31 July 2007

Two important articles

The following two links are important world news for Christians in Cambodia, and for those interested in Cambodia in general...

The first article is about how the Ministry of Cults and Religious Affairs have banned all Christian evangelism in the country... Voice of the Martyrs is the organization that has reported this story... you can read it by clicking here...

The second article is about the actual beginning of a trial for Duch, who was one of the main leaders of the Khmer Rouge in the late 1970's. The Khmer Rouge was responsible for the killing of 1.7 million Cambodians. Duch was in charge of the terrible torture center Toul Sleng (also known as (S-21)... you can read it by clicking here...

26 July 2007

Next Phase

I am having trouble sending email right now, so here is the next one that will be coming...

There are a variety of prayer requests and info here for the next few weeks of my summer here in Cambodia...

First, we have a group of people from Quest Church in Westerville, OH, arriving tomorrow in Phnom Penh. Please keep all of us in your prayers as we spend time with, minister to, and be ministered to by the many Cambodians involved with the ministry of Asia's Hope (3 orphan homes, college student ministry and Asia's Hope Christian School. We will be doing everything here in Phnom Penh, with the exception of traveling to Battambang for a few days. I looked at the schedule that we have, and it is going to be full!

We will be doing a couple of outreaches to orphans and adults this Saturday and Sunday. There is an orphanage here run by the government called Kien Kleang. We try to take gifts to the children when we can. The last time we went we asked the children if they wanted us to bring candy or a cake, and they said, 'soap'. This is a very sad situation in many ways. We have purchased some things for the children, like soap, clothing detergent, a snack and toothpaste. Please pray that God will use these things as we show them the love of Christ, and speak to them about Christ. They may not be a cup of cold water, but it is the next best thing at this point.

As far as prayer requests, we have several people who are within the realm of Asia's Hope who really need the Lord's touch for healing right now. Would you please pray for the mother of Sreykan (Sreykan is our housekeeper), who has been in and out of the hospital over the last two months, and is again having physical difficulties related to her blood. I don't know many more details than that. Also pray for Kosal, who is married to one of our Asia's Hope staff. He had surgery on his throat this past week, and they removed some polyps or nodes off of this throat that they are currently testing for cancer. He is a very young man with a young wife and a child on the way. Also please pray for Seda's father, he has been having trouble with his health similar to the problems Sreykan's mother is having.

In one of my last emails, I mentioned the need for computers at Asia's Hope Christian school. I really didn't have any takers on that, but if it crossed your mind, I hope that you would pray about giving the $120 needed for the machines.

Another prayer request involves a couple of employment opportunities that I will be looking into during August. Pray that the Lord will help me to see where it is that he would like me to serve. May God bless you all. Thank you again for your prayers.

24 July 2007

Computers in Cambodia

I think that internet service in Cambodia can best be summarized in the phrase "the best of times and the worst of times." Two days ago, was easily the best of times. I had my laptop and was able to download several large podcasts from iTunes, including an entire Miles Davis album. Today, on the other hand, I had to log into a store machine 20 times in order to check my email. I literally had to open a new browser every time I wanted to read a new email... wheh... I was not able to reply to or delete any emails... so if you were hoping for a response, you might just have to wait another day or so... God bless us everyone! (to quote Dickens for the second time in one posting)...

23 July 2007

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers in Cambodia

I bought a moto helmet (brain bucket) the other day... so I just HAD to take a few pics...

22 July 2007

Copy or Coffee?

The other day I had written a Bible Study on my computer, and I wanted to find a store to print it out, and make about 15 or so copies for the college students. I went over to the Asia's Hope Leadership Center to ask one of the college students if they knew of a place, and could perhaps take me to the store... I went upstairs to ask the boys and the conversation went something like this... "Do you know where I can get some copies?" "Coffee? No coffee here, coffee at Guest house." "Guest house? We can not make copies there. What are you talking about?" "Yes, coffee at guest house, no coffee here." (Add a very befuddled look to my face in your mind)... then after a few minutes of this, one of them looked at the others and said, 'No, no COFFEE, COPY...' OOOOOHHHH, the light bulbs had gone on in all of our eyes, and from there, I thought that it would be WAY too difficult to ask one of them to take me to the store, so I got a moto taxi... it is amazing that anything gets done in this world sometimes...

