It has been an incredibly busy few weeks that began with exams, followed by Gemma and Hym’s wedding, followed by Jive and Pisei’s wedding two weeks later, and then the engagement of two of our grade 12 students, Nimol and Srey Yan a couple of weeks after that.
The two weddings were lovely. So many people volunteered to help with each one. I especially appreciated Wendy and the Grade 11s who handled all the cooking and food preparation for each wedding, and the volunteer teachers who decorated the locations, and organized the music. The weddings were both done in more of a western style so it was interesting watching the Khmer guests as they participated.
In a normal Khmer wedding, the family is there for the ceremony, then more guests turn up for the reception. They sit and eat and then leave. Usually the bridal party must serve and wait for hours as guests come and go. After all the guests have eaten and left, then the bridal party can eat. At these weddings, the bridal party and guests ate at the same time, and there was normal western reception programs – like the reading of messages from friends and family who could not attend. We had to time it just right so that the Khmer guests would still be there when this was all done. But both weddings went really well, and I wish all happiness to the new couples.
We also had the Youth Week of Prayer. Ty, a grade 12 student actually ran the program helped by some of his classmates and former graduates. It was wonderful to see the Khmer young people taking on these spiritual responsibilities and leading out. They are putting into practice the preaching skills that Dustin has been teaching them in preparation for their evangelism program in Preah Vihear Province in May.
God is working in the lives of these precious young people. I can see it. I can also see that it is making the Devil mad and he is trying so many different ways to disrupt and halt God’s work. We praise God for His protection, providence and I have noticed that all the stresses and hardships are causing us to come together and pray more with and for each other. I am awed at what God can do in people when we truly seek His will.
Khen’s mum has been able to come here for treatment. Our Hydrotherapy classroom was finished yesterday and she has been moved in as the first official patient for the building. She has been here already for a few days. It hasn’t been easy for her. She still faces opposition from her family. A lot of effort has been made, especially by Donna, to help them all to understand the problem that Khen’s mum has and how each different treatment given her works to heal her body. There are a lot of ideas and superstitions Khmer people have about medicines that can sometimes make it confrontational because a lot of the natural remedies conflict with their superstitions. For example, they believe that most medicines or treatments should not be painful and should cause immediate pain relief.
We had an unwelcome surprise early Monday morning, when Laura and I came back from Dorm worship to find that we had been visited by a thief. We had only been gone for 10 or so minutes and the sun had only just risen (by gone, I mean just a couple of meters down the front verandah to the girls’ room!). We believe the thief came in through the back door, and was interrupted by my dog and left. He made off with a phone, an ipod and some money, but we thank God that many other things were left behind including my passport and the laptops. We know that God works all things for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose, and pray that we will learn the lessons from this that we should, and He is glorified through it all.
Soon it will be the Khmer New Year holidays. We are all looking forward to a bit of a rest. I will actually be taking a short visit to Australia to visit my family. Laura is going with me which I’m extremely happy about – and not just because now I won’t have to travel alone. Then we’ll all be back to school for the last 3 months of this school year. It seems to have gone by too fast.
Tim was telling us this morning about new plans that God has given him for further educational facilities to be able to educate adults as well as graduates to be better equipped to spread the Gospel of Jesus in this country. Please join us in praying for God’s continual guidance and blessing as we explore these new directions.
* A big thank you to the photographers of these photos 🙂