Tuesday, January 17, 2012



We have been blessed to serve the Living God in Southeast Asia over these past two months. We will never be the same. We went to see God effect change in lives over there, yet He had plans to change us as well. He never wastes anything.

It was a real privilege to serve in different instances, in the area of marital counseling. This we had never done before. We prepared diligently, and God blessed our efforts - mostly.

This young couple came to us 7 days after their wedding - not because of difficulties, but simply wanting the best start possible!

God led us to this dating couple, and we had several wonderful times talking about God's designs and plans for marriage.

At one point we suggested that they locate an older godly couple that they could be mentored by - prayed for and encouraged - a model to follow. Unfortunately, neither could think of anyone in their church or circle of acquaintances. . . . .Pray for them.

This is the couple that married on January 7th. I wish we had more time with them, but we did get to share and pray with them on occasion.

Their wedding is featured in the blog appendix.

We tried our very best. As God is our witness, we were faithful to the task to which we were called. Only God can change hearts.

We do look to the "Author & Finisher of our faith," to "complete that good work which He has begun" in each one of us.


The women, young and old, wanted to study the Bible with "Auntie Kori."

Teaching is not her gifting or skill set - but she prayed and labored diligently and faithfully.

I am so proud of her - a true servant & warrior for Christ!

I personally enjoyed preaching the CHRIST of Christmas - God's great gift to mankind. Several opportunities arose - some I even had advance notice about!

I especially enjoyed teaching from the Book of Genesis with the staff for morning devotions.

These guys are high school kids I enjoyed teaching and hanging out with. I passed the T-shirt on to someone more deserving than I.

All of these young college and career guys speak English. They all, at one time or another interpreted for us.

I had the privilege of mentoring and praying with all of them at different levels and in various ways.

What a joy!

We say thank you for going on this journey with us - many of you actually involved in the sending aspect as well - MAHALO!

There is so much more we could share, the ministries we were exposed to here, friends in Thailand & Korea that encouraged and blessed us, the distribution of clothing and other items, etc. The great highlights of making new friendships (especially Kizzy!) and renewing old ones - Thank YOU - GOD.



Friday, January 13, 2012

APPENDIX - A Khmer Wedding 4

Peary in red (outfit # 5) and the beauty of the Khmer women.

This is the "wedding cake." A rich and full assortment of fruit. This appeared to us to be their favorite snack food. After the "cake" ceremonies were done, it all disappeared in seconds.

Please notice the secular band in back, along with the huge speakers. (Believe me when I say they were used. The only conversation for all of the hours of the reception was mouth directly to ear!). I'm sure it could be heard for miles. Heard of no complaints from the neighbors all around.

Our bride in white. The 6th and last outfit of the day. And another beautiful hair styling to go with.

The groom gets to
wear white too.

Time for the cake ceremony.

First, both sets of parents are fed bites, then they serve one another.

Both the bride and groom together toss the red rose bridal bouquet.

After fighting tears of joy throughout his morning wedding ceremony, our groom overflows with joy at this juncture.


Our dear friends

Mei Mei & Sombat

actually caught it


The old folks "cut a rug," much to the delight of our young audience.

GOD BLESS YOU - if you made it this far :-)

May He bless you even if you didn't.

APPENDIX - A Khmer Wedding 3

After about 30 minutes, the bride and groom re-emerge in new costumes.

Notice the totally different color scheme and hair arrangement.

The morning guests have been milling around, taking pictures of one another.

All of the participants and guests are seated on the floor. The couple are closer together now. (The lighting fixtures of the photographer interfered with our camera.)

What follows are two different messages by 2 different pastors - from the scriptures.
There is a candle lighting time, a prayer time, an exchange of vows and rings + a very fast peck on the check (even though the Pastor instructed them to kiss noisily and long!)
A pronouncement is made and they are now husband and wife.

It is now 11 AM, and most proceed home to rest and await the evenings festivities.

We arrive at 5 PM to new outfits (even for the court). This is the reception line, and it consists of the young people only.

This reception area is a local street/alley-way, closed off and highly decorated for the occasion. There are at least 20 tables with 10 chairs at each table. The ground is dirt, making dust an issue here.

These men are part of the wait help for the evening. They are kept very busy.

The individual dishes for the guests are wrapped and sealed to keep them clean until time to eat.

Chairs and tables are spruced up.

We always look for a spot with translators available!

There were many courses of food - most of which we were not familiar with.

Drinks were plentiful - canned soda or beer.

This long-anticipated wedding is a big event. Young women treat it like American girls might a Prom - dressing up to da max!

Our lovely bride emerges in outfit # 4. All together gorgeous. No, she never gets to eat!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

APPENDIX - A Khmer Wedding 2

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SOPHEAROM ("Peary") THY & AMARA ("Umra") ING

The Bridal Attendants & Groomsmen.

