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Thursday, March 31, 2011

To God be the Glory

In my last entry I asked for your prayers regarding my first speaking engagement as a future long-term missionary. I am now writing to thank you for your prayers, and to testify to God's goodness and faithfulness.

On Saturday afternoon I drove 2.5 hours to Kingsford Heights, IN. Typically I sleep through road trips, - the entire road trip - whether it is thirty minutes or nine hours; however, being that I traveled alone, I stayed awake the entire trip and prayed every mile. I thought it would be a good idea to start the trip with a prayer of safety. An hour later, I realized that I was still praying, and I kept praying. I prayed for my friends in Cambodia - poor friends, lost friends, discouraged friends, hurt and sick friends. I am thankful to God for laying these needs upon my heart at that time, and I am thankful for a God who is Father, Healer, and Provider, and who hears our prayers.

My old friends, Mike and Krista Brown, moved to Kingsford Heights, IN in 2009 to pastor Kingsford Heights Wesleyan Church - a small church with a long history and a lot of love.

Saturday evening we had a time of fellowship and eating with a group from the church. I prepared cha knai (ginger chicken) and grilled bananas. Another missionary couple prepared Bosnian stew (called "pot",) baklava, and salad. I really enjoyed this time that I was able to spend with the people. One service on Sunday morning simply doesn't allow those kind of relationships to be built, and I want to know (to really know!) the people that are praying for me. Afterwards, I returned home with Mike, Krista, and the kids - where I spent the night - and I enjoyed catching up on life and playing Cities and Knights of Catan.

Sunday morning was even more wonderful than Saturday night. Despite hours of preparation, I woke up Sunday morning still feeling nervous about speaking in front of a sanctuary of strangers, but I also felt God's peace. I went to the church early with Pastor Mike for pastor's prep things, so I was able to spend about half an hour with Fred, who does many things at KHWC and has been a faithful member for something like 50 years. What an incredible testimony! I spent a few minutes in each Sunday School class, answering questions about Cambodia, about Cambodians, about myself, and about the ministry there. During the beginning of the service, I still had no idea what I would say once I was on the platform. Once I was called to the front, I cannot tell you what happened next except that God invaded my mouth and blocked all the simple words that I had prepared, and He gave me a message - a message of HOPE for CAMBODIA - and I give Him all the glory.

Thank you for your prayers, your support, and your interest in my life and the ministry in Cambodia...

Love love love, Jewel

Monday, March 28, 2011

Feeling Blessed on Monday Morning

Happy Monday morning!

I have had the best Monday morning so far. I started this morning sitting on the couch by the fire, drinking a skinny spice chai, eating a blueberry bagel and baby banana, and reading my Bible.

Tomorrow I will write about Passport to Culture on Friday night and being a guest missionary speaker Saturday night and Sunday morning, but I want to share with you this verse that one man shared with me this weekend:

Joshua 1:9 - "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Speaking Engagement

Satan knows that God has been doing awesome things in the hearts of the people of Cambodia, and he has been fighting against it; however, GOD IS STILL VICTORIOUS, and He continues to send encouragement and reveal His goodness.

This Sunday morning I have my first official speaking engagement as a future long-term missionary in Cambodia, and I am feeling pretty nervous. I have never been to the church, nor the town. I know only the pastor, his wife, and their three children. Saturday evening I am also preparing a Cambodian meal for the congregation, and I am feeling equally nervous about that.

Please join me in praying that God will communicate through me His love for the people of Cambodia, and engage the church community to feel a sense of urgency to reach the lost. I have a lot to say, but I pray that my words would be put aside so that God's message can be shared.
Thank you for your prayers and support!

Serving Him,

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Words of Advice

In response to my "Confessions of wedding planning" post, my dear second cousin Maria shared these awesome words of advice. [I translated this in my own words, but it's Maria's message.]
The wedding is only a few hours; the marriage last significantly longer. Take a break from colors and little wedding details, and spend time reading genuinely good books about healthy relationships and marriage. Spend time planning the marriage, not just the wedding. Also, enjoy your remaining time of being single and having no responsibility of being wife or mother.
When we get engaged we think of nothing but the wedding, when we get pregnant we think of nothing but the birth, when we're in school we think of nothing but the graduation. In truth, life isn't all about the significant points, the majority of our LIFE is the process of getting to those points. If life consists mostly of the process, I need to not forget to enjoy the inbetween times.

