New Year… (by Andrew)

Probably some of you did not know or you may have forgotten… But we have just started the New Year! No I am not crazy I am dead serious! And since I can hear you saying “you’re out of your mind, New Year was 3 1/2 months ago”, I will attempt to describe New Year as it happened last week.

Even if you had never heard of New Year before you would have known that something unusual was afoot if you were here 2 or 3 days before it hit us. When I went to the market last week there were so many people that it was hard to get in, and when I went to buy the usual veggies, I found that they were nearly double the normal price! Now this didn’t bother me so much because I know that it only lasts about a week and prices are normal again, but the thing that really gets nerve-racking is the constant boom boom boom of the drums and the dance music coming from the pagoda. Not only does it start at unearthly hours of the morning but it goes on and on and on until around 11 or 12 at night.

Now I am not one to join in on the dancing and stuff, so managed to stay clear and unnoticed until Sunday morning… On Sunday morning however, Khen’s brother who knew that I wanted to learn to drive the cow motor (looks like a big rototiller), asked me if I wanted to learn right then so I quickly said yes and we got going. We went straight for a while and then he said turn right so I turned right and pretty soon he said turn left, and so we went zooming along (at a snails pace) with me not really paying much attention to where we went… and then he said “stop”, and so we stopped. It was at this point that I figured out what he had in mind. He had told me to stop in front of the speaker rental place. Well pretty soon he had loaded up the cow motor and we were on our way back to the house. What followed next was your worst nightmare of a drinking dancing loud music party right at the front of the house. Now when Khmer people are drunk, it seems that the only thing they want to see a foreigner do is dance with them! Now it is my policy once I know I can’t do any good by staying to leave. And so that is what we did, in the end we went to the lake where there was no one dancing and no one playing loud music.

So yes we survived New Year, and we managed to enjoy it too! May we each continue to show the love of Christ, and teach those around us a better way throughout this next year.

The Engagement Party

Andrew came to the door and softly called us from our sleep. Oh, 4 a.m. Already? It was such a short night…

 

We hurriedly took our baths, and grabbed our good clothes, hopped on the motor bike and sped away into the night. It was not far to Khen’s house, where lights and activity showed that the preparations were well under way. I wondered if they slept at all last night!

 

In the kitchen vegetables were being chopped, and the fires started for the soup. Upstairs, Khen was putting the final touches on the living room in preparation for the big event of the day. I set to work cleaning glasses and bowls, Andrew prepared coconuts, while Roy put the coconuts through the grinder. Delicious smells started emanating from the kitchen.

Next I started cutting fruit for the fruit salad, while Roy carved watermelons into cute little baskets to hold it. This was my last minute brainstorm…but when it comes to actually doing it, I let the more artistic members of the family take over! Pretty soon, some of the school kids joined us, and our fruit salad began to take shape rapidly, but not a minute too soon. There was just time to rush upstairs and help arrange fruit platters before the guests began to arrive.

 

One by one they filed into the living room, trying to scrutinize Andrew’s parents inconspicuously. The more outgoing members of the congregation openly commented on the way we sit, our skin, the color of our hair…normal stuff.

Tim called the meeting to order with prayer, which was followed by singing “to make our hearts happy”. This was followed by a discussion on how much the bride price was, and the handing over of the funds to the brides mother. (which she took with a beaming face!)

Next Tim preached a short sermon about Abraham sending his servant to choose a bride for his son, and also Jacobs misadventures with his engagement and the bride price he had to pay. Fortunately, all present agreed that Andrew should not have to work 7 years to marry Khen, and that the money given would suffice.

This was followed by Andrew and Khen making engagement promises to each other and exchanging watches. (which also evoked quite the discussion…why did they do that instead of giving rings???) But, the older members of the audience agreed that it was much more practical, so they gave their blessing on these Christians with their strange ideas. Andrew and Khen prayed for each other, and then they brought out all the food.

It was a delicious meal of noodles with fresh vegetables and a broth to pour over it, with lime on the side, then of course the fruit salad and fruit plates. It was really good! (Especially since it was getting late and we were starved!)

