Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Missionaries have laundry, too.

Since I received enthusiastic fan mail in response to “Ordinary Life,” I am emboldened to offer—at least to that fan—a sequel.  (Yes, it was just one piece of fan mail, but I couldn’t really say, “a fan mail,” now could I?)

So for you who are interested (singular or plural), I present our dryer:

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It has become necessary to hang our clothes on the fence, rather than on the line:

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because banana trees drop sap that dries to a deep (though not unpleasant) brown and scoffs at all stain removal techniques known to the modern world.  Except bleach, which has obvious limitations. 

This is not such an undesirable situation, though, seeing as how shirts which have been hung in half over the line turned out lighter on the south side, producing an effect that is undesirable.  On the positive side, Katherine’s sun-dried diapers remain surprisingly white.

In the way of artistic outlets, about 6 weeks ago Bill asked me to make an enlargement of one of the maps in the back of his Bible so his Sunday school class could follow the movements of Jesus as they study through the book of Mark.  So, several Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons later, we have a map: 

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My other (long-term) project is painting the black-and-white illustrations in one of several little Bible story books we picked up for some of our students to read to their students.

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I was hoping this project would be a very fun and relaxing way to spend a couple of hours per week during a naptime.  I was, to be honest, rather disappointed and irked that in reality it is turning out to be a frustrating chore.  I have almost no experience with watercolor, and don’t really know what I’m doing.  There are many pictures left.  I might just use colored pencil.

What our students are doing with these Bible story books is a more interesting story, though.  On Saturday and Sunday afternoons three students go to Sopheak’s family’s house, and five go beyond to Wat Kandal (Central Pagoda).  Sopheak’s house is about 30 minutes away by bicycle, and the pagoda is an hour by moto.  There are about 30 children at each location, and our students teach them English for an hour, then play games and read them a Bible story for another hour. 

At Wat Kandal there were originally over 100 children, but after our students told them about Christ, most of the older ones quit coming.  As one of our students put it, “They are afraid of the name of Jesus, and afraid to believe in Him.”  Several teenagers and a group of monks actually hung around (on the fringes) to see and hear the first story that was read. 

Sopheak said the children who continue to come love to hear the stories and see the pictures.  Most of them, especially near Wat Kandal, are very poor (They don’t have pencils to study with, which cost 5-7 cents at the local markets.) so for them, having a story read to them—in terms of frequency, novelty and delight—is rather comparable to an American child going to Disney Land. 

Which is why I want to color the pictures.  If colorful pictures can make the books a little more interesting and enjoyable, I think there is some value in that.  I mean, which would you rather look at?

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But the truly wonderful thing about these books is not the color illustrations.  It is that those Khmer characters spell out the story of Jesus, which is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. 

Jenn

1 comment:

em said...

Hello Bill, Jennifer, & Katherine! This is Emily Lam from California. A brother (Jonathan Chua) and I came to Koh Thom to visit Akphirin and friends back in August. Anyway, thank you for blogging and keeping us updated. How are the basketball practices going for Bill and the Khmers? I pray that you'll be able to enjoy the painting/coloring/whatever you decide on doing :-) God bless!