Here we are, halfway through the year, out on a morning walk. We have learned so much, processed so much, and are thankful for so many reasons. God has continued to answer prayers and leads us in directions as only HE can do.
Our month was filled with meetings, conversations, and excitement for the opportunities presenting themselves to us. We are thankful for the strong connections that continue to grow through our years in Cambodia.
There are many organizations asking us to journey alongside their teams, some which we will share the names of, others that we will not be giving details about here. As we have done for the past 10 years, we will still not be sharing the faces of beneficiaries at programs we are working with for child-protection purposes.
Making Our Health A Priority
We traveled to Bangkok for health checkups at the beginning of this past month. The last time we had physicals, it was December 2019. We have had no access to our established care in Thailand since then. We were thankful to be allowed back into Thailand to see our doctors without needing to quarantine or take a PCR test.
Melissa met with her surgeon, above, who did her surgery 5 years ago, and we both spent one and a half days wandering around the hospital for the “lube, oil, and filter”, as Matthew refers to it.
We are thankful that our insurance covers this every year for us, and that Bangkok is only a 55-minute flight away. We are so thankful because all of the test results for both of us came out fantastic!
Catching Up With Friends
Melissa was able to spend time with one of our former Siem Reap employees when she and her husband (and cutie pie baby!) visited Phnom Penh this month. They met over bubble tea, talked, and laughed for quite a while.
It is such a blessing to hear what this family is doing currently, and to talk about their goals and the lessons they are learning as a young married couple. We are so thankful for the relationships that God has given us here! We have opportunities regularly to have visits like this. It is an incredible blessing to see growth and progression in these lives!
We have an incredible Khmer teacher. We have known him for almost five years, and he brings great joy with him every time he arrives to teach us.
We wanted to share this photo to make sure everyone back in Oregon knows we “outfit” our crew well here! (Well, most of our friends in Oregon will appreciate this, the rest will say we have the wrong colors! Please don’t unfollow us, haha!)
In all seriousness, we learn so much more from him than just language. We learn about life, culture, and family. We are blessed to have him in our lives several times each week!
Matthew officially started his graduate program with Colorado Christian University online this month. We are thankful for the online platform that lets us learn from a distance and in many cases instantaneously allows us to put aspects of what we are learning into practice.
Matthew was also given the opportunity to participate in a two-day intensive Certification in Psychological First Aid through George Fox University, in partnership with an organization that prepares front-line workers. They do national certification for those that provide triage trauma services. (Yes, Melissa snuck in to snag a photo, and that is where we hang our laundry because there are no dryers here!)
There is a lack of specific training in Cambodia for those who are on the front lines of working with trauma survivors. The hope in the future is to expand this training through partnership to potentially make it available for organizations in Cambodia. Please pray, as those initial conversations are beginning, and details are being worked out about how that could happen.
Be sure to zoom in to appreciate the Lego Batmobiles that Matthew has built!
Food & Fellowship
What a gift to be able to speak into the lives of women who are true leaders in the work they are doing! We are so thankful for the opportunities to host groups in our home, encourage them, and walk through their leadership journey alongside them. Here we all are, post-meal and mid-chocolate chip cookie tray, enjoying an evening of food and fellowship.
Melissa is thrilled to start teaching piano lessons to a select group of Cambodian women and children this month. She is also offering lessons to a few children of missionaries serving in Cambodia, knowing that they couldn’t afford it and that there are very few opportunities to study piano here. We are so thankful to bless others in this small way, as so much has been done for us!
We were thrilled to be invited to the Bloom graduation earlier this month. Multiple girls graduated who had taken their exams at different times during the chaos of the past several years.
Several of the employees currently working in Phnom Penh also worked for Bloom in Siem Reap. We were also able to reconnect with several employees we knew and loved who had come up as trainers to Siem Reap years ago. We are thankful for the special bond we continue to have with the leadership team there and look forward to seeing more of them in the future! It brought us great joy to watch the excitement and emotion of so many girls and families as they celebrated skills and accomplishments!
We now have the option to ride in e-vehicles, which are called “ONIONS”! It is great to see the country of Cambodia paying attention to some environmental sustainability issues.
Melissa had the opportunity to meet with a Cambodian Educational NGO and hear about the work their schools are doing in multiple poor communities. Melissa was talking with them about some of their resource needs to work on possible partnerships for them in the future with churches and education trainers. What a blessing that we are able to connect with others who have hearts to bless their communities! If you know of a retired educator who is interested in doing teacher trainings, or a church interested in providing some classroom resources, please let us know!
As Seen In Cambodia
Why, yes, that is foliage on the roof of Melissa’s ride. There was quite the conversation via text with Matthew about how many creatures might be hiding above!
We were shocked to see this brand of Greek yogurt. . . and even more shocked to see the price! Dairy in Cambodia is quite expensive as almost all of it is imported. This was a hard pass, but it was still crazy to see!
These were our greeters on a recent trip to a local market.
This woman was not going to let ANYTHING get in the way of cooking dinner, despite the flooding. So much respect for the women who keep their households running like this through rainy season. Praying that they do not have many days like this.
There are several shops that sell pianos here, but we have NEVER seen one completely Saran-wrapped like this! It’s extra fresh!
I did a little scream when we saw that Tillamook ice cream was available from the happy cows in Oregon across the world here in Cambodia! I next screamed when I saw the price!
We are so thankful for you and the ways that you engage with us in our work and lives overseas. We are continuing to learn so much, and we love the opportunities to share with you through email, messenger, and even Marco Polo! We are blessed to have conversations with friends from around the world every month, and we are thankful that it is so easy to stay connected. We cannot do what we do without you, and we thank you for your help!