Another journey to Cambodia dawns on June 1st, earlier and longer than usual. This marks my 14th and Mike’s 18th trip, but this is a first for leaving home at 2 AM with a planned overnight stay en route. Three of our trips have involved overnight stays (LA, NY, and Korea), but those were all unplanned and due to missed connections. We are always price-conscious when shopping for flights, but with a Tusculum College student in tow, we were even more focused on finding the cheapest itinerary – United Airlines with a 20-hour layover in Japan. We had exceptionally good service on all of our flights, and the last leg was in the most modern plane we have ever flown with bidets in the bathrooms and glass windows that change tinting with the push of a button.
Our team of ten is traveling on five itineraries arriving over several days, and all but two are Cambodia veterans: Mike and Trish H; Emma H. (Tusculum student); Scott, Jeanne, Jordan, and Mackenzie H; Dave D; and Shirley and Julie D.
We are thrilled to have the support of my new College in leading students to Cambodia and are thankful for Emma’s determination to go. She is an elementary education student who just completed her freshman year and before this trip had never been on an airplane. If her goal was to get lots of flight experience in one trip, this was the one.
The three of us, Emma, Mike and I, left our home in Tennessee at 2 for a 6 am flight out of Knoxville bound for Newark. From there we flew to Narita Japan. We arrived early afternoon, checked into a nearby hotel, took the 1 1/2 hour bus ride into Tokyo for dinner, and enjoyed seeing a bit of the city. Things I didn’t know before this trip: Japanese drive on the left side of the road, they value uniformity in appearance (clothing stores are a sea of white, gray and black), and less and less are opting for marriage and family.
We had a good night’s rest and were back on the shuttle to the airport at 8 am. We arrived in Phnom. Penh mid afternoon June 3rd. We have accumulated a few Cambodian cell phones and for $18 are able to get two phones up and running with enough credit to last the whole trip. With working phones, we were able to call some of the dorm kids (Sophat and Vireak) to meet us for dinner to catch up. The three of us are tired, but Emma’s struggling mightily and dozes oﬀ throughout dinner.
We are greeted at the hotel in the morning by house parents Ravy and Rey, along with five Asia’s Hope university students who will join us on a trip to Siem Reap. At Tusculum, I had advertised that the trip included a visit to Angkor Wat, and even though we only have one student, we need to follow through. We figured it would be more fun for her to have some university students along, so we booked some extra rooms, reserved a van, and headed out with a group of 10 (plus a driver). This is Election Day here, so most of the group voted early, as evidenced by a black index finger. Cambodia has a rudimentary yet eﬀective means of ensuring that each person votes only once. After you vote, you dip your index finger in a pot of ink, and it takes about 2 weeks to wear oﬀ. There is no early voting or absentee ballots. The election is for the village chiefs, a prelude to next year’s major election for prime minister. The current prime minister vows that he will not lose next year, and that if he is not re-elected, there will be a civil war. Early results of today’s election show a slight majority supporting the prime minister’s party, but whether it’s by choice or fear, nobody knows.
We have an uneventful 6 hour trip to Siem Reap, check into the hotel, then visit the market and a restaurant that serves both Khmer and French food. After dinner we visit the famous Night Market where lots of people are getting henna ‘tattoos’, enjoying pedicures by fish that eat the dead skin oﬀ your feet, shopping, eating at open-air restaurants, and buying ice cream rolls (Cambodia version of marble slab ice cream).
We start the morning with a lovely breakfast at the hotel, then we are oﬀ to Ta Prom (the temple where Lara Croft, Tomb Raider, was filmed). Many sections of the temple complex are blocked oﬀ as stone masons work to restore major portions of the structure. The stonework is nearly 1,000 years old, so it’s pretty amazing it has lasted this long. Our next stop is Angkor Wat, a much more impressive and famous structure than To Prom, but also much hotter with no trees to provide a break from the sun. After about 4 hours of walking, climbing, and taking photos, we are ready for lunch and some air conditioning.
