What does a project look like at the very beginning? Ideas, so many ideas!

Because my time at language school is almost done (2 months will go by so fast!), I keep getting pulled in to help at the office. Last week, a client in Myanmar called with stormwater questions. Their property is in the bend of a river and there is a dam upstream. As the river erodes the property, one of the buildings is 10 meters from the water’s edge and getting closer every wet season!

My task was a quick crash course to a team member on what questions to ask and what options are available. This project will happen while family visits, so I won’t be traveling there in person, but it was fun to be involved all the same. I know the team who goes will do a great job.

Our office’s involvement means this ministry can continue to focus on what they do best, working with orphans and giving hope to children. I love that we get to support such incredible ministries!



What I can’t say

This week we are excited to announce the completion of a project in Cambodia that some of our teammates worked on!  This project will benefit girls coming out of the sex trade industry.  The above photo was borrowed (with permission) from one of our teammates.  These tents can be seen across Cambodia whenever there is a celebration, a wedding or a funeral.  In fact, this week we even had one blocking our street for an engagement party!

Notice me dancing around details here? Yep, that’s intentional.  There will frequently be times where Ian and I will work on a super awesome project and not be able to share.  For security reasons we will always be careful about the photos we take or the details we share on social media.  Not every region we work in will be open to cameras. Many ministries will ask that we restrict our posts and photos so that we don’t identify them or any of the people they are helping.

When you see these posts omitting details, please take it as a reminder to pray for us and for all those involved.  In this example, please pray for this group of people helping women rebuild their lives after the sex trade.  The engineering that you support is for them.

We will share what we can about our lives with you!  Cambodia is a beautiful country and Southeast Asia is an incredible place to be.  Ian, Geordi and I are excited to share this with you.

If you would love to know a little more about the decisions facing missionaries with social media, this is a fantastic article a friend shared with me:

In Defense of Missionaries on Instagram


The Cone of Shame

Why greetings adoring fans!  Geordi here and I have a small confession to make.  You all know what a wonderful, benevolent king I am. (Yes, thank you, it’s true). But I have recently discovered, that despite my qualities, there are certain limits to my rule and reign. Let me explain!

It all started when my family … er… subjects decided to visit an island.  I quickly realized the opportunity this presented — this island is pretty and has real grass and lots of fun geckos to chase!  Why not continue my grand campaign and claim it as my own?!  I don’t have an island in my territory yet!


However, there was a pack of rebel dogs that inexplicably did not wish to acknowledge my claim over their island.  Their king decided a sneak attack was in order.  He bit me! ME! Geordi, supreme ruler of all I see and he bites me!  How dare he!!!

The battle was furious, and I was heavily outnumbered. The rebel king tried to bite me more than once, but my dad bravely rescued me.  My mom cried a lot but I showed her I was fine and proceeded to stalk the geckos the very next day.  After all, who will keep my subjects safe from those pesky lizards, if not their king!  As my welcome had run out, I soon chose to retire to my own territory. I was sooo tired on the way back to the city, but I met a nice EMI intern… er.. attendant whom I like, so I decided to let her hold me.

Upon my return, my parents.. uh.. advisers suggested we visit the good-smelling European lady.  She is kind, but she always gives me the strangest combination of new concoctions and fashions to try, normally via a shot in my rear!  This time she shaved my side.  She says having just one side shaved is all the rage in France.  She also provided me a rather flamboyant collar to wear.  Now my attendants are tending to my wound morning and night and giving me medicine.  I like the medicine.  It tastes like peanut butter.  I don’t like the stuff they put on my side though.  If my mom isn’t looking I try to wipe it off on the blanket or sofa or my mom’s shirt, whatever is closest.  IMG20181010152919

Never fear!  I am safe, healing and will be back to guard duties as soon as I can convince my parents that I don’t need to wear this ridiculous outfit anymore!


Pchum Ben (Ancestors’ Day)

The beginning of October marks Pchum Ben in Cambodia. This is the time the gates of hell are supposed to open up and the ghosts of up to seven generations become particularly active.  In order for a family to avoid curses and possessions by evil spirits, the people of Cambodia head to the pagodas to bring food offerings and pray.  Pchum Ben is a Buddhist holiday rooted in animistic traditions. This holiday occurred last year just before we arrived in Cambodia, so we are just now learning about it.

  • Please pray for Cambodia during this time of fear and dread.
  • Pray that the light of God will be visible to all.
  • Pray for Khmer Christians to be able to share the freedom from fear they have found with their unreached friends and families.

While everything in the city shuts down for the holiday, we are taking one of our interns and headed to explore more of our beautiful country.  If you don’t see us on social media for a few days, that’s why!


The Power of a Shirt with Sleeves

Cambodian women are not shy about commenting on appearances. Just the other day:

“Why do foreign women wear spaghetti strap, lowcut shirts and no bra to the market?”

This was not my first time being asked this question, nor even my second.  I always have to quickly look down at my arms to make sure my sleeves are still there.  (I am not sure why I check, I don’t even own a shirt like that!)  That question is almost always followed by, “but not you though, you are more Khmer than foreigner.”   Where does one even begin to respond?  1) I would be uncomfortable dressing like that 2) I would be so cold and 3) most importantly, I want to dress in a way that is respectful to the culture I am living in.

It makes me sad that this is something foreigners are known for in Cambodia.   At the same time, dressing in a way that is culturally appropriate has unexpectedly opened up a lot of doors for me.  Even women I don’t know in the market will sometimes approach and ask me questions.  I am a “safe” person to talk to because of my clothes and because I am learning Khmer.  No matter the culture we live in, showing respect goes a long way!