Wednesday, December 31, 2008

End of the Year

We’ve had a good year and are thankful for all of your prayers and interest in the Cambodian work.  There is still much to do though, as there always will be; it is the proliferate nature of our great God to perform mighty works and lead His sheep to greener pastures.  All praise and glory belongs to Him!

Here is a link to our latest newsletter:

Also, a recent picture of baby Katherine at 14 months. 


She is growing up so fast.  And btw so am I!  The gray hair is coming in like a flood now.  A crown of glory indeed.  I used to do computer work for a construction company named Centex.  One of the project managers had a sign in his office that I think about often.  It said,

Experience is a hard teacher, she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards.

Hopefully my gray hair is proof of my increasing wisdom from life’s experiences. ;-)


God Bless,


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Khmerry Christmas!!!

This was the headline in today's paper.  Too funny.  We went in to Phnom Penh this morning to have a nice American style Christmas breakfast.  Eggs (over medium), bacon, sausage, pancakes, coffee, etc.  We spent the remainder of the day just piddling around and enjoying each other's company.  It was a quiet day but a nice one.  Here is a picture of us after arriving back at home, safe and sound:


We want to say, "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year."  We miss seeing you all, especially during the holidays.  This season of our lives has us far from home but we try to keep the perspective that the USA is not our real home either.  We long for that better country and heavenly city which the Lord Jesus has gone to prepare.

Hebrews 11:15  If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16  But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.


John 14:1  "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2  In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.


Thanks be to God and amen!

Bill, Jennifer, and Katherine

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Siem Reap Vacation Pics

Ok, I promised you guys some pictures from our vacation to Siem Reap so here they are.  We have been asked many times in the last two years if we ever went to see the Angkor temples.  We always answered, to their astonishment, "no, not yet."  The locals think that every foreigner has been to see them.  Well, now we can add ourselves to the list.  We had a great time and the temples really are amazing.  In the worldly sense they are quite beautiful however, knowing they were built as idols for Hindu and Buddhist gods they kinda lose some of their luster.


(Click to enlarge map)

Anyway, I have organized the pictures according to which particular temple we were visiting.  The temples cover a seventy-five square mile area and there are many to see.  We spent one whole day looking at them and we only saw six temples. 





Monday, December 15, 2008

Buenos Dias!


This season is very beautiful as the fields are ready for harvest. Things are moving along here.  We are nearing the end of the Fall semester for the 2008-09 school year.  Our finals week will be DEC. 29-31.  We are very thankful for God's help and for all your prayers.

I have been teaching through a series about death, resurrection, judgement, and heaven in my Sunday school class.  I started the study after a local teenager fell walking up the stairs to her house at night, hit her head, and died soon after.  It was very tragic.  Many of our students knew her and she even studied English in our after-school program. They did not think she was a believer though.

Many people around here believe the souls of the departed wander around and are potentially dangerous.  When a death happens in a certain area, the local monks will come perform some type of ritual and ask the evil spirit/spirits that caused the death to stay away as well as ask the soul/souls of the departed to not cause any mischief.  Well, in this case, the deceased girl's mother went to see a medium who supposedly brought the girl's soul back and she had a conversation with her daughter.  Many people in the area believe in these types of things and that the souls of the departed are all around everywhere.  So it seemed to be a great time to study about death etc.

The beginning part of our discussion was that the Bible teaches people are made of two parts - body & soul - physical & spiritual.  When we die our body will soon return to dust and our soul will return to God.

Ecc 12:7  then the dust shall return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return to God who gave it.

When we die our souls immediately return to God, to paradise (Heaven) with Christ for the believer or to Hades (Hell) without Christ for the non-believer. 

Luke 16:22  And it happened that the beggar died and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom. The rich one also died and was buried. 23  And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24  And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame.

There is no reason to fear ghosts.  All souls go back to God.  Evil spirits, though, are in fact very real and we should stay away from any activity that would attempt to communicate with them.

I encouraged them again and again that we would all do well to fear God. 


Psalm 27:1  ...The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?


Psalm 34:7  The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.


Mat 10:28  And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.




Talk to you all again soon,




Thursday, December 4, 2008

This is a test

I saw on-line that Microsoft has a new program for adding blog updates so I thought I would download it and try it out.  It’s kind of cool and it really makes posting easier I think.  Windows Live Writer is the name of the program.

here is a link to the program if you want to check it out:

Here is a picture, just for grins, as my earth science teacher used to say.  The three girls sitting on one of the ruins of the Angkor Wat temple complex.


