27 May 2009

A long way gone - Ishmael Beah

Earlier this month I finished reading "A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier" by Ishmael Beah. It is a good book from the standpoint of a boy who was forced by the government to fight in the civil war that took place in Sierra Leone in the 1990's. Since I have been living in Cambodia, I have begun to see more and more that America is in someways a political utopia. I know that sounds ridiculous when it comes to the deep political divides that exist there, but people's rights are respected SO much more in the US than most places in the world.

In this book, a young boy is forced into the killing machine that was the government army of Sierra Leone. But when I say 'government', I mean something that we can not imagine in the US. It is was a life of violence, indiscriminate killing without justice or mercy, drug use and plain insanity.

It is well written. I have to admit that there were a few things (like the references to Shakespeare) that seemed a bit unbelievable to me, but many times life is a bit unbelievable, isn't it?

Thanks for the book, Sherrod.

25 May 2009

In Vietnam - a water puppet show

This was pretty cool... hard to see in pictures...

In Vietnam- the Cu Chi Tunnels

Seda and I went to visit the Cu Chi Tunnels when we were in Vietnam . This is the place that all of the soldiers lived under ground for years and years and years... the blurry picture of me coming out of the tunnel (which I had been in for not more than fifteen minutes) was how I really felt...

Seda and Graham in Vietnam - March (!)

Seda and I went to Vietnam back in March...just putting the pics up...

15 May 2009

Taking the road less traveled...

Taking the road less traveled usually means that you don't always (if ever) know where you are going... I have been feeling like that a bit lately... let me share why.

The road less traveled in marriage...
Over the last three months, Seda and I have begun to grow into this new phase of our life. Married life is certainly different, but we have have been enjoying it. It has definitely had it's challenges already, but we are both learning. As they say, progress not perfection. One of the things that I have seen over the years is that my personality tends towards wanting to fix things, clean things up, and solve/resolve every problem that comes down the road... I have trouble with gray areas and unresolved situations... I am learning that one of the areas that I have to change is giving Seda her space and time for her to work through things in her way, and allow things to be somewhat unresolved (in my mind) until she is ready. An important life lesson for me...

The road less traveled with Asia's Hope
Not long after Seda and I had gotten married, we found out that there had been in change in leadership at Asia's Hope. Dave Atkins, the man that introduced me to Cambodia, needed to step down for a variety of reasons. In the wake of that significant change, the board of AH has looked at every aspect of what they are doing in Cambodia and Thailand, and has decided to end any kind of formal internship program. They have always had a strong committment to only hiring national Cambodian and Thai workers, but they were never confident about how God would use Westerners here. In a nutshell, there will not come a point in time in the future when I will be employed by AH. I am still doing volunteer work for them at the Christian School. I am still confident that God was the One who led me here to serve the children and teachers of AH, but Seda and I have begun to ask God what the next steps are for us here.

The road less traveled overseas
As much as Seda and I would love to be visiting the US soon, it is just not very likely. We have discovered that it is basically impossible for her to receive a tourist visa (very difficult for most Cambodians) because she owns no property, has no children that she will return to in Cambodia, and no large reserves of cash in the bank... so, if there is any way for her to visit the US, it is through applying for an immigration visa, which would mean that we would both have to move to the US for about five years... there are a lot of forms to fill out, conditions to meet, and emotions to work through... it can be a process that takes up to about a year, so you can keep us in your prayers that we will have wisdom that this is truly the direction that Jesus is leading us in... It is really not what I imagined happening (or wanted), but it may be God's providence pointing us in this direction.

The road traveled again, with English teaching
I am dissapointed to say that a job I had applied for with Samaritan's Purse did not work out, so I am back to the English teaching 'road' for a while...

My comfort on the road less traveled...
Throughout a lot of the things that I mentioned above, God has been reassuring me through His Word of His provision. And the other day when I was wondering which direction to go next, I read in Psalm 25:12 "Who is the man who fears the LORD?He will instruct him in the way he should choose."

As always thank you for your prayers, financial support, and emails. All of it is greatly appreciated.

May Jesus bless you all in every way,

Graham