What a great question. I’m so glad you asked. (I really am glad. Many of you really have asked, and we’re so thankful for your love & concern.)
If you’re not sure what in the heck I’m talking about, read this post from March 12 where I talked about how we’ve been struggling just a weeeeee little bit.
In the 12 days since then, we’ve cherished every encouraging word, piece of helpful advice, kind prayer, and generous, tangible gift.
YOU PEOPLE ARE MY FAVORITE.
We’ve taken some steps to refresh and renew our bodies and souls, and it REALLY FEELS GOOD.
Last Sunday, we rented a van/driver and drove to Phnom Kulen (Kulen Mountain) with our 3 staff (1 permanent, 2 temporary) for a day of playing in waterfalls, grilling skewers, enjoying God’s creation, playing Uno, and napping in the shade. It. Was. Lovely. Foreigners over age 12 have to pay $20 to enter the National Park, but it was worth every penny.
Each of our girlies has been struggling with her own “stuff.” We’ve had long talks & prayers, discussed plans of action, worked on some Bible study-type things, bought some adult coloring books, etc. It’s not easy being a teen or pre-teen and moving to a new country, then moving to a new city, then preparing to visit your first country all while living in a place where the spiritual warfare is pretty intense. Whew.
Today we treated our staff to pizza for lunch (we do cheap Khmer street food every day, and this was a fun change). Then we recorded videos for a fundraising project and treated ourselves to ice cream when we were done.
We looked online for some t-shirts that are cute and support great causes. A sweet friend gave us each some $ to spend on something that will fill us up (bless her!). We found a couple that are really special. If you know of a site that sells tees and supports a cause you love, let us know!
I’m working on a sequel to this book. I wouldn’t call the work super “relaxing,” but I have a lot to say, and it feels good to start saying it.
We made plans to spend Khmer New Year (the 2nd week in April–the whole country takes the whole week off–biggest holiday of the year) at a family retreat center somewhere a little bit far away. I’ll share details at another time, but the way God worked all this out is nothing short of miraculous. Praying for a super restful time and lots of energy for the last less-than-two months before we head to the States for two months.
I had the honor of being a guest on my favorite podcast: The Simple Show with my friend, Tsh Oxenreider. If you like listening to people’s voices instead of just reading their words, here you go. I share our story, some of our struggles, and the joys of living in Cambodia.
We made a (private) Amazon Wish List where we’re collecting things we might want to get while we’re in America that will help make life easier when we come back to Cambodia. Thanks to so many of you for great suggestions like soap nuts and an aero-press coffee maker.
I mentioned that I had a sweet friend who has an organic soap/candle/etc. business and is giving 10% of her profits to our family’s ministry in Cambodia. She’s doing a big give-away in April (I’ll tell you all about it!) AND she has a place on her site where people can donate a $5 gift card to our fam to help us buy organic stuff for our bathroom & home. Be still my heart.
Today at the store I bought the girls some really expensive ($7.80) organic smoothing sea kelp hair conditioner (their hair gets soooo tangly) that smells like HEAVEN AND SPRING AND SUNSHINE AND HAPPINESS.
Our two younger girls have been skipping meetings and taking more breaks since they’re technically still kids and have been working pretty much full-time the past few months.
Gabe took most of the day off yesterday (he came back to teach his photography class) to photograph the spring equinox at Angkor Wat (and spent the rest of the day there too, since a day pass for foreigners is $20).
I’ve been devouring this book, underlining and margin-writing like nuts. I sooooooooo want to know what life was REALLY like when Jesus walked the earth because I am DONE interpreting the Bible through my Western eyes.
We’ve been chatting more with our friends about Juice Plus & Plexus and researching other get-yourself-healthy stuff too. (If you’re interested in learning more about either of those, let us know, and you could buy under us!)
One friend told us about some possible free counseling for missionaries, and another friend offered to pay for a few counseling sessions with the counselor we know. Now, if I can just convince the other four family members that this is a wonderful idea. (wink)
Our sweet temporary staffers, Chhoengka (male) and Ngov (female), on loan to us from Phnom Penh have been AMAZING. Like seriously. Crazy amazing. Besides helping us run the center, they cook dinner for us almost every night (are you kidding me?!?). They have GENEROUSLY offered to stay an extra week to help us out (all the way through Khmer New Year). And when we get back? HPC Phnom Penh is sending ANOTHER staffer (maybe two!!) to help us for 6 MORE weeks. GLORY.
Doesn’t everything in our lives sound PERFECT??!?!
Well, it’s not quite exactly perfect, but it DOES feel sooooo much better than it did last week. Seriously. We were hurting pretty bad. And we’ve still got some junk, but it feels like the hugest weight has been lifted off our shoulders.
PRAISE YOU, JESUS!!
Here are some things you can be praying for:
—We need to hire another staff member in the next few weeks. Please pray for God to bring just the right person.
–We have a male intern from California coming to live & work with us for the next 4 months (maybe longer). Pray for a good relationship with him and that he finds a way to fit in well with what’s going on here. (It will be tricky to be a foreigner who doesn’t speak the language.)
–We’re each different levels of nervous about our time in the States. Will it be hard? Will we fit in? Will we be ready to come back? Will we have enough time to see everyone? Will we cry a lot? Will anyone understand us? Will we understand them? (etc etc etc) Please pray for peace and the most beautiful time with loved ones.
—Nina has had clogged ears for quite a few weeks. Nothing seems to be helping. Please pray for healing.
–One of our girlies needs special prayer as she’s going through a hard time. God knows who she is and what she needs. I’m so proud of her for fighting so hard.
Thank you, friends, for the way you love us so well from so far away. We can’t even tell you what your support and encouragement means to our hearts.