In about 12 hours I’ll be going to Cambodia again. It is always a surreal experience for me, as I am such an unlikely candidate for such far away travel. I’m old enough to be a grandmother and never had expectations of going farther away than the edges of my own country. I don’t necessarily have a yearning for travel and can’t imagine why it has happened to me (for the fifth time now!) except to say that an unseen hand must have picked me up and dropped me on the plane.


These days preceding the flight have been filled with hectic activity, not leaving much time to think about the trip, but when I have thought about it…

  • How different will it be for me, doing it alone this time?
  • I don’t have suitcases full of toys, crafts, and medical supplies this time. What am I supposed to do with all that room? Take clothes?
  • What will I do with those 26 hours of travel time if there are no good movies? if it’s hard to get up and walk around? if I can’t sleep?
  • I hope I don’t break the hot pink headphones I borrowed from Gracie.
  • At last I’ll get to be that person at the airport looking for someone holding a card with my name on it.
  • I wonder what the taxi fare will be – have no clue. I should have handled more of my own money matters on trips before.
  • I wonder if I will remember the children’s names, or even recognize them after two years. They’ve grown so much. I wonder if they will remember me…
  • A real hotel this time, not a guest house with known hosts. The Double Leaf Boutique, at the exorbitant price of $40 per night. Times have changed!
  • I wonder if my aging computer will make it through the two weeks. And my phone’s camera…
  • But I’m not going to take as many pictures (haha – I say this every time). I’m just going to put new dates on the old ones.
  • I’m not going to buy anything at the markets. No, not a thing. I don’t need anything.
  • I’ve seen their chickens. How am I ever going to stay on my paleo diet?
  • Two weeks without my favorite pillow, should be interesting. I’m tired already. And beds in southeast Asia are mostly hard in my experience.
  • I shouldn’t have cut my own hair – this is how they are going to remember me forever. There will be photos…
  • How has the country changed? I wonder if the roads have gotten any better.
  • How many hours of TV will the husband log while I’m away?

It’s the last few hours and I’m making myself finish packing. I’m hoping that once I get there the long trip will be forgotten and I will regain my enthusiasm, but for now, I have to admit I’m lacking in that category. I’m asking God to show me, definitively, why I am doing this. And I know he will.

Tuesday Travels #2

Tuesday Travels (on Wednesday, because I forgot)

Yesterday before I went to work I got a facebook call from Cambodia. It was the houseparent of one of the homes there in Prek Eng. Since it was around 9am for me and they are 12 hours different, all the children were still up and gathered around the computer listening. On cue they all greeted me. House dad Ravy asked if I could hear him well, and yes, it was amazingly clear and easy to listen to. After going halfway around the world, the sound was still better than calls on my local internet phone, and way better than my cell phone reception. Modern miracles…

Several of the braver children (probably the ones more confident of their English skills) had short conversations with me about school and their activities. They all want me to guess who they are by the sound of their voice but I am not that good yet. Evidently the newest form of exercise for them is playing badminton in the courtyard in front of their home. Now I see why the list of things being collected includes badminton rackets and shuttlecocks. Ravy mentioned that they wish to have the courtyard paved so the kids don’t have to be in the dirt. That is one of the things I will be evaluating as a project for the funds I raise.

I am happy to say I have received one generous donation already, but no actual responses from my donor letter. I am not the least bit worried about that. I do my part and God does His, an interesting and exciting exercise of faith for me.

House parents  Suonbun Saravy (Ravy) on the left and Tharey Sorn (Rey) on the right.
House parents Suonbun Saravy (Ravy) on the left and Tharey Sorn (Rey) on the right.
Houseparents Kien Khea (An) on left and Raksmey Oum (Smey) on right.
Houseparents Kien Khea (An) on left and Raksmey Oum (Smey) on right.

Heading East Again.

Group photo op Prek Eng 5 family
Group photo op
Prek Eng 5 family

But to be precise, I don’t really know which way you would say Cambodia is from where I am. I could get there in almost any direction because it’s pretty much on the other side of the world. I think the plane flies north over the pole.

After hours and hours of seeing nothing because it’s dark, I usually look out on what I am guessing are the mountains of Siberia. I remember thinking how cold, rugged and barren that area looks from up in the sky (and probably from down on the ground too – I’ve heard things about Siberia).  We land in Seoul, stand in several lines, change planes and fly for another six hours to Phnom Penh.

Things really warm up there.  Suddenly I’m back in a climate much like the one I left in Florida and surrounded by excited children. The hugs and smiles just don’t stop and their helping hands take all our bags and they lead us to the transport vehicles. All 40 plus children and house parents come to get us and come again to see us off ten days later. Kindness, gentleness, patience and love, love, love… from them to us.

This December I will be taking my third trip to Cambodia.  Things change so fast over there.  This year instead of being scattered all over the city of Phnom Penh in rented housing, the children have five new homes in progress on a central campus. There was not even one building on the property last year.  The church and education center was the first to be built.  The jungle has been cleared away, gardens have been planted. Thanks to Facebook I see pictures of foundations being poured, tile being laid, landscaping taking form. And yes, they take lots of pictures of their food too.  I am eagerly anticipating this visit.

And of course, the children are growing up, The older ones are making plans for educating themselves in university and the trades.  Last year a men’s dorm for university students was started and was amazingly successful.  This year the women are also getting a dorm and some of the Asia Hope girls will be living there as they go to school. I will probably get a chance to talk with them several mornings before they head out and I’m looking forward to encouraging them and telling them how special they are.

They are truly Asia’s hope for the future. I am so blessed to have a window on the changes taking place there – and an opportunity to meet needs as they are expressed.  Last year donations from many friends helped provide needed prophylactic medications for all 15 orphan homes for two years, plus some equipment for medical examinations.  That was one FUN shopping trip! I am asking for donations again this year, if any readers are so inclined. I can guarantee that the funds are put to good use. God provides, but you are his vehicle.

Being there always inspires me, and I think it will inspire you as well. I’m just sayin’, stay in touch if you want to watch this year’s trip unfold in December.