Take Care!


Monday, December 1, 2008

Hello again

Well, we have been busy doing everything that we do and the blog updates have gotten left wanting. This year's school year has been going great. Things are just running smoothly; thank God for his kindness and grace. The students really seem to be growing in the Lord and we are ready to start 3 new cell groups on Saturdays. More on this coming soon!

We have had two sets of visitors from the states in recent months. First 5 men from our home church came and were a great encouragement to us. It was so good to see them! We were also so thankful for the cookies that were in their bags. 8-)

Next Jennifer's mom, Martha, came for a visit. She stayed for 3 weeks and we were able to go and see some cool stuff. She really enjoyed her visit with Katherine. And I guess we were ok too! We went to Sihanoukville to play at the beach and then we went to Siem Reap to see the angkor wat temple complexes. Both trips were great and we were thankful to get to see the different parts of Cambodia. Here are some pictures of our trip to the Beach. More pictures to follow from our Siem Reap trip later.

Take care,

Monday, September 29, 2008

Honoring the Season

For a couple of weeks I had been gathering pictures and composing paragraphs in my mind for another post. They were all about Katherine's new tricks; the simple pleasure I derived from finding rich, finished compost at the bottom of my compost pile; the nice meals we enjoyed with the Northens who travel up and down the Mekong on a medical ship (; and preparations for our new school year.

Then Hawk Sie drowned and I was stuck. How could I, on one day, describe the Cambodian funeral of a 9 year-old boy and the circumstances surrounding his death, and then a few days later say, "Here's a picture of Katherine doing something cute. And here's a picture of the cucumbers in my garden...." In other words, to state by my actions the cold and flippant cliche that I hate: "Life goes on."

I hate it because it seems to be delivered as an injunction to get over it, forget about it, and go on about your business. As if to say, "Life goes on, and it's the same as before." Or, "Life goes on, and I'm the same as before."

Obviously life does go on. The Holocost happened, the Cambodian and Rwandan genocides happened, the World Wars, civil wars... not to mention the evils individuals perpetrate on one another. And yet others survive to live and move, the sun rises, the rain falls, and the time comes for another season under heaven.

The problem I have about "going on with life" is that I don't want to be the same as before. My baby is still growing, I'm still teaching and cooking dinner and going to church and pulling weeds.... My life is the same, but I don't want my heart to be.

And what about sorrow? How can my heart be so painfully crushed one day, and so light and satisfied on another? It's as if being happy today invalidates the sorrow I felt yesterday. If I can "get over it" and be happy today, I should have been able to yesterday. Or, if my sorrow was truly impenetrable yesterday, it should stand equally firm today. But that is not the nature of life. It would be ridiculous to say that working with an arm today invalidates the pain of a break two months ago, therefore I'll no longer work with that arm.

While "whatever God does endures forever," my life is conducted in a seasonal realm; as God's eternal decrees are revealed to me in time, I must respond appropriately for the season. Just as it would be inappropriate for me to dress for battle during peacetime, it is perhaps even dishonoring to God for me to cling to sorrow during a season of His gifts of joy and pleasure.

So I'll tell you about Hawk Sie's funeral. And in the future, Lord willing, I'll tell you about our joys and trials, the mundane and the exceptional, as each in its season is revealed in our lives.


Friday, August 22, 2008

Walls and Basketballs

Last week heavy rains caused a retaining wall beside the church to fall and block this little road.

Bill spent a couple of days doing hard labor with some of the men from church to bust up the cement and shovel dirt back out of the road. Shoveling dirt is one thing. Shoveling pasty clay mud that won't let go of the shovel is quite another!

When we were buying water in Saang last week the coach of the Saang high school basketball team saw Bill and stopped to talk. Before we took our trip to the US, Bill had been going to their practices to help coach about twice a week. Then they had some out-of-town games and the coach stopped calling. Bill thought perhaps the coach didn't appreciate his openness about Christ and that this door had closed. But he seemed eager to have Bill join them again.

It took some effort and an offer to do the work himself, but Bill finally convinced the coach that their goals should be the standard 10 ft. high, rather than 10' 8". So yesterday Bill lowered the goals. The players seemed pleased with the results. Please pray the Lord would help Bill to build relationships with the coach and players and that he would be salt and light to them.

I finished removing grass and planting vegetable seeds along our wall yesterday. You can see the newly dug soil above K's head, and my lovely squash sprouts to the left! Katherine was too busy checking out the grass to look up and smile at the camera.

