Presbyterian Missions Weblog

Team Timothy Cambodia 2011 #4

Posted in Cambodia,Team Timothy by lenpine on July 29, 2011

On the steps leading up to the Bakan of Angkor Wat

Our first day in Kpbaom got off to a slow start…one of the vans was caught in a massive traffic jam in the city, and was delayed by about an hour. It held all of our sound equipment, our translators, and other things needful! so, the young people in our van got to work leading games and songs, and beginning to get the kids organized that were coming. By the time the second van arrived, we were in good shape, and not much behind. This being the first day here, the kids had a learning curve about what we were asking them to do, but they figured it out pretty fast.

Mr. Srong, the lay leader in this mission, did a good job in getting the word out. This morning we have close to 300 children, and I expect that we’ll have more as the VBS progresses. We can handle a few more here at a time than at Prey Pdao, since there is a building here in which we can take shelter if it rains. This morning it’s been dark and gray outside, with spitting rain. No downpours yet, though, which would severely hamper the work. I’m expecting it to unload on us this afternoon though, and I think we’ll probably wrap it up with just a morning school once again today. Monday and Tuesday should be the full days (morning and afternoon schools), unless I miss my guess.

Let me try to describe the setting: the little church building is one room of perhaps 20’x 40′, with a rough concrete floor that is breaking up in places. It’s very dusty, and the two windows on each side serve to let in light and air, though not excessive amounts of either. The metal roof above is an excellent conductor of heat, and it can be an oven in there. Today was nice, only moderately hotter than the outside, and that because we had about 140 kids in there, some sitting on a tarp on the floor, and the rest in plastic stackable chairs. It’s more or less wall-to-wall, especially during craft time. Incredibly, Mark has had as many as 400-500 children crammed in there, but that’s not for the faint of heart!

Outside, the younger children, about 160 of them, are seated in rows on tarps under the ground, taking advantage of a rustic framework draped in sun cloth to shield them from the sun (or, today, from the spitting rain). Our team members and translators teach them games and songs and Bible verses, teach Bible lessons for about 40 minutes or so, help them all with crafts that reinforce the message of the lesson and all have pertinent Bible verses on them. The the littlest ones, that take a lot of people and a lot of patience. In this village, the moms help out quite a bit, which really makes it go easier. Even our van drivers get into the action. Today’s craft is our hardest one, creating a pig hand puppet (we’re teaching all about the Prodigal Son, and today’s lesson was about the need we all have for repentance from our sins). When it’s all done, the scraps from cutting and stickers all over the ground make it look like it snowed.

At the end of the school, the kids get back in their lines to be dismissed. Each is given a wrist band to “register” when they arrive, and they turn it in at the of the day in order to receive a packet of ramen noodles, a great treat, as they go home. For some, it really is a treat: for others, it may be the only meal they get today besides a handful of rice.

I’m not feeling well today, with insides that aren’t too happy and a toothache, so am happy to have a lighter day. Come next week, I’ll be teaching a group of adults. The team is doing an excellent job, along with our translators. It’s great to be able to just sit back and let them have at it, with the confidence that they will do the job well. The translators we’ve had this week have been phenomenal…we won’t have them next week, and they will be sorely missed.

It’s trying to rain harder…I’m praying that the hard rain will hold off until we’re done. But it’s windy and fairly cool for here, which is a welcome relief. Today we will be going to enjoy the fellowship of a Christian family in another village nearby, as they have invited us all to lunch. Should be fun, and a new experience for the team.

… Back at the Baldwin bungalow, we’ve had a good afternoon of fellowship and encouragement. It never did rain hard, praise the Lord, and we had an excellent lunch with the family a couple of villages away. Roasted chicken (simply chopped into more or less bite-sized pieces with all the bone left in — just grab and chew and pick out the bones!), complete with the chicken’s head, rice, an excellent Cambodian beef (or maybe pork, it was hard to tell), and a nice black pepper and lime juice dipping sauce, with maybe a little coriander in there. We ate al fresco under the house with a nice breeze blowing through. Afterwards, we were treated to viewing the wedding pictures of one of their daughters, and then went back behind the house and admired the ducks, pigs, guinea fowl, and turkeys (surprisingly, there’s a lot of those here) before snapping a picture with everyone and heading out. We made one more stop before turning towards Phnom Penh, visiting another Christian family in a village about 6k away, a village in which three families now gather for worship together, and where some future work may be done toward another church plant. So much potential here! We’re going to need more laborers.

It was a nice drive back, listening to the team and translators chatting and laughing, and watching rice harvest take place. I was surprised to see mechanical harvesters in action today…though I’ve seen them at dealers in town, I’ve never seen them out in the fields, so much is done by hand here. Rice is at various stages of growth all over, but there’s a lot with the heads heavy with grain. It’s a comfortable sight, somehow.

The day never did get very hot, which is a real blessing. It’s breezy and pretty comfortable, and the team is down at the end of the block in a little park playing a pick-up game of volleyball with some of the locals. Volleyball is a national craze here, played everywhere. We drove by one field in a tiny little village this morning that had three courts set up in it. Pretty typical, it turns out.

It should be a quiet evening for the most part, getting ready for a long day tomorrow ministering in both villages. The young people are old pros now, and they are handling the work with ease. It’s a blast to see them working together and accomplishing so much. Please keep us in your prayers. I’m going to try to get to bed earlier than usual (we’ve been shutting down about 9-9:30 and getting up at 5:30 every morning) and feel better tomorrow.

Blessings to you. Once everyone gets back in from the game and settled in after dinner, I’ll grab some of their pictures and add them to this post.

Inside the Kpbaom church

Under the tarp outside

Just a few bicycles!


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