Quick note about last night...we went to this nice restaurant and took all of Chom's family with us. 21-top please? We took had one long table! Scott brought his iPad to try and catch some restaurant wifi. He took one look at little Philip, maybe 7 years old, and went over there to teach him how to bowl on the iPad. Camden would have been proud. The boys played bowling and air hockey. You should have seen their faces! I loved catching the mom or dad leaning over to see what the giggles and laughs were all about. iPad was a huge hit...No expression compared though to when Philip got his sandwich. You have to understand that this family doesn't go out to eat...it's too expensive for them. When that double-layered sandwich was delivered in front of him his eyes became the size of coconuts! And his smile...priceless.
This morning was a walk through history...the 900 year old temples of Angkor Wat towered over us. We're bringing back some sweet pictures. A king's palace, towers with etched Khmer faces, statues of Hindi gods, Buddhas, and history told through carvings on the walls of ancient ruins...we walked through them...climbed up them and through them...
Interesting to note that Angkor Wat was used in the filming of Tomb Raider--if you've seen the movie, you'll have a picture in your head of the monster-size stone temples we walked through. I felt like Indiana Jones a couple of moments...just say'in.
In my mind there was a mixture of feelings today. The ruins were gorgeous and impressive. We even found stone carvings of animals on these 12th century walls...one was a dinosaur! And yet, these temples are broken, some destroyed, and deteriorating with time. Some of the temples we awed at had huge trees growing through them and overtaking them. Nothing man can make, no matter how breath-taking, will last the test of time. It's something my mind kept coming back to. These temples were built for gods, but few come for the sole purpose of worshipping them during their visit to Angkor Wat. Most tourists go for their beauty and for their place history.
I'm glad we serve the one and only true God who doesn't live OR FIT in temples built by human hands, but uses this earth as his footstool. He places His spirit in the hearts of His people. We don't need to appease Him. God will not be impressed by our incense and our visits to a building on Sundays where the church meets. Instead, He offers grace. Today's long walk through ancient times for Cambodians was fascinating...but processing the hopelessness of people who worship and pray to stone is heart-wrenching.
I don't know how you transition from this tangent I just went on back to the rest of our day...but anyway...
Lunch was great...We took a break from rice and ate at the Pizza Company!
Honestly though, we've all had it nice...we've been fed really well. The Goods and the Kanes have taken us to all their favorite restaurants. Most have been mighty fancy!
Connor eats the best. If you get full, just pass your plate along. Some of us, like Emily had a veggies pizza with corn on it. Others had seafood, BBQ chicken, or classic supreme. We had a special ice cream dessert delivered to Abigail for her birthday. Everyone stared at us as we burst out singing to Happy Birthday.
This afternoon we returned to Chom's house. (This whole time I was under the impression that his name was Cham...must have heard wrong days ago. Cham is the name given to the Cambodian people who are Muslim...whoops.)
While we had been at lunch it had down-poured, so when we got to Chom's house in the village, it was quite muddy. I'm sure his kids were glad they didn't have to water all those trees and plants though! Before starting to work, we got a chance to sit and listen to Chom and his wife share briefly about their story. Chom was a soldier who lost his leg in 1986. He met and married his wife a year later. They have four boys and three girls. God has provided for them and taught them many things. He told us today, "Now, I'm a soldier for Christ." There family has been very loving to us.
The afternoon was spent wrapping up yesterday's chores. The guys finished the frog farm, and the ladies dug into the (now wet) soil/manure/rice grain mixture. We packed some more bags and got to plant all the tree saplings.
-Connor bought pants that make him Aladdin's twin...we love them.
-Puppies and ducks...adorable in any country. Watch out for Mommas though...
-Heather learned that she couldn't have a boyfriend yet because she hadn't bought a pretty bracelet from one of the little girl vendors. She was ten...and pretty good at what she does. She asked Heather if she had a boyfriend. Trying to keep the girl from convincing her to buy a bracelet for her man, Heather said No...I don't. (Nate, don't worry...this is a good story) :)
The girl said "You don't have a boyfriend yet because you don't have bracelet! I give you 10 for $1...special price for you...special price for you." They haggled forever...it was great to listen in. Those kids crowded Scott and Heather...it made for some sweet entertainment.
-Mosquitoes got into our bus somehow...but only camped out in the back where Jenn and I normally sit. Someone could have stood up and danced to the beat we made with the clapping that ensued. We killed several, but the battles we won didn't compare to the war. I think the red spots on my legs attest to their victory.
-Street kids trying to sell you things know their country capitals...and the U.S. President. It's impressive, but we still didn't want to be a key chain.
-Gambling is illegal. Scott saw a volleyball game going on with some money laid out on the table. He tried to get them to let me play...those only guys play sports really. And the guy said "I'd let you play, but you'd tell on me." ...I wasn't about to play in that game anyway...it would have only served for their hearty laughs.
-Pomegranate Tea will change your life.
-A guy asked Scott on the way back from dinner tonight "Hey, do you want to get stoned?"
Well, Mom and Dad, all those lessons on "Just say No" really paid off. Thanks.
-Elephants are sweet...their poop isn't
Tonight we ate at a restaurant with a traditional dance performance. We ordered food while we enjoyed music and a performance of the many different Khmer dances. We're all so tired...some of us came back early...some of us had to post on a blog before bedtime. :)
-Heather and Kori both haven't felt well today, and Heather's burn is still in the long healing process. Pray for comfort, for settled stomachs, and for Heather's leg.
-Praise for Scott's back! Thanks for praying...he was still sore today but it was much more manageable then before...praise the Lord for that.
-Pray for Chom's family. His livelihood are these trees that we helped plant. Pray that they will grow and provide more income for him and his large family.
-Pray for travels...we are kind of dreading the long process that starts tomorrow. Coming home to the States means first an early morning for church, then straight on the bus for some 7 plus hours from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh. We'll get on our first flight late that night to Seoul, South Korea, and then the next big flight will bring us to Chicago (or to Hawaii if you are Emily...I love that she has found pieces of home here in tropical Cambodia).
-Pray for our missions staff here in Cambodia as they transition back into their normal routines. They all will turn around and take the bus back 6 hours to Battambang, to their homes, after taking us to the airport.
Love to all from 'Bodia...I may post from an airport somewhere...who knows. Thanks for your prayers. We love your comments...hint hint.