Headed Home and Other News


It's been awhile since we tag-teamed our newsletter, so we thought it would fun to give you individual updates from Noelle and myself. We just can't believe how fast 2014 is going. Cambodia has officially entered rainy season, which means cooler temps, flooding and smelly trash. Fun, huh? Actually, we both really enjoy this season. It can be quite humid, but once a storm comes through, there is a nice wind that comes along with it. So refreshing! In fact, there are days where we can even pull out a candle and blanket. It's not actually cold outside, but if we think about it really hard, we can make it happen in our minds :).

From Jacob

  • I've been doing language 5+ times a week on a full-time basis. I absolutely love it! I feel like I'm really starting to see some overall progress. I've just begun to read the Bible in Khmer and learn "Christian" words. Phalla, my newer teacher has really helped take me to the next level. He has a substantial English vocabulary which is great for understanding translation and learning more advanced terms. Aaron is also bringing home more challenging Khmer homework which I'm also able to check for accuracy and also encourage him to speak more in Khmer.
  • Going home: Caleb and I will be traveling home on 2 September and coming back on the 20th. We wish it was all of us together, but the foster/adoption process for Aaron is still in the works. The government here has changed seats so they are still getting their acts together. As a result, it's taking longer than anticipated. It's been over 3 years since we've traveled home, so we have decided to take turns. We miss you all and are excited to connect. I'll be staying with my Dad for the two weeks; hope to see many of you during my visit!



From Noelle

I keep pretty busy with my work at Sak Saum which I really love. We are busy working on a new catalog for the fall. I always say it is like Christmas every day because of all of the beautiful products I am surrounded with. And I love the young men and women I get to connect with daily. It is such a joy to work alongside them. Caleb loves his friends there and it has been a natural connection point in the nursery for discussing parenting and connecting with the other young moms and their kids.

I have also had the privilege of helping develop a Sunday School curriculum for the Gospel Community Church in Saang, IHSI’s church plant. We have 8 children or so every week and have been working through the Bible over the course of a year. It has been fun seeing the teachers, translators and children growing and learning together. 

Last but NOT least, I am so excited that my dad is coming for a visit! He will be here in August and then will fly back to the States with Jacob. His upcoming arrival has launched me into full-on nesting, guest room mode. =)


Ministry Connection

If you would like to know the latest from IHSI, you can read their blog here. They also recently created a way to receive prayer updates via email and you can sign up for that on the website.

Sak Saum will be having a Christmas in July sale which would be a great time to do some Christmas shopping! Visit to buy products online and follow Sak Saum on Facebook ( for all the latest happenings.

Prayer Points

  • Jacob and Caleb’s trip home to the States and Bruce Nygren’s trip here — safe and smooth transitions for all.
  • Movement with Aaron’s foster care paperwork so that we can move on to the next adoption phase.
  • Continued health, protection, and growth for all IHSI and Sak Saum staff.

Thanks so much for your love and care! We miss you.

February Update


A favorite time during my day is lunch hour in the nursery at Sak Saum. I love bringing my lunch upstairs and eating with some of the young moms and the children. One of the gifts God has given me in this season of my life is the ability to navigate motherhood with them. I have been so grateful to share some of the struggles and joys that are common to moms with young children — sleepless nights, odd rashes, potty training, funny things our children say, and so on. I have learned a lot from them in a short time…

  • Generosity. Cambodians are so willing to share what they have with each other and each other’s children. This has both challenged and encouraged me.
  • Helping. Regularly I watch mothers take turns holding each other’s children or helping calm a crying baby so that the mother can take a brief rest or eat some lunch. 
  • Laughing. There is a great deal of the humorous in parenthood. Some days, the good belly laugh I share over a child’s antics or a new game is such a bright spot.

And it has been interesting to hear from them what they find to be so curious about how I am a mommy. Here are two that they have mentioned to me before.

  • Talking. I am always talking with Caleb about himself, his actions, the reasons why he should or shouldn’t do something, what God thinks about something and so on. This is quite strange to them! I still catch stares out of the corner of my eye. But the other day, I came up to the nursery and found Channa with her daughter on her lap as she explained to her why hitting the baby was not a good idea and encouraged her patiently to say sorry.
  • Showing affection and saying I love you. I can’t help it! I have a little boy who craves as much physical touch as he can get and I simply cannot help but hug, kiss, and snuggle him. I love telling him that I love him. I love seeing moms loving on their children.

Thanks for letting me give you a peek into my very precious world. I love and miss you!


Prayer Requests

Thanks for joining with us in asking God to…

  • Continue to protect our marriage against the normal and abnormal stressors that come with daily life here.
  • Continued progress with Aaron's foster care/adoption process.
  • Give wisdom and strength to the ministry as they experience new growth in many arenas.

End of Year Giving Statements 

We are working on our end of year giving statements, however you should have received your official statement from New Life Church already. Thanks so much for your patience! We plan to have them out soon.