The wedding attire is rented.
The suits were too large for VeaSna.
Utdom (far left) was a last minute
replacement as he more closely,
"fit the bill."

Of special interest to Kori,

the necessary adjustments

to make costumes fit properly.

Her good friend Sreypich models for us.

The two men at the front exchange banter, as they question the parents and others about the purity of the engaged individuals. It seems harder to affirm Umra's chastity, as neither his father or best man know of his behaviors. His mom affirms him, but that is not enough to verify his virginity. Omra is finally asked himself, and he states confidently that he is as fresh and clean as a "brand new 2012 moto." This response brings the house down with laughter.

The parents did some sort of fruit presentation that lasted for 10 minutes - we did not understand, as our translator was busy taking photos.

So ends part 1 of the morning ceremony. This wedding will last all day - past 10 in the evening. The respite is the afternoon siesta - with all participating to maintain strength for the rest of the festivities.

My wife stated that this was "so typical" - of the participants to todays activities. The vast majority will come by bicycle or moto (motor bike).

Mei Mei strikes a pose.

APPENDIX - A Khmer Wedding 1

8 AM (in the morning!)

Representative pastors meet & greet one another in front of the bride's home (church).

The groom's entourage has arrived
- all bearing gifts.

(This includes his groomsmen,
family & friends)

The groomsmen hold umbrellas.

All of us are bearing gifts for the festive occasion.

Already the bright sun is
pushing the temperature up
towards 90 degrees F.

The bride and groom meet

resplendent in green costumes.

A lovely flower bouquet

is presented first

to her parents.

The bride offers her groom refreshment

(In light of his long journey?)

Traditional Khmer greeting

- in humility honoring the other person.

Please notice her hair arrangement.

The exchanging of beautiful

and fragrant flower leis.

Kizzy, Dany & I fulfill our roles

(as Kori takes our picture!)

I was under-dressed for this event!
The couple and their court enter the church for phase # 1 of this wedding day.


We had a 12 hour lay-over in Korea on the way back. Arrival temperatures -10 degrees Celsius (about 21 degrees F) - Yes, it was cold!!!

What better way to spend time than with dear friends?

The SHIPMAN Family
Michael, Jessica, Hannah & Noah

Thanks for meeting us, feeding us, and showing us around.

Shannon HEILS with Mika, Coby & ?
Hubby Mark had to work.


This is some of the group - the ones able to make it to the airport.
Saying good-bye to those you have come to dearly love is never easy.
Nuff said.

Monday, January 9, 2012


What a day!    Sunday the 8th

3 AM   Sending emails back to MCC in Hawaii, pertaining to church responsibilities.
4          Back to sleep (fan at level 5 - still very hot!)
6          Get up and get ready for a busy Sunday
7          Breakfast - finishing up our cereal & oatmeal
8          Morning Worship Service at New Life in Christ Church
10        Meeting with the church elders (find a translator)
11        Shalom Church Worship Service  - in English! (take 5 young people with us)
12:30   Lunch and fellowship with the Crowleys from the Ratanakiri  Province in the highlands (near Laos)
2 PM   Back to NLC, sharing Bible Old Testament stories with the young guys
5          Unexpected marriage counseling session – lasting 3 hours
8          Dinner - grilled cheese sandwiches
9          Packing up and deciding what to give away & to whom (including our medicines, toiletries & much of our clothing)
11        Writing trip reports
2 AM   Catching up with emails
2:30     Time to go to sleep – we fly back home tonight!

Flight Schedule

Depart from Phnom Penh at about 12 Midnight (Tuesday AM)

Fly for a total of 12 hours - broken up by a 12 hour layover in Korea = 24 hours

Arrive in Honolulu at 7 AM Tuesday morning - with the chance to do the day over again!

ACTUAL = Korean flt. 051 scheduled to arrive Tuesday @ 7:15 AM  - Terminal M

(This makes up for when we flew here on a Monday and arrived on a Wednesday,
with no Tuesday in between!)

This is one of Kori's old Bibles - she used it so much the cover fell off.  We brought it and 7 or 8 others with us to give away.  English teacher & youth leader Sharian was so glad to receive it - he reconstructed his own cover & now carries it with him everywhere!

About the Crowley family - they relocated to Cambodia 18 years ago (Khmer Rouge was still active in some parts of the country, they brought their 5 small kids with them) from Hawaii.  God has wondrously used them and others to literally reach thousands for Christ in this area, and plant 40 churches - that, in my book - is modern day HEROISM!

This is our last blog from Cambodia - we leave in a few hours.  We will try a few summary posts from home.  Thanks for traveling with us. God bless you!