20 July 2007

Silenced

These two little girls (twins) live at one of the state orphanages near Phnom Penh. I have seen them each of the summers that I have been there, and they have grown... I have been told, however, that neither one of them can speak... please pray for them that they would know the kindness of the God that speaks to them in their silence...

19 July 2007

Eating Crickets

I only ate one of these, and frankly, it wasn't the taste that was a problem, it was just the idea that I had a hard time getting over that I was putting an insect in my mouth... it actually just tasted like a greasy potato chip...






18 July 2007

Only in Cambodia...

The other day I went into a bathroom at a restaurant in Phnom Penh and found that despite the very cramped space, there were lights shining from behind the toilet, up into the bathroom... I have never experienced backlighting in such a way, but it reminded me of a Woody Allen joke where he said that he always set up backlighting in his apartment when he was going to have a girl over so that he would have the appearance of three dimensions...

17 July 2007

Going through the thousands of pictures that everyone took on our trip, I came across this one by Ashley... You would have had to be there to understand the emotional significance of this moment (read the posting 'There are no words' below for an attempt), but this picture really stunned me...





16 July 2007

Now that's a big snake...


Now that's a big spider...

Phnom Penh Orphans Home











Echo Park

In the midst of my insane spring, I had absolutely NO time for reading... and frankly I was starved for some good reading by the time I got to... just in time for my favorite contemporary novelist Michael Connelly, to have his recent paperback in print... Echo Park... as always I enjoyed his writing... again it was a novel using his character Harry Bosch... since I do not have time for my own editorial, I will give you the back of the book...

"In 1993, Harry Bosch was assigned the case of a missing person, Marie Gesto. The young woman was never found -dead or alive - and the case has haunted Bosch ever since. Thirteen years later Bosch is in the Open-Unsolved Unit, where he still keeps the Gesto file on his desk, when he gets a call from the DA's office. A man accused of two heinous killings is willing to come clean with regard to several other murders in a deal to avoid the death penalty - including the killing of Marie Gesto. Bosch must get close to the man he has sought - and hated - for thirteen years. And then he is confronted with the fact that he missed a clue back in 1993 which could have stopped the nine murders that followed the killing of Marie Gesto..."

15 July 2007

Potpourri and Prayer Requests

It has been a while since I have sent out a note saying what is going on and how you can be praying for me... since the Asia's Hope team left, I have been doing odds and ends like meeting with Savorn at Asia's Hope Christian School, going over to the orphanages to spend time with the children, learning the Mavis Beacon typing program (in order to train a computer teacher at the school), taking sponsorship photos for two of the orphanages, teaching the College student Bible study (just finished a three night study on the beginning of the Gospel of John), helping Seda at her job (she works for an Australian ministry called Transform Cambodia), and various other things... Sometimes it seems like a lot, but it comes in fits and spurts...

You can be praying for my visa application that will go through in the next week or so to one of the government ministries. It will allow me to stay for at least 6 months, or one year. Savorn says that they have gotten a little more strict about who they hand out these visa to, so I would appreciate your prayers.

You can also continue to pray for wisdom for me as I keep my eyes open for what it is that God wants me to pursue here. There have been some things that have come across my path, but I am unsure what to do with them at this point. For the most part, I have just tried to put them on the sticky side of my brain, and keep my eyes open for where I might be used.

One area this year that has become a theme is a renewed look at poverty. The first summer that I was here, many aspects of poverty jumped into my line of sight because I had never seen this country. However, this summer, there have been three distinct experiences that have shown me that even though Cambodia is doing better in it's general appearance (more and better buildings being built, a flurry of small businesses), there is still A LOT of poverty. As Jesus said, "the poor will always be with you".

