Gearing Up For a Busy Season

Hi, everyone! Happy summer from the land where it is always warm.

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Upcoming Malaysia Trip/Visa Renewal

The last few months have been pretty full on and with the start of Strong Roots (our vocational training program) beginning in November, we are looking to get away for a few days. In fact, we just purchased tickets for Malaysia at the end of September/early October. We haven’t taken a family vacation like this since last year and are looking forward to a week away in a really fun place! We will be renewing our visas at the same time which is one of our more significant large expenses each year. We would love extra financial help with this cost — $1200 plus $600 for work permits at the beginning of 2020 for our entire family. Also, if you’d like to help us with our trip to Malaysia, we would be so grateful! If you are interested in a tax-deductible donation, you can donate via New Life Church and the instructions are on our partner page. Otherwise, just use the link below to quickly and securely donate via our website. Thank you!

Donate

Now for some highlights from the past few months

 

Short Term Volunteers

Our team hosted a few short-term volunteers interested in longer-term commitments. We loved having them with us for two weeks and showing them the work in Sihanoukville as well as our plans for the Kampot base.

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Spa day for women

We hosted two women’s meetings in our Sihanoukville community, continuing to build relationships and offer opportunities for connection, education on relevant issues, and encouragement.

King’s Birthday

We celebrated the King’s Birthday with our international and Khmer team at Rabbit Island. It was beautiful and a fun day!

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Strong Roots

Our Strong Roots program is continuing to move through the planning stages. We have five young men from Sihanoukville signed up to start in November and last week we rented a house/office space in Kampot. We also recently signed on two more boys from Phnom Penh! We have government approval to move forward — yay! Our next step is to hire Khmer staff who will oversee the project and provide relational direction and encouragement for the young men in the program. We will be focusing on apprenticeship in moto repair shops for the first year of the program, as well as working on Khmer literacy and life skills. We are excited and nervous about the possibilities and stepping into the unknown!

Caleb and Aaron finished their second term!

The boys finished out their second term of the year with a program in which they both had speaking parts — we are so proud of them and encouraged to see them loving school!

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May 2019 - What's New?

Recently I was reading in Psalm 18 (The Passion Translation) and verse 19 jumped off the page. It says:

“His love broke open the way and he brought me into a beautiful, broad place. He rescued me — because his delight is in me.”

Daily we face many challenges and obstacles that feel insurmountable. Working to bring change where poverty mindsets are generations strong is hard. Sometimes it feels like we are standing in the face of a tidal wave of destruction and despair. And YET this is the hope and cry of our hearts, the belief we carry — God’s love can break open a way and bring people out of a cramped and dark survival into a beautiful place of joy and freedom. In response to that verse, we offer this prayer:

Lord - please help us to lean more and more into your love, trusting that your love will break open the way. Help us. Break through the fog and confusion and shine your clear light on the way we are to go.

Amen.


Goodlin News

we have some wonderful things to share with you...happenings from the last few months and family updates. Enjoy!

Khmer New Year

We recently celebrated Khmer New Year at our center. It was a time full of laughter, games, and silliness. This is the stuff childhood is made of and we were happy to create memories with many of the children we love and serve each week. 

Also, our Khmer team recently took two boys who have excelled in school out for a special lunch at the beach. One of the boys is in his first year of school ever at the age of 12 and loving it! We are so encouraged by the growth we see in him.

Many of the families we work with are feeling the strain and difficulties of rapid development in the city. Honestly, it can be discouraging and hard work at times. Please be praying for them and for our Khmer team who seek to speak hope and encouragement and direction into difficult situations.

Sorry, we aren’t able to show their sweet faces. But hopefully, this gives you an idea of the size!

Sorry, we aren’t able to show their sweet faces. But hopefully, this gives you an idea of the size!

Special meal for a special holiday.

Special meal for a special holiday.

Nita, our amazing head social worker giving a little pep talk before the festivities.

Nita, our amazing head social worker giving a little pep talk before the festivities.

