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Jewel in Cambodia Scarves for Cambodia Journals for the Journey

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Grandmom isn't dead.

If you're looking for a good story, this will be a good post to read!!

Background:: Shortly after Mother's Day, while I was in Cambodia, my grandmom got very ill.  She was taken to the hospital, and her body was filled with infection, her kidneys had failed.  She spent a few days in the intensive care unit, and finally came home a week later.  So the pre-cursor to the story is: Grandmom has been very sick, but is growing stronger and improving.  You should also know that I love my grandmom very much; she is very very dear to me.

So here is the story: Thursday afternoon I was at Pine Lake with Fairmount Camp and I received a text from an unknown number.  The text read something like "Jewel, I'm sorry about your grandmother's passing.  We are out of state.  Please tell your mother & family that you are in our prayers."  LET ME TELL YOU -- A TEXT MESSAGE IS NOT THE RIGHT WAY TO LEARN THAT YOUR GRANDMOM HAS DIED.

I freaked out.  I was standing talking to friends, and I quickly handed my sister my phone and I sat in the grass and started to sob.  Jessie got out her phone to call home, and I texted this mystery person back and said, "I'm sorry I don't know who you are, but I hadn't heard the news yet."

Jessie talked to Mom and asked what they were doing.  Mom said her and Dad were getting ready to leave the house, Jessie asked where and Mom said Lowes.  Jessie thought that wasn't right, so she shared with Mom what we had just learned.  Well Mom wasn't sure what to think, but knew it wasn't true because she had already been at Grandmom's 3 times earlier that day, and Grandmom is fine!

So I texted the person back and told them that it was a very mean joke.  Just a few minutes later, our youth pastor asked me how my day was going.  I chuckled a little with tears still in my eyes, and told him the story.

He said "Wow, I should have told you."  I said, "HA excuse me what?"  Well evidently rumors have spread that our grandmom died.  My grandmom's name is Jane Ache and another woman named Mary Achor just died, and evidently our prayer bulletin was either printed wrong or was read wrong.

Grandmom hasn't been to church since Mother's Day, but she plans to go tomorrow morning.  It should be interesting for those that have believed she died earlier this week.

Needless to say, I'm glad the rumors aren't true!!!

So last week was good!

So last week was good!  I spent a week at my old stomping ground, Fairmount Wesleyan Campgrounds.  I was a counselor for 10 high school girls.  I didn't get enough of "my own space" all week, but I can say that it was worth it when I could lead that "clinger" to Christ and His love on Friday night.  I had never actually led someone through the sinner's prayer, so I was quite terrified but God gave me the words as I first prayed for her, then prayed with her.
The campers arrived Sunday afternoon, and Sunday evening after the rally we had a Luau and dinner on the rec field.  I enjoyed listening to karaoke, and had a great conversation with New Zealand missionary Josh Bowlin, and 2 youth pastosr - Jeff and Tony.  Josh really encouraged me to contact Global Partners (Wesleyan mission organization) now and share my heart with them. The thought is pretty scary, because I'm not ready to go and it's still 2 to 3 years away - but it's also really exciting!!  Monday we had tournaments on campus, and I got sunburnt watching volleyball all afternoon.  Then I relaxed in the NOW AIR-CONDITIONED cafeteria.  Monday night we went go-karting and I won my race!  We also went mini-golfing.  Tuesday afternoon we spent doing a variety of activities at IWU.  Tuesday night we went to Alexandria pool and I played Uno.  Wednesday afternoon and evening was spent at Pine Lake and it was a very hot day with lots of sun.  Because there was no rain, we were able to stay there and have our service on the lake.  I love meeting with God in nature, so it was a great time.  Thursday we had water and mud games on campus, and everything got pretty stained with dirt.  Thursday night we had a no-talent talent show.  I did a dance with my sister and 6 other girls from church, and it was alot of fun.  Also, 4 of us counselors did a little mock skit of Brittan Bush that was pretty exciting.  I missed the Friday morning festivities to work at IWU, but joined the camp Friday afternoon for swimming at Splash House.  Seriously.. like 3 out of 5 campers were already sun burnt!  Then Friday evening Ambre got saved!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sr. High Camp

You haven't heard from me in awhile because I have been at Fairmount campgrounds for youth camp.  I have 11 girls from Hillside, Westview, and Three Rivers.  I have been a camper at Fairmount Wesleyan Camp since I was a quite young, so it really is my stomping grounds.  I have also been a Junior Bible Camp counselor there for 4 summers, but being a high school counselor is quite different.  These girls can read their handbooks, and know where they are supposed to be when.  They aren't fighting to sit beside me or on me, and they know how to use utensils and napkins.  They don't need night-lights or anyone to persuade them to take a shower.

