29 September 2007

Angkor Wat

Some more pictures that I have wanted to put up...








Monkeying around...

I have been meaning to put these pics up for a while...




Death on the Nile

My latest Agatha Christie read....

"Young, rich, and beautiful Linnet Ridgeway has almost everything. What she doesn't have, she takes. For instance, her best friend Jackie's man. When Linnet and her new beau embark on their honeymoon cruise along the Nile, nothing can keep Jackie from their shadows. And no one - not even detective Hercule Poirot - can prevent a crime of passion. But faced with the suspect's airtight alibi, can he even prove who did it?" - from the back cover

Death on the Nile, continues to show in my mind why Agatha Christie is THE genius of the detective novel. She once again gathers a dozen or more people together, gives them all reasons for wanting to kill the subject, then gives them all alibis... and then solves the crime... it is a fantastic read, but if you are not a reader... check out the DVD version with David Suchet...

24 September 2007

Some Seda Pics

In my last email, I had mentioned Seda to all of you...
here are some pictures of us...


SNAPSHOTS

In case you are wondering, I am alive and well in Phnom Penh... I know that it has been almost three weeks since I have talked to some of you, but I wanted to give you a few snapshots of what is going on in Cambodia...

SNAPSHOT #1: Cambodia was in world news last week when authorities arrested Noun Chea, who was known as Brother No.2 during the genocidal regime of the Khmer Rouge (1975-1979). Why it has taken 28 years to arrest a man who is partially responsible for the deaths of 1.7 million of his own people is a question that can be answered if you know this country intimately. There are many reasons that I could give you, but I guess at this point, it is just good to have him awaiting trial. The UN is pushing the country to have trials before many of these men die. Noun Chea has said that he knew nothing of the genocide because he was always involved in governmental meetings... just like Hitler was Swedish...

SNAPSHOT #2: I started teaching English classes at Pannasastra University in Phnom Penh. Things are going well so far. At one point I had 60 or more students in each of my classes, but they have been able to hire more instructors and they have cut my classes down to a manageable 30 to 40 students. Essentially I am a teaching 3/4 of a full load. I have three separate times when I am teaching, but some of the classes meet on alternating days, so there are really four actual classes that I am teaching. I would appreciate your prayers with this because the class times are VERY spaced out, and it can be very hard to get things accomplished in the times between...

SNAPSHOT #3: As I mentioned in my last email, I have begun taking Khmer language lessons. It is not easy, but I am learning a lot. I even find myself venturing into simple sentences and questions out in public... my Khmer friends are more generous with their time and understanding and help me when I am struggling with a word or a pronunciation. I am far from fluent, but I feel that I am making some encouraging baby steps...

SNAPSHOT #4: I did finally buy a moto. There is a lot more to this story, but suffice it to say that I made some mistakes in buying the one that I did, and it will not be a good solution for the long run... so in the meantime Seda is using the one that I bought and I am using hers... it is definitely a good solution in the short run. I have not had time to get a picture of it on my blog, but I will. Please pray for my safety as I drive. I am getting a lot better as a driver, but the traffic here is VERY nerve racking... for those who have not heard my descriptions of traffic in Cambodia before, just imagine almost everyone having the right of way at the same time, people driving both ways on the same side of the road, and attempting to avoid random bicycles, cars, moto, food sellers, and people walking on the road at the same time... they seem to be rarely paying attention to anyone but themselves either... harrowing to say the least... I think that I will be less stressed about it over time, but it has been heart pumping (stopping?) on a few occasions...

SNAPSHOT #5: Some of you may have noticed that in my emails I mention a girl named Seda from time to time. Seda and I have been friends since my first summer in 2004. We have a really good friendship that has grown over the years. We have had a great time seeing more of each other this summer as well (I know that it is fall in the States, but it feels like early June here)... I have been unsure of how to tell everyone about her... I did not want anyone to get the wrong impression of why I was here, but we have a developing relationship... in the States we would call it dating, here it is hard to know what we call it... I was planning on coming here no matter what happened with her, but it has been a real added blessing... we'd appreciate your prayers for knowing God's will.

SNAPSHOT #6: Lastly, and I really don't feel the need to go into a lot of detail right now, but I would just appreciate your prayers in general for strength in following the Lord. There have been a few times of late that have been really rough for me, and I can not walk through those things in my own power... I need the power that only comes from God. It is not that I feel like I am faltering in my faith, but more that I want to make sure that I live a life that is consistently faithful to Him...

Thanks again! I love hearing from all of you in email, and it is a great blessing to know that many of you are praying for me. Graham

19 September 2007

Cambodian Police Arrest Top Surviving Khmer Rouge Leader

PAILIN, Cambodia — Police arrested the top surviving Khmer Rouge leader Wednesday, taking Nuon Chea to appear before a U.N-backed genocide tribunal for his role in the 1970s Cambodian regime blamed for the deaths of 1.7 million people.

See the article on this website... http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,297276,00.html

12 September 2007

Pic


This picture is called "being in the right place at the right time..."
if you've got a caption, let me know... I caught this one
at the Riverside...

Beat up feet

My feet have really taken a beating this summer...
some of it from the moto... once I just fell down (the big cut)...

10 September 2007

Website

This is the website for Pannasastra University in Cambodia where I start teaching tomorrow... http://www.puc.edu.kh/

06 September 2007

PPP

Hello again... here is a bit of PPP (Phnom Penh Potpourri) for you...

