Sunday, February 26, 2012

First Adult Community Workshop

Yesterday was a big day for 2Five2 because we hosted our first Adult Community Workshop.  As we have mentioned before (or you can see a video about it again here) the child protection program we run in Prek Pneu has the goal of seeing children grow up in the same way that Jesus did, in wisdom, stature, and in favor with God and man - Luke 2:52.  We have been operating the catch-up school for about 4 months now and it has been wonderful to see these kids grow in their wisdom as they go to school for the first time in their lives. 

But yesterday was another big milestone when we hosted 54 adults in our building to teach and train on the topic of child abuse.  In working in the community we have found that physical child abuse is happening very frequently when parents punish their kids.  Like many other issues in the community we hope that through relationship and education we can be a part of helping protect children and help both kids and adults learn about their God given potential.  So it was a rich day when I sat and watched these 54 parents learn on ways to discipline kids that is not physically harmful, to learn about what is child neglect, and sexual abuse, and learn how to better protect and care for their children.

We served lunch and said thanks and prayed for these adults and we will invite them back again in April for the second workshop.  We had a few bumps in the road, like having 10 mothers leave at the break time to go to the market to buy some food and not return for another hour, but for our first rodeo it went great.

I love getting to see this other side of our program come into a reality and see the adults now using our building.

Pictured above: Our trainer from partner organization Chab Dai, our attendees, and then myself, Chanrith our Project Coordinator (far right) and the trainers after the workshop.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Logos High School Service Camp

Last week Chris helped lead the annual service camp for the Logos 11th and 12th graders.  It's a time when the older students take a week to serve in the country they live in.  This year they stayed at a camp that specializes in hosting youth teams and helping provide service to the communities near them.  This year they worked at a local Primary school and helped paint the school, plant a new garden that will allow for them to grow vegetbables to eat for school lunch, and also lay a foundation for a new building.
 Chris is the 12th grade homeroom teacher, so this is a good time to connect with students while they work through the day.  Each leader also leads a devotion at night, and spends time with the kids in the evening.  It is a week of work that is enjoyable because it is a change in the routine, but can be tiring due to the amount of work and all the logistics to figure out.
 But at the end of the week he was a champ, and the students loved their time with Chris.
 I spent the week holding down the fort and working here in Phnom Penh.  I also took advantage of the week by spending some time with some of my friends here.  I had dinners out and at friend's houses and even watched the Superbowl (photo below).  I am not one to take a lot of alone time so the week was actally very good to have some peace and quite in what is normally a very loud life (not due to Chris but because of the city we live in...though sometimes him:)

I also threw a baby shower for a friend, Kristy, which was a fun afternoon for everyone.  We played the classic baby shower games and enjoyed yummy yummy food, that is a special treat to everyone.  Below are some photos of everyone's reaction to the "Baby Food Taste Test" game, and one of me and Kristy.

Tomorrow he leaves again to go to China for a 4 day conference on teaching AP classes at International schools.  Logos is sending him and we are both very excited for this opportunity for him.  The day before he returns we also will have two friends coming to visit!  Kimmy and Jesse Bean arrive on Sunday and I will be their solo tour guide until Chris returns.  So much in February, but we are thankful everything is a "get to" and not a "have to."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bike Distribution Video

Here is a quick video clip of the children all riding away on their bikes after the last distribution.  Now there is no claiming this is a "well shot film" so please ignore the last 10 seconds when I couldn't figure out how to stop the video...oops.

However, it gives a good idea of the communities we work in to distribute bikes.  This particular village is a resettlement community that was moved from Phnom Penh to an area called Oudong.  Resettlement in Cambodia means that a developer came to the city, wanted their land, and got it.  The company can pay the government for the piece of land, the government will forcefully move the people and then take the money for their own use.

The result, a village of families are then plucked out of their homes, moved to a place they know nothing about and are given a 8 kg (about 15 lbs) bag of rice and a blue tarp, and wished well.

