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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Psalm 124

The story of the Israelites is truly an incredible one. While my story cannot begin to compare with what Moses' generation experienced, I have also needed God, and He has been faithful. No, He hasn't sent a plague across my enemies nor parted the waters, and I have definitely never seen food fall from the sky, but He has acted. Praise be to the Lord; my help is in Him!

Psalm 124

A song of ascents. Of David.
1 If the Lord had not been on our side—
let Israel say—
2 if the Lord had not been on our side
when people attacked us,
3 they would have swallowed us alive
when their anger flared against us;
4 the flood would have engulfed us,
the torrent would have swept over us,
5 the raging waters
would have swept us away.

6 Praise be to the Lord,
who has not let us be torn by their teeth.
7 We have escaped like a bird
from the fowler’s snare;
the snare has been broken,
and we have escaped.
8 Our help is in the name of the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.


Today, I am thankful.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

"It was chaos"

I'm really going to avoid posting the same information on both my personal blog and my Cambodia blog, but because this is so important to me and I have so many more readers following here, I'm going to double post. I wrote this last night and posted it on my Cambodia blog. Thanks for reading!

Monday night during the traditional water festival in Cambodia's capital city of Phnom Penh, a stampede killed 339 people and injured 329. [[Edit: Death toll has reached 375.]]



The scene shows hundreds of shoes, clothing and other personal items littering the streets, the bridge and the underlying water near where the festival took place.

According to CNN, the stampede, which began around 10 p.m., likely occurred because a suspension bridge packed with people began to sway, creating panic. Reports cite people jumping from the bridge into the river below. Police then began firing a water cannon onto a bridge in an effort to get them to continue moving across the bridge; that caused utter panic. A number of people lost consciousness and fell into the water; some may have been electrocuted, as the bridge was festooned with electric lights.

I cannot even begin to imagine the hospitals shortly following the incident, and my first prayer was for the doctors and medical staff that would be attending to the injured. According to CNN, "Dozens of people could be seen laying on what appeared to be the waiting-room floor of a hospital. They were attached to intravenous lines connected to bags strung along wires suspended in the air."

The three-day festival, which began Saturday, is held annually to honor a 12th century victory by Cambodian naval forces. During the festival, which includes boat races, participants pray for a good rice harvest and sufficient rain, and to celebrate the full moon.

This is the biggest tragedy since the Pol Pot regime, during which an estimated 21% of the population died in waves of murder, torture, and starvation. My heart is breaking; though I am thankful to have already heard from friends that report they were not in attendance. Please keep Cambodia in your prayers. The prime minister has declared Thursday as an official day of mourning - ironically, the day of Thanksgiving in the States.

Love love love, Jewel

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sometimes Life is Strange

*Friday at Longhorn Steakhouse, the waiter asked me if I wanted a refill of vodka. He promptly refilled my water glass with water. Strange.

*Jessie and I split a load of laundry yesterday afternoon. Somehow I only ended up with one pillowcase, 4 panties, 4 camis, and 17 pairs of socks. Strange.

*This evening, myself and 8 other adults and 5 little kids met at Brookhaven and we delivered Thanksgiving meals to families who have visited our church's food pantry in the last 12 months. On one street, we were looking for house #2916. However, the property between #2924 and #2912 was clearly empty. Strange.

*Speaking of strange interesting, when I was researching Cambodian foods for my Cambodia blog, I discovered that chicken feet are apparently a delicacy.

"Chicken Fingers" has a whole new meaning!

Otherwise, life is continuing as normal. My stress and homework load has been minimal for the last one to two weeks, but it's really going to pick up after Thanksgiving. We are quickly approaching the end of the semester, final project due dates, and comprehensive exams. Ugh.

I am looking forward to spending Thanksgiving with my twin sis, parents, Grandmom, aunt, uncle, and cousins in Ohio. I won't be sleeping in my own bed, but I'm still thankful for a break (and for many more things!) I have been shaking my booty off at Zumba and getting ready for sweet potato casserole and Aunt Nancy's homemade Thanksgivin' rolls!

I spent the majority of the afternoon doing some blog things! Check out the new blog buttons at the top of this page, and click them to see where they take you! I don't get many comments on my posts, but I know people are reading because I get a lot of hits on my counter! Special thanks to my faithful friends and readers.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Maddix's Big Idea

This year, Maddix decided that for her fifth birthday, instead of asking for presents, this was her birthday wish: "I would like to raise money for turkeys so I can give them to people who don't have turkeys for Thanksgiving." Seriously? This girl is awesome. Click HERE to watch Maddix's video. Her parents, my friends Nathan and Jade, have really done a great job of teaching Maddix about loving, giving, and being like Jesus.

Maddix's updated total: $958.19 for turkeys AND fixin’s!!! She alone has raised enough to feed the fifty families that will be attending our church's Thanksgiving service, and she isn't even finished. Tonight between 5 and 9, our local Moe's is giving 20% of their profit to Maddix's cause.
Sunday morning, alongside almost 15 others at our church, Maddix gave a cardboard testimony to testify of God's incredible goodness and provision. Our church is proud of that little girl, and we should be!


God is using this little girl in a big way.
Will you let Him use you?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Maddix


Does this picture intrigue you? Come back tomorrow evening to see what it's all about.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Chinese Proverb


"If you want happiness for an hour -- take a nap. If you want happiness for a day -- go fishing. If you want happiness for a month -- get married. If you want happiness for a year -- inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime -- help someone else."- Chinese proverb

Friday, November 12, 2010

Finally Friday!

This was close to the slowest week ever. I don't know why. I woke up on Tuesday and thought it was Wednesday. I woke up Wednesday and thought it was Thursday. I went to bed on Wednesday, fully anticipating that I would wake up on Friday. So I am glad that Friday has finally arrived! Log on at Living to Tell the Story and share your own Friday's Fave. Five!

