24 September 2008

It ain't called the rainy season for nothin'... (yes I do teach English)

If you have never been here to Cambodia (which I know most of you haven't), they have basically two seasons... the Hot Season (creative title), and the Rainy Season (again, creative)... right now we are in the midst of the Rainy Season, and as my email title suggests, they don't call it that because they have nothing else to call it... main roads turn into rivers when the storms hit, and all of the smaller streets turn into smaller tributaries of the main waterways... yesterday, I had to drive through one of the worst storms in a few weeks in order to get to school, sometimes taking my moto through 8 to 10 inches of water... the spark plug finally said 'enough!' and I had to walk my bike to school (haven't said that in about 20 years...)... as I was driving, it occurred to me that Phnom Penh looked a bit like pictures of Venice, just without the boats.... SO, what else is going on you ask?

An English Language Church Service
A new project that has come along in the last month and half is that I am now helping to start an English language church service at an already-existing Khmer church in Phnom Penh. We have had three services already, and I have been leading the music, as well as creating the PowerPoint presentations. Our main goal is to provide an English language service for Khmer people who are interested in developing their skills in English, as well as reaching out to native English speakers who are looking for a place to worship. It has been a small, but good beginning... as you remember, please keep us in your prayers.

Working with Transform Cambodia
I have recently been asked to teach guitar to 4 young men that work with Transform Cambodia (the organization that Seda, my fiancee, works for). We will get together about once a week to work on basic guitar skills, give some uniformity to what they are teaching their students, and maybe even teach some basic music reading... Music is not taught in schools in Cambodia, so any education that they get is usually by rote or off of the radio... please pray for me as I serve them...

Teaching More English...
Last week I was asked to take on a 5th class at Pannasastra University (full time is 4 classes) because one teacher had left, and the students there needed help (I later learned from the students that I was actually the 8th teacher... I can't explain that one)... keep me in your prayers because I have been burning the candle at about 3 ends... in my other classes, I have built some particularly good relationships with many of the students, including several monks. It has been interesting to be open with them about my faith, and to ask questions about theirs. Some have even been interested in reading some Scripture tracks that I have given them. Please ask God that He would provide more of these opportunities.

Asia's Hope and Graham update
I need to give you a quick update on where things are with being hired to work with Asia's Hope (AH). AH has decided to wait a bit to hire me for a few reasons. There were issues dealing with 1) certain aspects of the ministry changing, 2) the fact that they only have hired Cambodians to work in Cambodia, and they need to do further research to define how they will use foreign workers here, and 3) they feel that Seda and I need time to prepare for our future together, and that may be hindered by having a full time job with AH. So, I am still doing things with AH, but it is strictly in a volunteer capacity right now. Again, prayers for direction would be greatly appreciated.

Other highlights...
The staff of Asia's Hope had a retreat at Sihanoukville a few weeks ago, which I was privileged to join. All of the teachers from the school, and all of the staff from all of the orphanages went. It was a nice and relaxing time. It was also my privilege to speak to them from the Scriptures.

Seda's father continues to have cancer treatments. He is an a phase where he has short radiation treatments 5 days a week. He has had a recurring lung infection because of this. As you remember, please keep him in your prayers. Also, because he has not been a Christian very long, please keep him in your prayers to continue to trust God and grow in his faith.

The temporary law in Cambodia that says that foreign men may not marry Khmer women has still not changed. Please keep Seda and I in your prayers. We both get a little discouraged about this from time to time, but we know that God is in control of all of the governments in the world, and we can trust Him to wait. Unfortunately, this law will incur heavy marriage taxes on foreign men who want to marry Khmer women, so please pray that God will provide what Seda and I need at that time.

Finally, I am still teaching a Bible study to college students a few times a week. We have been learning new songs, and their meanings. I have also started a study with them about baptism. Many of them have never been baptized, so the culmination of these lessons will be baptism by Pastor Narin Chey.

Thank you again for your prayers and gifts that enable me to do these things in Cambodia! May God bless you in every way. Graham

Fun pics with Seda

Have you ever seen those funny machines in malls that you can take your picture? Well, here it goes, Cambodia style... Seda and I went out for a date, and stopped by this booth on the way home... a bit corny, but we had fun with it...

03 September 2008

Progress on the new AH school

Here are a few pics of the surrounding grounds of the new AH school near Prek Eng. We could not go inside that day, but hopefully everything will be ready soon...

Church and Corn...

Here are some pictures from last Sunday at one of the orphanages... I could not get many pictures of the church service, but there are some fun pictures of the kids eating corn afterwards...