I'm sure that you have gathered from my lack of entries that the internet connection was sketchy the last few days of my trip. So now I write from the comfort of my own home as I try to process the past few days. My first thoughts are of thanks. Today, I am especially thankful for my coffee that I don't have to chew. I can get on the internet without any trouble. I can stick my toothbrush under the running water in the sink. I can take a hot shower and the electicity will probably remain on. I can throw my toilet paper into the toilet, not the trash can next to it. I can drive on a smooth paved road and not worry about people weaving in and out around me in all directions. I can easily talk to the cashier at Meijer, there is no language barrier and I don't have to calculate the total into Riel. I can sleep without wondering if there is a spider or some other insect in my room. All of these inconveniences definately create memories. And for me, they are good ones. I never mind the differences in the culture when I am in the midst of it. It is worth in order to connect with the people who stole my heart in January.
As I reflect on the short moments that I spent with them, I hope I was able to reveal to them how proud of them I was. They have made such strides in confidence and skill in such a short time. I hope they sensed how much I care for them. I wanted them to know that they are changing lives in Cambodia as much as we are in the States. I feel incredibly blessed that God has allowed my path to cross with theirs. I don't think anyone can ever fully understand my thoughts, but I hope you have gathered a glimpse of why I have chosen to spend the majority of my time pouring into such an amazing ministry. Luke 12:34 states "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
As I reflect on Wednesday, it once again seems like a blur! I try to think about what my most imactful moment was to share, and I have a hard time choosing. I think about the group and what I think is touching their hearts the most and I realize that everyone's "moments" are different!
After breakfast we went to one of the community schools. We met with the headmaster and brought school supplies for the teachers. As we are sitting around this table, they provide us with bottled water and noticed that we were all sweating so bad, so they started scrambling around for fans. They were bending over backwards for us. A gal named Sally in our group asks amazing questions, so she starting inquiring details about the school, the teachers, the students. You could tell that she was enjoying the "moment". In the mean time, I am still processing the fact that they have so little at this school, yet they broke out 10 water bottles for us. I knew they needed that water more than I did, but you better believe that I drank it(yes, it was safe water) It is hard to be on the reciving end of things sometimes, but I was not about to rob them of this "moment".
We then took one of the students who has just recently been placed in Theary's orphanage back to her home so we could meet her family. She wants to go school, but her family cannot afford it and they need her to work to help provide for the family. They had heard about Theary's orphanage and asked for help. The young girl is now in school with hopes for a future. As we drove toward her home, I saw her eyes light up as she sotted her house in the distance. She waved to her friends along the road that she is now distanced from, but she also had this joy in her eyes. We arrived and greeted her parents. She didn't appear to be sad. She was proud and excited for this opportunity! I felt so blessed to be able to share her "moment"!
Another gal in our group is a photographer. She is married but does not have any children and she had shared with me that in the past kids have made her uncomfotable at times. She just doesn't know what to do with them.Well, because she is here with me, we have an entire day that is mainly focused on the school and the orphange, so unfortunately she was going to be surrounded with kids all day. Of course, at the beginning of the day, one of the small kids grabbed her hands and wanted her to run down the path with her. Aimee let her guard down and went with the flow and I could just see in her smile that she was enjoying her "moment".
Moments are what revive me and give me such incredible joy! It has been great to remove myself from MY life for a week to remember to enjoy "moments" both here and when I get back home!
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
It's only Monday?? One word has described our trip...Busy! When you face the reality that this may be the only time that someone may be in , you want them to see and experience as much as possible, so we have been given a very full itinerary .I suppose that is why I feel like I have been here for a month! (Not that I mind that!) But...I do apologize that you haven't had too many glimpses of my journey thus far. I had so many people request that I keep up on our blog so I will try to bring you up to date.
We just left Battambang, Cambodia. It is the home of the Green Mango Cafe. When Jeremy and I were there in January, the restaurant was still under construction. The girls who had been chosen to be in the program "practiced" their waitressing skills on us as we were their very first customers. The Green Mango was where I first connected and fell in love with the girls. Jeremy and I now sponsor some of them in the culinary program there, so when I stepped foot in there yesterday, it was not a surprise that I lost total control of my emotions! The place was amazing! The restaurant looked fabulous. The girls had grown so much in their skills and seemed so confident. I was told a couple of them are thinking of being baptized! I was so proud of the strides they had made. I have said many prayers for them and Ryana(the 24 year old gal from Tennessee who serves as the live-in chef at the Green Mango)! I am so thankful for The work that CGI is doing in this country and I am feeling incredibly blessed to have an opportunity to be back here!
Friday, November 2, 2012
Home Sweet Home
It is hard to believe that it was only less than a year ago that I was in this country! When I stepped off that airplane it sure did not fell like I had only been here once! Cambodia has stolen my heart. My heart is broken for these people and this country. My senses were immediately drawn back to the sights and smells that have been forever engraved into my soul. To some degree, I felt like I was back home.
We are currently at the Encore Angkor Guesthouse in Siem Reap, Cambodia. I have only seen the beautiful entry and my room. I am watching the staff work so hard to make sure that we are well taken care of and have a nice breakfast before we start our day. After living on an airplane for 24 hours, I am perfectly content to just sit in this entry and take it all in. The owner of the guesthouse has a special intrest in lilies, so I'm sure you can imagine how beautiful it smells.
Today we will do all of our "tourist" activities as we visit the ancient temples of Angkor Wat and then take a small boat to a river market. Even though I am not a history buff, I enjoy seeing how Cambodia's past has affected these people so much. I am thankful that HIS mercies are new every morning and that he has given us all a chance at a fresh start!
I am using these next 10 days to focus on reenergizing and refueling my soul...a fresh start:-) I don't think it's going to take much, for I know that I was given this soft spot for Cambodia for so many reasons. So, I hope you enjoy the special glimpse of my thoughts and heart that you will experience as you follow along this week!