Good works and rest (May 2019 Update)

The annual thunderclouds have rolled into Phnom Penh.  While I haven’t seen much rain in the last few weeks, the nightly lighting shows are something of wonder.  It seems like the welcoming parade for rainy season here and power has become more stable during the month of May.

(Bullet using a generator as a leash stand while I run into the store.)

Stable power has been such a blessing this month.  I’ve been able to convert and upload all the assets M’lup Russey has asked me to load to the internet.  Our digital library continues to grow.  I’ll be working on more writeups to communicate with partners, supporters, and donors.  Additionally, I have started building a dev website for the team to review.  It’s been fun showing various leaders the upcoming new website and getting their insights and more information on various needs the website can serve.

(MRO’s Social Work team working with local officials to get foster children registered.)

One of the highlights of my work is that I get updates from the Social Work teams out in the provinces about all the projects they are working on to build relationships.  One time, I was grabbing lunch with a Khmer friend of mine and I got a notification that the MRO team was working with some foster care young adults who were aging out of the system to get registered in a “Family Book.” I shared this good news with my friend and she started crying.  She said, “You don’t know how important this is, these young people can now get jobs, go to university, get married – all legally.”  I just smiled and said, “I didn’t understand how important it was until I saw your face, but now I think I do.”  

May was a month of weird sicknesses for myself and those around me.  At the beginning of the month, I spiked a fever over 103, which isn’t alarming until you feverishly convert Celsius to Fahrenheit.  39.6C doesn’t sound so bad.  Also, learning how to use a mercury thermometer for the first time since I was a kid was neat.  Thankfully, I was in good hands with a bunch of friends bringing me soup, orange juice, drugs, and giving Bullet lots of love and walks, while I rested.  It’s moments like these when I reflect on how much living in Cambodia must be like living in the community the way Jesus followers must have lived during the formation of the church.  It’s all about being in community and being there for one another.

(Bullet reclaiming his spot after our roommate had to move back to the USA.)

On top of my own sickness, I welcomed another short-term visitor into my home for an expected one month visit while she explored thoughts of moving to Cambodia full-time.  Unfortunately, she experienced some medical issues and flew back to the USA after 10 days.  It was a little bit of a whirlwind at towards the end, but she is doing great now.  I also crossed paths with a woman from Portland, Oregon, who picked up an infection while backpacking through SE Asia and ended up in the hospital.  Friends from PDX contacted me and we spent a week praying and processing her time in Cambodia.  I think it was a real eye-opening experience for her.  She is also back in Portland now and doing well.

(Our “fifth” roommate on the island.)

May offers a long weekend in celebration of the King’s Birthday.  I was invited to join seven other women to visit my first Cambodian island.  It was an awesome experience, everyone works in anti-human trafficking, love Jesus and wanted a much-needed girls trip.  After an eight-hour bus ride and a two-hour boat ride, we arrived at a secluded island, with no cell phone service.  We spent three days, swimming, reading and encouraging one another.  It was nice to be in a space where my biggest problem was what book do I want to read or do I want to nap or go for a swim.  I also got the opportunity to drive with local transportation!

(Enjoying the CLEAN ocean.)

While I’m working hard to wrap things up here in Cambodia for my visit to the USA.  I’m also starting to coordinate my meetings, speaking events, parties, and get my budget in order for the next year.  I’ll be sending out an additional email shortly with my financial needs and opportunities.  Please let me know if you are interested in learning more, hosting an event, or grabbing a meal or going on an adventure while I’m back.

As always prayer requests are below.

Hugs from Cambo,
ជេនណា / Jenna (and Bullet)

(One of my friends from Khmer church, sent me this photo of her and Bullet while hanging out in my apartment.)

P.S. In May, I started reading Through Painted Deserts by Donald Miller.  One of my supporters has shared on multiple occasions that it is one of his favorite books.  I finally got my hands on a copy and have been enjoying it so far.  Donald Miller references Oregon a lot in the book, which has made me a little homesick, but in a good way.

Prayer Requests:

1.  That I can buckle down and focus.  I’ve got 25 days to wrap up Level 5 language at G2K, work, pack up and move my apartment, plus say goodbye to friends for 2.5 months and those who are leaving permanently while I’m gone.


2.  That support raising goes well while I’m home.  I need to raise additional support while I’m home to cover some additional needs here.  If you want more information on that, please let me know.


3.  That I leave Cambodia well.  That my team at work knows I’m still a resource and available to help them.  That my friends know I love and support them and will be back shortly.  June is a tricky month in Cambodia since many people either permanently leave the country or temporarily leave.  It can be hard for those who are staying.

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