Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Well, it's my last full day in Cambodia. This trip, I've been much to busy to think, let alone blog regularly. Last time, we stayed in a hotel on Monivong Blvd (the main drag through town) which had an internet cafe steps away from the front lobby. This year, we're staying in a guest house in a very Cambodian neighborhood. The closest internet shop is a couple of blocks away, and it closes at 7pm. Unfortunately, we've been working 14 hour days, and that leaves precious little time for this.

I'm looking into getting internet access at the guest house, but I'm sure it will be expensive. But short of that, my days of prolific and profound messages will have to be some sort of a distant memory. It's kinda difficult to be terribly interesting when I'm cramming all of my thoughts into the shortest period of time -- last year, I could write pretty much whenever I got the inspiration. Oh, well.

Today we celebrated the first birthday of the New Life Christian School. That place rocks. About 16 months ago, it was only a dream. Now, it's a real, live school with three classes and more than 30 students. Aside from the 90+ degree temperatures, it seems very similar to an American school. The teachers are very committed, and the children are learning a ton. Talk about clever, these kids are learning to write and speak Khmer AND English.

It was an honor to represent Worthington Christian Elementary School. I presented the gift boxes the WCS kids prepared, and announced the contribution amount from the Legacy fundraiser. Praise God for his goodness. Praise God that I can participate in opening the eyes of American schoolchildren to see their brothers and sisters on the other side of the globe.

In a few minutes, I'm leaving to visit the new orphanage property about 10 kilometers outside of Phnom Penh. The building is almost complete -- in a few weeks, we'll start bringing in the first of about 50 children who will call the place home. Praise God. (I know I keep saying that, but what else CAN I say?) The property will also be the home of our permanent dental/medica clinic, and maybe another Christian School.

If this new orphanage is destined to be anything like the one in Battambang, I cannot wait to return later this summer to visit. The difference between state run orphanages like Kien Klaing and our orphanage in Battambang is incredible. Truly a piece of heaven on earth -- the kingdom of God in it's 'already' phase. I can hardly imagine the 'not yet' phase, when we can all speak the same language, and I can play with those kids all day long without getting heat exhaustion.

There are so many things that have happened on this trip! It will probably take months to unfold all of what I've learned, and then it will be time for me to go again.

I'll return to the U.S. with a renewed sense of purpose, and a newly sharpened perspective on our work in Cambodia. I'll be ready to talk with many of you about your upcoming visits here, and we'll begin working on our next set of projects. Some of them will probably include some really innovative microenterprise solutions we've been evaluating. Praise God!

Well, I've hardly begun, but I have to go now if I want to get a bite of lunch before the orphanage.

God is so good. Every one of you should come here. It will change you. I promise. And if you can't make it yourself, find someone who wants to come and give them some money. They won't return the same.

Thank you all for your prayers and for your financial support of Asia's Hope. You are changing the world, and you are serving Jesus. I pray that you will be richly blessed.

Pray for our safe return. I hope to see you all soon. Keep up with this blog, as I'll be posting more when I return.

And check out the trip photos and the other blog while you're at it.


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