Lessons Learned

      Sometimes (okay, frequently) things we take for granted are a little bit more complicated when living in a culture not our own.  I’ve found this can lead to comical events and meeting awesome people (or finding awesome hot chocolate, see above).  Cause in point, our night recently:
      Burgers.  I just miss burgers here sometimes.  We eat a lot of chicken and a lot of eggs, but nothing replaces a good burger in my mind.  Some friends told us about a burger place so Ian and I went on a date. The place reminded me of Five Guys and was really awesome. The buns were potato buns and purple but other than that, totally normal. I’m really excited to have a good burger option!  All I’m sayin’, three kinds of cheese were involved, another thing rare in our diet here.  Ian keeps needing photos of us for stuff and not having them so I’ve decided he owes me a “couple selfie” everywhere we go together, even if it’s just for burgers.  Be prepared for lots of silly ones until we get better at this!
      We also went to a Khmer bike shop to get Ian’s birthday present, a bike pump!  Now, before you laugh, keep in mind in Colorado I gave him a bike pump for Christmas and he loved it so much he almost brought it to Cambodia!  Here, Ian got a cheap one with his bike not long after we got here and left it downstairs for several days so of course it disappeared. Lesson learned early! His tire is flat so I took him to pick one out for his birthday. We had a blast, he picked one (which we carried with us to the burger place).  We met an awesome family while at the shop.  The kids were hyper and had fun practicing their English on us.  The dad offered us a ride on his way to take the kids swimming.  We had fun talking bikes with him for a while.  Of course, the pump didn’t work with Ian’s bike when we got home so our next excursion we will have to remedy that. All is well though — our neighbors noticed Ian working on his bike and pointed to a shop around the corner that would fill his tires. Evidently a lot of Khmer just stop somewhere to fill up tires.  Lesson learned!
      At the end of the evening we stopped by a workout equipment place and bought a kettleball. I ignored the 2 thinking 2lbs wasn’t enough and so I bought the 4. Then I got home and was talking to my sister before I realized it was 4kgs, not 4lbs!  Oh well, another lesson learned and it will be good for me!  I am really excited my Lyme treatment is going well enough that I am starting to be able to work out again!  I am looking forward to being healthier!
      We were really tired this particular evening or else maybe we would have noticed a few of these things (such as unit conversion).  However, cross-cultural living definitely keeps us on our toes!  We never know what will be similar and what will be different.  Aren’t you glad that God is the God of all nations and has it all under control, no matter where in the world?  I sure am!

A Whole Other Language

Ian found two Bibles for me as I’m learning to read. One is a kid’s Bible and one (pictured) is the full Bible in both English and Khmer. One of the cool, but challenging, things about Khmer is that there is a completely different vocabulary used when talking about God. It’s a sign of respect to use this super formal way of speaking. I’m looking forward to learning it!


Calling for Recipes!

We often get asked what is the food like in Cambodia?  Aside, of course, from all the delicious smoothies!  Khmer food resembles, though is not the same as, Thai and Vietnamese food.  Tea and coffee are both readily available.  A soup (pictured above) or fried rice is a common breakfast.  I love how piping hot and fresh everything comes out! Fried noodles are another common food.  Other than Kampot pepper and lime, most food does not use many dried spices.  The flavor comes from the food itself or the sauces.  Cheese and dairy products are very uncommon.

At one point in time, Cambodia was a French colony and you can find the French influence in bakeries.  No random pastries here!  Everything is made on site and those croissants are real!  We love our baguette dudes across the street.  The line is so long in the wee hours of the morning as people get bread for their restaurant.  However, most homes and apartments do not have an oven, including ours.  Khmer food is typically made in a wok.

Not having an oven (or cheese) is a new experience for us.  We would love to hear your favorite skillet or wok recipes!  Feel free to shoot us an email or give us a recipe in the comments!

P.S. No really, we would love, love, love to try some new recipes!!!!


Who stole my grass???

Hi adoring and loyal fans! Geordi here. I would like to take this time to tell you about my new dominion.

First off, I am not sure how it happened, but somebody STOLE MY GRASS! I have only seen grass once here and that was when I was off at Christmas on a territory expansion trip. The trees were removed and placed in pots. I think they also stole the carpet ’cause that is gone too. If you have any clues about who stole my grass, please let me know so I can hunt them down and express my supreme displeasure. You will be rewarded.

My castle is at the top of an enormous mountain, so to get back and forth to the ground is a lot of work. This does keep me safe from my enemies, of which there are many. My enemies constantly try to goad me into battle, but such battles are not worth fighting when I already know I am supreme ruler. I can prove it! There is a large quantity of tiny humans who follow me around as I survey my territory. No other dog has so high a castle or so many tiny human followers chanting their name. My castle also has a balcony where I can spend time looking over my domain, so never fear—I’m keeping watch, always.

I think my mom is doing better. At least, she doesn’t take nearly as many naps as she used to. She can’t be too much better, though, ’cause she takes me to Bible study where I guard her life with my own. My parents call me a funny word, “chakai.” I asked my enemies in my domain and their parents call them that too. I wonder what it means? Probably “King,” though it could just be “Ruler.”

Finally, I would like to introduce you to my new best friend. I used to unmake the bed everyday while my parents were at school (it’s so much more comfy that way), and then one day an ALLIGATOR showed up! I love my alligator, we take lots and lots and lots and lots of naps together. He doesn’t talk much, but he must recognize my sovereignty because he lets me use him as a pillow.

Thanks for listening, humans! Until next time…


Kingdomcity Phnom Penh

In our last newsletter, I mentioned the fact that our church here in Phnom Penh had a big weekend recently. But I haven’t written much about the church itself.

When we first arrived, getting connected to a church was a high priority item. We wanted to find a church that was actively loving people in the community, one that was nearby and accessible and one with a small group structure. And we wanted to find a church that was culturally accessible for Khmer. (There are several great “expat churches” in PP, which we’ve attended and fully enjoy — but we wanted our home church to be a place where it’s apparent just from looking around the room that Jesus came to save Khmer and westerners both).

We attended Kingdomcity our second day here and never looked back.


Kingdomcity started in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) almost 12 years ago. (In fact, some of my good friends from college have been attending KC-KL for several years). But as is reflected in the name, Kingdomcity is intentional about spreading God’s kingdom throughout the world. They’ve planted churches in 7 different countries across Southeast Asia and around the world. Four years ago, that included a church in Phnom Penh.

Services are in both Khmer and English — most songs go back and forth from chorus to chorus, and sermons are translated (often in very impressive fashion by the pastor himself). The youth program and a leadership academy are full of passionate young Khmer diving deep into knowing and trusting Jesus. During an event last year, over 400 people were mobilized from Kingdomcity churches around the globe for a week of service, prayer and evangelism in Cambodia. And we’ve connected with so many great Khmer and expat friends even in our few short months here.


This past weekend, Kingdomcity Phnom Penh moved into a new building — a warehouse that has been converted with two auditoriums, a greeting area, office spaces, and all of the equipment that makes running services that much easier. During the grand opening, nearly 1000 people came for the service on Friday night (plus several hundred on Sunday) — regulars, curious visitors from the community, and local dignitaries alike. It was a great time of worshiping God together and celebrating what He has done.

And that’s just the start — we’re excited to see what He has planned for 2018. Further up and further in!