One of the best parts of this little excursion has been talking to the kids to hear about their progress and plans. We are inspired by the strength of their faith and how much they seek God’s guidance for their future plans. We are also encouraged to see the fruit of Bunsam’s work (dorm leader) and to hear from the kids how much his passion and discipling are impacting them.
The 6-hour van ride seemed a bit longer on the way back. We are glad to be settled back in to DoubleLeaf Hotel for a few days. Thanks to all of you who are praying for our team and for all the Cambodians whose lives will intersect with ours during this trip.
With love from the team,
We get an early start this morning to meet up at Heng Lay Studios with some lovelies from the PE4 and PE5 homes. Team member Shirley arrived late last night and we are happy to catch up with her over breakfast. Over the years we have taken each of the girls to the photo studio for the cultural experience of having professional portraits done, and because we haven’t gone in a couple of years, there are now 8 girls from the two homes who are 13 or older and have not gone before. It’s quite an experience that starts with full makeup (including false eyelashes), fancy hairdos, and being dressed and adorned in Cambodian style from a selection of about 50 very fancy tops with coordinating folded and pinned traditional skirts. The process takes about 2 1/2 hours, and the end result will be 3 8×10 photos for each girl. The shop also does wedding planning and rental of wedding attire. The owner talks to one of the house moms about hiring some of the kids to learn hair, makeup, and photo editing – a possible option for some kids who do not opt for the university.
After the morning fun we head to the Aeon Mall to choose a movie for tomorrow night and reserve 57 seats. The cinema here is ultra modern with both 3D and 4D (3D + moving seats and special eﬀects such as wind, mist, bubbles, etc) options. We choose Wonder Woman, hopefully safe with a G rating, and in 3D. The one western restaurant we visited in the mall before is closed and all options are eastern. We end up with ‘flat rice’ dinners, some chicken and some beef. Emma has been ordering seafood for most lunches and dinners and today is no exception with fried squid.
We enjoy exploring the produce section of the market in the mall with some budget items (dragon fruit $0.25/100 ml) and some really expensive blueberries ($6.50 a half pint) and fancy apples ($3.50 each).
Today is our last relatively quiet day since only four of 10 team members have arrived. Dave comes in late tonight, and the remaining five will be here by lunch tomorrow. We invite midwife friend Bora for dinner and wrap up our night early.
Breakfast this morning finds Dave safely here and ready to get to work. We use the time to meet with Pastor Narin and Bunsam, the dorm leader, to make plans for our time with the dorm kids. Bunsam explains their new 3-step evangelism model: outreach, recall, and 1:1. It starts with a fun outreach event at the dorm that usually involves games and dinner and includes a personal testimony. Students invite their friends, knowing that it is a low-pressure environment. Those friends who indicate on a visitor’s card that they want to know more or say that they have prayed to receive Christ are invite again to a smaller ‘Recall’ event that is an informal opportunity for fellowship and Q&A. It allows students who have heard something of Christianity but don’t understand what it’s about to ask questions. The third step involves one on one follow up. Their goal is to work through all three steps every month, and their dedication is bearing fruit. Sunday morning worship includes over 100 people, most of whom are university students! The dorm houses 37 students, with plans to add another 25 this next year. Most of the current students are from Asia’s Hope, and 10 of the new ones to be added with also be from Asia’s Hope. The dorm has provided a safe place for the kids to live as they pursue a university education, and the discipleship they receive supports their transition into adult life.
The time between breakfast and lunch is used to welcome remaining team members and fetch one of them from the airport. The bag count comes up one short – not too bad considering the size of the team and the total number of bags involved.
Lunch is a rare opportunity to have individual time with Asia’s Hope Cambodia director Savorn Ou and wife Sony. They are excited to welcome 40 new kids into the Asia’s Hope family in the last month with the completion of BB12 and BB13 homes in Battambang. UNICEF continues to fight to end orphanages in Cambodia in favor of keeping children in their home villages. In a ideal and completely honest world, it might be a good plan, but given the myriad layers of bureaucracy and corruption involved, the result would not be good care for the children. Asia’s Hope has found favor with the government, and has been allowed to continue to expand. Savorn believes that is largely due to the organization’s success stories and the fact that all Asia’s Hope Cambodia staﬀ are Cambodians.