"Life is not measured by the breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away."

We're getting married!!!

Does anyone have any suggestions for genuinely good books about healthy relationships and marriage?

Thank you, Maria.

Love love love, Jewel
the future Mrs. Romdenh Chamnol

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday's Fave Five: It's Spring!

Today is a beautiful, wonderful Friday and I am so so happy about that!

1. Spring!
Yesterday in NE Central Indiana, we reached 71 degrees! Although I couldn't stay outside long, I enjoyed walking across campus and seeing professor's children riding their bikes, and students playing football in the lawn, flying kites, studying on blankets in the grass, and skateboarding everywhere. I am reminded of my childhood. Life is good!!!

2. Community.
As my mind is drifting more and more towards my future and life long-term in Cambodia, I am more and more grateful for the opportunities to worship God in my heart language with other believers, for the opportunities to talk and spend time with friends who have known me for years, for the opportunities to sit and play games with my parents and siblings. I will miss this things...

3. Jack Johnson
-- one of my all-time favorite musicians. Yesterday afternoon, after my lunch break dentist appointment, I was driving back to work and I rolled down the windows, put on my shades, and turned my radio loud. Jack Johnson makes me happy; he makes all my problems seems to fade away, as I am reminded of times spent by the pool, mid-summer, Jack Johnson singing in my ipod.

4. Raspberry Chai Frappe
A little bit of fruit, a little bit of spice, and a little bit of chill. So good!

5. The Weekend
I have been so tired all week, even sleeping through my alarms. It's like whether I go to bed at 12 or 8, I cannot get out of bed in the morning. While I won't sleep in much past 8 or 9 tomorrow morning, it will be nice to have a more relaxed schedule. Tonight, Jessie, the parents and I are going to visit older sis, bro-in-law, and baby girls. We're going to have burgers on the grill, laugh at Leah's antics, and play cards. Tomorrow, I'm going to exercise, do much homework, and watch a movie. Can't wait!

Love love love, Jewel

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Power of Prayer

Let me know if you would like one of our prayer cards to keep in a place that you will see frequently and be reminded to pray for us during this long and grueling wait.

Use it as a marker in your Bible.

Frame in next to your computer.

Hang it on your fridge for all your company to admire see.

Tape it to your bathroom mirror.

How can you pray? Thanks for asking! LET ME TELL YOU:
*Sunday: For Titus, as he anticipates transitioning out of his current ministry position (pastoring in Kampong Spue) and training another to take his place.

*Monday: That I will remain focused as I try to finish out the school year and look towards graduation in April. That Titus will be encouraged and energized in/by His ministry.

*Tuesday: That the government will be accountable to approve Titus' visa within a timely manner, allowing us to get married at my home church on October 22, 2011.

*Wednesday: That Titus and I will continue to be faithful in praying, fasting, and seeking the Lord's will.

*Thursday: Especially: For a peace that transcends all understanding, as we trust that the Lord's will WILL BE DONE.

*Friday: That God will continue to prepare us - in every aspect - for future long-term ministry as husband and wife in Cambodia.

*Saturday: That our relationship will continue to be strengthened during this time of separation.

*AND EVERY DAY: Praise the Lord for the awesome things that He has already done in our lives and relationship - opening the door for me to visit Cambodia last Dec. and Jan.; providing the finances necessary for us to apply for the visa; blessing us with an incredible support system of friends and family; giving us the same dream, passion, and vision for ministry; and strengthening us with His sustaining power.

I know you love getting mail, and I love certainly appreciate your prayers. Leave a comment or mail your address to jewel.reed at . Seriously, I will mail it the next day! Thank you for your prayers

Love love love, Jewel
[and Titus]

Monday, March 14, 2011

Swept away...

I cannot get the recent catastrophe in Japan off my mind.