Ants have invaded our mango trees, so I made some orange oil and sprayed them. Post strike reconnaissance revealed they had moved back in, seemingly undaunted. I tried to console myself with the idea that a few survivors had reported the devastation to another battalion, which then moved in to take the place of their fallen comrades. I think in reality my solution was too weak. I think I'll try planting mint around the bases.


Saturday, August 16, 2008


The water is rising now. This is the land neighboring ours, and it was dry the day before I took this picture. You can see a person wading through it on the far right.

And inside we are making stilted progress at organizing our home. This is the changing table I just set up with a basket to hold Katherine's cloth diapers, covers and soakers, and a place to hang used wool diaper covers to air out. No more changing diapers on the floor!

Organization is actually somewhat of a foreign language to me. I used to think it was just a matter of taking time to clean up after myself. Which is partly true, and difficult when there are so many more fun and rewarding things to do with my time than organize. But honestly, sometimes I just stare at things and not even begin to know where to put them. I even bought books about how to be organized. There are things more fun to do than read about being organized, as well.

One example of something more fun than organizing is taking a refreshing dip in a big inflatable duck.

But when I do need to be responsible and do my chores, it's good to be able to keep Katherine happy and away from bugs and other bite-sized objects on the ground.

Here's one of the wool soakers my mom knitted for K out of yarn kindly offered by some of her sweet friends at Quilt Country. Making fitted cloth diapers and wool diaper covers was my big project while in the states.

Yesterday Bill went to visit with our neighbor who was planting rice between his rows of Lamut trees (I don't know what they're called in English). Bill recently found some information on the System of Rice Intinsification (SRI), and has been eager to share it with the local farmers. Basically it can increase yield by 2 times or more, use a fraction of the seed due to increased plant spacing, and reduce costs by using less water. Our neighbor said he would try it on a 5 x 5 meter plot. This could be a valuable method for the members of the church at Sre Treng because they aren't near a river and lack of water can be a serious issue for them.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

The grass is always greener during the rainy season.

We're back in Cambodia. I know we are because it's August and less than 100 degrees; we were awakened at 5:30 this morning to the resounding and incessant bass of dance music being broadcast across the village (a wedding, I suppose); and I was informed several times today at church that I'm fatter than before. Katherine has "good meat." But me? I'm fat. Life is so unfair.

We had a really nice and refreshing time in the States. Katherine got to meet our friends and family. Here are she and Dad swimming:

And we celebrated Bill's first Father's Day (notice the Aggies dress):

It's hard to leave loving friends and family, especially when we know we may never see some of them again. But we take comfort in the assurance that God is wise and good. He is our strength and will make us tread on high places.

At the same time we are glad to be back where we have other loving friends and family in the Lord. We're looking forward to starting a new school year. I'm planning to teach English again a couple of days a week, which I really enjoy. Though it will add to my challenge of joyfully and wisely managing a busy schedule, for which I would request your prayers.

We want to plant a garden, so efforts at cleaning and unpacking have been rewarded by episodes of digging up grass when it's not raining and drawing out plans when it is. Here's what I've gotten done so far:

And here is our blackberry bush, the procurement of which earned me the title of "Good Wife":

This project has made me realize that sometimes it's just better if you don't step back and look at the big picture. Anyhow, we hope to enjoy some organic fruit and vegetables in due season. Pesticides are seriously overused in Cambodia, and if we could demonstrate some credibility in organic gardening/farming methods, perhaps we could have some influence in the community. And with the current restrictions on evangelism, this might be a way to build relationships with more people. As you can see, however, it will be a while before this idea comes to... well... fruition.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Ohio Visit

Aunt Mari, Me, Cousin Amy

We are having a nice visit with my Grandparents and Aunt and Uncle in Akron, Ohio. The chair Katherine is riding was made by my grandfather for my dad in 1953. She has had a great time riding it. Our trip is coming to an end very quickly and in a short time we will return to Cambodia. We are looking forward to our return but are sad to be saying our goodbyes. Please pray that we would make the most of our time in the USA and return to Cambodia refreshed and eager to continue on in the Work.

God Bless,

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Here's Katherine in the Easter dress her Moms and Paw Paw sent her. Actually, the postal workers were less than energetic about delivering the package, so we just got it last week. It can be her Khmer New Year dress, I suppose. She's sitting up on her own now, scooting around her mat like a little soldier, and eating cereal and yams from a spoon. One of her more amusing developments is the motorcycle noise she makes, complete with shifting to higher and lower gears. Aww, mama's little Super Cub...