We leave the hotel at 3:30 to head to our rendezvous with the PE4 and PE5 Asia’s Hope homes for dinner and a movie. Burger King is right outside the theatre and they do a great job of serving everyone quickly with tasty burgers. It’s pretty amazing that we can run 57 people through the checkout, have everyone place their own order, and everybody ends up getting what they ordered.
The movie Wonder Woman is fun, but we’re all shocked at what passes for a G rating here. The movie’s messages will provide some good opportunities for discussing good vs. evil and how the world’s version of ‘good’ is not the same as God’s – good possibilities for continuing the conversation with the kids during our retreat this weekend.
The best part of the evening is just getting to spend time with all of the kids – it’s hard to converse because the mall is really loud (the theatre and Burger King are next to the video arcade), but the team is great at giving hugs, sharing smiles, and enjoying being with the kids. All of the university students were able to join us too, arriving after class on their mottos.
Thank you to those who continue to pray for the team, our health and safety, and our work here. Please ask God to give us open eyes, open ears, and teachable spirits. Please also pray for our family members back home, some of whom are facing some pretty big challenges.
All for now….with love to all of you.
Trish, on behalf of the team
Today dawns hot and humid. After breakfast downstairs at the hotel, we enjoy some time of worship, devotions, and prayer in one of the rooms. It’s a great opportunity for team members to reflect on why we are here, discuss our challenges, and brainstorm how to make the best use of our time. We know that we are here for only a little while, but we also know that the repeated visits of team members communicate to these kids that they are valued and valuable.
It’s always hard to hear about the kids who used to be part of Asia’s Hope who have left for various reasons (some of their own choice, and some because relatives choose to take them back to their home village). However, we balance that against the stories we hear about those same kids who after traveling the wrong road for a while are now on a positive course. One in particular from PE4 is now married, expecting his first child, and working full time in a Christian church doing children’s ministry. God promises that His Word will not return empty (Isaiah 55:11) and that children who are trained in the way they should go won’t depart from that way when they are older (Proverbs 22:6). We are encouraged to hear these stories about how Asia’s Hope is changing children’s lives, even the children who leave.
Today’s big event is with the Prek Eng (a village on the outskirts of Phnom Penh) home #5 (PE5). Right now they have 18 kids, some who have been there since the home was opened, and some who have arrived in the last year. Little Raksmey is still scrawny, but when we were here in December, he had only been at PE5 for about 2 weeks, was painfully thin and suﬀered from unexplained fevers. He is now much more active and friendly. Sreyly (pictured left with Julie) is a very sweet girl with an endearing smile who also joined the home at the end of 2016. She and her brother Bunty are adjusting well and enjoying interacting with the team.
We met up with the kids at Central Market for our bi-annual shopping adventure where each child can choose one item up to $10. Most know exactly what they want before they arrive. The men on the team take the boys to the right side of the market for all the boy/man stuﬀ, and we girls head left into girl territory where we negotiate for four purses and lots of pairs of skinny jeans. The women (house mom, cook, and helper) are the last to find something and wrestle the most with their decision about what to choose.
We re-gather after everyone is done and take the short walk to the Sorya Mall. The 6-story mall has been around for a while, but seemed to have dwindled in popularity with the opening of the uber-modern Aeon Mall a couple of years ago. They are now remodeling the whole thing, and most of the building is vacant. We take the escalators all the way to the sixth floor (it gets a couple of degrees hotter with each floor) and go to Master Grill for dinner. It’s basically fast food chicken either grilled, fried, or on a bun, with fries and cole slaw. They are so not prepared to deal with a large group – the whole time we are there we don’t see any other customers, which is probably a good thing since it takes about an hour for them to fill all of our orders. We decide to warn the manager that we’ll be back again tomorrow – hopefully they will be ready!
