Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Video from Joy Daycare.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

More sleep

Safely back in the US. The Pacific Ocean is bigger than I ever give it credit for. I feel pretty jet lagged now. Standing around waiting for my bags for 90 minutes didn't help the tiredness. There are a ton of people and bags on a full 777. And of course, guess who's bags come off near the end. Now for more sleep.

Friday, May 17, 2013


I need sleep. Just landed in Incheon after the 5 hour flight from Siem Reap. I've been up since 6am local time on Friday, and it is now 7am local time (5am back in Cambodia) on Saturday. And I just felt an earthquake. Awesome. - Ernest

Edit @5pm local - sleep is good. Nice being able to take a nap on an actual bed. This in-airport hotel was a God-send. Now just waiting for my flight to Seattle. Looks like it's delayed about 30 minutes. That earthquake this morning was a bit surreal. If it weren't for everyone else around me reacting to it, I probably would have dismissed it as just me being really tired. It happened as I was typing that first post. Right as I finished typing 'Saturday.' Real time updates, heh.

--  --  --  --  --
Kevin Krueger here with an update for you. What Ernest felt was a magnitude 4.8 earthquake just off North Korea's coastline. Click here for more detail on the earthquake. Thankfully, he's just fine as are others at Incheon airport in South Korea. He is resting now at the airport transit hotel. The next leg of his journey will bring him to Seattle.

The Rice for Cambodia mission trip continues - and this story blog will continue as well with help from other team members in Cambodia. Thank you for praying for the team, and also for all those receiving the rice and hearing the Gospel.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

I'm going to be Rich!

The newest weight loss fad is here. All you have to do is fly to Cambodia, in the middle of their summer, and tromp around Angkor Wat a while. Oh whoops. There went my secret. I'm pretty sure this is the most I've sweat in my life. On the bright side, I probably lost about 10 lbs.

Angkor Wat is simply incredible. There are so many beautiful carvings and 'ruins' to explore. I can only imagine what the place looked like when it was first constructed some 1100 years ago. They are doing a lot of restoration work right now, on a number of the buildings. Both to repair damage done by careless tourists (sigh) and to repair some natural damage, just because it's so incredibly old.

The top part of the main site was closed today, for a Buddhist holy day. Part of me was relieved, because that would have been another pile of stairs to climb. Our driver/guide took us to another site to walk through. He knew I was a gringo, so they avoided some 'hot' options that didn't have much in the way of shade. I <3 Mao. This second site was overrun with trees. They were busting through walls and growing in and among the stonework. Very Lord of the Rings like with trees trumping the man made objects.

We didn't see the elephants that they have there (for the tourists), because they only bring them out in the evening. I wanted to see one, since a lot of Cambodian artwork depicts them in one form or another. We did see a number of monkeys, but didn't get too close. I was told someone on a previous trip got bit by one. Didn't really feel like getting a rabies shot today.

All in all, an awesome morning and a neat way to wrap up my Cambodian adventure. This afternoon I'll try to get my souvenirs all squared away, then off to the airport for the beginning of my 30ish hour return trip home (long layover).

When it Rains, it Pours

At our hotel in Siem Reap and it just started pouring down rain. Sheets of it. The nice thing is, we didn't have a lot of plans for tonight that involved the outdoors.

This morning we did a rice distribution at a place called Prea Net Prea. There is a Transform Asia church here, and Pastor Setan told me this was a place that has dealt with a lot of persecution. There are a number of people here that do everything they can to stop Christians. They are mostly led by the local witch doctors. Much prayer is needed for these people. Especially since they are on their 4th pastor. The others couldn't handle the pressure. The current Pastor seems to be a solid guy, but could definitely use prayer on his behalf.

The local village chief used to be one of the prime persecutors, but now he is a Christian! Reminds me a lot of the story of Paul. He was probably the most eager to greet us when we arrived. I admire the guy's enthusiasm. We also had a number of military guys in attendance. Evidently a number of them will attend services from time to time. Pastor Setan said that much like in the US, it's kind of rare for the guy to go to church and the go back and 'teach' the wife. Usually, it's the reverse. But these guys from the local base are doing just that.

Along with the rice distribution, we handed out school uniforms to a number of the children. These kids were, well for lack of a better word, adorable. They were all singing songs for us, a number of them recognizable, like 'Deep and Wide' but with mountain instead of fountain. Something got a little lost in translation. ;)

Quite a last rice distribution for me. Had a little of everything. Ok, a lot of heat. Whew. It's kind of ridiculous how much a difference even a little shade can make. Feels like night and day when you get into these kind of temperatures.

