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!

Sihanoukville - Home Away from Home

Sihanoukville is a coastal town located about 4 hours from Phnom Penh. It's an easy (and cheap) place to go for our family since we all enjoy the beach. We have our routine that we go by every time, so it's relatively stress-free and makes our time there refreshing. 

The end of last week, we were able to to get away to our favorite spot for a couple of days. This was probably the last time we will go anywhere significant since Baby Jackson comes in November. I guess couples have babymoons before their first baby...this was our family-moon. It was nice! The weather cooperated mostly, so we were able to get plenty of beach and pool time in. What was interesting about this trip was that Noelle and I both felt ready to go back to Phnom Penh sooner than expected. As we were discussing the idea of going home a bit early, I think we both became aware of having the feeling of "full" and content with the amount of rest we've had. In the past, we felt pretty tapped out when we arrived and usually wanted to stay longer but this time was different! We feel thankful about that. It's an indication this time of transition is fulfilling its role. 

We are eager and excited about the future and look forward to sharing more with you soon!

Enjoy some photos below of our time at the beach! 

 Rough seas, windy and stormy!

Rough seas, windy and stormy!

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 This was one of the better days.

This was one of the better days.

Spontaneous Getaway to Kep

Recently, I posted something on Facebook about dreaming. The Lord has reminded me to dream big and not until recently, I would say "dreaming" has been more on the absent side. I'm so thankful for its return! It's been wonderful to have time to meditate and just have space to navigate thoughts going in and out. I say all of this because this week, we spontaneously took a trip to Kep, (pronounced Kgipe) and it has to be one of the most peaceful places in Cambodia I've been -- a perfect place for dreaming! It's about 2.5hrs from Takhmao (where we live) and it's located down the coast from Sihanoukville (where we normally go). The beach isn't worth writing much about, but the lush mountainous (for Cambodia) terrain is surprisingly beautiful and peaceful. It's a quiet town that draws a handful of tourists but has a small local population so it doesn't seem congested. Kep National Park is beautiful and the beachfront is perfect for morning/evening strolls. We stayed at Spring Valley Resort which is tucked in at the base of Kep National Park. Some friends of ours recommended it and we loved it! We couldn't stop saying how peaceful and quiet the town was. It was a bit disturbing at first, because we are both used to the hustle and bustle of a busy city like Phnom Penh, which happens to be disturbingly congested.

Unfortunately, we were only gone three days, but it was a perfect little getaway from the busyness here in the "big city." We also made a wonderful connection at a place called Kep Coffee (highly recommended). We connected with this beautiful couple right away making the trip worth it for this alone. They have set up a coffee shop and do different things to reach out to the Kep community. 

And lastly, I had plenty of time to do something I love -- take photos :). Enjoy.

Spring Valley Resort

 Right outside our room

Right outside our room

 Driving up the road in Kep National Park

Driving up the road in Kep National Park

Kep Beach

 On the hunt for shells...

On the hunt for shells...

Dinner Out

 The boys got to eat on a giant mat and watch Annie while they ate.

The boys got to eat on a giant mat and watch Annie while they ate.

 The restaurant from the end of the pier.

The restaurant from the end of the pier.

 The drive home

The drive home

A Visit from a Dear Friend

In January, we welcomed Maggie Turner for a whole 10 days. It was such a gift! After four years of not sitting face-to-face, it was surreal and wonderful to talk, drink coffee, go on walks, take adventures, laugh, cry and play together. There is no substitute for friends who have seen your best and your worst, love you know matter what, tell the truth with kindness, and speak hope into the future. One of our favorite days with Mags was our day trip to Bokor Mountain and Kep. We included a few photos. Enjoy!

Trip to Kep 

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