One of the perks of eating at Master Grill instead of our usual Pizza Company is that there is a video arcade just outside the doors on the same floor. We get 10 tokens ($1) for each kid, which gives lots of opportunities for playing games since all games require only one token. It’s loud and hot inside, but still a lot of fun. We finish up early enough for some of the team to visit Alchemy, a trendy new restaurant across the street from the hotel.
Today dawns even hotter and more humid than yesterday. We enjoy another great breakfast together at the hotel followed by team devotions and planning for the retreat this weekend. We plan to split the kids by gender and age for the Bible study time, but because we have no idea how many kids are in each age group for the six Asia’s Hope homes going on the trip, we have to be pretty flexible in our planning.
After devotions, Dave and Jordan meet up with Bunsam the dorm leader and Scott and Jeanne meet up with the PE5 house parents to shop for the metal wardrobe cabinets Jeanne’s school raised money to purchase. Mike stays in his room to work on his message to the retreat, and a few of us enjoy a steamy visit to the Russian Market for some shopping. There are a few food products from this part of the world that are very, very good, nuts and pepper among them. I go for the cashews, and Julie purchases black, red, white, and yellow peppercorns.
Most of the team gathers for lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant, then we head out for a repeat of yesterday’s activities, but this time with the Prek Eng 4 kids. Shopping involves lots more skinny jeans for the girls, t-shirts, shoes and soccer outfits for the boys, and some lengthy hunting and haggling for the women.
Dinner is at the same place, but they are ready for us! They have pre-printed little papers with all of their meal numbers, and as each child orders, they are given a number to keep at their seat. We are ready too, and have all of the kids’ names on a piece of paper. We write the meal number next to each kid’s name, which also allows us to verify the whole order after all of the kids get through the line. It still takes a while to get everyone’s food, but there is no confusion, no counter full of unclaimed meals, and every kid gets what they ordered to eat. Yippee! We might get this whole thing figured out some day.
After dinner we make another grip to the arcade and have a great time with the games. A popular one is Dance Central where you follow the dance moves on the screen and earn points for how closely your moves match the virtual dance leader (and even the old folks can play!) Another popular option is the plexiglass boxes where you position the hook over your favorite stuﬀed animal, drop the hook, then hope it makes it to the drop bin and into your hands before falling back into the pile. The one that keeps the most kids involved for the longest period of time is a game where you drop your token through a slot where it tumbles down onto a pile of tokens on a moving tray, As the tray fills, it drops tokens onto another tray which eventually fills and drops some tokens into the chute as your ‘prize.’
All in all it was a great day with lots of laughs, hugs, conversation. Tomorrow morning will be an early start for our trip to Kep and a few days on the South China Sea – so that’s all the news for now. Please pray that each child will get something of value from our retreat. The theme is the Name of Jesus with the theme song “What a Beautiful Name” and theme verse of Philippians 2:9-11. The whole team is doing well, adjusting to being 11 hours ahead of US time, and holding up health-wise.
Thank you for your prayers – please continue to keep our team and its work before our Heavenly Father.
With love from all of us,
It’s an early start for our trip to Kep, Cambodia with the kids and staff of all six Prek Eng homes of Asia’s Hope. There are 157 of them, and 10 of us on three buses. They had planned to leave their campus at 6 am to meet us at 7 am in town, but we asked for a 30 minute delay, thinking they would push back their departure time. From our pragmatic perspective, we figured there was no point in rushing since it’s a 2 1/2 hour bus ride and the hotel will not likely let us into our rooms until after lunch. We don’t account for the collective excitement and energy of that many kids. Even though we have done this retreat for 5-6 years, the kids still get so excited they are awake and running around at 3 am. For the house parents, the sooner they can get the kids on the bus, the better. We find out later that 2 of the buses left at 6, but our bus sat and waited 30 minutes to make our 7:30 meeting time. I think we’ll plan on 7:00 next year.