I started my lessons in the Khmer language almost three weeks ago. It has been really good, but not easy. The class is just me and my teacher, Nara. He has done this for a number of years, so he knows what he is doing, but there are A LOT of sounds that are foreign to my ear and my ability to pronounce. I have learned a lot in a short period of time, and I am glad that I made this step. I do think that years of listening to students perform on musical instruments has been a help in me discerning how to say things correctly. Please pray for me that this feeble brain of mine will be able to remember all that I am learning...

On the employment front, I thank God for His provision because I was hired by Pannasastra University to teach English. I will be teaching three hours each day (two classes), 6 days a week for their term that begins September 11. It was a whirlwind experience... the previous day Narin and I had dropped my resume off at 4 different schools, including Pannasastra... they told me that I could come in for an interview the next day. The interview was very positive, and voila! I am now an English teacher... the dean of the university interviewed me, and I was impressed with his English and his general demeanor. Even though I do not have English teaching experience, he was impressed by twelve years of teaching experience and my experiences in Cambodia. Pannasastra is the largest English school in Phnom Penh, and I am praying that it will be a positive experience. It sounds like if it goes well, I could step up to 6 hours per day (five days a week), but that would not be until November.

In Cambodia, elementary and high school's officially begin their year in October... nonetheless, many (if not most) schools are in session nearly all year long. Occasionally there are a few days (or at the most a week) off. As the new year gets closer, we will be starting a new computer class for the children at Asia's Hope Christian School. It will be basic typing and basic computer skills, but it will also help to reinforce reading and writing the English alphabet. It was a lot of fun going out and buying the machines, assembling them and seeing the kids excitement... I wanted to give a special thanks to the three people who helped to donate money to make the computers available to the students. There are pictures of the new computers on my blog (web address at the bottom). It is a blessing that we already have those things in place so that when the new year begins we can give the students a better education.

Thank you for those of you who prayed for a laptop for Savorn (Asia's Hope National Director in Cambodia). The email went out, and it was mentioned in a Sunday School class, and the class voted to send him money for a computer. We thank God for His provision. It will be well used.

Another blessing for the school this year is the fact that we have just gotten all of our orphans from the Phnom Penh area to attend the school (all of the students grade 6 and under). It is a blessing to have more of the children exposed to the truth of Jesus Christ integrated into their education. This was the key reason that I stayed at Mansfield Christian School for 12 years. AH Christian School seems to have more students than ever right now, and we are grateful to God for His blessings.

Saturday will be the big day for buying a moto... I've been practicing driving Seda's moto around town, but it is not always available... I am really tired of paying moto drivers every time I need to go somewhere, so it is nice to know that investment is in the pipeline.

On a completely different note... As September has been ushered in here in Cambodia, I have thought many times about the life that was...namely my teaching job at Mansfield Christian School. I was so blessed to have supportive friendships, students and families there. 12 years of service to the Lord there has shaped me so much as a person and as a follower of Christ. Frankly, I would not even be in Cambodia right now if it was not for Mansfield Christian. God has used them mightily in the lives of students and families (not to mention the teachers) for over 40 years. I am glad that I can add my name to the list of people who has been blessed by God because of my affiliation with them... I pray that God will bless you all with a tremendous school year that is overflowing with the leadership and power of His Spirit.

Have a great week, and thank you again for your prayers and support.

By His Power and Grace,
Graham

04 September 2007

Vietnam pics

Here are some pictures from my whirlwind to trip to Vietnam last month. Most of the pictures are from the War Remnants Museum... which always brings up such mixed emotions on my part... but I wanted to see it... also there is a version of Notre Dame Cathedral in Ho Chi Minh City, which was a surprise to me...



03 September 2007

Comforting words from Australia

This is from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade...

We advise you to exercise caution and monitor developments that might affect your safety in Cambodia because of the risk of civil unrest, violent criminal activity and terrorism.
On 29 July 2007, a bomb exploded in front of the Cambodian/Vietnamese Friendship Monument in the Duan Penh district of Phnom Penh – two other devices failed to explode. While no-one has claimed responsibility, further attacks cannot be ruled out. Pay close attention to your personal security and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks. You should avoid protests, demonstrations and political gatherings as they may turn violent. In the past year there have been human cases of avian influenza in Cambodia.

In reality, it was just a couple of disgruntled Khmer's who dislike the influence of Vietnam in Cambodia...

01 September 2007

Saying goodbye to a good friend

We had a hard goodbye the other day... Our good friend and sister Amy who has lived at the Student Center for a while has moved to her home province. She has been struggling to find a job for a long time, and she recently got a very good job with a bank... she has done all of the training here in Phnom Penh, and it was time for her to go. We will miss here a lot. She is a sweet girl, and we will be praying for her...



Computers at Asia's Hope Christian School

Here are some pictures of the new computer lab
that we are putting in at Asia's Hope Christian School...






Dumb Witness

One of Agatha Christie's books has waffled between two titles: Dumb Witness (also known as Poirot Loses A Client)... and neither of the titles makes a lot of sense in relation to the story... I know that the A and E version of Dumb Witness makes use of the terrier (the dumb, non speaking, witness) and makes a lot of sense, but in the book the dog just shows up from time to time... the movie actually makes use of the dog helping Poirot to put the pieces together... the movie is beautifully done, and the book is great as well, but it just paints a different picture... nevertheless, Christie is a genius, and this book is another example. I used to have the idea that she didn't tell the reader anything until the end of the book, but that is simply not true... she is the genius of credibly accusing as many as a dozen different characters of the crime, and then wrapping it up with Poirot's genius... read and enjoy...