Please keep praying for my health. It is doing well, but there are little problems here and there. Pray for my safety as I consider buying a moto... driving in Phnom Penh is virtually indescribable unless you have been here... just say that there are some general rules, but that is about it... the rest is pretty much everyone for himself.

I am sorry if you have not been able to get my emails in the past... especially people at MCS, I do not know if you have gotten any of these emails due to the email system change, maybe some people in Mansfield can forward these to people once the addresses are straightened out...

Lastly, please pray for an Asia's Hope team that will be here at the end of July for about two weeks. I am going to be heading it up, but there are still a lot of details to be nailed down. It is not going to be anything out of the ordinary, but we want God to move all the time!

After the team leaves, I will begin to do some investigation of teaching positions... which everyone keeps telling me are available for native English speakers... I am praying that God will show me exactly where He wants me to be.

Thanks again for your prayers, and Preong Pro Tiempo (May God bless you), Graham

04 July 2007

Mr. Battambang and Mr. Angkor Wat

Sherrod calls this statue Mr. Battambang... he is scaring off all of the evil spirits that would try to hurt the people and the city... don't know how good of a job he is doing, but, it is the demonic thought that counts... since I have been to Angkor Wat three times,
I will call myself Mr. Angkor Wat...

03 July 2007

Back in Phnom Penh

I got back to Phnom Penh last Wednesday and have been trying to get my life into some sort of order. The short term trip is great, but it sure is like being in a whirlwind (whatever that might be). There are so many things that pull your heart in numerous directions... children that you will not see in a while, things that you are thinking about from back home, friends that you are looking forward to seeing, foods that you want to taste again (and some that you don't)... nevertheless, it has been good to get back to Phnom Penh and start to think, pray and work through what it is that I will be doing over the next few months.

I have been able to go to a couple of Bible studies with the college students, and will begin doing some teaching this coming Friday. An opportunity for teaching English has already come up, but I think that I will wait a bit because of some possible Asia's Hope commitments. I am thinking that I will begin putting out C.V's (Asian name for resumes) in the beginning of August and see what happens. There is a potentially a group of Americans coming this month to Phnom Penh. If that happens, I will need to spend a hunk of time with them... teaching would throw a big wrench into that.

The college students and I went on a picnic/barbecue on Saturday. It was a nice time aside from the torrential rains that hit toward the end. I put some pictures on the blog (linked at the bottom of this email). I went and saw the children at the Phnom Penh orphanage last night, and we had a great time. There are usually a lot more people to keep 22 or so children busy, so it was quite a challenge having footballs, tennis balls and Frisbees being thrown at me from various directions, which I was supposed to catch and then toss off to someone else. I was glad when the time deteriorated down into putting stickers on my fingernails and having tickle sessions. I was again encouraged and amazed at how the children are being trained and taught. Narun and his wife Sophal have taught the children to be SO respectful of each other, someone reads a passage from the Bible before dinner and then this mite of a child got up and prayed a LONG time... great to see God's hand at work.

I got together yesterday with Savorn, who is the director of Asia's Hope in Cambodia. He is a great man and I am honored to know him. He is a few years older than me, but has seen so much more of life than I have. At an early age he was conscripted into the Vietnamese army to fight against the Khmer Rouge, he has been a pastor for years and is now doing great things for God in the ministry of Asia's Hope. He and I talked about numerous ways that we can work to improve the school. We are currently working on adjusting the schedule of the school so that more attention can be given to English and Computer teaching in the afternoons. He and I are going to be working together at the school, so it is encouraging to have a godly man that I respect to work with. We are looking for some people who might be willing to help out develop a computer lab for the school (10 computers). Computers (the whole shooting match) are $120. If you have any interest in helping out with that project, let me know!

There are a few other things going on, but I think I will cut this email short (?) for now... check out the pictures that I have put on the blog... I am sorry to all of you who have not gotten my previous emails. Let's just say that there have been both computer and email issues to deal with... I am trying my best to get it all taken care of...

Thanks for your prayers. May God bless you in all things.

a college student picnic

Yes, that is a mortar and pestle in Sopheap's hand... grinding up herbs...








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