A Passport Miracle

“Oh that men would praise the Lord for His goodness and for His wonderful works to the children of men.”  ~ Psalm 107:8 ~

A few weeks ago Ely and I had given our passports to the office for them to do something official with them. A day or so later, after school, I saddled two horses up expecting to take a certain student for a ride.

Well, said student didn’t come so Ely and I went for a ride instead. On our way back we passed by the Studio and stopped to chat with Caleb and Savorn, and ended up giving their daughter a small ride. Sreiya came past and said she had our passports to return to us. She dashed inside the studio and retrieved them. She handed me one, then took it back and gave me the other, saying it was mine. I slipped it into my back pocket, Ely took hers and then we raced the horses home.

Arriving home we quickly untacked and finished our chores. Partway through chores I remembered the passport and figured i should put it inside. I reached for it, and found my pocket empty. I must have put it inside already. I went in and saw a passport on the bookshelf, I opened it and it was mine. Phew.

The next morning on the way to school, Ely randomly mentions the fact that Sreiya had mixed up our passports and given hers to me, and that Ely had put mine on the bookshelf. Ely later said that she didn’t know why, but she’d felt very strongly that she had to tell me that information. I immediately began wondering where I had put hers, but figured I would look for it at luch time when I went home. Sitting down in the staffroom to do some work, I couldn’t concentrate. A strong urge (which I believe was the Holy Spirit) was telling me to go look for the passport. Previously I have ignored urges like this and found that I’d missed an opportunity, so although I didn’t feel worried about the passport, I decided that I would go and look.

I walked back home and searched everywhere and couldn’t find her passport. Now I was worried. It must have fallen out of my pocket the evening before. The kids could have found it, played with it, destroyed it… plus it had rained during the night!

I started praying and retracing my steps; wondering exactly how I was going to explain to Ely that I’d lost her passport!

I walked past the school scanning the ground, begging God to help me find the passport. I saw some trash on the ground that looked like part of a cement bag. I went over and praise God it was the missing passport. A bit damp, but still in one piece! Still praying, now thanking God, I raced back to the staffroom to show Ely! I’m so glad that I went to look for it when urged to. It was right near some of the younger grades who, not comprehending the importance of the little book, might have had all kinds of fun with it if they’d found it first.

I hope I will be more attuned to God’s voice in the future and not ignore what the Holy Spirit impresses me to do or say.

Come What May

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

~ Ephesians 3:20-21 ~

God is always surprising me; but nowadays I am less surprised that He provides, and more just amazed by the ways He provides. So many times we have come to the point of having nothing, and then, out of left field, God provides. I’m learning to stop suggesting to God the ways He could provide and just thank Him in advance for His marvelous provision. I also want to make special mention of the White Salmon Church in America, who have been so generous to us over the past couple of years. Thank you all so much for your sacrifice.

“Oh that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men. For He satisfies the longing soul and fills the hungry soul with goodness.” ~ Psalm 107:8-9 ~

God hasn’t just been providing my physical needs, but also filling every other aspect of my life with His love and care. He has taught me so much over the past six months. My life changed 100% when Eugenia, a friend working at AENON, Malaysia, introduced me to the seminars of Horst Mueller. God used those seminars to help me better understand myself, righteousness by faith, and how to completely trust God (not that I have perfected it, but there has been substantial improvement! I now feel like I have tools to use when faced with difficult situations). Another book God brought into my life that has been an immense blessing is What Shall I Do To Inherit Eternal life, by Margaret Davis. The journey has been intense and amazing. The biggest thing that brings me so much joy is that finally, many of the good things I’ve wanted to do for years I can now do. Spending time with God is now something that I not only truly desire but actually enjoy doing. Little things that annoyed me before no longer do; and useless things I did before I now have no desire to do them. Now I feel empathy for my students who give me a hard time, because now I understand why they do what they do. I just wish I had learned this all much sooner… and I know I still have much to learn! I’m grateful that God never gives up on any of us!

We just finished Camp-meeting. It’s the second one we’ve had here in the 7 years I’ve been here. The last one was 3 years ago. Tim and the Grade 11 and 12s did weeks of work to prepare the grounds for all the campers. The whole event was very well organised and proved a blessing for everyone who attended. At least on Sabbath we had about 1200 people on the property. We heard amazing testimonies of how God is working all over Cambodia, and we praise God for what He is doing. Ely and I were kept busy by a stream of people and children who came to see the horses. We were able to tell them what we were doing and testify to God’s faithfulness.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Another blessing we had was a clinic held in town by a group of international vets. They put on 3 days of neutering and vaccinating local cats and dogs. I was able to get all three of our cats desexed. Unfortunately I was not able to get our dog Hadadsah spayed as she was nursing puppies at the time… and I had tried so hard to keep her away from all suitors! The puppies were cute though, and this time Hadassah kept her health and we were able to let her nurse the puppies for more than 8 weeks before finding them good homes with some of our dorm students.

Patty, one of our cats… no her eyes are not different colors, I’m not sure what the camera did.