Strong Roots: A Vocational Training Program, Kampot

We are actively in the planning stages for our next phase of ministry which is pioneering a Vocational Training Program here in Kampot. The goal is to open the program in November of this year. This will be specifically for young men from the Blue Mountain community in Sihanoukville where we work. Many of them have limited options with drug dealing, alcohol abuse, and grunt labor with no skill development being the main sources of income. We want to see the cycles of poverty change in this community by working intentionally and holistically with young men and women. This is a big step of faith for us and we are trusting God with the details. Also praying into the list of names we have created for possible boys to start the program with us. 

Several weeks ago we took a gift to the government office in Kampot to introduce ourselves and our new project. They were so open and excited for our expansion into the region. We feel encouraged! 

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Women’s Meetings, Sihanoukville

We have had three women’s meetings in our Sihanoukville community. The vision for this time is to provide laughter, time away from daily stresses and tasks, equip on a practical level, and create an atmosphere of peace, hope and love. We are looking for some funding for these meetings. Please see the attached document for more information and email Noelle if you are interested in helping!

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Family Highlights

JACOB

Commutes weekly to Sihanoukville and uses the car time for random team talks and silliness. Enjoys long walks with Max, our dog. Surprised everyone by becoming a cat lover. Reads the Cambodian news in Khmer daily.

 
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CALEB

Looks forward to spending time with friends on the weekends. Talented with art projects at school. Started sharing a room with Jack and is learning how to be a kind, fun big brother.

 
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NOELLE

Recently spent a long weekend with an old friend in Bangkok. Loves spending one-on-one time with team members. Has discovered a newfound love of taking care of our little garden.

 
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JACK

Masquerades frequently as Batman and Superman. Makes his opinions freely and clearly known. Currently mastering potty training and ninja skills.

 
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AARON

Heading full-speed towards adolescence. Loves reading long books and drawing comics. Growing daily in being a responsible, very funny young man.

 
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ANIMALS

Max, our fab golden retriever pup, continues to be the best little boy playmate and master of mischief. Our sweet cat, Mango, passed away this month. We really miss her but our newly adopted cat, Gray, is helping fill the void. He is a rambunctious boy kitty with a knack for climbing.

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Prayer Requests

  • Strength, encouragement and faith for our Khmer team as the live and serve in Sihanoukville.

  • Health for our entire team — many of us have had a lot of sickness over the past few months.

  • Clear sense of God’s heart and direction for the vocational program, as well as Him preparing the right boys to start the program.

  • Protection, unity, and joy in our family life.

We love you all! Thanks for journeying with us. This is the hardest and best adventure we have ever done. We love it. Thanks for helping make it possible.

JACOB AND NOELLE

2018 Significant Moments

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Jacob and I were talking recently about this year. It has been hard and good and chaotic and full of growth. We aren’t sure we would choose to do it again! Nevertheless we know full well that the hard parts of life often bring out the best parts of us. 

End of Year Giving

As promised in our last newsletter, we have included our most significant moments of our year below. Yay! BUT before we get to that, we wanted to give you an opportunity to consider making an end-of-year donation (tax-deductible). Whether you are a monthly partner or give occasionally, your support helps us live intentionally and work effectively. It also helps us fulfill the dream in our hearts of laboring alongside Cambodians to strengthen this nation we now call home, protect children, build healthy families, encourage education, prevent human trafficking in all its forms, and introduce people to God’s love and hope. If you would like to partner with us or give in specific ways for the new year, we have listed a few of our needs below.

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Schooling

Aaron and Caleb attend an international school in Kampot and Aaron also studies Khmer in the afternoons at a separate location. Next year we will be starting Jack in preschool. We need to raise an additional $500 of monthly support to supplement these growing school costs.

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Traveling/Transportation

With supporting the continuing work in Sihanoukville, Jacob travels quite a bit more which means extra wear on our vehicle and gas, lodging and food expenses, and additional transportation expenses back home for Noelle. We want to raise an additional $300/month to compensate for these increased expenses.

