HAPPY NEW YEAR! រីករាយឆ្នាំថ្មី!
I hope 2019 is off to a good start for you, your family and friends. I don’t know about you, but I’m so ready to embrace 2019 in a full on bear hug. There is so much in 2019 I’m looking forward to: the projects MRO will accomplish this year, motorcycle prayer rides, better Khmer reading skills, coming to visit the States this summer and anything else Jesus might put on my heart.
Every year, I spend some time between Christmas and the New Year reflecting on the year, working on a list of goals for the upcoming year and asking God for a word for the new year. This year, I’ve settled on “steady sailing” as my theme for 2019. I spent a lot of 2018, rocking my own boat – on top of all the massive transitions I experienced. In 2019, I’m praying I’ll trust my boat (representing Jesus) and myself as a sailor. God has made it clear that it won’t be smooth waters the whole time, life will still happen, but it’s an opportunity for me to continue to grow in Christ and constantly be learning. Just with less boat rocking on my end.
December marked the end of Level 4 language classes for me. After one year of studying Khmer, I’m officially halfway through G2K’s language program. Going from learning the alphabet to learning reading was a real struggle for me and after discussing it with the Director I’ve decided to take a five week break to “beef” up my reading skills before starting Level 5. I’ve created my own IEP (individual education plan) in the meanwhile: private tutoring for reading, I got a bunch of children’s reading books to practice on my own, more hours in the MRO office to practice speaking and I’m taking part in an evening pilot class at G2K focused around “community health.” This means every Tuesday evening for the next 10 weeks I’ll be learning new vocabulary around health that I think will help me better communicate at work, on prayer rides and with friends. The best part of language learning in December was attending the G2K Christmas party! We learned a Khmer Christmas carol, had a talent show, and re-enacted the Christmas story in Khmer and English. It was great to see a bunch of grown adults and their Khmer teachers dressed like sheep and pregnant Mary’s!
Thank you so much for your prayers during the holiday season. While I did miss my family, I was able to speak via Facebook Messenger to all of my family – including my grandmother! On top of that, I had a truly amazing and relaxing Christmas break in Kampot. I had a few days of solo time reflecting on the year and pressing into wisdom for 2019. Then my friend, Sarah from language school, joined Bullet and I for Christmas. Followed by another woman from Phnom Penh, Cathy. Finally, Katie, a girlfriend of mine from the States who now lives in Vietnam arrived for New Year’s Eve celebrations. Bullet spent most of his time off leash (minus one National Park hike due to tigers and land mines). We swam almost every day, I read an entire book and started three more! We laughed a ton, reflected on expat life, ate brownies (a rare treat since none of us own stoves) and watched the first five Fast and the Furious movies!
Before leaving for Kampot, I spent early December at MRO continuing to update the website, working on potential layout designs for the new website MRO is hoping to launch in 2019 and working on interview questions for the staff for my next project with MRO starting in January. One of the coolest December projects took place in Siem Reap (where Angkor Wat is located). A team of mentors lead a community outreach and beautification project, where they invited local kids to come and help pick up litter in the streets. They then stuffed that litter into plastic bottles that were also collected. (Single use plastic is a huge bummer here – it’s EVERYWHERE.) Then used those bottle “bricks” to build planter boxes in the community. It was a fun way for MRO to do outreach and build relationships while making this area better than they found it. Since Christmas isn’t a recognized holiday here in Cambodia, I worked remotely while in Kampot, checking in on the teams, updating the website and social media channels. Some of our team was actually in Kampot for meetings with the government and Sarah and I ran into them on one of Bullet’s evening walks!
Got a New Year’s Resolution? Goal? Prayer? Leave a comment or send me an email and let me know how You can reply to this email and let me know I can be praying for you. I look forward to hearing from you! Below are some of my own prayer requests.
Hugs from Cambo,
ជេនណា / Jenna (and Bullet)
I would really appreciate you joining me in prayer in the following ways:
1. I have two housing related prayer requests. One, my amazing roommate here in Cambodia is moving back to the States in six weeks. I’ll be totally honest, I’m a little heartbroken and am going to miss her tons, but I’d love to find another awesome, Christian, female who loves dogs to move in to her old room to help with some living costs. Second, one of my tenants in Oregon wants to break her lease, so I’m looking to find a couple or family who would be interested in moving into my four bedroom / two bath house who’s okay with a landlord on the other side of the world. If you know someone looking, please let me know! I’m also seeking wisdom in hiring a property manager to take over finding new tenants for me.
2. Continued prayer for my language skills as I deep dive into my IEP plan for the next five weeks!
3. God has really laid it on my heart to seek out Khmer girlfriends not attached to my workplace. I’m praying for open eyes and opportunities to meet awesome women here in Cambodia to become friends with.