Sunday, May 22, 2016

Cambodia, Day 13

So I know I have a striking appearance, and I'm quite used to being recognized when I return to places: the bald head plus the long goatee together mean that happens pretty often. Over here, though, they've taken it up a notch. All of us get stares, but I get more than my share, and a number of people stroke their chins while smiling and nodding. The hotel folks, both in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, have been handing me my room key automatically, where almost everyone else has to ask for their key by room number. Matthew Stock told me they would notice the beard and approve of it, since a lot of them actually can't grow facial hair, and that's turning out to be accurate. I'm glad, because I had a strong urge to cut it off short before I left, but he persuaded me not to.

This morning, we worshipped at New Life Fellowship
(That's not the entire church; that's just an event tent they set up on the sidewalk and part of the street for a jobs fair they hosted. Those tents are a common sight in Cambodia, but they're usually for weddings.)

At New Life Fellowship, both the pastor and the associate pastor's wife have roots in Eugene, so we felt a little cool breeze of home. During the song service, we sang "Great are You Lord," some in Khmer and some in English, which gave extra power to the line, "All the earth will shout your praise." The pastor, Jesse McCaul, preached in fluent Khmer, complete with good comic timing and very Asian nonverbals. They passed out small radio receivers with earbuds for instant English translation, but there are still some bugs to be banged out of the system, so most of us abandoned the radios midway through the sermon and just watched. They're launching a new church plant next Sunday, so that's something you could include in your prayers.
We spent the afternoon getting our ducks in a row for next week's ministry opportunities at Rahab's House. The Bible study was still in the very early stages, so we talked about it at length, and then broke up to write our individual assignments up. I'll be teaching a storytelling class in the morning, then teaching Leviticus right after that, then doing what amounts to a large VBS lesson in the afternoon. 

We 're trying to get to this point, where we're sufficiently prepared to teach children and build relationships. I think we're close to ready; tomorrow will be messy and improvised, but we're going to hold it together and be cheerful and enthusiastic, and by evening we'll have a better idea what we're up against, so we can firm up plans for the balance of the week. But we'll take any prayer you can spare.

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