It never fails, when your far from home you always think of Dorthy and those ruby slippers...'there's no place like home'. She was right. After 33 hours of travel we finally arrived home this morning at 12:01 am. The house was still standing, in fact it looked better than when I left it. DD took extra time in cleaning up for me and I feel bad, because there are still bags, laundry, mail and newspapers scattered everywhere. I didn't get much done today, just hung out with the entire family, took an afternoon nap and thought about everything we experienced.
We had the greatest time in Cambodia. I think Carol hit the nail on the head when she made a comment on the way home last night. We were reaping the fruits of past trips this time around. Relationships and trust have been built over the past 5 years and we were really able to enjoy each other. Many times when we (foreigners) are at villages, we are seen as tourist. They think we are there to look at the poor village people. Foreigners are met with scepticism, what do they want from me or what are they here for? Curiosity, who are they and what makes them come? This trip, there was warm welcomes, remembering back to past visits, thankfulness for remembering them, thankfulness for returning, thankfulness for prayer, catching up with friends and making new friendships. Those working with the Krung were greatful for our return and our commitment to encourage, pray, and support their work. Trust has been established and friendships built. We did reap the fruits of past visits.
We were asked regularly, "why are you going? What is the purpose?" Here is what one missionary wrote in his January 31st newsletter...
The past several days we have had an enjoyable and encouraging time with four visitors from a congregation in Oregon that has a special interest and commitment to the work among the Krung people. They were able to visit a number of outlying Krung villages with one of our friends working here and then they had time with us at our translation office and home, and were able to see up close some of the details of what we do. I am reminded of what Paul wrote as he anticipated a future visit to the believers at Rome: "...that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith." (Romans 1.12)
This missionary was at our hotel in the early morning darkness to wish us farewell. He wanted to make sure our taxi arrived and we were headed in the right direction. To see this giant of a man melt as BB hugged his waist was a special moment. They miss their children and grandchildren. To have a few short days together, and share a few meals, meant as much to them as it did us.
It was the little moments like the early morning good-bye that I want to remember the most. Our time in Phnom Penh and Seim Reap was memorable for other reasons. But the real heart of the trip was in Ban Lung. I started a list of those 'nothing' or small things that I wanted to remember. Here's what I had written down:
Silverware in boiling water
The fabric of my skirt & how it must feel to foreign fingers
Fresh, sweet mango
Seeds/pits in the bananas
Baby at the internet cafe
Bubbles in the village
Excitement over small items from home
Translation of Exodus
Watching a going home video
Leg on Carols lip
Carols first moto ride
Giving individuals their prayer cards
Chocolate chip cookies
2 vehicles damaged from the terrain
2 moto accidents in the dust
Baby in the hammock
Tribal ladies at the market
Church in the village
Kane children hugging and cuddling us
Elephant on main street Phnom Penh
Hannah hugging Chuck
Hunting wild pig
Xing bamboo bridge in jungle
I'm still processing all that we did and all that we shared. I don't know how to answer some of the questions people are going to have for us. If I stare at you blankly its because I don't know where to start and when to end. I can tell you it was Amazing! I am forever greatful for having the experience.
I'll try and figure out how to post photos this weekend.