As soon as most of the guests left, Khen’s extended family could not contain themselves any longer. Roy and I were still sitting against the wall, and the whole tribe sat and faced us and started asking questions. They were so curious about us! I would have been pretty nervous, but they were all smiling, so I grabbed the camera and took a picture so that you could see what it is like to be the center of attention. They told us how young we look, and insisted on knowing how old we are. (I could not remember, but this time, Roy had all the numbers straight)

As soon as the interrogation was over, I started to help Khen clean up, while Andrew ran Roy to the bus station. But, this caused a great uproar, and I was told in no uncertain terms that I must sit down and rest. So, I am sitting here against the wall watching them clean up and counting my blessings.

 

God is so good to us. Khen’s family is not Christian, but they are sweet and friendly. Her Mom is not greedy, but is planning to spend a great deal of that bride price on Khen. (they will go shopping together tomorrow morning) I am praying that through Andrew and Khen’s influence, her whole family can be in heaven with us.

A missionary past time… (by Andrew)

I frantically twisted and turned on the door handle, but to no avail. The door was not going to come open and I was stuck inside with no escape; what was I going to do? How would I get out? And for those of you who may be wondering, how did I get into this situation anyway?

Well to answer those questions I guess I need to go back to the beginning where it all started… I had just finished teaching my first two classes for the day, and I had 45 minutes of free time before my next class… I thought to myself “well I could go home and relax until my next class, or I could stay in the staff room and work on grading tests…” I was a bit tired and so I decided to take the first option and go home to rest. Upon reaching home I went up to my room where I turned on my computer and sat down to relax, catch up on emails, and listen to some good music… Well time flies when you’re having fun, and I must have been having fun… because when I looked at the time I had 10 minutes to get to class! Now 10 minutes is usually enough time and to spare, so I gathered up my bag of books and headed for the door of my room and turned the nob…nothing happened…I turned it again…still nothing! The door nob was broken and I couldn’t get out of my room! I turned and looked at the windows…no that wouldn’t work they are covered with bars! I turned back to the door and began inspecting the nob to see if I could take it apart…yes it was possible with the right tools. Oops I forgot! I don’t generally keep my tools in my room. I began looking around and discovered I had one pocket knife, and a safety pin. So I set to work disassembling the door nob…the minutes ticked by…the time for class came and I was still working…working…working. After about 20 minutes of working on it I finally got it apart and opened the door. I was free at last! Now time to go teach again, next time I will be sure to keep a few tools in my room!

The things missionaries can find to keep themselves from being bored! Sometimes I think missionaries have to be crazy to do what they do…well maybe not crazy…but at least committed. Don’t ever tell me that being a missionary is boring, cause it’s not true.

Another Year (by Andrew “អេនឌ្រូ”)

Another year has come, and gone from me,
a time to share, a time to give.
Another full year has passed to eternity
did I live the best that I could live?

Have I shared Jesus with all I’ve met?
Or have I kept Him for myself?
Did I seek Him who’ll not have me fret,
or in my weakness tackled self?

My mind flies on to a great day ahead,
I stand before the Judge immortal.
My sins were why He, suffered and bled.
What does He say, of this poor mortal?

Oh how I long to hear His words so clear,
well done faithful servant enter in.
Oh how I’d hate to come so near,
and yet miss living forever with Him.

A mission He’s given, a work to save,
to gather his children scattered afar
A mission is mine, I must be brave
and not let Satan, my character mar

Twenty and two years of life He’s giv’n,
for me to open my heart to Him.
Twenty and two years to conquer sin,
this twenty third I want to live for Him.

As I enter upon this new year of life
I pray that I’ll choose Him above all.
As I battle self, amidst the strife,
I pray I’ll answer yes to His call.

I praise God for one more year of life. And though I don’t know what the future holds, I know who holds the future; and I trust myself fully to Him who stands at the helm of life. I thank God for friends; friends who stand by me when the going is tough, and friends who; like I do, want to put God first in their lives. I thank Him for His continued provision, and for His constant watchcare over me as I travel life’s road.
I also thank my parents who constantly are an encouragement to me as I watch them follow Christ in ministry for His children. And as I think back over the years I am reminded of all the training and work that they put into all of us boys and the love that they had and still have for us. Thank you, Mom and Dad!