For more than two terrifying, seemingly endless minutes Friday, the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in Japan shook apart homes and buildings, cracked open highways and unnerved even those who have learned to live with swaying skyscrapers. Then came a devastating tsunami that slammed into coastal Japan, killing hundreds of people. The violent wall of water swept away houses, cars and ships. Fires burned out of control. Power to a cooling system at a nuclear power plant was knocked out, forcing thousands to flee in fear of deadly radiation. A boat carrying 100 persons was caught in the vortex of a whirlpool at sea.

According to Yahoo News, it was the fifth-largest earthquake in the world since the 1800s and was nearly 8,000 times stronger than one that devastated Christchurch, New Zealand, last month.

While the official death toll rose to nearly 1,900, the discovery of the washed-up bodies and other reports of deaths suggest the true number is much much much higher. In Miyagi, the police chief has estimated 10,000 deaths in his province alone.

This afternoon, from the Washington Post:
"Hundreds of dead have washed ashore on Japan’s devastated northeast coast since last week’s earthquake and tsunami. Others were dug out of the debris Monday by firefighters using pickaxes and chain saws."
Can you even imagine?

How can we respond to this? I was struck when I read Psalm 46 this morning,

1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

7 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

8 Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Praying for Japan, Jewel

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Spring Break: Family Style

So maybe my Spring Break wasn't as exciting as others - I didn't see the beach, or go to an amusement park, I wore my coat all week, I experienced major stress, and I did homework almost everyday (but not enough) - but it was a good week.

I ate out a lot - something my dad considers "a special occasion," but something I consider a drudgery mundane, as I believe my family eats out too often to be considered special. HOWEVER, this afternoon I did enjoy a wonderfully pleasant meal out with with Jessie (twin sis) and two special girl friends. Lunch at Aunt Sue's Tea Room with Andrea & Suzanne was a special occasion for a few reasons, because it is a rare occasion, because it is a celebration of our friendship, and because within a few weeks, Jessie will be gone for a number of months, and a few months after that, I will be moved-away indefinitely.

Every night since returning from New York on Wednesday, Mom, Dad, Jessie and I have gathered at the table for "family game night." After two or three games of Jessie and I winning Nertz, Mom and Dad beat us at Euchre. However, last night we did something as a family that we haven't done since Jessie and I were probably in elementary school: we went bowling! It was so much fun! Before bowling, we went to Grandmom's and had pizza, and after bowling we rented Inception from Redbox, and watched it in the comfort of our own home. What a crazy movie! I don't watch the Emmys, the Grammys, or anything of that nature, but I'm certain Inception has won lots of awards. If it wasn't 11pm when the movie ended, I could have watched it again! (And I think I will later today!)

I also made huge progress in the wedding-planning process. I chose one more bridesmaid, designed our homemade invitations, and spent a few hours editing our website (which I will launch upon confirmation of the entire wedding party.) Below is a small taste-test of our invitations:

Think "copper embellishment." I was so excited when I found a rubber stamp of dragon flies; can you imagine why? Because there were so many gorgeous blue dragonflies flying around Titus and I when he proposed on the rock beneath the waterfall!

I am looking forward to tomorrow because I love Sundays and sharing the day with my church family [and this Sunday celebrating Grandmom's 82nd birthday;] however, I wish Spring Break didn't have to leave. It's my last Spring Break EVER!

Love love love, Jewel

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Confessions of wedding planning...

I thought planning a wedding would be fun; however, thus far it has only turned out to be stressful and overwhelming.

Any advice for someone who is 12 time zones from their fiancé? Seriously. I could use it.

I have even threatened to elope, but truth be told, I would never consider it. Sharing the special day with family and friends is very important to me. I have even threatened to let my sister and wonderful friends plan everything, but of course, I cannot do that either... it's my wedding and I'm only getting married once.

Thank you to my wonderful mom and sister, who patiently waited while I contemplated every single color of paper at Hobby Lobby this afternoon. I finally chose a green, a purple, and an ivory, and I plan on starting to design my homemade invitations while I am still on Spring Break. :) Hopefully, my to-do list will be one point shorter before Monday morning.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Waking up in NY

In the words of my sister, "Jewel slept herself all the way to New York." Admittedly, I did. I fell asleep less than ten minutes from our home, and I woke up four hours later for lunch in Ohio. I slept through Pennsylvania, and the cities of Lima, Macedonia, Chile, Athens, and others. I have the gift of sleep, and what a treasure it is!

