Church, Bamboo Train, Asia’s Hope!

**This post was started 4 days ago, and just finished! We’ve been on the go every day, and falling asleep soon after returning to our hotel. Much more has happened past the last picture on this post…but that will come later πŸ™‚ We are now preparing to leave Tra Vinh in the morning, heading back to Ho Chi Minh City. We are gearing up for our long journey home in a few days. Thank you for praying for us! Enjoy the photos**

It’s Thursday evening, and we are getting our bags all packed up, and ready to leave Battambang in the morning (which will be about 6:00pm Thursday night for you at home). It’s hard to believe that our time in Cambodia is coming to an end! I think it is safe to speak for the whole team when I say that we will all be leaving a part of our heart in Battambang. God is so faithful and kind. He has blessed us all with so much love, friendship, laughter, …. and some challenges, too! We are thankful for the work He is doing in the hearts of our Cambodian brothers and sisters, as well as our own.

Here are some photos from the last week!

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Lunch at the last day of Youth Camp!

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Chhay and the beautiful Kanha.

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Abbi and Chariya

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Drying dishes…and, for the record, Brian is winning πŸ™‚

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New friends.

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Worship time on the last night of camp. We all moved our chairs into a circle and held lit candles as we prayed. It was so beautiful and special.

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Simon treated everyone to an ice cream treat at the end of the night!

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Emily, Abbi, Muneath, and Andy

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Simon and Chhay

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On Saturday morning, after eating our “take out” breakfast, we waved goodbye to our new friends who were going home.

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Lunch at “Three Sections” – Brian’s very favorite place to get some delicious soup!

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Saturday afternoon – visiting with Ly Phanny at his church and orphanage.

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Ed and Brian preparing for the pastor’s class that happened the next week after camp.

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Riding our tuk tuk to church πŸ™‚

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Ly Phanny’s church! It was so fun to see all of the groups of children singing and praising Jesus!

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We went to Ly Phanny’s church in the morning..and Battambang Grace Church in the afternoon. Pastor Ed delivered the sermon with Chhay translating.

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Abbi, Michelle, Andy, Tola, and Simon

After church, we all walked to the local park to hand out water bottles with verses on them. It was a privilege to join them in this outreach. We spent some time with our new friends before gathering together for instructions and getting the water bottles to pass out.

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On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of the next week, Ed and Brian led a seminar for the Cambodian Ministry Partners (CMP’s). It was three days of excellent teaching on what it means and looks like to be a church body. There was great discussion, learning about each other’s cultures, and fellowship. Each of the three days included two sessions, with a three hour break in between. As a group, we all went to lunch together each day. Then, the six of us would have a team meeting before getting a little rest until the next session started.

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Saran

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Simon, Symean, and Samoeun

“The Three Simonts” πŸ™‚

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Team meeting at The White Rose
We got to go on the “Bamboo Train” on Wednesday. The trains were made with strips of bamboo and steel wheels. Each one had a thin mat on top and pillows to sit on. Trains go both ways on the same track since there is only one track! When two trains are going the opposite way, one train has to be disassembled and moved out of the way for the other one to pass by. The top gets lifted off, and the wheels get moved to the side of the track. It is very exciting to watch!

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Michelle, Jill, and Abbi are ready for a bumpy ride!

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Brian, Simon, and Emily were pretty excited!

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The track was surrounded by brush on both sides!

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This was the end of the track where we got off and got some drinks.

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This little girl was so happy to have sold us a bracelet!

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Our train driver stopped halfway back to the station so we could enjoy the beautiful sunset! He even took our picture.
We spent some time on Thursday at Asia’s Hope BB2 orphanage. This was an amazing time for all of us! The children were so excited and loving, and we all had a great time together. Since we visited later in the afternoon, and it was close to dinner time, we ended up taking everyone out for dinner!

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Simon with Vando and Seyla, the house parents for BB2. They have been friends since Simon’s first trip to Cambodia in 2006.
On Friday, our last full day in Cambodia, we were able to tour the killing caves of Phnom Sampov, and to learn more about the tragic history of Cambodia. The hike took a little over an hour, and some of the steps we climbed were very steep! From the top of the mountain we were able to see the beauty of Cambodia.

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Brian: “A combination of terror and time makes comedy” Feeding the monkeys was definitely a bit terrifying! You will have to ask one of us for the story…it’s funny now πŸ™‚

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On the way back to the hotel, our tuk tuk got a flat tire! It was a good reminder of how we take so much for granted. We were enjoying the convenience and fun of the tuk tuks without thinking about the fact that this was our driver’s livelihood, and that it was up to him to maintain his tuk tuk. It was “real life” for him, and it was a good reminder for us to look past our own experiences, and see how we can encourage others in their daily lives.

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We went to a sewing shop on Thursday called Svay Kang. It is part of a village ministry to provide work for the local village women so they do not have to travel to Thailand for work

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They use old sewing machines that use no electricity and natural sunlight instead of lights inside the building.

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We got to participate in a Bible study they did in the middle of their work day.

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The song lyrics in the books were only in Kmer and we did not know the song, so we were not able to sing in English.

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Saran and Sophanet leading the Bible study.

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Abbi, Emily, and Michelle with the sewing team!
Thank you so much for continuing to pray for us as we prepare for our long journey home in a few days. It’s been exciting and exhausting, and we have all learned a lot about the church in Battambang, about each other, and about ourselves. We’ve also learned that being away from home for three weeks is a really long time! πŸ™‚
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