I'm just a bit sad that I didn't get a picture with my little buddy that came over to me about half way through the drama presentation. He was fascinated by my camera. In fact, he helped me take a number of pictures, towards the end. If you see a little boy in all yellow, he's my bud. He was with a couple of adults, who I can only assume we're his parents, but they all left before I could have someone get a picture with us. :(

And speaking of kids... We had the cutest kid join us for the last week or so. Her name is Ana, and she is almost 4. Pastor Setan and his wife are pretty much raising her, as her mom was only 14 when she was born. One of the reasons Ana joined us, is because she'll get to see her mom here in a day or two as the team visits the project where her mom is at. Ana pretty much has the run of the place, as the entire team is spoiling her to no end. And she's eating it all up.

A) kids practicing songs
B) so much character, in all ages
C) gangnam style!
D) felt so bad for this dog. Only one with shaggy hair I've seen
E)kids hanging out in the tree to see the skit - zaccheus style
F) my little buddy
G) haulin' away the rice
H) receiving school uniforms
I) candidate for cutest kid ever. She was basically our mascot for the week. The one, the only, Ana.
J ) can't have just 1 picture of Ana

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Another 10 tons

This morning we distributed another 10 tons of rice. This group of people reacted more to the drama than any other to this point. It was great to see them really get into it and enjoy the skits. It probably had something to do with my cameo...haha, not likely. The drama team persuaded me to play the rich guy. If only.

Best of all, we had another 11 people come forward after the drama presentations. Pastor Nak prayed with them, welcoming them to the family of Christ. We can't always do these types of invitations, especially when there is a government official there. Today we had a representative there, but she is Pastor Setan's cousin. So it all worked out.

Only one more rice distribution before I leave this incredible country. I can't believe how fast the last two weeks have flown by. Can't say I'll miss the heat and humidity, but I will greatly miss the people. There are so many projects and people that need help. I wish I could do more. There is nothing like being able to see and experience first-hand something like this. I fundamentally knew what was going on, but to actually see it. I'll never forget it. If you ever get the opportunity, I can't encourage you enough to jump at the chance to see for yourself these amazing people and just what an impact you're having through Rice for Cambodia.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

So I Met a few Generals Today

And by a few, I mean like a dozen. 1-star, 2-star, 3-star, and a 4-star general. Pastor Setan said he is the commander of the Cambodian Army. Intimidating guy. Have to admit I felt pretty nervous, as they had me sitting right behind him the whole time he was giving his speech. His body guards kept eyeing me, and I didn't dare make any sudden movements. His son, a colonel in the armed forces sat right next to me. I got to chat with him a bit - he went to school in the States, at Oklahoma. Seemed like a nice guy, and he was a lot taller than most Cambodians I've met.

So the whole reason there were so many generals at this distribution was because the 4-star general was making an appearance. This is a 'camp,' really a tiny village, where retired, disabled veterans are living. It's right on the Cambodia/Thailand border. The government has given them each a plot of land for them to farm and settle. I was told this was a conscious effort to make sure that the Thais don't keep encroaching on their border.

We distributed rice and salt to the vets, and it was hard to see so many of them missing limbs. I can only assume that many of those wounds were a result of skirmishes and possibly leftover land mines that are all over this particular area. There were a number of signs on the roadside warning people to stay on the road because of the risk of land mines. Little scary. Land mines were only one worry, as the team was telling me that last year, when they came to this area, they saw a 10 ft long King Cobra. No such sighting this year. Whew.


Ps. More new rice for lunch. Soooooooooo good.

Overall I took fewer pictures of this event, mostly because of the nature of who was there. Didn't feel proper to take photos from the stage once the head general arrived. Plus it was all being videotaped for the tv stations. I'm pretty sure with all the video they've been taking with me in the background, Cambodians are probably sick of that funny lookin American guy that keeps showing up.

View from the front towards the drama stage being set up.

Mayuleth sitting in the general's chair (well before the general got there)...

Bags of rice and salt.

One of the wounded vets.

The gentleman on the right is the 2-star general in charge of this camp.

Another vet.

Pastor Setan and the 4-star general handing out a bag of rice.

I handed out a few bags too!