June 12-13, 2017
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.
June 14, 2017
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.
June 15, 2017
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.
June 16, 2017
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.
TRIP WRAP UP
What your donations helped to support:
- Shopping, dinner, and arcade with PE 4 and PE 5 homes.
- Fellowship dinner with dorm students.
- Two outreaches and follow-up recall evangelism events for the dorm.
- Metal wardrobes for PE 5.
- Seven new bicycles for each of PE 4 and PE 5.
- New teaching white board for the dorm.
- New wicker wardrobes for the dorm.
- Three new guitars for the dorm.
- Funds to repair broken showers and toilets in the dorm.
- Funds for the dorm students to rent soccer fields.
- Evangelistic medical clinic in Prek Eng.
- Retreat for 147 Asia’s Hope kids and staﬀ (rooms, meals, transportation).
- Fill dirt for Prek Eng campus.
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.
What we lost….and found:
At some point in the trip we realized that as a team, we had lost and recovered a pretty significant number of personal items. It was such a remarkable observation that we started a list:
- Sunglasses – lost and found twice
- Wallet – with lots of cash – left in the hotel lobby – returned by hotel staﬀ with all cash intact
- Cards – one credit card, one discount card, one gift card – lost by two people
- Journal – left in Kep and returned by taxi to Phnom Penh two days later
- Swimming trunks
- Two room keys
- iPad – left on an airplane and returned by flight attendant
- Dried mangoes – left on the plane and recovered
- Pajamas – left in the room and returned by hotel staﬀ
- Air conditioner remote
- Smart phone – left at Veranda – staﬀ called our van driver 10 minutes after departure so we could return to pick it up
- Phone charger
We are grateful to all of the honest, caring staﬀ who returned our lost items to us!
What we learned about life and each other:
- Emma LOVES seafood and will order the same thing (e.g. Squid) several meals in a row – she’s a brave young lady to take this trip with a group of strangers. Two weeks ago she had never been on an airplane – now she’s a travel veteran
- Mike’s love language is “Words of Defamation” – the more he loves you the more grief you get. He brings energy to the team and is a whiz at learning Cambodian names (dorm students, house parents from other homes, kids from other homes) which gives him a connection with so many
- We all sweat….a LOT!!!
- Scott can take a pretty constant stream of ribbing, mostly from Mike, and is a great kid hugger.
- Jeanne knows what kids love – she always brings along something fun to do, and enjoys deep conversations with the kids
- Scott and Jeanne are always thinking about how best to minister to the kids and staﬀ of Asia’s Hope
- Mackenzie and Jordan are game for whatever comes their way – the older boys love learning new guitar skills from Jordan and the girls enjoy quality time with Mackenzie
- It’s bad news when your biological plumbing and mechanical plumbing are malfunctioning at the same time
- Shirley is a cook magnet – the house cooks and helpers always seek out her company. She also has a knack for connecting with the older girls
- Julie is still a great worship leader – it’s a treat for the team and the kids to sing along with her. She’s all-in on every trip
- Dave’s big family helps him relate well with the house parents – his love of teaching and his desire to mentor young men gives him lots of opportunities for ministry
- I’m getting better at ‘planning with flexibility.’
- We all love the Cambodian people and are excited to see the impact that Christianity is having on the country
- It’s fun to experience Cambodia through the eyes, ears, taste buds, and nose of new team members
Another trip comes to an end. Thank you for following along and for supporting us with your prayers. We thank God for giving us another opportunity to serve Him in Cambodia!
With love on behalf of the team,