These families lose what job they might of had, and now live on land where they have no house or shelter, no electricity, no running water, and don't have access to markets, and their kids don't have access to schools. Essentially nothing.  This community was relocated in December of 2009 and still many are without their basic needs.  These bikes will now allow for the kids to get to the school that is located about 8 kms away and their parents can now reach the local market.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Cambodia Bike Project: Distribution #2

Cambodia Bike Project had the opportunity this weekend to distribute 42 bikes to kids in rural Cambodia who will use them to travel to school and whose parents will use them to access local markets on a more regular basis in order to sell their produce and maintain a sustainable income. The 42 bikes were distributed in four locations just outside of Phnom Penh. In each of the four communities, a small, informal ceremony was held in which members of my partner organization Kone Kmeng, myself and Cambodians from the community had an opportunity to express their hopes and goals for the use of these bikes. It was a day that we were honored to be a part of and one that we will not soon forget. 

As of this weekend, 42 kids will be more likely to go to school and church on a regular basis because of the improvement in their transportation and we are proud and blessed to be a small part of that change. This side project has become something I love and cherish and I am so fortunate that Asian Hope has been willing to let me run with this program.

We started this program about ten months ago and, within our first year, Cambodia Bike Project will distribute
120 bikes to kids and young adults working to better themselves through education and vocational training.

Kone Kmeng did the majority of the logistics for the distribution day including the application, payment (families pay about $1.50 per bikes, a significant sum for some of them) and presentation process. We tagged along, unloaded bikes, lowered seats and spoke in broken Khmer as best we could throughout the day. It was an incredible opportunity to see how an item so simple can play a part in the transformation of individuals and hopefully in communities as a whole.

For more information on Cambodia Bike Project and to see how you can participate, visit

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Day of Prayer

Yesterday we hosted a Day of Prayer for the ministry of 2Five2 in Prek Pneu. We have been operating our official program for 3 months and been in the community for one year and wanted to take a step back and spend some time in prayer.

Each student had the opportunity to write or draw (most students can still not write) a prayer request they had personally.  The children then took the cards and prayed for another another at the beginning of their class.  We then hung the cards so the building could be adorned with these requests.

We invited others to come and join our day and be a part of praying for the building itself, the students, the community, the staff, and the ministry that happens here.  We had over 30 people come into our building and take a moment to pray.  The Khmer and Vietnamese church, Asian Hope staff, Logos students, friends, and co-workers all came throughout the day to join us in celebration and prayer. Just wonderful.

We also had many faithful people praying remotely, both in Cambodia and America.  Thank you for joining hands with us in this!  There is nothing greater than seeing kids praying for kids, older women sitting with students to pray, two churches spending their day to pray for their community, and staff dedicated to the prayer of the Lord.  It truly was a rich day here in Cambodia. 

If you would still like to pray for 2Five2 and Prek Pneu please email me and I will send you a list of our prayer requests.

­­­The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.
James 5:16

(Pictured above: Four women from the Khmer church praying with the Grade 2 class, prayer requests hung in the school building.) 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Refocused or Maybe a Little Foggy?

Chris and I spent the last weekend at a conference called "Refocused."  It is an all year conference where we meet for 2-day retreats four different times throughout 2012.  It was wonderful.  We both felt tired and a little skeptical going into it (partly because we had no idea what we were going to be doing).  The weekend was spent in good teaching, with amazing people, and was very thought provoking.

Over the course of two days we were asked to write a personal purpose statement, define our core values, and create a personal vision statement (lofty goals for 48 hours).  The values part really hit home for me. The idea of what do you value?

The core-convictions that drive your behavior, decisions, and the way you view your life and the world around you.  The are represented in your personality, and the affect your relationships, your lifestyle, your work, your world view, and how you spend your money and time.

The way God has wired you to live life and influence others.  They are seen in you by those around you.

Values.  Big things to discover.

What I found is that what I value in myself (or strive to be), I also value in others.  Authenticity. Obedience.  Passion. Resilience. Sacrifice. Hard Working. Generous. Service.

Not done yet...then came the vision statement.  What is it that motivates you?

Discovering what God has created me to do and surrendering to it.  Not dreaming or hoping but finding and then joining Him in the work.  What a wonderful thought.

So here goes the next year, as we "refocus" on these things.  Think about it yourself...its hard...let me know if you figure it out...

So this morning we had high hopes of being refocused, but rather woke up in a fog when we had 15 minutes to get ready for work and get Chris to Logos for his week long camp with the high school students near the Thai border.  Clear was not our morning.  Sickness, being late, dirt, overloaded moto, and trying to figure out where the missing bus was, is a better definition to our morning all before 6:45am. :)