I’ve been challenged by teaching English to Grade 11 and 12. I normally only teach 7 and 8, but this year I have 8, 10, plus 11 and 12. Tim has requested that we change our teaching style a bit and try to use the Bible as our textbook. I think I’m getting the hang of it now… can’t say I enjoy marking essays all that much, but it must be done! We have a much improved discipline system this year. Teacher Sophanny and Teacher Ty have been doing a great job following everything up. There are still some difficult situations that I am not sure how to deal with, but I’m praying that God will help me understand, be patient, and keep loving the students no matter what.

We have been blessed with new volunteers, some short term – Bree, from Australia; Adina, from Switzerland; Julia, from Ukraine, and Caleb, from Australia. By the end of this week we will also be joined by Forest, from New Zealand. We thank God for sending the teachers and help we need just on time. I’ve also met some wonderful new friends through Seyha’s tour business. Seyha always invites them to join us for church.

Raffael, Adina, Marissa, Emily, and myself pc. Raffael

And Emily came to visit! She was a former volunteer whom we hadn’t seen for a couple of years. She spent three very short months with us over Christmas. It was like she’d never left!

Emily, Ely, and I at Niet’s Wedding

Weddings! Last September I visited Australia to attend the wedding of my youngest sister. It was great to have almost the whole family together again. I got to meet my nephew and his wonderful mother, and very much enjoyed myself. Then I was blessed to join the wedding of two former students of mine, Niet and Luon last month. We also have another wedding to attend on Monday. Two of our Khmer teachers (both also former students of mine), Peith and Sart. I wish all the new couples a long life filled with all the fullness of God.

Lastly, there is one situation that will not go away, no matter what Ely, Tim, or I do. There is a homeless man who has a penchant for drinking too much, and also doesn’t seem to be fully in his right mind… It all began about a year ago, when he first came into our yard and tried to move into our house. Started putting his meager possessions away under my food rack. We managed to send him off to one of the orphan houses for a feed… he promised he’d be back… and he has kept that promise. On average, at least once or twice every two weeks he comes back to our house. Sometimes he leaves when asked to, sometimes he’s been drunk and refuses to leave, or just laughs at us. Our dogs always let us know when he comes as they really seem to dislike him. He mostly ignores them or tries to make friends with them. A couple of weeks ago he upped his game. He brought a broom to give us as a gift. When questioned as to why he was bringing us a broom, he replied that Ely was his wife, and she needed it to keep his house (our house) clean. Three of our naughtiest young orphan boys redeemed themselves in our eyes as they placed themselves between us and him and told him to leave. This morning before 5AM, while it was still dark, and we were having our personal devotions, the dogs went off again. I didn’t think much of it, until Hadassah came inside and sat down beside me. I decided to check so I went to the front door; there was no one there, but as I walked down the steps I nearly tripped over his gift…. another broom and one of his water bottles! He’d opened the gate, walked straight through the dogs and been at our slightly open door! Tim has taken him to the police station many times and it doesn’t dissuade him in the slightest. We don’t think that he is dangerous. He does have one false leg, and is shorter than Ely. We just are not sure of how to help him understand that he can’t keep coming to our house at all hours of the day! We thank God for His continued protection.

I used to think that life was pretty straightforward, and that the kinds of excitement that you see on daytime dramas wasn’t an accurate representation of reality (and they truly aren’t!). But since letting God lead my life it has been much more filled with strange and dramatic incidents… some good, others less appealing. But one thing remains the same, and that is that God is always there with us to see us through. Whatever He allows is for my benefit and I can trust Him come what may!

“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” ~ John 10:10 ~

☆ picture credits to whom they are due: studio team, Emily, Raffael, and others

Wind and Rain

“For He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways” ~ Psalm 91:11 ~

We’ve had two rain-showers in a week; it’s wonderful. The trees have lost their red, dusty look, and the grass is trying to grow back. It’s the first bit of rain we’ve had in nearly six months, and last year’s wet season wasn’t very wet. I’ve even seen the bottom of a couple of our ponds – a new sight for me.

The thing about rain in this country, is that it is always preceded by a strong wind. These two rainfalls were no exception. And the thing about this strong wind is.. well it tends to break the trees. We’ve had two big broken branches down at our house, one from a while ago, and one from last night. Fortunately, no one has been hurt.

But last night, Ely and I were returning from the studio. It was dark, and the road was muddy and slippery. Our motorbike has no light (no problem – we use a flashlight), but apart from that it works fine. Well this thought came into my head that there could be trees down so I should drive slowly. I was like, no problem God, I got this, slow it is. So we headed back home, dodging all the small branches that had come down and littered the road. We reached a more open path and I tried to increase the speed a little, but for some reason the bike refused to change into 3rd gear. I was in the process of telling Ely how now we have no choice but extra slow because the gears wouldn’t change, when we rounded the corner near the school and this loomed up out of the dark at us…

20150506_062749

I guess God’s idea of slow and mine are a little different, but I am thankful that He kept us safe. We stopped, jumped off and the motorbike just fit under the tree. This morning, hopped on the motorbike and it changes gears no problem…

We did have one tree fall on a house last night, but the young man who lives in there wasn’t hurt, nor did he lose any of his belongings.

