another sweet day in cambodia

I’ve got more time this a.m. And more battery. And I think I’m feeling better (had sharp stomach pains that would come and go all day yesterday). That means lots and lots of words. Hee hee.

Gabe and I had a little debriefing chat before bed last night. He asked me how I thought Cambodia was going. I said good. I said I thought I had gotten over my emotional hump of we’re losers, we can’t do anything right, we’re so dependent on others, when are we ever going to start being able to be a blessing, blah, blah, blah. I was feeling pretty good about all that we were seeing/doing/learning, the wonderful people we’ve gotten to meet, the relationships we’re developing more deeply.

He said he didn’t feel like we were using our gifting as much as we could (him–photography/design/teaching, me–writing), and I reminded him that much of what we’re doing here is just gathering. Our “mission” in Cambodia won’t end when we leave. Thanks to God and his gift of the internet, we can continue to share and share and learn and do and write and grow long after these five weeks are over.

Am I making any sense?

We can also use our gifts to raise money for the ministries we’ve fallen in love with over here. Gabe can sell canvas prints of his beautiful photography of Cambodia. We can write a photo book together. I can write a book/e-book about Cambodia/human trafficking/what you can do to help.

So many opportunities.


Yesterday we went with the staff and boys from Punlok Thmey to Monkey Business, a very Western establishment of fun on the second floor of a shopping mall. None of them had ever been, and oh my word, the fun. Again, I can’t show pics of their sweet, excited faces, but I have a couple of some staff friends to give you an idea.

This is Borey (sorry, friend, I don’t know how to spell your name). He’s being pelted in the face with plastic balls. The staff were all such good sports while being attacked by mobs of children.

And Steph, the Awesome. I think Steph might have had even more fun than the boys. She was eating it up. I so wanted to join her in her craziness, but I kept getting hit by waves of stomach cramps and had to sit down fairly often with my eye on the restroom. Boo. Oh well. It was fun to watch.

This is Veasna, Panha, and their dad (they also have two younger brothers). Oh, goodness. This family has a story. I’ll talk to Panha and see when/how much of it I can share. Suffice it to say that these two young men of God have been an amazing influence on their family, their city, and their country. God has done an incredible work in their hearts and lives, and they have completely surrendered themselves to him. It’s unreal.

The next three pics are from the orphanage last night, and the unplanned theme is apparently “Gabe.” Kids here just adore him. He’s like a living, breathing jungle gym. Thankfully, for him, in three hours, we’ll have three more jungle gyms joining us (Scot, Garrett, Nathan) to share the load.

I love this picture of Gabe and some of the older boys. He’s taken the time to chat with each one of them individually, to find out what they like to do, and what plans they have for the future. And they all have some pretty big plans. It’s exciting. This is (left to right) Phalla, Sophan, Sothourn, Seyha. Love these guys.

And this is Gabe’s studious English class. He’s done a great job with them and takes his teaching very seriously (with lots of jokes and laughs thrown in). I’m having trouble corralling my little group of small fries and getting them excited to learn, but Gabe’s class is going to go places. No, really, my class is good too. Even 2-year-old Eden is practicing his English.

After the orphanage, we ate dinner at our new friend Becki’s house. Her story is an awesome one too. She and her two teammates met in China (where Becki taught for seven years) and now they’re in Cambodia together working for Agape International Mission (much more on Agape later too) with our friend Jen. And I would love to link to all their blogs and such, but Pu Sovanna will be here in 20 minutes to pick us up in the tuk-tuk and take us to the Boys’ Center. And I’m not dressed or nothin’.

We’re hanging out at playtime at the Boys’ Center from 9:30-10:30, then heading to the airport!! And picking up our friends Keri, Scott, Garrett, and Nathan to spend 10 days together!! (and no, we’ve never met in real life, but we love each other already!)

Let me know if you have any questions about Cambodia or anything going on here. Most of my posts have just been we did this, then this, then this… And I can address other issues/questions as I have time or when we get home.

Happy Wednesday to us and Tuesday to you!

9 thoughts on “another sweet day in cambodia

  1. Claudia Porpiglia

    You hit the nail on the head…No matter what we set out to do, we rarely do as much as we could in the moment. Part of the problem is that we don’t see all that God sees so there is often more being “accomplished” than we recognize. The second part of the problem is that we are just easily side-tracked…by distractions, expectations, things we think we didn’t do right, etc. You are having a tremendous impact right now and I know that you will continue to have an impact in the future!!!

    Praise God for the Taviano family!!!

  2. Holly B.

    Totally agree with you about using your gifts long-term. The best gift you can give short-term is whatever the missionaries/staff/kids need you to do (loving the kiddos, teaching, playing, etc.). Sounds like you’re all over that! Great perspective about continuing the mission from home. Hugs and prayers, friend!

  3. Cindy

    So great to see Gabe and the kids. Remembering how concerned they were for “Daddy Gabe” when they knew he was in the hospital and how everyone prayed right then and there for him and your family. Can only imagine how overjoyed they have been to have him there in the flesh to play jungle gym on. Praying for your eyes and ears as you take the days all in and ponder them in your heart.

  4. Elizabeth

    These Cambodia posts are so special and they tell such a beautiful story. Your girls will have these memories for the rest of their lives, with a virtual scrapbook anytime! The pictures are amazing!

  5. Ruth

    I am loving the updates! Thank you for sharing the joy with us! I’ll keep praying! Remember, God uses you in ways you’ll never know & cannot always see. 🙂

  6. Nancy

    I’m so enjoying taking this virtual trip with you! Thanks for being such a faithful blogger. Hey, it might be partly my fault that you’re not “being a blessing, blah, blah, blah”…my prayer focus yesterday was that God would pour into you while you were there. That you wouldn’t be there only to bless others, but that he’d teach you some amazing things. But I know you’re making a difference, too. Just being there lets people know you care. And sometimes that alone can mean the world to someone who needs it. Stay well!

  7. Sharon

    Thanks for the faithful updates, Marla! It is so fun to see and hear what you all have been up to. Keeping you all in prayer daily!

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