Our family is no stranger to compliments. (“Wow, you guys are amazing.” “You’ve given up so much.” “I love the way you love people.”) Oh, sure, we get our share of negativity (“You people are nut jobs.” etc etc), but, for the most part, we are the recipients of lots and lots of verbal (& written) love.
We don’t have the words for how thankful we are for that. And, I’ll be honest (and not falsely-humble) and say that it doesn’t really go to our heads much. Why? Because, no matter how much we love or give or “sacrifice” or whatever, it doesn’t much feel like that’s what we’re doing.
Everywhere we go, we get out-given, out-sacrificed, out-helped, out-loved.
During the days when Gabe was struggling most, we got taken care of. When we moved to Abbey Lane to love our neighbors, they loved us more. And Cambodia is no different.
In fact, we feel it most strongly here. We’re pretty helpless, clueless. We can do a big fat nothing on our own.
But no worries. Soooooo many people have our backs.
My facebook message inbox is flooded with lunch and dinner invitations (here in Cambodia) from old and haven’t-yet-met friends alike. People have offered to show us around town and help us find a place to live. They’ve given us tips for this and that and taught us important words. They’ve answered all the questions we’re asking and all the ones we haven’t thought of yet.
We actually have to turn down offers of help because there are too many of them.
I mean, what in the world??
It started with our beautiful reception at the airport, then everybody accompanying us to our guesthouse. We found out in the Seoul airport that the guesthouse was under new management (for the past few months, we thought our old friends still ran it), and I worried for a hot second that this was going to stink. It doesn’t. We get a free beautiful breakfast each morning (last time we ate sleeves of Chips Ahoy from the corner store most mornings). The guesthouse is packed full, and we’ve already met Elizabeth & Cathleen & Dave and gotten to hear their stories.
Savong and Pisey (the house parents at our Asia’s Hope home) surprised us with a visit yesterday, and they’re going to pick us up today to take us to Prek Eng to hang out with all the kiddos (it’s a holiday–Victory Day–today in Cambodia).
Our friends Derek and Pam treated us to an amazing western lunch (Brooklyn Pizza) yesterday, and we got to meet their daughter Emily (she flies back to Oregon today). We’ve been facebook friends for awhile, and they’ve been suuuuuuuper helpful and wonderful, making lists of things to do and think about.
Our friend Yvonne (you should totally read the blog post she just wrote) is amazing, answering our questions, making phone calls in Khmer for us. She set us up with cell phone cards (hello, $10/month for a cell phone plan) and tells us about her favorite places to eat and gives us the inside scoop on just about everything.
Our friend Alli (Director of The Hard Places Community I’ve talked so much about) invited us over to her house yesterday and shared her amazing life story and told us about some ways she can see our gifts & callings fitting with the work God is doing at HPC. Our girls fell in love with her beautiful kiddos (ages 5, 5, 1, and 0–their adoption/life stories are beyond amazing).
Alli told us she highly (highly highly) recommends that we do some intense Khmer learning before we start any ministry work. If she had it to do all over again, that’s what she’d do. She told us about a new school called G2K (Gateway to Khmer) where you learn Khmer for 15 hours a week for 5 weeks. Her friend runs the school. And it “just so happens” that we had been shopping in the Russian Market earlier yesterday and an older couple struck up a conversation with our friend Britt (she and Pam are here with us for 2 weeks). The couple is in Cambodia visiting their daughter who started a school called G2K to teach Khmer to missionaries.
It is NUTSO how many things are happening like this. Crazy not-coincidences everywhere we turn.
Our new friends Ryan and Melissa told us about the street they live on. It’s Khmer-style housing (all the houses have lots of floors and pretty much all touch each other–I’ll post a pic soon) with lots of kiddos, and we’re going to check it out to see if it’s a good fit for us. Every once in awhile, it hits me: we’re homeless. And I panic for a minute about finding a place to live by next Friday. But God’s got it. And I’m mostly just really excited to see what he works out and who he plops us in the middle of. If we’re lucky, they’ll be half as awesome as our friends and neighbors at Abbey Lane.
I’ve probably already left people out. And we’ve been in Cambodia a grand total of TWO DAYS. Two days.
Yesterday morning I woke up more than a little overwhelmed. I started a blog post titled “breathe in. breathe out.” and I only wrote one sentence because I couldn’t write anymore.
Today I woke up (before 6am) filled to the brim with thankfulness and spent a long time just thanking God over and over and over for loving us so much. And for sending people to us here to love us so much.
And for all the wonderful, beautiful people back in the States who love us so much (and take the time to tell us). This is such a gift. You all are such a gift.
For the record, we are not some amazing family of super heroes. We are just one ordinary, humble family scrambling to make the tiniest dent in paying back all the love God & others have lavished on us.
And, every single day, our debt grows greater.