Here I am in lower 12 front.

You should also notice my new T!  I love Cambodia!  I bought these for both my parents, my sisters, and my brother.  Every Christmas, Dad buys us matching shirts.  1 year they were sweatshirts with our names on them, another year we had matching fleeces, last year we all got Cubs t-shirts... so I couldn't resist when I saw these at the Russian Market in Phnom Penh.

Well my battery is dying and I can't seem to get a charge, so I'll have to say this is all for now!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Goodbyes aren't forever...

Cause I got a phone call from Cambodia today!  It was almost noon here, so almost 11pm in Cambodia, and my friend Tito called me from his bed.  I can receive calls and texts internationally, but I cannot send or call.  So I downloaded skype yesterday, and I plan on buying credit soon!  Skype is an online program that lets you call or text internationally, and it's cheap!  So that will be a great resource for keeping in touch until I return next summer.

Here are pictures taken my very last day in Cambodia.  I don't think I have to tell you again that it was a very sad day!

Everyone at the airport. In the back: Pastor Vandy, Pastor Tito, one of my bests Channa, 1-yr volunteer Adam Nash, So Phol (bending over), and Srey Lis; next: Zanda, one of my bests Theavy, missionary Pastor Greg, and one of my bests Nekru (teacher) Channy.

Tito and I

Me and the girls at the airport.

I know this is the same group of people.. but I wanted to highlight how tall Adam is!  In reality he is only 6', but Cambodians are very short!

This is at my farewell fellowship at the Bible college.  I brought chocolate, marshmallows, and graham crackers from America and we made s'mores!

So Phol, Channa, Theavy, and Srey Lis in a tuk tuk (link to image).  A tuk tuk is a small cart pulled behind a motorcycle, hired for public transportation.  Seven of us fit comfortably, but I wouldn't put more than four in each seat.  In fact, we had to hire a 2nd driver after our 1st tuk tuk blew a tire!

Zanda, Resie and I.  Resie is a Wesleyan missionary from the Philippines, and is a teacher at the Bible College.  Her and I became very close after my team left.

After lunch on my last day, I took Resie and the five female WBI students out for manicures and pedicures.  It is a real treat for the girls to leave campus, and we really had a lot of fun in the three hours we were there.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Adjusting to America...

Little update on what has happened since my return:
Well you know that I wanted to stay in Cambodia, but if I'm going to come home, then there is no place I would have rather gone on the 1st day than to my church. Brookhaven! It was really good to see everyone. My pastor greeted me from the pulpit and I was swarmed by people afterwards asking me about the trip, if I was feeling better (it was miscommunicated to my church that I had been IN the hospital for 4 days) and saying that they were praying for me. I rested in the afternoon and enjoyed time with Jessie before she left and went to camp for 2 weeks! Then after the evening service, we had a going away party for the Browns (a family that I am close to.) I told others that they are not allowed to go anywhere, because I am DONE saying goodbye for a couple weeks! It's rough stuff! haha.
After the party I went to Starbucks with my friends Phil and Stephanie (who are the leaders of my Wed night small group Bible study) and we talked about Cambodia.
Monday I enjoyed an entire day at home, resting. My luggage finally arrived before dinner so I started laundry (which had quite the odor!) I went to visit my grandmom for 2 hours. She was very very ill while I was in Cambodia, and actually spent a few nights in the intensive care unit. She is home now and growing stronger and improving. My mom lived with her for 3 weeks, after a week in the hospital. I certainly didn't want to leave Cambodia, but I did want to be with her while she was in the hospital.
Because Grandmom is able to live on her own now, Mom has gone back to work - so it's just Dad and I this week. Last night we went on the motorcycle to Ivanhoes and I enjoyed a greasy cheeseburger and tater tots (not quite white rice and green peppers), then drove through the country, and went on a long walk.
I am feeling quite jet-legged and wasn't able to sleep until almost 4am. I forced myself awake at noon, then had a bowl of frosted flakes. I promptly took a nap at noon and woke again at 2:45. I'm told UV rays will help me adjust, but there aren't any!
Enjoy the pictures and stories in the previous post and look forward to more!

Cambodia 2009 in pictures...

This is the first of potentially many blogs dedicated to stories and pictures from my last trip to Cambodia. These pictures were all taken during my 2 week internship in Kratie.