Stay tuned for some exciting developments happening this coming year in Kompot! In short, we are looking to start a Vocational Training Program for kids in Sihanoukville that are unable to complete their education through the government school due to a variety of factors and/or are at risk. We would bring them to Kompot, provide housing (dormitory) and help them train and learn a skill they love while working on Khmer literacy at the same time. Kompot’s environment is not chaotic like Sihanoukville, so we believe Kompot will provide some space for kids to take a break from the messiness and focus on their futures!


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Leading a Team

At the end of last year, we took over a leadership role of the Sihanoukville base. We said yes, not knowing what kind of year and challenges lay ahead. We have learned so much about each other, ourselves, leadership, cross-culture work, and walking out faith with others in the past year. Grateful, grateful, grateful for the learning!

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Hope & Love in Blue Mountain

In spite of many challenges and changes, we continue to see growth in trust and the effectiveness of our work in the Blue Mountain community. Even in the midst of uncertainty, we see glimmers of good, deep things happening in children and families.

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Deeper, Simpler Family Life

With Jacob traveling more, I am more focused at home than ever before. I have struggled at times with feeling disconnected from the bigger picture of Cambodia, but I am encouraged by the growth in our children and our relationships with them. They are blossoming with creativity, personality, and faith.

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The Big 4-0

So we are 40 now. Can you believe it?! Neither can we. As Caleb said the other day, “Just a few more days until you are a grandma.” Um...what?!

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Changes in Sihanoukville & Move to Kampot

The rapid development in Sihanoukville and its impact on the Khmer people is very difficult to describe. I (Noelle) made a day trip there two weeks ago and wept that night for the sense of loss and change I feel in the city. We are learning deep lessons about change, faith, and injustice that we don’t quite have words for it yet.

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Our Khmer Team

Without a doubt, one of our greatest joys this year has been our Khmer team. We couldn’t ask for better friends and co-laborers. These men and women are sincere, kind, faithful and passionate. We think the world of them!

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Max and Mango

We never thought we would be a family with animals. Hm...yet here we are. We love our furry family members. They bring humor and fun to our lives!

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New Horizons

So now what? A new year awaits and we feel a sense of hope and anticipation. We are learning to love our new town, Kampot. We are expectant for an expansion in our work and vision of what can be here, perhaps first through a vocational training center. (More on that in the new year). And we are standing steady in Sihanoukville - loving with open hearts and hopefully being a source of strength and encouragement as we continue to grow the Dream Center.

Here I Am Again

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Here I am. Again. Thinking about blogging more regularly. Again. The last time I said this I made a bold pronouncement that I would blog weekly. That was over two years ago. Sigh.

No such brave proclamations this time. I am, perhaps, a bit more realistic in how these things go. HOWEVER, I do feel an urge to go at it again. I do have some things I’ve been wanting to put out into the big world for others to ponder and respond on. I have realized that, because I have such a high value on the permanency and enduring value of the written word AND because we all seem to be saying SO much these days with social media, that I don’t want to say something just to say it. You know what I mean? That said, it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t say anything at all. So here we go tip-toeing our way through the land mines of too much and not enough.

As a way of easing back in, I thought I would catch you up. Here are some of the latest happenings in my world.

My husband and I live in Cambodia (hence the title of this blog). We have been calling this beautiful and challenging place home for almost 9 years. Living in Cambodia has been an unearthing of who I was created to be and what makes me come alive in the best and hardest possibly ways.

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Almost three years ago, we moved to a coastal town, Sihanoukville, to be a part of a beautiful town and a beautiful work with a beautiful people.

We are still a part of that beautiful work with many beautiful people. The town is currently going through a lot of challenges but we feel called to stay steady, to be present and alert, to keep our eyes and hearts open to the fruitful work happening in people there.

