“O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him.” ~ Psalm 34:8 ~
On this day in 2011, I stepped off the plane onto Cambodian soil for the second time. But this time was different. I wasn’t just coming with friends for one month. This time I was on my own, and planning to stay for 18 months. I had some minor trouble with my VISA, but the officials treated me kindly, especially when I tried to use the few Khmer words that I knew, such as the polite greeting, thank you, and sorry. They helped me sort out the problem and sent me on my way.
I was the last one of my plane out of the airport; in fact another whole planeload of people had gone through ahead of me. I was so happy to be back in Cambodia, a place that had stolen my heart a year before. I was thrilled to have the chance to work for God here, although I was nervous about teaching again. But at this time, the joy I felt at soon seeing the friends I had made on my previous trip were overriding the nervousness.
“Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things. And blessed be His glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with His glory; Amen, and Amen.” ~ Psalm 72:18,19 ~
Sannal, a student and friend, met me at the exit, and soon we were in the old white truck (at the time affectionately dubbed “The Limousine”) headed for Wat Preah Yesu. I remember looking out the window trying to see something I recognized. I remember once again being assaulted by the smells of the city. I remember seeing all the bright pastal coloured houses – The kind of remind me a bit of the buildings in Nannup Town back in Australia. In the middle of all this, while making small talk with Sannal, he reveals to me that he has only been driving this car for two weeks and this was only his second or third trip away from Wat Preah Yesu! Well that news certainly raised the excitement level a bit! But he is a good driver and delivered me safely to Wat Preah Yesu.
“Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me.” ~ Psalm 66:20 ~
It was a Friday when I arrived. I’d planned it that way so that I would have a chance to rest over the weekend and begin teaching the following Monday. It was about 10:00AM and everyone was in school. I walked down to the orphanage to say hello to some of the house parents and waited till the students were out for lunch and had a joyful reunion with them.
I spent the rest of the day getting acquainted with the other teachers whom I would be working with. There was Andrew – whom I had met the year before – but all the others were new to me. They were Amy-Lynn, Petrina, Sarah King, and Liz. They have all moved on now, (Andrew is still around, but lives outside with his wife) but I was very thankful for how welcome they made me feel and how they helped me to settle in. I remember having many good times and conversations with them, and especially Petrina, who was always willing to lend an ear, and counsel.
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom He hath chosen for His own inheritance.” ~ Psalm 33:12 ~
The past three years have been the best of my life. I am so thankful to God for wanting to use me, teach me, change me, bless me, and bringing me here. I have learnt so much about Him and His love for myself and all people. I have learnt so much about teaching :P. I have learnt so much about loving other people and relationships. This place has changed so much in the short time I’ve been here. I’ve seen so many great volunteers come and go. I’ve made so many good friends. I’ve made many mistakes and learnt many lessons. I know that I’m not yet what I’m supposed to be, but praise God I am not who I was! There have been some really hard, sad times, but also many wonderful, miraculous events. Truly God is in control, and all things work together for good for those that love God and keep His commandments! We serve a wonderful, merciful, loving, righteous, and just God.
“The LORD liveth; and blessed be my Rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted.” ~ Psalm 18:46 ~
A Random Collection of Photos