s-c-r-a-b-b-l-e fun in c-a-m-b-o-d-i-a

Our suitcases were already packed on the night of July 6th when an idea hit me. I ran downstairs, found an old magnet board of Nina’s, grabbed my newest bag of Scrabble tiles (most of the other bags are missing important letters like H and M), pulled a pack of adhesive magnets and a pair of scissors out of a drawer and shoved it all in my suitcase.


We only had a couple days left in Cambodia when I laid out all my supplies on our bed in the guest house, cut the magnets into little squares and put them on the backs of the tiles. Then I made sure I could spell each of the kids’ names. Except I couldn’t. Because you can’t spell Sopheak and Kimhou without a K.  But never fear. Nothing a blank tile and a black sharpie couldn’t fix.

On our very last night at the orphanage, I pulled the board and letters out of my backpack while I was sitting on the steps with Longdich and Sophy. We started playing around with it, and then little by little, other kids trickled over to join in the fun. We giggled and hugged and spelled things and took pictures and giggled some more. They sat on my lap or scootched as close to me as they could get. I loved every second of it.

The combination of watching those little darlings play with SCRABBLE LETTERS and knowing that we had about 30 minutes left before we had to say good-bye for a LONG, LONG TIME was enough to make me bawl. But I held in the tears and let out the laughs.

And I’ll cherish these pictures for always.

Sophy taking a turn with the Scrabble board.

She wanted to spell Tammy (our pastor’s wife), someone who made a big impact on her when she came to Cambodia with Team One.

Sweet little Senghong.

Srey Lin gets in on the action.

And beautiful little Srey Roth who insisted there’s no Y in her name. Works for me. It can be complicated writing their names in English, because the translation isn’t very precise. They don’t use our alphabet, so we’re basically making up the spellings of their names.

Sophann wanted to show me that he remembered how to spell his “little sisters'” names. He tried to spell “Gabe” and “Marla” too, but there are only so many A’s in a Scrabble game, and our greedy little family needs seven.

Something about this picture just grabs me.

Be still my heart.

And Marla love Longdich too! So, so much, you beautiful girl!

Not sure how much more my heart can take.

I left the board and letters at the orphanage for the kiddos to have their way with. There are no guarantees that any of the pieces are even left a week later. Stuff just doesn’t last long when you’ve got 20+ kids in your family. But I don’t care. Those precious minutes of joy we got to share was so worth it. And I’ll just bring a new board and letters next time I go.

I’m thinking September is good.

14 thoughts on “s-c-r-a-b-b-l-e fun in c-a-m-b-o-d-i-a

  1. Kelli

    I loved this so much because you brought a HUGE piece of who you are to those kids! I love your heart Marla and I love your love of words.

  2. Kaye

    Oh my, how absoultely beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing.
    But one thing is for sure…we’ve GOT to get you more K’s in your life:)
    Blessings today and always,
    Matthew 21:22

  3. Ali

    Brilliant, Marla. What a special memory you created with those precious children. Thank you so much for sharing. Now stop making me flippin’ cry every time I open up your dang blog!

  4. Holly B.

    L-O-V-E-D seeing this pictures, friend! How cool to see you sharing yourself with these precious kiddos!

  5. Elizabeth

    I will never look at Scrabble letters the same way! This was so cool, and I love the pictures.

    Btw, I cleaned off the front of our fridge a few months ago, and the Scrabble letters you brought us are one of only 3 things I left up there. They’re so special to me. So are you!

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