Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pchum Ben

Last Friday, September 24th marked the start of the Khmer holiday Pchum Ben which lasts 2 weeks and will end on October 10th. It is a Buddhist holiday that Cambodians believe is a time when the spirits of their dead ancestors walk the Earth. Cambodians spend the early mornings cooking meals for the monks, and bringing offerings to the temple hoping that the ghosts of their ancestors will receive their offerings and ease their sufferings.

According to Buddhist beliefs, the lives that we live, after death, are predicated by the actions that we took when we were living. Small sins would be given small punishments, while more severe sins would be punished more harshly. In celebrating Pchum Ben, Cambodians believe that these offerings made during the festival are to cancel out past sins.

This belief leaves no room for grace, the foundation that our eternal life stands on.
This belief leaves no room for freedom, the foundation that our hearts and minds find rest in.
This belief leaves no room for our burdens to be taken, the foundation where we seek comfort.
This belief leaves no room for Jesus as our Savior, the foundation that our purpose is found in.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. -- Ephesians 2:8

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. -- 2 Corinthians 3:17

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. -- Galations 5:1

Sunday, September 26, 2010

More Pictures...

Here are some more pictures of the beach and pool we went to on one of our afternoons off. The ocean water was probably 85 degrees, so not super refreshing but still fun to be in.

We stopped at this waterfall on the way home from Koh Kong.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Staff Retreat in Koh Kong

This week we were fortunate to have three days off to enjoy a staff retreat in Koh Kong, Cambodia which is directly on the boarder of Thailand. It was a time to get to know the other staff and just take some time off from work. We enjoyed great seafood, time with our friends and time learning about how we can make an impact on the people we interact with each day. We spent a lot of time listening to great sermons from a family that had been in Cambodia for 9 years and testimonies of how God is working in Cambodia. It was a much needed time off and we are feeling incredibly rejuvenated from our time.

It has been seven weeks since I have started school and the year is nearly a quarter over. I have made some great connections with the students and staff and feel more and more comfortable with Logos, the staff and the students. Leanne has been working hard on her two projects and is seeing many doors opening with the trafficking ministry. Her ability to speak Khmer is also going great!

I personally have gone through a realization that Cambodia is not a place where I am simply on an extended trip but it is really my new home. Learning the language, buying into the culture and interacting with Cambodians is becoming a priority and those changes are what makes Phnom Penh and Cambodia actually feel like home.

Lastly, we sent out our first newsletter today. We had some complications with the email because of our Internet connection so if you supporting us financially or through prayer but did not receive our email, please let us know. Also, if you would like to be added to our email list, then please feel free to email me at

Saturday, September 18, 2010

"Five players on the floor functioning as one single unit: team, team, team - no one more important that the other". - Coach Dale: Hoosiers

My first middle school basketball game was an epic, Hoosiers-esque, full of drama and crushed dreams. I have a wonderful group of 6th, 7th and 8th graders who had their first game last night against Hope International School, the mighty cross-town rival.

The game itself was a nail-biter, 4-4 at half and 12-12 with 60 second left. My boys were nervous to play in front of a crowd of their teachers and peers. Also, (a coaching mistake) we were unable to play against the 2-3 zone that the opposing coach threw at us. Zone defense, really? With 40 seconds left, we had the ball and I, in reverence to the late John Wooden, held the ball for the last shot. One of my 8th graders took the ball to the hole and drew a foul with 5 seconds left. Perfect. Clink, clunk, both rattled off the rim and we fouled the Hope gamer on the rebound who, with 2 second left drilled the winning free-throws. A searing loss 14-12, and a true classic. I am sure ESPN will be calling me for the rights to this footage to be shown to later generations.

I love coaching these boys and there are great lessons to be learned in winning and losing. Learning what their identity should be in, what they should see as important and unimportant and how to treat the player who missed the free throws and how to respect the opposing player who made them.

Just so you know, and for my own sake, my Logos Second Team boys took it to Hope 15-10 in the second game... I am just trying to preserve my own pride.

Friday, September 10, 2010

PE Class

At Logos there is so much work that needs to be done, and really only so many staff that work there. So Chris, like other teachers, wears many hats each day when he goes to the school. One of those hats is on Fridays he is the 5th grade PE teacher. To make it even better, we have become friends with a couple Gideon and Kristy, who both teach at Logos. Gideon is the 5th grade teacher, and every Friday he has his class prank Chris while in PE. This week Gideon had his kids yell the phrase, "OK Mr. Awesome, we are not worthy" every time Chris gave the class an instruction. Here are a few videos and photos of a PE class I walked in on today (I made it just in time to see one of the pranks and the always loved game of Sharks and Minnows).

Sweet Things

A few weeks back I (Leanne) wanted to venture into the idea of baking. I loved to bake back in CO, and thought it would help me feel like this is home. The idea of making even just chocolate chip cookies was somewhat daunting, but I went for it anyways. I asked Rachel, one of my interns, if she would be interested in helping me one evening. She gladly said yes, but also let me know that she had never tried to bake before. So here we are the blind leading the blind. We mixed the batter with a fork, instead of my usual hand mixer, but with enough elbow grease we got the cookie dough to taste just right. Then came the oven. In Cambodia, the ovens run off propane, so it's like using an oven made for camping. We couldn't get it to light, and just after that Rachel said "I know how to fix it!" So she did just that, and went and ripped a small piece off a cardboard box that was in the kitchen, lit it with a match, and then threw it in the gas filled oven. Not exactly safe, but we got it started. The cookies surprisingly turned out really good and here are some pictures of us baking.

Then just last weekend we were going over to hang out with the Ohlin family for dinner and a game night. They ordered a pizza, and we offered to bring dessert. Our first thought was "Lets do a schmolie." Again, I made the cookie dough (this time easier than the first time) and got all the other items needed. We have loved spending time with this family, and were excited to teach them a little bit about our life back in CO. Here is the picture of Chris getting it ready, and explaining to the family what a schmolie is, and how you eat it. The Ohlin family loved it, and our friends back in Boulder would be so proud of them as they yelled "Schmolieolieolie" and ate the whole pan!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Lets Go Buffaloes!

Tomorrow is the big day...the day the Buffs play CSU in the season home opener. This is the first year in many that we are not going to be in attendance and cheering for our beloved Buffs. If you are going to the game, think of us as we stay up all night tracking the game over the internet. Here are some photos over the years of us at CU games...

"Shoulder to shoulder we will Fight, Fight, Fight, Fight, Fight!"