HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!
I hope you had a blast with family and friends. It was great to celebrate the holiday with my parents, aunt, cousins, and families from my parent’s neighborhood. My personal highlight was having my little cousin fall asleep on my lap while watching the fireworks for two reasons: 1) She and her two stuff animals helped keep me warm in this not-so-tropical weather and 2) I sometimes beat myself up for missing out on special family moments and it felt great to be loved by her, especially since that last time I saw her she was two years old and now she is four!
Thank you so much for your prayers. Bullet and I arrived safe and sound in Boston, MA on Sunday. We were jetlagged and in much need of a good stretch.
June was a jam-packed month! I had a work trip to Battambang province, where MRO’s second office is. It was great to meet even more of the team, check out our new office space and spend some time encouraging the staff. While I was there, the Social Work Team was dealing with a particularly difficult case. As terrible as the case is, my biggest takeaway was seeing how passionate and hungry for justice the staff were for these two girls. Our office table was covered with case notes, phone numbers and the room was filled with problem-solving conversations. I have no doubt that these girls have been placed in our organization’s hands for a reason and I’m waiting in prayerful expectation that justice will be served.
Before I flew back to the USA, I wanted to make sure all the documentation was loaded on to our website and Youtube channels so all the social workers and partners will have access to the information while I’m gone. I’m happy to report, I was successful in that task and am hoping to do a few more documentation write-ups to make it easier for the staff to share with the children, donors and other social work teams.
On top of that, one of the women I mention through NOMI Network’s NIFT program found out she won a $1,000 scholarship to work with women in her home village to produce traditional Khmer weaving. This will help provide steady income, a new skill set and help her to continue to grow her ethical fashion brand. Last month, we spent most of our meeting time going over the scholarship application and filling out the necessary information in English together. I’m bummed I’m going to miss her final scholarship presentation since I’m stateside, but I can’t wait to see her new product launch in early 2020!
I finished Level 5 Khmer before flying back to the USA. My plan is to work with a language tutor when I get back to Cambodia and take Level 6 Khmer before the school has their Christmas break. Then I’ll just have Level 7 and 8 to complete in early 2020! It feels so good to be so close to being done with language school. (I also told my Khmer friends to leave me voice messages via Facebook Messanger so I don’t forget everything I’ve worked so hard to learn while Stateside.)
Finally, I said goodbye to my dear neighbors, Sean and Maria, who repatriated back to the USA after serving two years with NOMI Network. They are such awesome people, who love Bullet and me so well. I’m so thankful God brought them into my life and I got to share life with them in our apartment block.
Not 100% because Sean and Maria were moving out, but maybe a little bit, I decided to let my apartment lease go before heading back to the States. This saved me a bunch of money, not paying rent for a few months and I was lucky enough to store my belongings at my co-worker’s apartment while I’m in the USA. I’ll be moving into a new apartment building that is a little bit cheaper and be in the same apartment block as some people from my church’s small group.
I’ve got a few speaking events coming up. If you are near any of these locations, I would really love to see you. Let me know if you can attend and I’ll save you a seat.
June 28 – I’ll be speaking at Congregational Church of Brookfield, in Connecticut at 8:30 AM and 10:30 AM.
August 9 – I’ll be hosting a dessert potluck for my westside friends at Hillsboro First Baptist Church, in Oregon at 7 PM.
August 24 / 25 – To answer all your questions and meet my home church, Oaks Parish.
I’ll be in Portland, August 5 – September 2, if you’d like to meet up, please let me know.
Enough about me, how have you been doing? I look forward to hearing from you! As always prayer requests are below.
Hugs from Cambo,
ជេនណា / Jenna (and Bullet)
P.S. My favorite podcast, Armchair Expert, started talking about the book, Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. so I got it on Audible (35 hours – such good use of a single credit). My home church, Oaks Parish, also started a summer book club series on hospitality and Christian faith, so I also started, The Gospel Comes with a House Key.
I would really appreciate you joining me in prayer in the following ways:
1. That my time and training in the USA goes well. I’ll be in Pennsylvania for two weeks, meeting the team, other future international workers and learning a ton. (Also, my parents will be watching Bullet so keep those three in your prayers as well.)
2. That my upcoming speaking event goes well. My financial budget is in need of a boost. I’m confident God will provide, but I want to make the best of my opportunity.
3. Continue to hold the team at MRO in your prayers. They are doing amazing work in hard conditions and could always use pray and encouragement.