Mom estimates that I slept 18 hours between the evening, morning, and afternoon. I didn't calculate the hours, but I do know that it equaled a difficult time falling asleep last night. Fortunately, our hotel room was equipped with a widescreen television and the TLC network. I am a Cake Boss junkie! I also watched Josie Dugger's 1st birthday party - Josie is the youngest child on 19 Kids and Counting. I don't have [or watch] TV while I'm at school and I don't miss it when I don't have, but I definitely enjoyed it last night!

Monday, March 07, 2011

“Behold, I make all things new.”

Revelations 21:5 says, "Then He who sat on the throne said, 'Behold, I make all things new.' And He said to me, 'Write, for these words are true and faithful.'"

As Spring approaches, the grass turns to green, flowers bud, and birds sing outside my window, I am reminded of God's promise, “Behold, I make all things new.”

Spring is coming, it always does.

I can see and feel the evidence of Spring approaching, and I am reminded that we have hope. For although the leaves wither and fall, we can have confidence that after Autumn and Winter pass, Spring will come, and with it, new life. God is faithful; He has always been and He always will be. Spring has never failed us; the leaves always return to life -- beautiful life.

This is my Father's world,
and to my listening ears
all nature sings, and round me rings
the music of the spheres.
This is my Father's world:
I rest me in the thought
of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
his hand the wonders wrought.

Love love love, Jewel

Sunday, March 06, 2011

The Bridal March

I am usually pretty traditional when it comes to things, but I have chosen to replace a few wedding traditions - such as: The Bridal March - with more faith-oriented ones. Great is Thy Faithfulness has always been one of my favorite hymns, and I am thinking about using it for the processional, recessional, or both.

My friends have told me that I should stop asking other people for opinions regarding my wedding because it is MY WEDDING and what they think/like shouldn't affect my decisions; however, I am so inclined to do this! On that note, feel free to comment if you like this idea, but please don't comment and tell me that you don't like it. :) Thank you!

Love love love, Jewel
the future Mrs. Romdenh Chamnol

Friday, March 04, 2011

2011's First Friday's Fave. Five

Happy Friday! I had a difficult time limiting myself to even six things this week, because: 1) It has been so many weeks since I have posted my "Friday's Fave. Five" list, and 2) I had such an awesome week! [Even though anxiously waiting for Spring Break made the week draaaag on foreverrr!] Anyways, here are my six:

1. Naked Juice
Naked Juices are made from the best bare-naked fruits and vegetables, and boosted with fiber, proteins, and vitamins. No sugars. No preservatives. No artificial colors. No artificial flavors. It's pure, it's fresh, and a it's good! I love Naked Juice!! I haven't tried them all, but my two favorites are Blue Machine and Mighty Mango. Blue Machine -- "Got the blues? Take a swig of this sweet-happy, fiber-full blueberry-blackberry goodness and enjoy your ride on the happy train." Inside: 27 blueberries, 3 blackberries, 3 1/4 apple, 1 banana. Mighty Mango -- "An amazingly exotic, incredibly yummy multitude of mango." Ingredients: 1 1/4 mangos, 1/2 orange, 1 3/4 apples, 1/3 banana, and a mint of lemon.
Do I really believe that is all inside? Yes.
Do I really believe that is all that's inside? Yes.
And once you try one, you will believe these things too!

2. John 1:14
"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."
The implications of this verse are immense! No longer was God's Word simple written on a stone or paper, but Jesus was a living message! He was the perfect example, the perfect teacher, and the perfect sacrifice. He was the living image of God's holiness. I have been reading the Gospel of John for a college girls' Bible study, and it has been BLOWING MY MIND in the amazement of God's power and love.

