There are so many things I love about Cambodia! Motos, Tuk-Tuks and coconuts are just a few.
My first time on a Moto was just a few weeks ago when one of my English students offered to drive me around town. I put on my helmet and hopped on the back…sideways, because I was wearing a skirt. I held on for dear life asking her over and over if she was a good driver. She laughed at me… Here in Cambodia everyone drives a Moto…hardly anyone drives a car. There are not really any traffic laws except to honk a lot when you are coming up to a crossroads. I finally figured out that all of the honking is because there are no “lanes” and there are no traffic lights or stop signs…so everyone just honks to let everyone else know they are coming. One day a boy about 9 years old drove by me on his Moto with his kid brother on the back! He was just a bit taller than my son Jacob! So my first Moto ride I gripped my student the entire time…gasping and closing my eyes around every sharp corner. My second Moto ride was much easier…still sitting sideways only this time holding my student with one hand and holding the railing on the back with the other hand…a bit more relaxed. My third Moto ride I sat sideways and didn’t even hold on except for a few times when going over a bump or around a corner…wow I feel like a real local now.
The other day one of my students showed up at the house where we are staying asking if she could take me on her Moto out into the country to see some ancient ruins from the 11th century. My husband agreed to let me go and I had the most amazing afternoon with her! We drove 15km out into the countryside…through endless rice fields, small villages with bamboo houses, and the lushest jungle I’ve ever seen! We got to the historical ruins and walked around for an hour…talking about our families, our hobbies and our religions. We stopped at a little vendor and bought two coconuts. The lady chopped off the top, stuck a straw in the middle and handed it to me. We sat and drank coconut juice…a refreshing drink in the middle of Cambodia!
Tuk-Tuks are our family’s favorite mode of transportation! They are little golf-cart type vehicles pulled by a Moto and they literally feel like a Disneyland ride! Today we took our kids on a Tuk-tuk out to the same ruins I went to with my student. We had the best family day exploring the ancient ruins…just like Indiana Jones! Jacob is practically a professional rock climber…scaling the side of the ruins and making it up to the top in no time! Ariel is also quite the spunky little explorer…always a few feet ahead of us yelling, “Come on guys! What’s over here?!” Hailey follows in her big brother and big sister’s footprints…climbing through tunnels, up on rocks and down steep hills! As a family we also stopped for some coconuts…lying in the hammocks by the vendor, drinking coconut juice and talking about the wonders of being in a foreign country! What an amazing day off…lying in a hammock in the middle of nowhere in the middle of Cambodia! On our way home I told Aaron that I literally feel like the bamboo houses are fake and that the people walking around with straw, wide brimmed hats, balancing things on their heads, are actors…It feels so surreal, like we are in another world or on a Disneyland ride for sure!
As a family and as a team we’ve pushed through 2 really difficult weeks and are now coming into so much joy and fruit! In the past week we saw several people give their lives to Jesus, several physical healings, we started a church at a nearby village (the village is an un-reached people group) and continued to build relationships with our students at the youth center. I have several students I’ve been meeting with outside of class that are so close to giving their lives to Jesus! Not only that but they are becoming some of my most dear and precious friends! The Cambodian people are really some of the most generous, hospitable and loving people I have ever met. I have so much that I learn from them every day! They are strong and courageous yet loving and gentle. Cambodia I love you!
Extra highlights from the week:
- We go to the village every morning to teach English, administer first aid, pray for the sick and teach people about Jesus. This is the same village where we started the church last weekend. Yesterday my son Jacob went to the village with my husband. I stayed back with the girls because Ariel was not feeling well. Jacob came home beaming with excitement…”I ate a grasshopper!” Yes…my son ate not one but three cooked grasshoppers prepared over an open fire by our friends at the village.
- This week Ariel and Hailey found many pets…a frog, a dragonfly (which their Cambodian friends tied with a string so they could swing it around and make it fly), several moths (yes…they are “in” to finding and collecting moths), and fish from the pond.
- Aaron prayed for several people at the village who experienced healing from things like headaches, back problems, eyesight issues, and leg problems.
- My friend Kellye and I started a bible study with our English class…10 students every time…coming to read and study the bible with us. Their questions this week literally brought us to tears because they are growing closer and closer each day to coming into relationship with Jesus.
- Aaron wrote a new song.
- Jacob is learning how to play the guitar.
- Ariel and I laid in bed the other night singing worship songs for 30 min.…it had been an intense week and she was feeling the stress of it. Her little heart loves to sing and to worship. I am so amazed by her.
- Hailey discovered she likes to “box” and wrestle. Her and Jacob are really bonding in this area because Hailey is strong and can hold her own.
- I love riding on motos…and I love Coconut juice! I also love the simplicity of life in Cambodia and the chance to share about Jesus with people who have literally NEVER heard about him before.
- Last but not least…I figured out how to wash our clothes so that they do not smell worse after washing them than they did before washing! Hand washing is a full body workout!!! I think I finally have it down.
***Bonus…2 of our students just burst through the door while I was finishing this blog…7 people gave their lives to Jesus today ON OUR DAY OFF!!! They are all English students we’ve been pouring into at the youth center. The dam is bursting!!!…I am so expectant for this coming week!!!
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