October 2007


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From the “Lonely Planet”

Cambodia promises a rollercoaster of emotions and experiences to the intrepid traveller. Your heart will race at Angkor Wat, one of the world’s greatest achievements, only to haltingly derail when faced with the impact of humankind’s darkest moments. After two decades of war and isolation, only now is Cambodia truly starting to recover from the Khmer Rouge’s genocidal 1975-79 rule. 

Cambodia is a fertile land along the Mekong River in southwest Indo-China. Its wise and able people once ruled what is now Vietnam, Laos and Thailand from its capital at Angkor Wat. Its rich culture borrowed from the Chinese, as well as India. However, the terrible genocide perpetrated by the Khmer Rouge from 1975-1979 nearly destroyed Cambodia. During their regime three million people were forced into the countryside as slave labor. Currency was abolished; religion was eradicated; education was suspended; medicine was forbidden; and people who could read were often massacred all in the name of Marxist social reform. Starvation led to the deaths of over one million people.

 

Today Cambodia still struggles to recover from the decimation of its best and brightest. Although relics of ethnic religions such as ancestor worship and spirit worship remain, 94% of the people are Buddhist, seeking the path to nirvana through gaining merit in this life.Christian missionary work is permitted in this needy land, and many agencies are here seeking to mend the ravages of war and poverty, and bringing spiritual light to this dark land. Trans World Radio is one of those agencies, broadcasting in the Khmer language a message of hope and renewal. I am priveleged to be a small part of that effort in preparing messages that are practical and life changing.

 

My plans are finalized to visit Cambodia and meet the team members of Project Hannah -Women of Hope http://www.twr.org/give/projects/project_hannah who produce weekly radio broadcasts that are broken into two segments. There are “Lessons for Life” which advises women about health and family matters and “Lessons for the Soul” which offers true hope for inner peace and joy. I am so excited to finally be able to share in this work. I am also very grateful to be included in this morning service at West London Alliance, our home church in Canada. http://www.wlachurch.org Both Steve and I thank you for your ongoing prayer support for our ministry here in Asia. God bless. 

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We have always been advocates of keeping the sex of a baby as a surprise for birth, but I have to say that it is pretty exciting to now know that we are looking forward to meeting “Abigail Joan”.  But now that we know that, March seems like a long way off and it will be even longer than that before we get to hold her in our arms.

This past weekend marked the “Fasting Day of Celebration” or Hari Raya, the end of the month of Ramadan, during which it is mandatory for followers of the faith to fast from dawn to dusk.

It seems that every mall, parking lot and empty space is filled with temporary markets or bazaars where all sorts of food and traditional Malay delicacies are prepared and sold for “buka puasa”, the breaking of the fast.  Lights and decorations abound and it is a huge month for sales in the malls as people buy clothes, decorations, gifts and supplies for the celebrations.  Much like Christmas at home everyone heads “out station” or home to be with their families for the holidays.

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We took advantage of the bazaars to sample a variety of new foods and experiences with our friends Sebastian and Simone.  It was great to have three of their kids, Eileen, Ivan and Isaac along as they were happy to finish up anything we didn’t find particularly appetizing.

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Thanksgiving weekend has always been one our favourite weekends of the year.  We love the fall colours and the opportunity to take stock of all our many blessings and all of God’s marvelous provision for us.  This is a bit of a special Thanksgiving for us since it was 30 years ago today that were engaged to be married.  We have been so wonderfully blessed to have three incredible kids, a lovely daughter-in-law and now an amazing little grandson.

There is, of course, no sign of Thanksgiving here and we are missing the Thanksgiving dinner with family, the friends we love so dearly and the privilege of worshipping with our friends at West London Alliance.