Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Hey. I've been unable to get my laptop hooked up to the internet here, so I'm at a cafe with a laptop, retyping everything. Sigh. Here's what I wrote today and yesterday...

9pm Tuesday

To call today 'tiring' would be like calling Antarctica "chilly." So, I'm not going to type in a long post.

As a matter fo fact, I'm not sure how this post is going to reach anyone, ├žause I'm not actually at an internet cafe right now. I'm sitting on an upper bunk in Asia's Hope's guest house in Phnom Penh. We arrived this afternoon after a 33 hour journey from Cleveland to L.A. to Taipei to Phnom Penh. Pastor Vek Huong's wife, Parstor Savorn's wife, and many of the students worked hard to make ourlittle house feel like home.

Dozens of students met us at the airport with flowers and hugs, making all of us -- een the first timers -- feel like dearly loved family members.

We were driven to a brightly lit, fully-furnished townhouse in a somewhat run-down neighborhood near the Russian Market. Then again, pretty much all of the neighborhoods in this city could be described as "run down."

After a tour of the nearby market, we met for dinner at the Thmorda restaurant. We followed that up by a time of worship and encouragement at one of the Asia's Hope student centers. By the end of the meeting, however, I feared becoming a modern day Eutycus withouit the benefit of a modern day Paul. We returned, exhausted, and are just about ready to hit the sack. Tomorrow we start the ministry portion of our trip in earnest.

5:30 Wednesday

Well, it's Wednesday morning. I got through about half of my shower before the power ran out. Wouldn't be a problem, but the shower heat is electric. No beig deal, though. It's already pretty warm here.

Today we begin preparation for dental and medical clinics, the 'Bible Answer Guy' portion of our ministry at the student centers, some English classes at the elementary school and the student centers, and some general orientation to the city of Phnom Penh. I'm thinking of taking the group to Tuol Sleng genocide museum, a former high school-turned torture camp. Pretty depressing. No, extremely depressing. But essential for understanding what this land has been through.

Pray for our team -- we're all pretty tired and I'm somewhat disoriented. We're staying ina completely different side of town and all of my landmarks are, well, somewhere else. Pray that our time is well spent, and that our presence here will be encouraging to our brothers and sisters. Pray that these students will see in us a g\Godly example of servanthood. Pray that we will be a powerful sign of the Kingdom, where rich serve the poor, and the weak are made strong.

Well, I'm going to try to figure out the gas stove so I can make coffee. I'm sure glad I brought the low-tech, french press coffee maker. I'm not sure how long we'll be out of power.

Then, I'm going to head out with a couple of the guys to catch the city waking up. It's exhilariating. We've already heard the roosters crow, and the calls to prayer from some distant temple, so I guess it's time to get movin.

Wednesday 12:30pm

I'm on the campus ofthe New Life Church tending Dr. Carolyn's autoclave. Carolyn and Molly have been setting up the dental clinic's equipment, and I'm helping to sterilize the instruments. I'm very excited to have Carolyn and Molly along on this trip. They have been very positive, very flexible, and except for the time Roach-zilla tried to eat Carolyn's toes, very brave. Adam and Priscila spent time this morning teaching English to the kids in the first grade. I was amazed at how much they already knew. The teachers at the school have obviously been working on them. Other team mebmers are also at the student centers teaching English. Dr. Bob Lamonte, Carol Secrist and DR. John Campbell are preparing for the medical clinics, which will begin tomorrow.

Speaking of Dr. Bob, he saw his first patient this morning. Pastor Vek Huong's wife, Samoen, brought a young woman and her baby to our house this morning. The woman's husband had recently killed himself, and she was too poor to care for the child. She sought out Samoen, because she had heard that we have an orpanage in Phnom Penh. Unfortunately, that orphanage is still under construction, and won't be ready for another month.

Dr. Bob examined the baby, discovered that he had an ear infection, and gave him some antibiotics. We gave the mother some food, and sent Samouen back with some money to buy a month's worth of milk for the baby. Pray that this woman will be able to afford to keep her child. Also, pray that, if she is not, we will be able to give this little boy a good home.

A widow AND orphan. We've hit all of James 1:27 in one shot. There will be plenty more of each to come, I'm sure.

Well, my autoclave is ready to empty. I must go. I'll write more soon.

Grace and peace.

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