“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10 ~

All this talk about wind makes me think of the story of the Holy Spirit being poured out on the disciples on the Day of Pentecost, and all the amazing things that God did through His disciples. I pray that, like the strong winds here, God’s love will sweep over Cambodia and bring refreshing and new life in Him to the Khmer people.

I have some pictures from the Evangelism Team. They seem to be working hard and having a good time. Keep them in your prayers, and may many people see Jesus in them. They’ve been doing house visitation, a children’s program and night meetings I believe.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In other news; after many years Tim and Wendy are rebuilding their house. The old wooden one they’ve lived in for 20 odd years has served them well, but finally it became evident that the termites were winning the war and the house was no longer stable. There was a concern that it might come down in some of the afore mentioned strong winds that occur a lot during rainy season. So it has gone from looking like this:

11069657_10206886999913020_8353328933078742057_n

to this

11167799_10206886993752866_6638809914491661958_n

I was told that as the builders pulled it apart, 5 of the columns simply collapsed – they’d been eaten nearly completely through by the termites. So soon work will begin on their new house, and hopefully it won’t take too long.

God bless, please keep the Khmer people, and WPY in your prayers.

A Christmas Song

I know it’s way past Christmas now, but this has just been uploaded to Youtube. I’m having a proud teacher moment, and want to share it…. after all, everyday is a day to celebrate our Savior and the work He has done to save us… and aren’t the children wonderful?

Guitars and Bok Choy

We have one more week before camp-meeting. It’s all rather exciting. Plus we’ve had some new volunteers arrive. Some are here for a couple of months, some are here only a few weeks, but we are grateful for them all. Especially for Petrina, Vanessa and Miranda who have taken on some of the excess classes that we had. Petrina leaves soon and I may pick up her Grade 9 English class. We’ll see how that pans out.

God has been very good to me over the past three weeks. My classes have for the most part gone well. God has taught me new ways of looking at the students and understanding them and why they do what they do. He’s given me more patience and mercy – something I have lacked in the past. I now enjoy teaching more than I ever did before (ok well not the marking side but who really does!?!).

My last class on Friday is Grade 4 guitar. To say that I have control of that class would be a big fat lie. They are so cute… they can barely fit their hands around the guitar neck to make the chords. A couple of them really want to learn, and they try hard each of the two lessons a week that we have. Some need more one on one time – which with 16 or so students and one teacher, I just cannot do. And some really just like seeing how much noise they can make the guitar make – then when they tire of that they take to playing marbles, or kick-boxing, or any other game that is popular that day. Mainly I just try to protect the guitars (I once had a student trying to set a guitar on fire.. just because). I also try to make sure their games don’t get too rough. I also try to spend time with those who do want to learn (disclaimer – I am no expert guitar player!). But they are all great children.
Here’s some pictures of them that I took today (I took pictures to distract them from destroying the cafeteria chairs – it kind of worked :))

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Speaking of patience; we were hoping to be in our new house this Sunday, but it doesn’t look like it will be so. No problem, it will happen in due time. So speaking of houses, here’s some pictures of things of importance in my current house.

This is our shower. It doubles as an arm exercise machine, and the water even comes out warmer than if you had drawn it from a well – a bonus on some of the cold mornings and evenings we’ve been having here (it IS cold!). That said, having a well inside the house has been awesome – especially for privacy, but the floor of the house is almost always in some stage of wetness… which usually leads to tiny dirty footprints from the girls or critters. Our new house has an outside well.

This is my rice cooker. An excellent and well-used device that even has an inbuilt steamer – which I especially like to steam pumpkin in for breakfasts. Also shown is our kitchen. Our pots and pans hang on the wall, and our gas stove sits on our bench. Underneath the bench is all our other supplies.
Also pictured is my coconut oil – so many uses, from food preparation to skin and hair care. (also shows proof that it is cold – as you can see it has solidified 😛 ) Also Bok Choy – I live on the stuff, often eating it raw for breakfast as it is quick and easy to prepare and doesn’t hurt my stomach.

Here is our most recent addition, Juliet;

She’s about as big as my hand and not very pretty. She lives in the toilet room and is allowed to stay there because she eats cockroaches. So long as we can see her it’s all good.

We have two walls in the house that are covered with photographs. One is dedicated to students, the other to family. They are a testament of the last four years of my life here.

That’s it for now, but here’s a few last pictures of important things (not in order of importance) There’s our two dogs, Viathar and Kip. There’s Ely and I in front of our new home, and there’s a picture of me and one of my girls. Her name is Pheak. I don’t have favorites – If you asked me to choose just one girl to take somewhere it would be a very difficult decision; that said, Pheak is very special and I love her very much, and very much enjoy spending time with her.

May you all have a blessed Sabbath.

Thank you for keeping us in your prayers and thoughts. Please pray for the camp-meeting, and for the IMET course that will begin in March or April, and also for the One month medical missionary training in Khmer program that will also be started here at WPY. Once again I must exhort you to listen to God’s voice and if He is calling you to a life of service, to say, “Here am I, Lord, send me!” You’ll never regret it!

“I will answer thee, that God is greater than man!” ~ Job 33:12 ~