?"
 This is Phanat.  I failed to get a picture of him when he was teaching or a picture of Chakriya, his wife.

Pray for their new work in Battambang. 

I also didn't get a picture of Darat when he was teaching.  Darat is a graduate from the school in Siem Reap and now is one of the instructors there.

Darat spoke on "Who is God?"

 Richard and Linda Benskin from Austin, TX were there visiting.  Richard ended up teaching on "How Do We Know the Bible is From God?"

 Khemrin, one of our graduates, and an intern at the University Congregation in Phnom Penh spoke on "Can Someone be a Christian and a Buddhist at the Same Time?"

These were during the day on Saturday.  Then on Saturday evening after supper, Phanat taught on "Why I Believe in Jesus."  He also had 3 other of the men tell their stories.
 Piset taught during the class time Sunday morning.  He is a graduate of the Siem Reap school and works there now.

He talked about why we need to teach, that we need to teach truth, and apply that truth to our lives so that others can see our example.

During Assembly time, Rich spoke again.  He preached on "The Benefits we Receive Now as Chistians."

 After the meeting was over, we said our good-byes and headed back to Phnom Penh.

This is just a picture of sellers beside the road.  They sell all kinds of foods - fruit, vegetables, fish, dried meat, etc.  They also sell gourds, drinks, and about anything else you can think of.
We stopped in Pursat to eat lunch.  This is a picture of our group in the front and the group from the BEST Center in the back. 

We had a great plate of fried shrimp!  Most of the kids got fried rice of some sort.

We had a great weekend! 

Please keep the Christians here in your prayers.  That they might grow in their faith and stand strong.

Much love,

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Trash day!

 Saturday morning was our first trash pick-up day.

The University congregation is trying to be a presence in the community and reach out to our neighbors, make some new friends and relationship, and show our neighbors that the church is here to help them, serve them, and teach them about Jesus.

One of the ways that was decided to do this was trash pick up.  The Khmers (Cambodians) have not been raised the commercials about "Keep America Clean" , "Don't Mess with Texas" and other slogans
that we have.  So, they follow by example and what they see is to throw your trash in the street whenever you are done with it.

We spent about 2 hours walking around in the neighborhood picking up trash and just being visible.

We did have some people ask what we were doing and why and that gave us an opportunity to talk to them about us and who we serve as Christians. 
 These kids were excited about doing this and making a difference - even if it is a small one. 

We haven't decided yet on how often we will be doing this but it was a great start.

In fact, one woman was so impressed that she got everyone bottled water and send her teenage son to go with us and help.

(If you are wondering if it was cold due to the long sleeves and jacket here, it was absolutely not!  It was probably in the mid 90s.  The Khmers do not want to get any sun on them and believe that the more layers between their skin and the sun, the cooler they are.  I have NOT bought into this theory.)

 We ran out of trash bags before we ran out of trash.  So, we are some of us as we are heading back. 

 I thought you might enjoy this.  Friday morning, Rich and I headed out on the motorcycle to the Department of Transportation.  They now require everyone to go to one place that is in the far north part of the city. 

While we were stopped in traffic, I took this picture of this guy getting his hair cut.  As you can see this is just a tin shed that they put on the side of the road.  It isn't a great picture because I didn't want them to know I was taking it.
Next door is a nice sidewalk cafe.  So when you get done with your haircut, you can just move over one stall and eat.

As for our drivers licenses, we were told we needed:  our expired Cambodian licenses, 3 passport pictures, passports, work permits, copies of our visa,  our house lease to prove residence and of course, copies of all of this.
We get there (thankfully we didn't have a big line to wait in), bring all our stuff to the first window, and she says "Where is your US driver licenses? You have to have a current US license or you have to take the tests."  It took us over 40 minutes to get there on the motorcycle, which is the fastest form of transportation since you get to weave in and out and not sit in the lines.  Rich had to go all the way back to the house, get our US licenses, and drive all the way back.  Of course, she didn't even look at our work permits or house lease.  Ha!

While we were waiting, there was a group of 8 European men who came in trying to get drivers licenses so that they could get insurance on the motorcycles that they were renting.  But since they aren't residence, they couldn't get licenses and therefore, no insurance.  I'm quite confident that they were going to go on without it.  One of these guys evidently had done this in 2016 and now brought his friends.  The laws change here all the time.  It's sometimes hard to keep up.