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Due to inflation, our international team relocated to Kampot (about 1.5 hours away). I miss Sihanoukville and I am learning to love Kampot at the same time. The tensions of joy and sorrow, losing and receiving, the known and the not yet produce the greatest growth in us, don’t they?

Changing things are growing things. We see this in our Dream Center in Sihanoukville right now. As the city shifts, our desire is to go deeper and love more.

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My main thing right now are the faces you see below. I am mom to three wonderful, intense boys and one furry, slightly gross boy puppy. I have many dreams and desires in my heart but THESE ones...well they are my biggest gift and responsibility at the moment.

Did I mention I love Cambodia? I DO. I am grateful to have a soft heart and clear eyes even in the midst of many challenges and difficulties along the way. Proverbs 31:16 (Passion Translation) has been a guiding verse for me over the last year or so: “She sets her heart upon a nation and takes it as her own, carrying it within her. She labors there to plant the living vines.” May it be so. Amen.

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Big Changes Coming

We mentioned in our last update our plans to move there but wanted to take time to explain what led us there specifically.

Located about a four hour drive from Phnom Penh, this town of 200,000 sits on the Gulf of Thailand. We started traveling there in 2010 for short vacations. It was around that time that we also began to have dreams. Not daydreams but in the night, while-we-were-sleeping dreams. It was interesting and strange! We had never experienced this sort of thing before. We knew from the Bible that God does speak in dreams but we had never personally experienced it. After we had about 5-6 between the two of us, we realized we should pay attention. Many of our dreams have included young people and children. Some have been very specific and some more general. We have been praying through and giving thoughtful attention to these things over the last five years as we have visited Sihanoukville multiple times. Jacob and I are not prone to rash decisions…we both have a planning side. So this heart connection with this place first through dreams and then through many discussions has been a slow, growing process.

About Sihanoukville

In 2010, Sihanoukville was an interesting mix of Cambodians, creepy old western men, backpackers, expat workers from Phnom Penh on a weekend visit, and the occasional European family vacationing. Over the last few years it has grown, largely due to the infiltration of the Russian mafia (not kidding) and a mass influx of Chinese businessmen. Everyone believes this little seaside town is set to grow exponentially over the next ten years. Unfortunately, while economic growth is a wonderful thing, it can cause major problems in a third-world country as a few select become massively wealthy and the poor become desperately poor. Desperation opens the door for all kinds of problems — decrease in education as children are forced to work to support the family, trafficking of all kinds, health issues as medical care becomes a luxury, alcohol abuse due to depression and hopelessness and so on.

It is a strategic time for Sihanoukville and we are excited to be there to proactively help Cambodia grow and develop. For the last 10 months, we have been researching ministries and organizations working in this area. There aren’t too many yet! We recognize that this move is significant for our family and we want to exercise wisdom in having the support of community. We have been thankful to meet and connect with the Iris team working down there. They have been so welcoming and friendly as we have explored the possibility of moving there. Over the next few months we will be sharing more specifically what we will be doing. We are excited!


Prayer Requests

Our plan is to move when our lease is up at the end of March. This is a big transition and we would love your prayers.

  • The right house for our family.
  • Peace in everyone’s hearts, especially our kids.
  • Protection physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally.
  • Continued clear direction and open doors in what we will be doing.
  • Additional funding and support as we transition into new ministry.
  • Healing for Jacob’s back. He has been having chronic pain for about a month now.

A Unique Opportunity for January 2017

Since schools are not so great in Sihanoukville, we are planning to homeschool Aaron and Caleb for at least the next year. We are exploring the idea of having someone in their twenties who would love some overseas experience to come live with us and help us with schooling. This would be a great opportunity for someone interested in testing the waters of living internationally but do so in a safe, family environment. Plus the beach is RIGHT THERE. We would offer free room/board. They would be responsible for their plane ticket, transportation, and any extra expenses. Schooling would be about 15-20 hours/week and we could connect this person with additional volunteer opportunities if they wanted to make it more outreach oriented. If you know someone who might be interested, we would love to begin talking with him/her. Email us with ideas!