HAPPY EASTER! (March 2018 Update!)

 

Palm Sunday motorcycle adventures.

HAPPY EASTER!  (រីករាយ​ថ្ងៃបុណ្យ​អេ​ស្ទ័​រ!)  While Holy Week is a celebrated differently throughout the world, it was fun to see how the international church community celebrates Christ resurrection here in Cambodia.  Last week, for Palm Sunday we were given an entire bunch of palm fronds to wave around in celebration – the perks of living in a tropical country.  On Good Friday, we watched The Passion of the Christ in Khmer at Daughters of Cambodia.  I remember the first time I watch The Passion of Christ – it was senior year of high school. My youth group went to see it in the movie theater. I sat between my high school boyfriend and my high school best friend. I remember feeling really uncomfortable with the cries around me. Even in Khmer I still sat with the same uncomfortable feeling amidst the sound of tears around me. But I’ve realize this is what God calls us to – to be uncomfortable and to love even when it hurts. After the movie, these girls circled up and prayed and loved on one another. I think Jesus sat with them too.

Some of the girls at Daughters praying after watching Passion of the Christ.

Since Cambodia has such a small expat community and even smaller Christian community various churches take on the role of hosting Holy Week celebrations.  I went to an Anglican Church for a Good Friday service, where we were encouraged the carry not only our personal sins, but those of our family and missionary works to the cross as representations of more than just ourselves.  I rather enjoyed thinking of Good Friday in those terms and think I will keep that tradition going forward next year.  On Saturday night, I attended a three hour Easter Vigil.  Which included various different creative displays telling the story from Creation to Jesus’ resurrection.  Finally, I attended an Easter morning service at dawn – which included a simple breakfast and fellowship.

How are you and your family / friends celebrating Easter this year? 

Daughters 2018 Wholesale Jewelry Catalog

Things at Daughters are chugging along.  We recently launched our 2018 Wholesale Jewelry Catalog for our international supporters.  The catalog was one of the first projects I started working on in October when I landed in Cambodia.  I got to work closely with our Graphic Design team, showing them examples of good product photography and good catalog layout and design.  It was also a huge lesson in patience.  Something I’m constantly learning and practicing here in Cambodia.  If anyone is interested in seeing the catalog.

Please let me know and I’ll send you a copy.

Tomorrow, I start Level 2 Khmer!  This time, I’m doing language school part-time, meaning I’m only studying Monday and Wednesday afternoons.  This will take 10 weeks instead of five like Level 1.  I’m looking forward to getting back into classroom and expanding my vocabulary even more.  In other educational news, I recently applied and got accepted into Northeastern’s Masters of Science in Nonprofit Management program!  It has been 10 years since I graduated from university, so I feel like now is the time to gain some more education, especially when it comes to non-profit work.  It’s an online program, so I’ll be working on this part-time while living in Cambodia for the next two to four years.  My goal is to attend this program for free – meaning help from financial aid and scholarships.

So if anyone knows of any scholarships, please send them my way!

Outside of work and play, God has been opening some pretty amazing doors.  I’ve recently joined the local home brewing community here in Cambodia and plan on starting home brewing after the Khmer New Year.  Cambodia comes with some interesting challenges that I’ve never had to deal with home brewing back in Portland.  For example, temperature control.  I’ve never brewed beer where the outside temperature is naturally warmer then what you need to keep beer at during the fermentation process.  When I joined the community, one of the members pointed out, “We’ve never had a Christian in the group before.”  I just chuckled and went, “well my church back home makes hard cider together as a community.”  It was a fun way to open the eyes to some non-Christian expats here in Cambodia.  I thought it was interesting that they pointed out that I was Christian and not the more obvious things like – female and younger-ish.  But it is a great group of guys, if anyone wants a beer tour – come visit!  Or you have follow my beer blog, which I’m still trying to maintain.

Martin, Pangha, and one of the Cows for the Kingdom.

Another door that has been opened, involved cows here in Cambodia.  My boss at Daughters, is helping a group of men in rural village better support their families and send their kids to school by investing in their local economy using cows.  Think of it like a mini Heifer International.  In Cambodia, you need to pay for your children to attend school.  So many rural villages don’t have a teacher, since the village can’t afford one.  It is critical for children to gain an education and be issued a 9th grade certificate – think of an American GED but for 8th grade skill level.  This is needed for anyone wanting a non-farming job in Cambodia.  I’ve been helping them build a website and capture the story online in hopes of getting more people involved.  We’ve been calling the program, Cows for the Kingdom.  (Once the website is finalized – I’ll be sure to send a link!)  Right now, we have 15 cows supporting a few families and sending a lot more children to school.  This is key in preventing young girls from ending up like the women we see at Daughters of Cambodia.  (Personally, I think it’s adorable – some of Martin’s friends back home in Germany have invested cows in their wive’s name – so we have a few cows with very English sounding names, like Maureen, for example.  If anyone is interested in buying a cow for their wife/girlfriend, or just because, please let me know).

Dave and the Moto Prayer Group.

Finally, I’ve been asked to join the Moto Prayer Circle, that my mentor, Dave, has been leading.  Dave and his wife, Lisa, have been huge in encouraging and loving me since I landed in Cambodia.  They have ties to Portland, Oregon and Imago Dei Church.  Dave and his friends, have been riding motorcycles all over Cambodia for 24 YEARS, praying and asking God to open hearts in Cambodia.  They also encourage local pastors and provide emergency relief when needed.  Dave recently asked me if I would be interested in joining the group riding.  Up until I was asked, I thought it was a “boys-only” sort of group.  But myself and one other lady were asked to join the next ride most likely happening in May.  I’m not sure what the plan is, but I feel so honored to be asked.  It will definitely be a huge step in my prayer life and a new way to see Cambodia.

Bullet and I saying good bye to Susan.

Being part of an international expat community means saying good bye comes often. This month, Bullet and I said our first good bye. This is Susan, she was such an answer to prayer when I was at my rock bottom this January. She lived in my neighborhood, went to my church, was in my Bible study and loved Bullet well. She was here serving an Irish NGO, Care for Cambodia, working with rural schools all over Cambodia. I’ve been so blessed to have her in my life.

Happy Bullet at a Doggie Meet Up!

Bullet is doing great here in Cambodia.  We started checking out doggie play dates, similar to the States, people getting together to let their dogs run around.  We’ve been to two meet ups so far and one doggie day care.  Bullet is still trying to learn the difference between “street” dogs and “expat” dogs.  Most Khmer are scared of dogs, so they get beaten and thus are very aggressive.  It’s also common to eat dog here.  So I’m learning to keep an eye on him while we are out for runs and he’s learning which dogs are friendly and which dogs are sneaky biters!

Below are some prayer requests.

Again, I really love hearing from everyone back home.

Hugs from Cambo,
Jenna

I would really appreciate you joining me in prayer in the following ways:

  1. Travel during Khmer New Years.  Yes, Cambodia celebrates three news years – December 31, Lunar New Years, and Khmer New Years.  I have the week off and am planning to travel to Kampot for some much needs relaxation.  I had a friend coming to join me from the States, however, some things came up and he’s no longer coming.  Please pray for safety for Bullet and I on this solo journey.
  2. I’m starting Khmer Level 2 language tomorrow.  Pray that I can handle the increased vocabulary and my “old” brain and keep up with everything expected of me.
  3. Finally, that I will continue to listen to God’s calling on my life here in Cambodia and faithfully follow Him.

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