Rich is giving his final in Ezekiel tomorrow. Then on Tuesday, he will start teaching Ephesians  Veasna is wrapping up Wisdom Literature and then will teach the Humanity of Jesus.

Keep us and the Christians here in your prayers. 
Much love,

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Just random things

 I thought you might enjoy the sign outside of a new place to eat.  And, no, Rich and I haven't eaten there.  When you come, we can take you to try it out.

I forgot in the last blog to tell you how our trip started off.  A mess of mistakes and miscommunication.
  First, our ride to the airport was to pick us up at 2:15p.m.  Rich had to go to the school and give a quiz first, (started at 1:30pm), so he knew he was going to be in a hurry.  He got home at 2pm...and our ride pulled up 15 minutes early.  So, Rich's suitcase was downstairs so he gathered up a couple things and we were off.
  We get to the airport, Piset (our ride) let us off and he was gone.  Rich felt his passport.  We tried to call Piset back quickly but someone else had his phone.  We ended up calling my sister, Julie, and asked her to run to our house, get the passport and then bring it to us at the airport.  She was leaving for the US the next day, so had tons to do, but she quickly got the passport to us.

  The next thing, when we arrived in Thailand, we had been told that someone would be "outside waiting for us".  OK.  We waited and waited.  I went back inside so I could use their Wifi and sent a message to Patinya, the preacher at the Watcharaporn congregation who was our contact.  I got no message back after awhile, so went back out to wait.  Finally, after we had been waiting outside for an hour, Patinya answers and says it was his fault because he meant 'outside the baggage claim' - but inside the building. So the sweet man and his daughter that was picking us up had also been waiting an hour.
  Then, Tuli, the man that picked us up told Rich "Patinya wants you to call him as soon as you get here about the schedule."  Uh-oh.  The schedule showed Rich teaching everyone 4 times; and I was teaching the women twice and listed the name of my interpreter and the name of a Thai man for the men, who we assumed was teaching the men.  But, no.  He was to be Rich's interpreter for the 2 classes.  But since Rich's name wasn't listed, Rich didn't know he was teaching those.  So, Rich got to work on those late that night.  But of course, he did a great job.
             This is a picture outside of one of the high schools.  Then they have their final tests, police come to every high school and guard the school.  This is less than half of the motorcycles for this school; the other half was on a side road.  It is quite an ordeal that goes for 3 days.
Another story of how things are done differently here. 
 I went to a computer store to get printer ink.  They  have different items on each floor (gaming computer on one floor, Dell computers on another floor, other brands on different floors).  The printer cartridge and printers are on the 5th floor. 
 After I talked to the salesman and found what I needed, he asked me to have a seat while he got that ready for me.  He came back a few minutes later with the bag.  I reached out to get it and asked how much.  He pulled the bag back and told me that he would escort me down to the ground floor where you pay. 
  Once we got back down there, he asked me to have a seat again and he took the bag to the girls at the end of the room.  They printed off a receipt, which he brought back to me.  I gave him the money which he brought back to the girls.  Then they gave him the change which he brought back to me with the receipt and the bag.  Not exactly efficient.  Thankfully, I wasn't in a hurry.  He was very kind and we had a nice visit going down the stairs.  He did ask me when I came up the stairs why I didn't take the elevator.  I told him for the exercise.  He, without complaint, walked 5 floors down the stairs with me! 
                               This is Sokun.  He works with the church in his village in Battambang with Soklee and they do a great job.  He was asked to speak to the University Church of Christ congregation this afternoon. He preached on Showing the Love of God.

Rich taught the class at the Phnom Penh congregation in the morning on Fellowship.  He had a great lesson on what that meant, such as meeting together, encouraging each other, listening to each other, helping and serving each other.  His base verse came from Acts 2:42 where it tells the different things that the 1st century church did.  He has taught on some of the other things listed in that verse before. 

We are excited that the University Church's men met together to discuss ways to serve the community.  On Saturday, Sept 1st, we are going to go around and pick up trash in this area and talk to the people we meet along the way about why we are doing this and who we are.  The plan is to do this repeatedly so that our neighbors are aware that we are here and get to know us.

Please keep these sweet Christians in your prayers as they grow in their father and strive to reach this country.

Much love,