1. Andrea and Addison reunited
My dear friend Andrea was reunited this week with her 22-year-old son that was abducted 19 years ago! Our wonderful church body is coming together and we are hoping to front a plane ticket for him to fly from California to central IN to meet the rest of his family for Thanksgiving! With tears in my eyes, I am so so SO happy for Andrea! Addison could have shut the door in his mom's face, but he has been warm and responsive! We are rejoicing and praising God for His goodness and faithfulness.

2. Channy's Visa
My beautiful friend Channy had an interview with the US Embassy in Cambodia on Wednesday and she was granted her American visa to visit the States with her husband Jeff. Channy wrote to me, "I knew that He dwelled in my mouth so when the Us embassy asked me some questions and i have ability answered to him quickly and no afraid..."
I am so excited for Channy, and even more excited for Jeff because I understand how eager he is to introduce Channy to his friends and family, and to his country. They were married in Cambodia last December, with his parents and brother in attendance.

3. My newest McConn discovery: pomegranite tea -- iced and shaken -- with vanilla syrup and lemonade. So good!

4. Toy Story 3
Yes, I know I'm 22. Yes, I know that I could be giving my attention to much worthier things. Yes, I know that there are much more exciting things to do on a Friday night. But Toy Story was my absolute favorite movie growing up. I remember saving my allowance and finally having enough to buy the Woody doll, and gradually collecting smaller versions of other characters.
When TS3 was in theatres earlier this summer, I was in Africa, then shortly after in Puerto Rico, two days later spent a week at camp. Tonight, I will be re-living my childhood.

5. Countdown to Cambodia
I leave for Cambodia in 38 days! THIRTY-EIGHT! I thought last week that it was still around 50-something days! That means my "25 days of Cambodia" will begin in only two weeks! I'm not sure how I will be celebrating that special occassion, but I'll think of something! :)

5. Weather
What a gorgeous week! Amen?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Today, I am humbled.

Yesterday at lunch, I received a phone call with news that my Zumba instructor's husband, Billy Mitchell, unexpectedly died yesterday morning.

In youth counseling class last night, Prof. Dueker informed us that our absent classmate, Christina, has begun chemotherapy.

I have finally finished a post that I have been writing for my blog Jewel in Cambodia about the Khmer Rouge and the genocide of the late 1970's. In less than five years, about 2 million Cambodians (or 21% of the population) are estimated to have died in waves of murder, torture, and starvation, aimed particularly at the educated and intellectual elite. Read my post HERE.

Young soldiers and torturers of the Khmer Rouge

Meanwhile, my friend Andrea flew across North America to California to locate her missing son that was taken from her at age three. Almost twenty years later, he has been found. Found at last, and with tears in my eyes, I am rejoicing with Andrea and praising God for blessings and answered prayer.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Happy Tuesday?


Stress, overload, and acne. Is it really only Tuesday?

Monday, November 08, 2010

Irashmo



From day one, snotty-nosed Irashmo was my favorite of the children in the creché. There is this common misbelief that we aren't supposed to have favorites, which I suppose stems from the truth that everyone should be treated equally. Nonetheless, Mo was my favorite.
He smiled big, sung loud, and cried a lot. Like his sister Maria, he is a cry baby and was bullied a lot by João and the others because the kids knew Mo would react in a big way. He would scream "maaamaaa" and run into my arms with crocodile tears running down his precious cheeks. He was also very forgiving, because João was his best friend. Mo loved bubbles and every morning he would put grab my bag and ask, "balão?" (balloon) He also loved riding on my back, or swinging in my arms, and he was very jealous when I did either of those two things with another child, especially João. That's why I was often seen like this:




I wish I could have brought Mo home with me from Africa. Oh, I love love LOVE that little boy! I would ensure that he has have everything he needs for his body, mind, and spirit to grow strong. Until the Lord opens the door for me to return to Mozambique, I pray that he is safe and well in the care of his parents, Papa Isak and Mama Sala - very sweet people.




Look at my happy boy!

The first week that I was in Mozambique, I couldn't understand Irashmo's name and I called him "Rudolph" instead because almost every other day he wore this red Rudolph t-shirt.




I love you, my sweet boy.

Friday, November 05, 2010

November's First Friday's Fave Five

Log on at Living to Tell the Story and share your own Friday's Fave. Five!


1. I am not political, but I am grateful that I live in a nation where citizens are given a vote - a vote that does make a difference.


2. White Berry
A latte with Ghirardelli white chocolate and made with [rasp]berry syrup of choice, steamed [skim] milk and espresso.

3. Studying by the fire on a cold November morning in central Indiana.

4. Selling 29 scarves this week!

5. Talking to Titus twice in one week!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Two Questions

1) Why is it so easy to drift to sleep in class during a lecture or in chapel during a message, but when I change into sweat pants, take my shoes off, turn down the lights, and lay my head on a pillow, I can't fall asleep?

2) Why does the girl next to me in Fine Arts class insist on chomping her gum through the entire class period?

I'm in the library pondering these two questions, and working on my sermon. I have 20 pages of preparatory notes due on Tuesday and I still cannot answer: "Why do I want the audience to know?" and "What do I want the audience to do?"

On another [brighter] note, tomorrow is Friday!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Cambodian Scarves


I'm so excited about the second shipment of scarves that arrived this week from Cambodia. The scarves are being sold to support my ministry there. I never imagined that it would be such a successful fundraiser. I sold nineteen in only THREE hours of being posted on facebook last night! I leave in fifty days, and I arrive there in fifty-two! Thank you Jesus for calling me to Cambodia.