Here I am with some of the guys at my farewell party in Kratie. Theara on the far left is the computer teacher at the World Hope school which partners with the Wesleyan Church; he has beautiful eyes! Next to him in stripes is my good friend Sokha, then Dona, next to me is Richard then Li Mang, and then a boy I don't know!

Here I am with my 2 besties at Tess' house (where I lived for 2 weeks). Richard was my 1st friend in Kratie last year, and he was one of my best this year! He is also my most diligent English student, and my personal Khmer teacher! Nary is also a very good friend and the 3 of us had alot of fun together. I know that I blogged alot about them so here is our picture! Nary and Richard spent the last night with me then woke up at 5am for school. We spent an entire afternoon on the floor laughing, and shared many meals together.

Bona and I were playmates last year. Every time I arrived at the school, he would run up to me and we would play the same games. This year, he was very shy for the 1st week. Then when I showed him his picture from last year, he remembered that we were best friends last year. I will be sure to take this picture with me next year!
Piney is a quiet girl, but very strong and very caring. One evening she came over and it started to rain very hard, so she was unable to walk home until the storm ceased. She told me the next day that her mother beat her because she attended prayer meeting and was out too late. Piney continues to come and continues to shine. I have a deep respect for her.
Sokha and Li Mang playing a traditional filippino game called the Newspaper Dance. Everyone got in pairs and put a newspaper on the floor between them. As the music played, we danced around the newspaper, then when the music quits, both partners have to stand on the newspaper. If you can do this, you continue to the next round - when the newspaper is folded in half. Eventually the newspaper is very small and only 1 person is able to fit -Sokha and Ming were very creative and manipulated their bodies in such a way that both fit on a very small square of paper!

During the 1st hour of my farewell party, we played many different games with the children fromt the school. Here you see the boys vs. the girls play Samson and Delilah. We also played with balloons, had prizes, and candy.. the kids loved it!
Here I am with a few of the girls at my farwell party. The taller woman in white stripes is Rolitess Galam, the filippino missionary that I lived with for 2 weeks.
This is my good friend Ratana, she and her brother Chanta are also my English students, and their older sisters, Zanda and So Phol, are two of my friends at the Bible College in Phnom Penh. So I am very familiar with their family. Ratana's name means precious stone or gem, which means we have same name!
Song and I were not close friends last year, but we did become good friends this year. I have learned alot about him and his family, and I have a deep respect for him also. Song is not in school and recently quit his job, so he spent a few afternoons and nights with Tess and I and I really enjoyed hearing him play the guitar.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sitting Sad in Seoul, South Korea

I left Cambodia last night. Sad. So sad! Yes, it will be good to see a few people back home. I really miss my church, and worshipping there. But, I didn't want to leave. My visa is good through July 3rd, and I really would have stayed if I knew how to change my ticket easily and cheap! My bests took me to the airport Friday night at 9:30. I checked in and then went back outside to talk and take pictures, and say my final goodbyes. Of course nothing is final.. and my plans are to return next summer. In the scheme of a lifetime, 1 year isn't so long. Right? It feels so good to say that I know, I KNOW, Cambodia is where I am supposed to be.
My plane left at 11:55 Friday night, and right now I sadly sit in Seoul, for a 13-hour, lonely layover. I found 2 whiteys and took a short nap close to them. Then I caught up on journaling, read a chapter, and stood to find breakfast. Then I found a free internet cafe.. and I'm still sitting here! My roommate was online.. so I asked her to text my sister, and both my sisters were online soon! We caught up a little.. but it will be good to see them soon!
This is it for now. Of course I'll have lots to say very soon! I'm going to visit Starbucks for round #2 and then find something for lunch so I can take my malaria pill!
Hope all is well in America.. see you soon!

3 of my besties:: Ashton, Cham nol, and Loren (& Ki on the far L)

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

2 more days in Kratie..

These are a few pictures taken before my team left..

Playing Boggle with friends at Tess' house in Kratie. The three younger guys are my English students, Limang, Sokha, and Chanta. The man beside me is Pastor Greg, our missionary; he looks like a baby bird.

A jumping picture with my team at Angkor Wat, in Siem Reap.

Our team with Pastor Paroath (younger man in far back and his students in Kampong Cham. Love this place! Kampong Cham was the first province our team visited in Cambodia. We fell in love with the kids on the 1st day.

A few others you will enjoy. =)
A cute baby girl taking a bath. =)

Pastor Arun, Vandy, and Chamnol at Angkor Wat. (Love these guys!)

