Sue sa dey, sok sah bye te? (Hello, how are you?)
We've now been in Cambodia for over three weeks, and our team is well and truly embracing the Khmer way of life. I'm proud to say that many of us can now have very basic conversations with the locals. Yes, they may be quite short, but nevertheless, we are all learning more and more each week.
I think a big revelation for our team has been how a language barrier can sometimes be a blessing in disguise. It's been really challenging at times to talk to the locals, especially when it comes to evangelism and sharing the Gospel. But at the same time it's allowed us to bond with the people on another level. We find ourselves laughing and celebrating as we begin to understand, which makes us realize how precious language really is.
On Tuesday our team lead our first water filter seminar with the Justice Water team. We left super early at 6:30am and drove around 90 minutes to a village. In the morning we visited many different homes and had the opportunity to share our testimonies with the locals and pray for them. We had planned for our water seminar to begin at 1:00pm, but in true Cambodian style, it didn't commence till 3:00pm - sense of time is something we are all learning is different in some cultures. But this time was not wasted as we got to hang out with each other by playing cards, drawing pictures in the dirt with the kids, and learning how the locals make baskets out of grass reeds.
On Wednesday we celebrated Ando's birthday by surprising her with a classic Cambodian sponge cake, which was super sweet and super pretty. Let's just say Cambodians don't hold back when it comes to celebrations. In the evening we went to the community night at the YWAM english school to build relationship with the students we have been teaching. As a few of us shared our testimonies and preached, it was so amazing to tell some of the students about Jesus for the very first time.
When we got home, one of the YWAM Siem Reap staff members, Nary, surprised us with a Khmer/Filipino delicacy called Balut. Now this just looks like any normal egg from the outside, but when you open it you soon realize it's very, very different. Balut is duck embryo, and it's usually mixed with chilli and lime. After much encouragement, persuasion and maybe a little bit of peer-pressure, we all tried it. Some of us really enjoyed it, especially Eric who ate an entire one straight from the shell!
On Thursday evening we went to the famous Pub Street to celebrate Ando's birthday, as her and Bertrand had enjoyed a night away from us on Wednesday. We went to a Khmer BBQ and enjoyed, fried rice, noodles, pork ribs, steak, and lots of fruit shakes. For dessert we tried "fried ice-cream rolls" from a street vendor. This involved Nutella and fresh banana fried into an ice-cream, with peanuts and chocolate syrup on top. Delish!
We ended our work week again by asking God what we should do on Friday afternoon. After some prayer, we decided to go to a nearby park which has a Pagoda (Buddhist temple) next door and is a popular tourist spot. We spent time praying for Cambodia and observing their culture. This time highlighted for us the real beauty of Cambodia, but also the things we need to continue praying for. We were reminded of the real need here, but also how much God is already so present in this country.
On the weekend we went to a cultural festival which had many stalls with traditional Khmer instruments, clothing and food. Afterwards we went to the movies to watch Tarzan in 3D. This was a great way to spend our Sabbath as we not only got popcorn and entertainment, but two straight hours of air-conditioning - heaven!
On Sunday some of us went to a cafe called "Srey Sister" for breakfast. As it is owned by an Australian sister duo, I was particularly excited to go as I was feeling a little homesick. As expected, the poached eggs, avocado and bacon on toast was amazing (no bias at all). For church, we went to a village which YWAM Siem Reap has a relationship with and helped lead the service. Even though most of it was in Khmer, it was really beautiful to hear the children worship God. It's makes you realize just how big God is; that he even cares about every single person in this village, in the middle of nowhere. How great is our God!
Thanks for praying and supporting our team. We hope to continue seeing everything with Gods heart.
Orr kun (Thank you)