It’s not a busy time of year in this lovely seaside town, so we are able to check in on arrival, and the kids are able to get in a bit of swimming before lunch. Our first planned event is a group Bible study at 1:30. We split the kids into 6 groups by age and gender, and send each group to find their own spot to meet. Mike and I have the youngest boys who enjoy acting out some of Jesus’ healing miracles. Mackenzie and Jeanne have the youngest girls who enjoy a lesson with a craft project.
After the study, the kids have 2 hours of free time for swimming at the hotel pool. It’s huge and since the hotel had a couple of drowning deaths a couple years ago, they have filled in the deep spots so most of the kids can stand in all parts of the pool. For the smaller ones (mostly the PE 6 home), there is a shallow kiddie pool that adjoins the big pool. Their house father Samnang says the kids haven’t been swimming since the retreat last year, so they are having a big time!
After swimming is dinner, with the kids and staﬀ eating at the hotel, and the house parents and team eating at Kimly Restaurant – an open air spot on the ocean. In years past, the kids have eaten a banquet-style meal at the hotel, but we can’t justify the expense and learn that for about half the cost, the cooks can purchase a great spread of cooked seafood (favorites the kids don’t get often) to eat at the outside pavilions. Both groups have a great time!
After dinner we gather in the large meeting room for some singing and a message about the Power of God from Mike. In the middle of the message, the boys from PE4 perform a Bible story skit and, as usual, their performance exceeds expectations. The final event of the night includes the movie Sing for the small kids, a time for discussion and encouragement with the house parents led by team member Dave, and free time for the rest of the kids.
We plan a 7:00 breakfast at the hotel restaurant, but when Mike and I arrive at 7:05, there is no food left. The kids were up early, and settled in to eat breakfast by 6 a.m. The six big silver serving trays on the counter are empty, the platters of bread have only one lonely end piece left, and the fruit platters are also bare. It’s like the aftermath of the Biblical locust plague. Eventually they refill the bread, and the very talented omelet man who has three skillets going at once is able to fill quite a few plates in a hurry.
Breakfast is followed by a time of worship and a message by team member Scott about Jesus as our King. He connects the theme to soccer which gets all of the kids (especially the older boys) involved. Soccer is a big deal here and it is not uncommon for the boys to go to bed early so they can wake up at 1:30 am to watch a soccer tournament on TV.
Within about 10 minutes of the end of our worship time, the kids are dressed and ready for the bus ride to the beach. The ocean is right across the street from the hotel, but most of this village has a sea wall, and the beach is about a mile away. Most of the kids swim, some stay on the beach for a game of soccer, and some just enjoy hunting for shells and enjoying the scenery. After about an hour, the kids start walking back in small groups to the hotel pool for their last swim.
In all, it was a great weekend with no injuries and lots of fun/active time with the kids. Each of us is able to make a special connection with one or more kids, have some deep conversations about life choices and faith matters, and continue to build relationships.
Our post-retreat team discussion includes a conversation about what to change for next year. We feel compelled to have a ‘program’ for the retreat, but realize that for the kids and house parents, this time away is really needed as a break from the routine. The older kids go to school all day and have tutoring up to four nights a week. Those who go to school and hold part-time jobs leave home very early six days a week and don’t get home until early evening. For the house parents, the stress of daily living takes a toll, and this time away needs to be refreshing. We will likely do less programming next year, keep the two worship services, maybe plan more crafts, but allow for even more free time.
It’s amazing that when it’s time to check out of the hotel, all 42 room keys have been returned to the front desk and everyone is cleared out of their rooms and waiting for the bus on time. Our team members know what a struggle it is for us to get anywhere on time at home, and we marvel at the eﬃciency of the house parents who get everywhere ahead of schedule with 20+ kids in tow. Team member Dave went back to Phnom Penh with the kids, but the rest of us are oﬀ to the Veranda EcoResort for some R&R. Dave is planning to teach some science lessons at the Prek Eng elementary school early in the week so he opted out of staying in Kep. For the next couple of days we are going to relax, refuel, and get ready for our final days in Cambodia. We will return to the city on Tuesday and have activities planned with the dorm and Asia’s Hope Tuesday night through Friday afternoon; Mike, Emma, Shirley, and I all leave Friday night.