3. Spring Break
My Spring Break starts at 2:15 this afternoon. Woo hoo! I am ready... I am really ready! I have been so exhausted the past two weeks! I have been getting 8-10 hours of sleep most nights, and I still have to fight myself to get out of bed, and I still struggle staying awake in some settings. Academically, I haven't been too busy or stressed, but I have so many other things going on and a one-week vacation will be really nice!

On Monday morning, Mom, Jessie, and I are driving 9 hours to Rochester, New York, where Jessie will be starting grad. school for her MSW this summer. My friends Phalkun and Janell live only three minutes from Jessie's school, so it will be nice to visit them while we are there! Janell and I have a common story -- Janell went to Cambodia on a missions team from IWU, realized her calling there, returned as a short-term missionary, met a Cambodian man, and now they are married and living in New York. So while Jessie and Mom are touring campus, looking for housing, etc., Janell will be teaching me how to cook Khmer! I'm so excited!
Other Spring Break activities include, but are not limited to, the following: Sleeping in, reading for pleasure, getting ahead in homework, working out, spending time with my family, and planning my wedding!

4. Work
I'm grateful for a job - a job that I enjoy - a job that has given me as many hours as I am available to work. Thank you, Jesus!

5. Come to Jesus (by Chris Rice)

6. is a discovery engine that searches the internet for websites that meet your selected interests. I have chosen: Humor, Christianity, Relationships, Babies, Fitness, Photography, Movies, Travel, Asia, Bizarre/Oddities, Culture/Ethnicity, International Development, Married Life, Scrapbooking, and etc. I have found the coolest websites! Here is my warning: It's addicting!! Check it out.

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

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Not complaining my way through the morning

I ordered two coffees and a muffin at our campus coffee shop this morning. They forgot to put a shot in my London Fog, and my Strawberry Kiss was made wrong. I didn't say anything, then I went to grab a fork for my muffin, and found only spoons.


...I'm not complaining because next week, when I give up coffee for lent, I am going to wish I had a London Fog - shot or no shot - or a Strawberry Kiss, whether it is made wrong or right!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Catching up on life...

7 ½ weeks. In seven-and-a-half weeks, my four-year college experience will be over forever. Not just for the summer, but forever. After I graduate April 30, 2011, never again will I live on this campus with my 3,200 IWU classmates. [A profound realization; I know.] Some of these friends I will never ever see again and eventually I will lose contact with professors who have invested so much in me over the four-year experience.
After I graduate, I’m going to return home and live with my parents for awhile. Then I’m going to get married, live with my husband, and create my own home. Then I’m going to move to Cambodia, far away from so many people that I love and care about very much, and...

So what does that mean? That means I'm making a BUCKET LIST - a list of all the things that I dream of doing before I graduate. Do I dare write "Sleep on the lawn" on my list? I haven't decided, but whatever I do decide, it will be exciting. Making a bucket list is one of my "to-do's" for Spring Break!

In honor of Spring approaching, I have taken up a new habit - running.

Miracle of miracles, today I ran two miles.

I couldn't believe it; I certainly surprised myself! I have been faithfully doing Zumba three times a week since August or September, and occasionally going to the gym, but I don't think I have actually run in two or three years. I may be a little premature to commit to running a 5k this summer, but the best means of accountability to making a public profession. So here it is: I'm going to run a 5k in May 2011.

In regards to "Wedding Wednesday," I drafted a QUIZ this evening. If you attend my wedding reception, you will have the rare and exciting opportunity to be TESTED on how well you know Titus and I. Of course I won't be giving away any answers today. [Because I am sure you are all the type to copy the answers and keep the paper in your "important papers drawer," then bring the answers to the wedding and CHEAT your way to winning a Cambodian souvenir.] However, you might want to know the following:
1) Titus' real name (here)
2) How Titus and I met (here)
3) How Titus proposed (here)
4) Everything else.

Our tentative wedding date is officially 233 days away - that is thirty-three weeks and two days!! Still plenty of time to choose my cake, dress, colors, bridesmaids, menu, and everything else. Right?! If the wedding were tomorrow, I wouldn't care about any of those things!

Anyways.. look forward to Friday! I'm going to re-join the network of "Friday's Fave Five!"