26 August 2009

No parking?

No parking in any language seems to attract people to park right next to the sign...

yep, a door...


This is a government office... no joke

This was our most recent bribery stop... this time we will be paying $80 to furnish plastic chairs for this 'office'...

Boy makes an offering to a monk




The Egg truck

It is a bit hard to see this, but these eggs are hanging out of the back of a van as it hurdles along a road that is not that smooth... common practice here... but I just never got a picture of it until now... still haven't gotten a good pic of it... maybe another day...

15 August 2009

Seda graduates from the Royal University of Law and Economics

Well, it is hard to explain how this works, but Seda finished her course work in 2006, but was just given her degree this past Wednesday. These are some pictures from after the ceremony. Family and friends were not allowed to attend, so I did not get any pictures of the speaker, Prime Minister Hun Sen. She is the first person in her family to graduate from a university... Congratulations babe!

07 August 2009

Making a tent is more complicated than it looks...

Lately I have been doing a lot of thinking about the concept of 'tent making'. I had not given it a lot of thought since I first came to Cambodia two years ago... (Which is a bit strange because that is what I have been doing the whole time I have been here.) If you are not familiar with the term, it simply references the apostle Paul's approach to taking care of his daily needs. He would work making tents for people, and then spend his time teaching people about Jesus. That was the idea that I embraced as I came here. Little did I know that making a tent is more complicated than it looks...

Since that time, I have been able to experience it in action... and as with many things in life, it has been a process of putting on new glasses through which I can view the experiences of life and where I learn that not everyone looks at the world like I (we?) do... Nevertheless, as I have thought about these things more, I see that there are valuable lessons to be learned (and maybe even passed on to others who consider doing the same)...

Tent stitch Number 1: A tent just doesn't make itself... you've got to get in there and stitch!
I think that when I started tent making as an English teacher I viewed the actual teaching as a breeze and a relatively insignificant part of what I was doing here. I mean, Paul never spends much time talking about his trade, why would I spend much time thinking about it? That has been a bit of a wake up call, but an okay one... honing the skill of being an English teacher has included learning new curriculums, grading tests, actually learning English grammar (as opposed to just catching it from my culture), trying to explain idioms and slang that we all take for granted, as well as trying to think through the thought patterns of people who are trying to impose their culture into an English thought system that doesn't jive with theirs... not so easy, but usually entertaining and interesting...

But there are bloody fingers as well, which I am sure Paul experienced as he was sewing that leather... (you have to build those callouses some how). I have had to learn to deal with students that cheat on exams, disgruntled teachers that chew on my ear (not literally, just another idiom for you) , employers that I am not always sure have my best interests in mind, as well as the nagging doubts and insecurities that weigh on one's mind when you wonder if what you are doing is worthwhile.

All that to say that Seda and I have been helping each other to build a few tents around Phnom Penh... maybe it is in my classrooms, with the Christian teachers from the Asia's Hope school, her work with the poor children of Beoung Salang, our home, our church, or just out and about... some tents (as some people) seem to have come together easily, while others seem like they may always be in pieces. Keep us in your prayers as we continue to endeavor to serve the Lord here in Cambodia in the ways that He provides.

On personal notes, Seda and I are still working through the maze that is called the Cambodian government, trying to get our marriage license finished... yes, we have been married 6 months now, and we are still trying to get them to finish it for us... we are closer than ever, but it is often a challenging endeavor. After we get that, we will be able to begin to apply for an immigrant visa to the US. Several people have already done many things to help us with this, which is a blessing.

Thank you for all of your prayers! May God bless you.

Graham and Seda

Chantou's Birthday Party

We had a birthday party for our niece Chanthou... we actually got her a bicycle that she really needed... maybe pics of that another time...






05 August 2009

Amy graduated from BBU today!

Our friend Amy officially graduated from Build Bright University here in Phnom Penh today. It doesn't matter that she finished the course work two years ago! Hard to explain how things get done here... here are some pictures....