A buddhist temple at Angkor Wat

Pastor Greg and a local villager preparing jack fruit. Jack fruit has a very distinct smell, especially when left to bake in the van's trunk. For $3 we bought this jackfruit that was 2x the size of an average American watermelon. Each of us had 3 small pieces and wanted no more.


Having a wonderful time here. =) Yesterday during lunch it rained aweful, so the students were not able to travel back to school (Schools go from 6-11, then 1-5), so my friends Pagna and Nary came over to Tess' house, and we laid on the floor, shared 1 pillow, and laughed for almost 2 hours. I am teaching them English, and they are teaching me Khmer. They really are true friends, and I will miss them alot when I leave on Friday.
I also started to learn a few khmer songs this morning. They are actually written by Hillsong, and translated in Khmer, so the music is familiar. Tess and I are fasting today, along with the students and staff at the Bible College, and a few others. Everyone was texting each other to share prayer requests, and Tess and I prayed together for 2 hours, praying for the Church in Cambodia, the students at the school here and at the WBI, for the Wesleyan pastors, for unsaved family members, for the work of World Hope, and many more. It was a really awesome time. The hardest part about my team leaving is not having devotions and highs/lows and times of sharing with them, but Tess and I have been able to share a few times, and this afternoon was great. I'm looking forward to doing it again tomorrow during lunch.
Sunday evening we returned to Kratie (from the wedding in Kampong Cham) and 10 of us worshipped together. I wish everyday was Sunday. Ok, that isn't true - because I teach Monday-Friday and I love teaching and being with the students. I digress.. I love seeing the students worship, but my heart is missing the worship at home, the English worship.
On Wednesday nights we have prayer meetings at Tess' house. Last week it was only her and I and 3 others, but we are expecting more tonight because I am leaving on Friday. I have a short devotional prepared, as well as sharing my testimony. Then a few of the students (my besties Pagna and Nary) will stay the night.
On Friday morning Tess and I will travel by bus to Phnom Penh. It should take about 8 hours. I will supposed to stay in Kratie through Monday, but we are leaving early to meet our friends who will be visiting from the Philippines. We plan to spend Friday evening with them, and then Saturday morning Vandy, Tess, Chamnol and I will spend a few hours just the 4 of us. The plan is pizza, basketball at the arcade, and taking lots of pictures.. but we'll see if that actually happens.
God has been teaching me alot and challenging me. In 3 days I read Shane Claiborn's "Irresistable Revolution" and it changed my life.. really. It's about Shane's realizations that what Jesus said is true, and He means it. Yeah, it's easy to say. But do you really believe that when Jesus says to sell everything you have and give it to the poor, He means it? My heart is really feeling pulled towards doing something big.. I'm afraid to talk about it specifically, and I'm not to sure why, but I don't. =) hehe. God laid it on my heart yesterday evening, and it just so happens that we're fasting this afternoon and tomorrow afternoon. So I'm praying about it alot, and hoping that my ears will be open to hear God speaking to me and telling me what He wants me to do in this situation.

Please pray:
That I will hear God speaking to me about this specific "idea"
That I will be passionate and zealous during my last 10 days here in Cambodia
As I share during our prayer meeting tonight; a few students that may come tonight have only seen me teaching English, and haven't heard the message of my heart.
For the Pastors Paroath, Poleak, Arun, Malachi, Sopeak, Mano, Kimsua and Vandy..
Pray for my students who will be taking national graduation exams on June 15 and July 7:: Richard, Nary, Limang, Ratana, Chanta, Sry Mum, and others that I cannot pronounce or spell.
Pray also for the names Tess, Chamnol, Theara, Greg & Resie Fernandez, Rotha & Elizabeth, and Adam Nash.

I return to America on June 13, so everyone should be expecting alot of pictures June 14 or 15.

Monday, June 01, 2009

continuing where i left off...

Again, you never know what's going to happen.. but I'll try to finish this blog less abruptly; no guarentees. ;)
I'm still here in Kratie, and loving it. I've gotten pretty lazy.. taking naps almost every afternoon. I haven't seen the rat in the kitchen, but I lie in bed every night listening to the mice chatting, and watching them run through the rafters. Eating khmer food 3 meals a day.
On Saturday I went to a wedding. I borrowed a khmer dress and shoes, and had my hair, nails, and makeup done professionally. I got alot of attention for being the only whitey at a wedding attended by almost 800. I also learned the traditional dance, and we had alot of fun doing that. I had just a few friends there. Chamnol, Tess, Vandy, Sreyroath, Chita, Ki, Srey Mum.. We haven't had water for a few days.. but luckily it has rained alot, so I can still bathe.
Hope to blog again soon... hope all is going well.