On a more grown up note, I have recently applied a Chhengism to my understanding of maintaining a happy marriage: good credit. The idea, to be sure, is not missing from any marriage manual Dr. Phil would endorse, but this metaphor, well, I like it. Chheng originally used it in reference to a student who, as a result of overt disobedience, had earned "bad credit." But it occurred to me how important it is to continually build up good credit with Bill and not just avoid transactions against my account.

Not only this, but I also need to be quick to recognize his efforts toward good credit, and apply said efforts to his account. How frustrating is it to make a payment, only to have it lost in the mail?!

There you have it. Deep thoughts from a girl who knows how to use a credit card.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

It's Warren Moon Everybody

When I think about it I am still sad that the Houston Oilers are no more. Glad Warren got in on the first ballot though.

Things are still going well for us here. We are nearing the end of the third year of the school's existence. The Lord has been helping us a great deal and for that we are grateful. Also, the churches are moving along in the Lord and we have seen an increase in visitors recently. We continue to preach the Gospel as we can and we pray the Lord would give the increase.

The Family and I are planning to visit the U.S. in June of this year and stay until the beginning of August. We plan to visit with family and our church friends and we also plan to visit with many of those who are partnering with us in the work of the Lord.

May God Bless You and Keep You,


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Dad and his little girl!!

(Katherine and Dad by the morning glories)

(Possibly the cutest baby picture of all time)

I realize that I am biased but... I'm a firm believer in absolute truth. 8-)

Things are going great here. Jennifer is enjoying motherhood and I am enjoying fatherhood too! Everyday she seems to do something new. This week she has learned to roll over. At first we would lay her down on her back, leave the room for a minute, and upon returning she would be on her belly. And Jennifer would say, "Bill, look she can role over" but then she wouldn't do it. She was like the singing frog cartoon, "hello my baby, hello my sweetheart." We had to leave the room for her to perform. She is now trying to learn how to get back.

The churches and school are doing well. March first is Spring break for the students so I'll have a little more flex time for a week or so. I must say that things here are going almost exactly the way we thought they would. Jennifer and I really enjoy the school, the students, the church members, and the opportunity to share the grace of God to save sinners. Thanks be to God for helping us to find a sweet spot in the ministry here!

In my Systematic Theology class we are discussing the omnipresence of God. He is everywhere, his whole being, not just a small piece. There is nowhere we can go to escape his presence. As I taught the students the lesson I was reminded of the fear of God we should have. Fear of sinning and offending him. If He with a wrathful eye was to look my direction, with me still covered with crimson stained garments, where could I run to escape the horrible danger? Where could I hide from his anger? There is no place I could go (Psalm 139:7-10). As someone has said, "Do not flee from Him, flee unto Him!" Oh blessed is the Lord and gracious to remove our sins and place them as far as the East is from the West.


Psalm 103:10-12

He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Surfs Up!

We had a couple weeks of vacation heading into the new year so we decided to go to the beach. The town is called Compung Saum or Sihanukville depending on who you ask. It's about a 5 hour drive from Prek Ambel though the road is actually quite good for most of the way. The town felt different than other places we've been to in Cambodia. Sort of a small town feel. The water was nice and blue, the sand clean and white, and we really enjoyed our stay (1 day 1night).

Chheng and Sophorn introduced us to eating grilled squid. The idea didn't sound good to us at all. After we saw them it sounded like an even worse idea. But actually they taste good, though I only ate a couple and Jennifer could only bring herself to eat one. She was a good sport!

Things are going well here. The weather has been cool and mild for the most part. Katherine is growing all the time and is a good girl. Jennifer is the mom I always thought she would be. The ministry is in sort of a comfort zone right now. We have our classes, our outreach programs, and worship on Sunday. Things are sort of calm...which is good...we want to be at peace as much as it depends on us.

We are starting to feel the amount of time we have been away from the states. It seems like a long time. The holidays were tough...the first time we were completely away from family ever. Some days the weight of the culture over here can be a burden. It is just a fallen society. People say and do things that are just rude and sinful. But we knew it would be hard when we decided to come. We are not backing away...just confessing that it is as hard as we thought it might be.

Our new home continues to be a blessing for us. Its position close to the rice fields often brings a nice breeze. In my spare time I have been building a few shelves for storage. It is a slow, slow endeavor. No power tools...

More pictures of Katherine and us will be coming soon. God Bless you all. Please continue to pray the Lord would establish the work of our hands as we live and work in the Cambodian countryside.