… Well, I was trying to write down a glimpse of our last week here, but it’s hard to keep the story short. But anyways it gives you a good update hopefully on our time here. So if you have any time left, or just want to set some time apart to read, click here to continue:
Before getting into details about what life is here like so far, I’ll give you some background information, to make the picture more complete.
Right now, we are in Battambang for about 12 days. Battambang is the second largest city of the country, which would make you think of some kind of metropole, but it more gives us the feeling of a big village with a lot of business. It breathes a really nice atmosphere and it’s not hard to feel at home in the city.
The centre exists out of a couple of street markets, restaurants and some other different shops. All on walking distance, about 10 minutes from the place were we stay. We are a great attraction as people see us ‘farangs’ (white people, actually translated as French) walking down the street with little Noé in the stroller. Not a lot of people walk themselves if they want to get somewhere. The most important way of transportation is by ‘moto’ : picture a motorcycle in whatever size, shape or color and you have a moto. There are some cars, but not to many, and the same for bicycles. There is no public transport. So to get from A to B there is not much choice left then walking or jumping on the back of one of the moto-taxi’s.
The YWAM base is at this point packed with staff and so we stay in a pastor’s house that has plenty of guestrooms available. They are in very good relationship with the YWAM base here. He lives there not just with his wife, but also with a lot of his children and grandchildren. A great family, in which we are welcomed with open arms.
We have a room for our own with our own bathroom and shower. Cold water though, but we got used to that by now. Even Noé has proved herself to be a hero as she only shivers once by feeling the first cold drops, but than she is okay.
All right, let me tell you about our week so far. The days here start pretty early. Because during noon and two in the afternoon, it’s the hottest of the day and life slows down quit a bit.
After the neighbors rooster wakes us up at four in the morning and falling back to sleep, the alarm clock gives us around 6:00 the signal that is for real now. We buy some breakfast for ourselves, although it is available for us at the base. But having rice for lunch and dinner we wanted for a changed some yoghurt and muesli for breakfast. And although they charge us ‘white’ prices for those western articles, most other things are cheaper.
At 7:00 the base starts of with a time of prayer and worship. A time to dedicated the day to the Lord. We are not always present, but try to be there regularly. At 8:00 breakfast is served, what we already have swallowed at home.
Then at 9:00 ‘Phase II’ starts. A follow up training program for DTS graduated students to grow in leadership and maturity, and to get equipped for getting on staff. They are pretty much all Khmer so everything is translated since the teacher is from Singapore and the lecture is in English.
At 12:00 lunch is ready. Rice : ) After lunch it’s time to head back home with Noé for a nice nap and just being home for a bit. The other one of us goes into town to go to the market for some shopping, find the internet, doing some laundry, getting diapers (we found them : )), fix diner for Noé, we cook separate for her because of all the spices. So that keeps us busy during the hot hours of the day.
Around 16:00 we head back to the base, where in the meantime several hundreds of youth has gathered. 5 days a week from 4 till 6 there are several classes offered for any youth from the neighborhood. Monday and Tuesday were registration days for the new quarter and it was exciting to see as well a lot of new students applying as a lot of old students coming back again. The classes are for free and teach English, hip hop dancing, woodcarving, vocals and cooking skills. By applying the students commits him self to follow all the classes, and with that they also get in touch with the Bible as that is shared throughout the classes. Last quarter a couple of students gave their lives to God and were able to do a DTS. A great example of the fruit of this ministry.
At 18:30 it is time for dinner. Rice : ) Eating dinner happens, like a lot of the other things around daily life, outside in the open air. By this time is already super dark, because the sun starts setting at around 17:30. After dinner we walk home. Little Noé gets a nice cold shower to wash of all the sweat of the hot day. But actually we are getting kind of used to the heath. We don’t sweat as much as when we just got here. Plus we also shifted to another gear in this tropical climate.
During the nighttime all the fans go on, and the windows open. It is still warm, and although at this time of the year there are some heavy showers during the day it doesn’t cool down that much.
Most of the times we go to sleep quite early. Around 8:00 every lock in the house is locked so there is not much to do neither are there any other people out there.
This week we also joined the ministry that reached out to the people in the nearby military hospital. The facilities are very poor and the medical care is minimum and not hygienic. Partners and children of the patients most of the times move with them to the hospital so they don’t have to travel back and forth. They live on the same compound as the hospital is. The children that live here don’t get a change to go to school and have therefore no education. In this first visit we mainly spent time with them. It is hard to communicate directly to them without a translator, so we played games, hanged out with them and just loved on them by being there with them.
We also visited quit a big orphanage which is actually located right around the corner from where we live. There are about 250 kids from 0 up to 18. They live together with about 10 of them in houses, with a mom who cooks and cleans. Most of the times she is a widow. French and Italy sponsor the orphanage, so therefore I think it looks really nice. It is good to see that it is a safe and good place for the children to be.
It was also very good to be able to spend some time with the base leaders here. To talk over and through things as we are exploring the possibilities of moving here. About vision for the future, how this base came into being and the different ministry opportunities. Also we take time to get to know the rest of the team by just spending time on the base.
After the weekend we are going to get a little taste of language learning. If we really feel led to move to Cambodia, we definitely are going to learn Khmer. It is a must to serve in this country to get in touch with her people.
Sunday we have visited the hospital again. During the visits of the team over the last time, several people gave their lives to Jesus. Since it was hard for the team to get all the people, who were also sick, to the church, they got permission from the hospital to start leading services in the hospital it self. We look forward to see what God is doing in those times and to be a part of that.
For this week there are already several new activities planned to continue to spy out the land here. So we will try to keep you as much updated as possible.
It is good to see all the different things here in real life and to take the time to listen to God what His will is for us. Do we indeed need to make the step to move to this country for a longer period of time, or does God have other intentions for us with this trip?
It is still hard to say if this really is going to be it, but still we want to use our time here as best as we can and look in to all the different aspects of life and ministry as if we would move here. It’s up to got to open and close the doors that He has in mind for us.