in cambodia 2006 – iii

Now that my time in Cambodia is drawing to a close, i finally take the trouble to learn the money code is KHR.  USD is gladly accepted most everywhere too, and in fact, even the little market vendors will take usd, and will give khr in change.  The problem is, when you flash usd, the greed element kicks in on some people, and the khr that comes back is puny.  I find that compared to most poor countries tho, the Khmer are the best at not trying to cheat and take advantage 🙂

I really should do more computer work, writing people etc., but playing and talking with the house members seems important too, and besides, there are many power outages.  Nearly all morning is spent teaching, and then a little over an hour in the evening with the English kids – super enjoyable, and tiring in a good, “working tired” way.

Doing a lot of praying the nite before regarding how to teach the prophecies well has been rewarded with God leading me to tell plainly, and in a way connecting everything together that even i did not recognize until it happened.  I hope and pray everyone there will be able to understand, and remember what was studied today.  The final fulfillment of the 1260, 1290, and 1335 day prophecy is yet future, and is strongly inferred by Christ dying “in the middle of the week”.  When will the last part of the week be?  I don’t know, but do know that Jesus will confirm the covenant with the 144,000 for 3 1/2 years at the end time.  May i be true to you, and stand firmly for the truth dear Jesus!

After internetting and relaxing a few minutes i take a shower to clean up before English starts at 5:30.  Yesterday the kids started wandering in around 5:20, so expected the same today.  It was a bit disconcerting to know you left your shirt in your backpack, and there are around 10 pairs of eyes already assembled at 5:10 to watch your every move – haha.  Yeah, i know what they are thinking: “Is this guy really American?  I’m fatter than he is.” hehe.  Just keep your eyes off my silver-dollar-sized growth of black hair halfway down my back – it probably looks pretty disgusting, but no health problem i’ve been told.

English is really fun today too, and we sing B-I-N-G-O after splitting into 4 groups.  Not sure why they don’t seem to understand what they are supposed to do.  One thing i do notice with nearly all Khmer people i meet, is that their minds just don’t function at racing speed, and new ideas and ways of doing things are very difficult for them to grasp.

It isn’t real easy saying goodbye, i’ve lived with this family for almost 5 days, and have become accustomed to, and part of, their daily life rhthym.  I thank the Lord for this opportunity, and slip a little to the pastor as he helps many people, and after meeting a man whose literacy training has just finished, get into a sardine-can called minivan for Svay Rieng.  The road from Phnom Penh is just the same as i remembered it from 9 years ago.  Even the same potholes (i think!).  It seems like there are more buildings, and more vehicles instead of animals on the road now tho.

After crossing the Mekong by ferry (same as last time), our van starts humming on a beautiful, wide road.  This is definitely new.  About the only memory i have of this area are the pools of stagnant water next to the road – in front of the homes, the one grass-hut out all alone in the dry paddy with a tall antenna sticking out, and the potholes.  This time no potholes, the grass shacks are partly replaced by concrete or wooden houses, and there are still lots of antennas.

The reason i wanted to come to this little town, is that i joined a Maranatha group from Collegedale Tennessee 9 years ago, and helped build a church for one week with my sister’s family, and father.  Hmmmm, that somewhat rundown-looking building is it?  Where are the tall trees by the road on either side?  You mean they have all been cut down, and houses built?  The lone car hurtling down the potholed road with the horn full blast (usually Benz), has also been replaced by a steady stream of bicycles and motorbikes, with a car at least once a minute.  You can still hear the “clop-clop” of hooves on pavement once in a while, but that is quite rare now.  The church has been allowed to be run down, with seemingly no maintenance being done in the intervening 9 years.

I go out into the country with the church member/Bible worker/literacy trainee who knows no English.  His house is something that you would expect from a typical farming house: up on stilts, with a big stack of hay in front, a white cow and water buffalo grazing in the yard, dogs and chickens and a duck running amok, and kids with old, holey, dirty “Sports Field 2004” written on them.  There is no electricity except for a generator run at his father’s house next door for a few hours every evening, and for a car battery that has cables snaking up to the TV from it.  You have to pump your water to get it running, and the toilet is way in the back, with walls of gunny sacks with a Thai cement company’s name, and their elephant symbol on them.  I never learn until just before leaving that the toilet is only for serious business, for liquid-related business, you can just go wherever you feel like.

Supper is at the father and mother’s place next door.  First i sit under the light, listening to the loud generator racket, and eating noxious fumes with my meal of white rice with nicely stir-fried vegetables including cucumbers and tomatos.  Oh yes, the occasional rock gives some “jackpot!” excitement.  I find out why they sit up on bamboo or wooden boards with large cracks: to throw down anyting unneeded.  The chickens and dogs and cat are pretty good vacuum cleaners!  Thankfully there aren’t many mosquitos, but i’m offered a rice mat on the wooden floor with a pillow, blanket, and mosquito net – sweet!  The man, bless his heart, is really concerned about my welfare, and has bot some mosquito coils and tissue paper for me.  Sorry for the trouble, but sure do appreciate it Brother!!

We go to church, and after the service i only show the GC anime without giving a talk.  The pastor knows English, but says he can’t translate, and this is OK too.  Nearly half of the 30 or so attendees gather around me after the service asking questions.  After talking with them i go outside where i pick up a plastic bag, and go around the front of the church picking up garbage – what a mess!  The pastor tells me that he has been requesting for several years for the Mission to appropriate funds for Bible workers, to move the church back from the road (?!) and to throw more dirt up around the church as it is in a low spot.  I ask him if it floods; “No, but it looks unsightly in the rainy season”.  Moving the church? – “It’s too close to the noisy road”.  I hope he understands somehow that we need to take better care of what we have, rather than asking for new stuff all the time.  In the afternoon he comes over for lunch, and together with 2 of the 3 Bible workers at this church, they sleep all Sabbath afternoon….

The man of the house keeps making motions that i should take a nap, but continue reading my Bible until around 4:50, when i tell him i’m going for a walk.  I walk behind the house into the dry rice fields, and it is so peaceful there, with no houses, no people, no noise, no trees or anything for around 500m.  My reverie is interrupted by his son and daughter who have followed me out.  At first i wish for a bit more peace, but soon am very happy that they wish to keep me company as we go walking to some house on the other side of the rice fields.  I play with them, running up behind them and pushing their bicycle etc. on the way back, and on returning, have a good time playing with them.  Spinning them reminds of good times in Japan, except the 13 year old boy gets a bit sick, and spits up a bit – sorry.  The 10 year old girl gathers some neighbor friends, and we talk and laugh and play a bit, then when it gets dark i show the GC anime to them – everyone looks so interested!

The next day is goodbye time, and the girl won’t even look at me.  The little boy who was so shy at first is all over me today, but even he is teary-eyed when i wave from the back of his dad’s motorbike.  I had asked his dad to take me to the nearby market where the motorbike taxis wait, and they could take me to the Vietnam border, but without saying anything, he takes me all the way.  It is around 30km, and a beautiful morning makes for a very pleasant ride except for the 2 places where dirt has been compacted into the road.  Here’s the border!  It seems so strange the places i would think would be busiest with hustling commercial types trying to make a riel, are instead mostly empty except for a few seemingly broken down truck hulks, hmmm.  Anyway, thank you Cambodia for lots of good memories, and i pray many souls in your openly evil-spirit infested country will come into the light.  You gave me many good memories, and i hope i was of some benefit to you too 🙂

NOTE: This post was written February 15, 2006

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *