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!

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 


End of the Year Review

Merry Christmas, friends! It's hard to believe that this is our 4th Christmas in Cambodia. It is always a strange time of year for us -- the weather is warm, the music is still karaoke, and the only Christmas decorations we see are fake trees covered with shiny pink ornaments. Yet somehow it does bring our focus more clearly to the heart of Christmas and the hope of Jesus which is the reason we are over here in the first place.

We are also thankful for you and your friendship and support. As we prepare to move into a short season of furlough, we feel aware of our desire to maximize this time of debriefing and preparation for the future. Your prayers and continued support are very much appreciated. Our desire to remain in Cambodia as full-time missionaries is unchanged. Though we don't know the exact details of what our steps post-furlough will be, we do feel a sense of expectancy and a desire to embrace a deeper faith in the face of the unknown. And we are very excited to share this journey with you!

Did you miss it?

A few weeks ago, we sent out an important email communication about some transitions that are happening for us at the end of the month. If you missed it, please click here to read the email.

Fundraising Appeal

We have been on the field nearly 5 years now and have been blessed by so many generous people. As our family grows and Phnom Penh continues to develop, we are seeing the need to both replace lost support and increase our support. See our donate page for additional details.

  • Education
  • Cost of living increases

We also anticipate several larger one-time items coming up this year and we are setting aside funds to prepare for these events. 

  • Debriefing Costs
  • US Family Trip/Aaron's Adoption

We are grateful for all you are doing and have done. If you feel led to do more, that would be great. Either way, we welcome your prayers as we make these decisions and take next steps. To make a secure, tax-deductible donation, visit New Life's website here or if you want to give specifically to one of these areas, you can do so by visiting our donate page here.

End of Year Report

Instead of making this email extra long, we thought it would be best to attach a pdf so you can see what happened in 2014! Enjoy our end of year report by clicking the link below.

Upcoming Changes

Dear Friends and Family,

It’s hard to believe that another year is rapidly coming to a close. Thanksgiving is almost here and Christmas is just a little over a month away. We are thankful for you!

We wanted to share in this update about some transitions that are coming up for us in the new year. Over the last six months, we have been dialoguing with our sending church, New Life, about our time overseas thus far. They feel it would be valuable – and we agree – for us to take a period of time to debrief our first five years overseas and re-balance some areas of our family life.  

At the same time, we also feel that our season of serving full-time with In His Steps International and Sak Saum is coming to a close. As you know, Jacob has been pursuing language study already. And part of the decision to re-balance our family has resulted in Noelle focusing her energy full-time at home for a season.

This was not an easy decision for us to make. We are so thankful for our time with IHSI and Sak Saum. They are doing incredible, Cambodian-empowering, God-centered missions work with integrity, faithfulness and vision. We have learned much from Eric and Ginny Hanson and the rest of the staff. We encourage you to stay tuned in to what God is doing in and through this Cambodian community.

We are not yet sure of what our specific steps will be after this furlough period. Our desire is to remain in Cambodia as missionaries long-term. We will be praying and seeking wise counsel during this time and appreciate your prayers as well. We will keep you updated throughout the process. If you have specific questions, you are welcome to contact us directly.

Thanks so much for your continued friendship and interest in our family. We appreciate you!

Jacob and Noelle

P.S. If you are interested in being updated about our future plans in Cambodia, please sign up for our mailing list!