Wednesday, March 24, 2010


"I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency." Philippians 4:13 (Amplified)

Typically, I think most people would classify me as a pretty independent person. I suppose if I wasn't, I wouldn't have moved to the other side of the world by myself to live and work with people I had never previously met in person. I suppose that it is true, me being independent, that is, as long as you are referring to independence from the comforts of familiarity. The road that has gotten me to this point in my life has been a bit of a bumpy one filled with tears and joy, heartache and rejoicing, but I wouldn't trade a second of it. I know that all I have faced in my life has brought me to a place of complete dependence on God. He is my sufficiency. I love the above verse and how it says that we are self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency. Without Him, we are nothing, but with Him...with Him we can change the world. There is nothing we cannot face. Now, I will be completely honest. There are few things that bother me more than namby, pamby women who trade their God-given abilities to hide in the shadows of men. I agree that God created order for families and created men to be the heads of households. But, He also created Eve from Adam's rib, so she could walk alongside him. Woman was not taken out of man's head to rule over him or his foot to be walked upon by him, but rather from his side to be in partnership next to him.
What's my point?
Well, my point is that I was really challenged and fired up a couple of weeks ago while at church. After a message about the importance of reaching out to the world around you, being the light of the world, there was an altar call. It was a time for those who want to answer the call of God to reach the communities of Phnom Penh, the provinces of Cambodia, the peoples of Southeast Asia, the nations of the world. I was humbled and challenged just to be in the same room as these people. And, as I prayed, I watched. I watched two girls, both aged 12, walk up to the front of that church. They were the only ones under the age of 20 who did so, though it was not for a lack of young people in the congregation that day. I know those girls. I know that in 12 years they have been through more than many people will endure in a lifetime--abuse, abandonment, rejection, exploitation. Yet, after encountering the Savior of the world, their lives are forever changed. And, if you asked them, I am quite confident that they would tell you that Jesus is the answer for the world today, and with that knowledge, how could they not take it to the ends of the earth...
These girls challenge me daily on what it means to live for Christ, what it means to forgive, what it means to receive His love and give it away. And, I am daily challenged not to be more independent or self-sufficient, but to be wholly dependent on Him and find my sufficiency in Christ.

"But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!" 2 Corinthians 12:9

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Don't Fail Me Now, Brain!

After picking up quite a bit of Khmer from simply living here and learning from the people with whom I live and work, I decided that I wanted to take some time to more actively learn the Khmer language. So, I started taking Khmer lessons from a friend's sister in February. I think I am doing pretty well, and my teacher says that I am a very good student (though I think she might just be saying that to flatter me).
Regardless, I thought I would show you some photos of what I am up against in learning this language.
As I am sure you are aware, Asian languages are quite different from English or any of the Romantic languages (Spanish, French, etc.) that we are typically exposed to in the U.S. This is the Khmer alphabet. The vowels are on the left page, and the consonants are on the right page.
And here I am learning to combine consonants and vowels to make words and phrases.
I have lessons two days a week, and for next week's lesson, I have to compose 5 written sentences of my own using words that I know. Plus, my teacher is taking me to the market, so she can watch me practice my Khmer with people other than herself. EEK! Thus, my prayer is that my brain will not fail me! Your prayers would be appreciated...

PJs all day? Yes, please!

Upon living in Cambodia for the last few months, I have taken note of several things. One of these things is the innate sense of fashion and style that people have here. Ok, so maybe in the U.S. we wouldn't find it quite so fashionable to carry around a fuzzy Pooh purse at the age of 18 and maybe we wouldn't choose to proudly wear a baseball cap with a gold, glittery bill, but I really think that one thing could catch on...pajamas! And, not just any pajamas, but matchie matchies as they are called. Women often wear their pajamas out all day here, and often times accessorized with glittery high heels. All pajamas are sold in matching sets and come in floral, teddy bears with funny English sayings, Hello Kitty, and fuzzy bunnies. There is really quite a variety.
So, in order to see what all the hype was about, some friends and I decided to purchase our own pajamas and wear them for an evening out on the town! However, we waited a bit too long to purchase our pajamas and were quite limited in our choices as nearly all of the markets were shut for several days over the Chinese New Year. But, alas, we found a few stalls open and were able to purchase some pajamas of our very own!
Julie, Rachel, and Danielle in their pajamas preparing to go out.
We took a sunset cruise on the river, and this was our boat. A couple Canadian tourists joined us and didn't seem a bit concerned that we were wearing pajamas!
Sunset on the river.
Farming on the banks.
The river is lined with fishing boats, which often double as families' homes.
Phnom Penh skyline. If you can call it a skyline...
Danielle and I on a cyclo after our river cruise. I am sporting Hello Kitty pjs with some funny English thrown in as well while Danielle went for the pink floral print.

You would be amazed at the number of comments we received from Khmer people as we strolled about in our pajamas. They smiled and waved and said, "sa-aht," which means beautiful in Khmer. Some of them, wearing their own pajamas, would even stop us and smile and say, "Ahh, same, same!" and point from their pajamas to ours. It was quite the experience. However, the pajamas were not what one might call comfortable. The fabric was hot, and they were made in such a way that made you feel as if you were going to split the back seam when you walked (small steps were required). Thus, I have to conclude that the reason all the Khmer people wear their pajamas out is simply because they are fashionistas, and the matchie matchies are just that amazing!