Design vs. Construction

Sometimes we get asked how much we are doing design vs. construction management with our engineering. The answer is, we are doing both! Ian is primarily working on design (still his favorite) but is involved weekly with a couple of our construction projects. I am primarily working on construction (still my favorite) but have been involved on design projects as well. While folks in our office frequently lean one way or another for their focus, we are more than happy to help each other out when needed. The answer is BOTH! We find there is a great need for both in this region. Some ministries come to us just starting the fundraising process but not yet sure exactly what kind of facilities they need. Some are ready to put their plans and needs on paper. And some ministries have the plans and the contractor and they just need someone they trust to manage construction itself. All of these are important, and all of them are ways we can enable ministries to spend more of their time, energy and money on what’s important. So just like Paul, we become all things to all people — so that we can serve some and glorify One.

Learning more each day

This morning I received a text from Ian that our moto was making a funny noise. Immediately all the moto taxi drivers (also our neighbors) who hang out at the corner of our house gathered around and informed Ian in Khmer that the sound was all wrong and the idle was too high. One of the guys (who we have nicknamed “Smiley” because every time we see him he has huge grin) got on his moto and rode with Ian down to the small, outdoor moto shop down our street, called a “jieng”. Smiley explained the problem in Khmer and had the guys take a look. Three minutes and 1000 riel (25 cents) later and Ian was off on the way to the office with a working moto!

Goodness, do we love our neighborhood! I think I’m due to make cookies again.

Projects, Updates

2018 By the Numbers

“99% of all statistics only tell 49% of the story.” — Ron Dellegge

But I’m a geek… so here are some of the statistics anyway.

2 Schools
1 Church
1 Village water system
2 Children’s homes
1 Ministry center
6 Trash bins (long story)

4 interns mentored
20+ bible lessons, small groups, and discipleship meetings led or facilitated

~1000 combined classroom hours
2 desk drawer full of flash cards
3 successful “dad jokes”
(my statistics, my definition of “successful”. Deal with it.)

50 blog posts with 2200 views from 37 countries
450 connections on Facebook with 2500 reactions
736 newsletters read

Partners & Donors
140 prayer partners
680 individual donations
$2600 raised for survey equipment
$5050 raised for the fellowship program

And the most important summary:
All of us
Serving 1 God
into 2019.

Wishing all of you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!



We received a lot of questions to the tune of: “what has been a challenge? what do you miss? what was unexpected?” about moving to Cambodia. Something I did not expect was holidays. In case you didn’t know, Cambodia has more public holidays than any other country in the world (feel free to google). Twenty-eight public holidays in fact, an entire month of holidays! I guess in my mind I knew that holidays are a big piece of our cultural makeup, but hadn’t thought about it more than that. Holidays are a time we celebrate things as a country that are important to our cultural identity, so what do you do when you move to a country where you don’t recognize any of them?

Right now holidays feel like a random day off of work and school, rather than a holiday itself. I miss red, white and blue, or Christmas carols in every store. It feels like a year with time off, but no holidays. This year my parents are coming for Christmas and I am beyond excited! I went all out decorating our house and I’m listening to Christmas carols while typing this. Most importantly though, I am keeping in mind the reason behind celebrating Christmas. I am working hard on learning the reasons behind the Khmer holidays (such as Water Festival) too.


A Day in the Life

Hey everyone! This is going to be the start of a blog series answering questions that you (or other people like you) have asked us. We’ll answer one theme each post — today’s theme is day to day activities.

What is day-to-day life like? — AR/DD

5:30a — Geordi is awake. It is time to check the neighborhood for new smells.

6:00a — Geordi has finally convinced Ian it is time to be awake, and they set off on their dawn patrol.

6:30a — Geordi and Ian return (triumphant, of course!). Laura is just finishing getting ready for the day, and sits down for a quick breakfast after the first round of treatment meds.

7:00a — Laura hops in one of the neighborhood tuk-tuks to begin her ride to school. Today, she’s riding with one of her favorites, nicknamed “Checkers” (because the sides of his tuk tuk is checkered like a krama). Ian eats breakfast.

7:30 — Laura starts her first class of the day. This class is with Kunthea — who always has fantastic stories to tell.

7:40 — Ian is ready for the day, and hops on his bicycle for the commute to work. He rides the moto sometimes, but the bike is better exercise, and sometimes faster!

8:30 — After answering a few overnight emails, Ian and the rest of the office meet together for a bible study. This month, they’re studying Advent.

9:00 — Laura has finished her first class. Just enough time for a run to the market before her next one!

9:15 — Bible study has ended, and a plan has been made for the work day. Meanwhile, Laura has arrived at the market and greeted her fruit and veggie ladies. One tells Laura the broccoli isn’t any good today, she should wait until next week.

10:00 — Laura meets with her second teacher, Anny. They review her lesson from earlier that day, and make sure that Laura’s pronunciation is just right.  Anny has Laura repeat the same word over and over until she can get it right. 

12:00 — Ian and the office sit down for lunch together. The discussion mostly centers around the idiom “to wear your thinking hat”. Laura has finished school and is headed home. She stops for a fresh orange juice on the way.

12:45 — Back to work! This afternoon, Ian and the office director Chad are meeting with a missionary who wants to build a school in his village.

3:00 — Laura has spent most of the afternoon working remotely with the EMI global office on the database, reviewing reports and writing the next blog post.  It’s time for third set of five daily treatment meds.  Geordi and Laura take a work break and play Tag on the roof.   

4:30 — Geordi starts getting excited. Ian comes home soon! Right? Right? Laura pulls up the map to show Geordi that Ian is still at the office.

5:30 — Ian is finally home! Better check the neighborhood again for invaders.  The neighbors cooking outside accidentally on purpose drop a couple pieces of meat from the grill as Geordi passes.  He gobbles them up!

6:00 — Dinner time. Laura was able to find tortillas at the grocery store last week, so that means fajitas!

7:00 — Dinner is done and the house is cleaned up. The neighbors are celebrating a birthday with their family. Karaoke night!

8:30 — Time for bed! The mosquito net is pulled down, feet are washed, and we turn on the air conditioning to bring the bedroom down to about 80*F.  

What is your favorite time of day, and why? — BW

For me (Ian), the best time of day is that walk around the neighborhood in the morning. Especially this time of year, it can be downright chilly (70*F). Many of the neighbors are already on their way to school or work for the day. The kids love to say hello (but they are careful to not play with Geordi yet, they don’t want to mess up their school uniforms). We also have a group of older neighbors who walk up and down the street for their morning exercise. The Khmer word for grandmother is “Yay”, so I nicknamed them the “Yay Patrol”. They’re always chatting up a storm.