Overall, the team is in good shape. Please pray for safe travel back to Phnom Penh, for continued good health, and for us to be used by God in our last days here.
With love on behalf of the team,
The team spends a restful two days at Veranda Eco Resort, a densely vegetated hotel that feels like living in the Swiss Family Robinson house. Five team members rent motorbikes for $6/day and explore the area while the rest of us relax at the hotel. We have a great evening of fellowship and fun, playing cards in an outdoor seating area with a few too many gecko friends, and watching the sun set over the ocean. Two days later we are rested and ready to return to the hustle-bustle of the city!
Shortly after our arrival back in Phnom Penh most of the team walks over to the dorm for a short time of fellowship with the students. In the meantime, I’m oﬀ to the pharmacy with midwife Bora to
shop for this week’s medical clinic. The team and the dorm students all meet up at Pizza Company for a fun time of conversation, lots of hot-dog-crust-pizza (little wieners embedded in the outer crust, like pizza surrounded by pigs-in-a-blanket), and an exciting televised soccer match between the Cambodia national team and some other country. I’m not a big hot dog eater, but Cambodian hot dogs are ruined for me since some of the kids told me that some Cambodian hot dog are made with cat, and some with rat. It may not even be true, but it’s believable enough.
Today is our first day to travel to Prek Eng to spend time with the kids at their home. We have learned that if we arrive at the Asia’s Hope campus and spend time with only one home, the kids at the other home feel left out, so we spend about an hour at PE 4 before walking over to PE 5 to spend the remainder of the evening. Some team members raised money for ‘whatever is needed’ and 42 dump truck loads of fill dirt now adorn the campus. Until now, there was a large ditch running through the middle of campus between the school and the play area that cut down on usable land and was a magnet for soccer balls, volleyballs, and small children. When the project is complete, it will be one large, level space that will be safer and give the kids much more room to play. It’s exciting to see the tangible diﬀerence being made through someone’s generosity.
Time at PE 5 begins with making four batches of flubber. It’s a crazy, gooey, stretchy, substance with an unlikely recipe. In one bowl, mix 1 1/2 teaspoons of borax with 3/4 cup warm water. In a second bowl, mix 1 cup of white glue with 3/4 cup of warm water and about 8 drops of food coloring (the new neon colors are great for this project). While stirring vigorously, slowly pour the borax mixture into the glue mixture. As you stir, the two watery mixtures create a semi-solid. Pour the finished product into a shallow pan, drain oﬀ the watery part, then knead the rest for a few seconds and it’s done! The kids had a great time playing and experimenting with their flubber creations.
After flubber we enjoy dinner together and then team members do what they do best, interact and build relationships with the kids. It’s like a beautiful orchestra piece that somehow comes oﬀ
perfectly with no conductor. Two team members play guitar and sing with the kids (several of the kids from each home have learned how to play guitar, and they really enjoy learning new techniques and songs), some color, some make woven construction paper placemats, some play with Legos, some make giant tissue paper flowers, and others talk with the kids and the house parents. The kids are creative and engaged, and each team member contributes to the ‘song’; the result is a fabulous evening for everyone.
We spend the morning meeting with dorm leaders to discuss current and future needs, then meet with the team to decide which needs will be our funding priority. Team member Dave is oﬀ to a coﬀee shop to prepare a sermon for Sunday and a teaching on proverbs for the older boys in Prek Eng Sunday afternoon. He really enjoys teaching and has found a niche here sharing his love of science with kids who don’t have much opportunity in school to do hands-on experiments, and connecting with the older boys about their transition to adulthood. After lunch, we are all headed back out to Prek Eng for a repeat of yesterday but in reverse order. We start at PE 5 for a short visit, then head to PE 4 for the evening. PE 5 house mom is sick and in bed with an IV bottle – she’s been dizzy and nauseous, so things are a bit quieter than normal at their house.
