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.  

Projects, Updates

Giving and Thanks and Fellowship

Thanksgiving is here. We have so much to be thankful for — including Ian’s family, who are all visiting for a few weeks.

As many of you have, we have taken the chance to reflect on what God has provided for us. Of course, material provisions. Also wonderful family, and many close friends around the world. Even the challenges we have faced have worked for good — we often remark that without Laura’s health challenges, we would not yet be mature enough as a couple to have answered the call to Cambodia.

Some of the most powerful blessings we have been provided were in opportunities. Laura and I were each able to attend a top-level university, earn degrees, and found meaningful jobs in our field of study that allowed us to grow in competency and responsibility. Even in America, none of those are guaranteed. But in developing parts of the world, that combination is incredibly rare.

Laura and I came to Cambodia because our work through EMI provides exactly those opportunities to young Christian engineers and architects. And now that we’ve had the chance to meet, work with, and disciple some of these young people ourselves, we’re super passionate about it. When you see the excitement, energy, and desire to grow that they bring everyday, it’s hard not to be!

Kathleen and Reatrey reviewing building plans at a local school

So, a big announcement. We are developing a fellowship program in Cambodia! This fellowship will be a continuation for interns who have completed their undergrad degree and spent a few terms with us, but want to continue to grow and learn. Offered to the best of our interns, it will provide a structure for these bright young people to:

  • grow spiritually though formal bible and theology classes
  • grow academically through graduate-level courses and certifications
  • grow professionally through personally tailored mentoring and coaching
  • grow in leadership, as they co-lead and lead multidisciplinary project teams
  • all on top of the spiritual and professional development activities that go on in the office everyday (like the devotionals and day of prayer pictured below).

This program fits really well into Laura’s skill set and experience, so she will be coordinating the fellowship as part of her role starting in 2019. I can’t say it enough — we’re really excited by what this will mean for the fellows, and we hope you are too!

In order to get the program off to a fast start, we have decided that between now and the end of the year, all special donations made to our account will be designated to the fellowship program. These funds will go toward course registration and tuition, travel and project trips, and bringing in top quality training resources. We want to launch these fellowship students to become next-generation leaders in Cambodia, both in business and in faith.

So if you are considering end-of-year giving, we encourage you to consider EMI Cambodia and these young leaders. Sign up today, at www.emiworld.org/ebersole.

 Update: We have since been approached by two different donors who are willing to match any gifts given before Christmas to help this program get a solid start. So your giving doesn’t just get doubled, it will be tripled!

(Matching for donations received before 12/24, $10k total matching limit)

Meet the Team

Meet the Team — Reatrey

Reatrey (pronounced “Ree-a-try”) is another one of our local interns who has been with us nearly since the office opened. He is an architecture student who is just finishing up the last portfolio project he needs for his undergraduate degree. And let me tell you — this guy knows how to sketch a design!

Reatrey working with a volunteer architect on a project trip

Reatrey loves learning idioms and cultural expressions in English, which can be a lot of fun. (The other week, we got into a discussion of when it is acceptable to call someone a “nerd”.)

Reatrey has a faith that’s really mature for his age. As much fun as it is to explain something to him, it’s even better to hear him share about his life and faith. Young leaders like Reatrey are a perfect example of our discipleship focus here — we can’t wait to see how God uses his life!

Meet the Team

Meet the Team — Lydeth

So sorry everyone — in all of the news and events we’ve had to share this fall, I never finished introducing our team here in Cambodia!

So today, meet Lydeth (pronounced “Lee-Date”). He’s a recent civil engineering graduate who has been working with us since the office opened in April. Since then, he’s been an instrumental part of many of our projects — the airfield in Myanmar, the surveying during Laura’s trip to the Noah’s Ark project, the school, and others. He’s one of the bright young Khmer who make it so easy to be excited about Cambodia’s future!

Lydeth (left) and Reatrey working with our surveying equipment

Lydeth and I are in a core discipleship group (together with Nivo), so we’ve gotten lots of chances to talk through life, faith, and the bible. He’s full of good questions, always eager to learn and understand more than before. Despite his young faith, I’m always amazed (and challenged) by how deeply he thinks about the convictions he holds, and how he wants to reconcile those fully with his life.

One last item — he’s also the only other person I’ve ever met who expresses a love of “post-rock” music (think epic instrumental themes on electric instruments). So that’s pretty cool!

So keep an eye out for Lydeth — chances are good that he’ll keep showing up!


In Cambodia, the beach comes to you!

I’m working out on site today — but if I had a lounge chair and a coconut to drink, I might be confused. (Alright, maybe not)

Flooding is a huge issue in a tropical country like Cambodia. The rains are sudden and fierce — and often times, there is nowhere for the water to go. The easiest way to keep your house from flooding is to have built it on high ground, or to raise the ground before you build.


So today, I’m supervising the delivery of trucks full of sand. One of our clients will be building soon, and this sand will make sure their church building stays high and dry next rainy season.

(And don’t worry — Matthew 7:26 is illustrative, not necessarily literal engineering advice. In this case, building on sand will make a good foundation!)