Brush up on those language skills ( by Andrew “អេនឌ្រូ”)

I just had this thought cross my mind that I have never shown you all what any of our languages are like here! So I guess it’s time I gave you a glimpse! So here we go, let’s start with Khmer (Cambodian)…

The alphabet is made up of: 33 consonants, 32 sub-scripts, 24 dependent vowels, and 14 independent vowels. (plus various other signs and symbols)

So first the consonants:

 

– găw           – kăw           – go           – kō           – ngō

– jăw            – chăw         – jō            – chō       – nyō

– dăw           – tăw            – dō           – toe          – năw

đăw           – tăw            đō           – toe            – no

– băw           – păw           þō           – pō            – mō

– yō            – rō                – lō           – wō

– săw          – hăw         – lăw        ăw

 

The Sub-scripts (which have to go under an existing consonant):

(these have the same sounds as above)

 

ក្ក           ខ្ខ           គ្គ           ឃ្ឃ           ង្ង

ច្ច         ឆ្ឆ           ជ្ជ             ឈ្ឈ             ញ្ញ

ដ្ដ           ឋ្ឋ           ឌ្ឌ           ឍ្ឍ              ណ្ណ

ត្ត           ថ្ថ           ទ្ទ            ធ្ធ                ន្ន

ប្ប         ផ្ផ           ព្ព                 ភ្ភ               ម្ម

យ្យ        រ្រ             ល្ល               វ្វ

ស្ស        ហ្ហ  no sub-script      អ្អ

 

 

The Dependent Vowels: (the letter is used as a place holder when typing vowels by themselves)

 

(1st series / 2nd series)

អា – a / ear           អិ ǽt / ēt           អី āy / ē           អឹ ut / ŭt

អឺ – ur / ŭŭ           អុ ōt / oot          អូ ō / oo          អួ – oowr / oowr

អើ ăur / ŭr        អឿ ŭŭr / ŭŭr    អៀ – ear / ear    អេ ā / ay or ey

អែ īe / è             អៃ īē / ey         អោ – ow / ō       អៅ – ow’ / œw

អុំ òm / ōm        អំ ŏm / ōm       អាំ ăhm / ōam  អះ ăh’ / ëah

អិះ – eh’ / ēh’       អុះ – oh’ / ooh’? អេះ – eh’ / ēh’     អោះ ăh’ / ooh’!

 

The Independent Vowels:

 

ăw           ǽt           uāy           ōt           ō

ōuoo        – roo‘         – roo            – loo’        – loo

īĕ            īē             , – ow        – au’

 

Now for some useful words and phrases:

 

ចំរាបសួរ                               jom reaþ soor                     Hello

អ្នកសុខសប្បាយទេ?         neak’ sok sabīđay?            How are you?

ខ្ញុំឈ្មោះ…                             knyom chmooh’…             My name is…

លាហើយ                             lear howy                            Goodbye

ខ្មែរថាប៉េច?                      … kmīr tar might               How do you say … in Khmer?

 

Until next time enjoy learning a little bit of Khmer! And maybe next time you can get a glimpse of another one of our many languages.

 

A Picture of Asia

For those of you who are not here in Cambodia, it may seem like a very foreign place, a place where you don’t know anyone, and where everything is different to what you know. This seems to be mostly due to the fact that you don’t see it with your own eyes, so today I thought I would post some random pictures to let you see some of the things that we see around here.
For those of you who are wondering, this is the most common form of transportation in Cambodia, and in Asia for that matter.

There are a great deal of flowering plants here in Asia.

I’ll post more pictures later.

The Harvest (by Andrew)

Yesterday I decided that it was high time I learned to harvest rice! After all, I’ve been here in Asia for almost three years and haven’t yet tried it! I was so excited about it that I was up before the normal time and had breakfast early.
This is what I saw when I arrived.

The field was definitely ready to be harvested, some of the rice stalks had already fallen over and were laying in the water instead of standing up straight like proper rice! Well, not wanting to waste any time I grabbed a scythe and went out into the field. After watching the pros for a few seconds I decided that this didn’t look all that hard, and confidently began making cuts of my own.

And then it happened! I cut my finger instead of the rice I meant to cut! Oh my, as I walked toward the pump to wash the cut, the others around me cried out blood! blood! They thought that it must hurt greatly from the amount of blood that was squirting out. (I will spare you the picture of this one!) As it turned out when I got it clean it was in fact a small cut and nothing to worry about. So with that assurance I went back to work, ever so slightly more careful this time though. Here is one of the villagers who was working with us.

And these are some of our students, from Wat Preah Yesu.