The news of flubber has spread over the Prek Eng campus, and after making 4 batches at PE 4, one of the PE4 college students, Vireak, joins me in teaching the PE 6 kids how to make it. He then takes the initiative to go to PE 1, 2, and 3 to make four more batches at each home. There’s flubber everywhere and the kids are loving it! We finish oﬀ the two full gallons of glue before the night is out.
We enjoy a nice dinner of fried chicken, sautéed vegetables, pepper steak, rice, French fries, shrimp, and meatballs, topped oﬀ with a fruit fest. Cambodia has some strange looking delicious tasting fruit that is not readily available in the US. Emma gets her first “I love you” from Sreyly which moves her to tears. It’s another late night with the team arriving back at the hotel around 10:00. We head over to Alchemy for a late night snack and last bit of time together as a team. The Hamilton family of 4 and Julie all head out tomorrow – the Hamiltons to the Asia’s Hope campus in Thailand, and Julie back to the US.
We planned for an early start today, but it starts much earlier than we would have liked. Mike wakes up around 3:00 with lots of burping (nearly constant for about 3 hours). He thinks it’s just indigestion; I think he’s fermenting. This is one of those times I’m not happy to be right. The vomiting starts around 6:00 am and I’m pretty quickly down to the front desk to figure out what to do with Mike given that we are supposed to check out of our room this morning and spend the day in Prek Eng at a medical clinic. We had booked a separate room for later in the day to give us a place to shower, change, and do our final packing, and thankfully, they are able to move us into that room right away. I leave Mike with a Cambodian phone, my number in large print in case he has trouble focusing, a few water bottles, some Pepto pills, and the rest of us leave the hotel just after 7:00 for the clinic.
We have done clinics before with limited staﬀ, but this one is a test of our limits. Emma gets a very quick lesson on how to take vitals as she will be the sole team member for that station, I take up my usual post at blood sugar testing, Shirley helps Bora see patients, Dave heads up the eyeglass station, and Asia’s Hope kids and house parents expertly fill in the gaps, including translation, evangelism, logistics, welcome, and support for all areas. We see a total of 71 patients through the day, and quick calls to Mike confirm that he’s hanging in there.I see two patients with extremely high blood sugar, one over 400 and one 35-year-old woman where the monitor reads out “Hi” instead of a number (first time I have ever seen that reading). The manual says “Hi” means a reading over 600 where normal is usually around 100. I repeat the test to be sure,
and get the same reading. Bora is called in to counsel the woman and urge her to go directly to the hospital. She is angry that we will not treat her, and claims that her blood sugar is only high because she recently ate jack fruit. We do our best to help her understand the urgency of her situation, but we have no way of knowing the end result.
We treat a lot of special people today, but some stand out among the crowd. One in particular is our favorite tuk-tuk driver Long. Our oldest son Jared met Long shortly after he moved to Cambodia. Long speaks little English, but he happily drove Jared up and down the city streets helping him to find a suitable apartment. We have Long’s phone number and have used him almost exclusively for our transportation around the city for over five years. Jared invited him to church in Phnom Penh when he lived here, and our teams have ministered to him over the years. This trip, he is excited to tell team member Dave that he is reading the Bible. He drives us to the clinic in the morning, but shows up as a patient in the afternoon. He tells me he needs “the glass” to read his Bible. This pic is of Long sporting his nice new readers and holding his Khmer Language New Testament Study Bible. What a joy it is to know that one day in heaven we will be able to converse with no language barrier! Long is a precious soul who takes such good care of us every time we come to Cambodia.
We are pleased to finish the clinic and not have to turn anyone away. The left over medication will go to good use next week in another mission clinic that Bora will help lead. It has been a great team eﬀort and we are all exhausted.
Back to the hotel for a shower and our departure. Mike is not great, but good enough to go home. Dave and the Hamiltons will head back in a few days.
What your donations helped to support:
Most of our activities require some sort of funding, and this trip was a true testament to God’s provision through His people. Our thanks to each of you who contributed to make all of what you have read about possible. Special thanks to Saving Sight that supplied all of the eyeglasses for the clinic.