Winter is coming to Battambang as I am growing accustomed to being here. I am loving this city so much and the people here. They are precious. There are so many contrasts here between the ancient and the modern worlds. Driving to the hospital today I really did see a mule drawn cart traveling down the same busy road as the dozens of motos like I was riding and the new toyotas or forerunners. I am almost disappointed to see some of the modern world creeping in. There is so much culture in the quaintness of Cambodian life. They don't need to become all-American. We are not the answer to their problems.
Sunday evening after we returned from Phnom Penh we had a party at our house for Makara and Sam's wedding. They wanted to give the church orphanage and several of their friends that could not afford to travel all the way to Phnom Penh a chance to celebrate their wedding with them. After a much simpler dinner we started dancing. Khmer dancing really does seem to consist of sticking something in the center of the room or courtyard and everyone dancing around it. It is a beautiful form of dancing though. Several of my friends from the orphanage gave me some lessons. They are very patient teachers, but perhaps after a few more dance parties I will get the hang of it.
My small group at the orphanage began Friday and I am excited for what God is going to do through this time. Right now I have 13 beautiful girls who are coming ranging from age 4-16, but we'll make it work. I know that God has so much he wants to speak to them during our time together on Friday afternoons. Pray that he would speak through me and Seang, our translator, clearly and that his power would be made real in their lives. I believe he wants to bring healing and wholeness to them and then through them to others.
We've also been seeing some great changes at the military hospital. One sweet little woman had a beautiful baby girl last week. They are looking for formula for her right about now because as I found out Friday, the mother has AIDS and cannot breastfeed the baby. Please pray that God would protect this baby girl from the disease and heal her parents. There is also another young woman with AIDS who is about to give birth, so pray for her also. The families come together to everything we do. The children sit through the Bible study with their parents just like the parents come to the children's program and participate in the games and crafts we do. Tuesdays we have a Bible study in the afternoon and on Thursdays we have a time of fellowship. This week on both days there was so much joy in our meeting room. I was left amazed at their ability to laugh in spite of their circumstances and I am challenged to live a life filled with more joy because some of them do not have hope to hold onto, but I know Jesus . . .
And during the afternoons while the youth center is open I have found myself a seat at the table outside downstairs and am always surrounded by several students eager to practice their English. God has been preparing their hearts so much. Some of them are so hungry for the truth. It is exciting to talk to them. And some of them are trying to teach me words in Khmer that I don't even know in English, but we're working on that.
Pray that God's kingdom be advanced in this nation, that we as a staff here are willing to walk in complete obedience to what God is calling us to and don't shy away from the unlovely or the disheartening times, but walk filled with his joy and his love reach out to everyone we come in contact with.