We finished just one of the rice fields yesterday, but that was enough to give me a healthy respect for the villagers who know this as a way of life.
Now this harvest was a small one, but it reminds me of another harvest that Jesus spoke of in Luke 10 “Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.”  Jesus was not talking about a harvest of wheat or rice here, He was talking about a harvest of souls for the kingdom of God. He is inviting us all to join with Him in the labours and the blessings of this harvest. Now the choice is up to you, are you going to say with the prophet of long ago, “Here am I; send me.”?  Or are you going to sit back and let the rice fall into the water, “to be trodden under foot of men”?

Thoughts (by Andrew)

Just an update on what’s happening here in Cambodia.
The water has gone down and there is less rain than before, but still we have the problem that the lake is full and we still have water coming down the river from China to add to the water that we already have.
The high water that we’ve had in the past months, has caused difficulties for people who live in the low-lying areas to be sure, but at the same time things are certainly green around here! In a town south of here where one of our students lives, you can look in one direction as far as you can see and there is nothing but water, and when you turn around the view is the same. That particular student will have to use a boat to get to his house or swim as the water is over head deep around there.


God has placed things of beauty even among scenes of chaos, and roses among the thorns. Everywhere that we look we can see God’s love and His care if we really want to. God has a plan in all of this and we know that His plan includes the saving of as many of His children as possible, the question for us then is will we join Him in this work of soul saving, or will we leave that blessing for others who will?

Let’s show our faith! (by Andrew)

(adapted from anonymous)

John stood looking out over his rice fields which should be a bright green, but which were now dusty and bare. There had been no rain for weeks but it had seemed months, the grass had all whithered up and there was not a green thing in sight, if the rain didn’t come soon; he would have no rice to feed his family and no money to buy vegetables to eat. John fell to his knees and prayed “Oh Father you know we must have rain if we are to eat this year. I pray that you would send the rain to provide water for our rice to grow.” He rose to his feet and slowly walked back to the house, sure that God would hear him and send the rain they so desperately needed.

Days passed and nothing happened no rain not even a drop, had God really heard him? Had God forgotten? More prayers ascended and John kept waiting and waiting. . . Meanwhile John noticed something strange, while looking out his window one day he saw his neighbor Mark, out working in his fields under the hot blistering sun. Day after day John saw Mark go to the field and sweat it out; “crazy man” he would say to himself, and several times John called out to him saying “Your crazy Mark can’t you see there is no rain? All of your efforts are worthless, your rice will not grow without water!” but Mark just ignored his calls and kept working in his fields. John began to be upset with God, didn’t His Word tell us that if we asked we would receive? Where was God? And where was the rain?

Then; one day when John looked out from his window, he saw dark clouds on the horizon, after watching for a while to make sure his eyes were not deceiving him, he ran to the shed and began looking for his shovel, his hoe, and other tools he would need. While John was in the shed digging for his tools, it began to rain and oh! Mark had never seen anything so wonderful in his life. Mark immediately went out and began planting his rice, knowing that God had answered his prayers, while John on the other hand now discovered that he had neglected to put diesel in the tractor and he had failed to go out and plow his field, oh what a miserable day that was for him spent in the shed looking for tools and running to town to get the needed fuel for the tractor.

How many of us like John are praying for the latter rain of the Holy Spirit, while by our actions we are telling those around us that we don’t really believe? Both John and Mark prayed, both of them made a profession of faith in God’s promise to provide for their needs, but only Mark actually went out and prepared his field to receive the promised rain. John didn’t believe enough to actually go out and put his faith to work, he didn’t really believe; he just thought he believed.

As I look around the mission field today, I see a few scattered missionaries here and there, but nothing like we should be seeing if we really expect Christ to return in even a few years. It’s easy to become discouraged when I think about this, but we know that God is able if necessary to spread the message using stones! (Luke 19:40) Oh how sad if He should have to spread the message this way because we neglect our duty! Oh how sad if we should miss out on the blessing God has in store for us!

Now I know that not everyone is called to go overseas, but ALL are called to work in God’s vineyard somewhere somehow. If you cannot go yourself, you can support those who can go, with your prayers and letters of encouragement, you can help to train young people to work for God, and you can talk to others of the work that needs to be done, there are many ways each one of us can help in God’s vineyard. Let us each labor faithfully so that in the end we will hear the words spoken: “Well done good and faithful servant. . . enter in to the joy of thy Lord”

It is time to work in the fields!