Thursday, October 10, 2013

Cambodia Trip in Long........

After returning and my initial blog posts, I have finally updated with a longer version... sorry for the delay, but we jumped right back into the busy life schedule of studies and clinic time, "continuity" patients and babies.... So without any further delay.....Here is the longer version of my trip...(short version is here)

 The trip to Cambodia was an AMAZING opportunity. Our team consisted of myself and 2 of my midwife friends, Echo and Brittany. We arrived in Siem Reap late on the 17th.We had been expecting to hit the ground running, so to speak, but God used the opportunity for us to practice our patience. We spent the next 2 days buying needed supplies (as the ones previously ordered for us had been stolen), going through an orientation to the ministry, building a strategy to best integrate into this culture, and visiting Angkor Wat. 
Angkor Wat was a great experience. It helped to open my eyes to what we would be dealing with in the area. While amazing to view one of the ancient wonders of the world, I found it more amazing that this was all created for a stone god that could not answer the prayers that were offered up... years of blood, sweat, tears... how many died to build this temple and the many others that surround it?
How many Christians would put that much into their worship of the Living God Jehovah?  When you see this... it makes you stop and think.....

By the 3rd day in Siem Reap we were ready to go! We left early in the morning and loaded onto a large boat which took us on a 3 hour ride to the village where we would live (barefoot!!!!!- I love being barefoot!) for the next 10 days. Many believers met us on the large barge which serves as a school, home, water treatment facility, and house for the teacher and his family. It was a blessing to see how they respect the missionary we were there to serve with.
That first day we had 2 young women come to the barge for care/treatment of infections.

The next morning we were up bright and early (the people on the lake generally get up by sunrise), ready for a busy day. The first part of our day was spent asking the women believers the birth surveys. We used this opportunity, not only to learn more about these people and their culture, but also to gain insight as to how we may be better able to help these women share the gospel through midwifery. The afternoon was spent playing games with the girls on the barge until dinner. Following dinner (all meals are eaten while sitting on the floor, the food is put in a long line down the center) we listened to a Bible study through our translator.

Sunday was a blessing as we were able to join the church group for their service. Imagine sitting on the floor of a boat that bobs gently up and down as you listen through a translator to the Word of God. It was a great experience. The afternoon was spent teaching the women and girls what a normal prenatal was like and that there was no need for fear. They readily accepted it and worked hard to try and learn the English and Vietnamese translations.
The days that followed were each different, but contained similar events. We would spend time teaching English and how to translate specific words and phrases from English to Vietnamese and Khmer. We would provide care to people who came and we would spend time getting to know the believers and hear their testimonies.
 God brought us a number of women who were pregnant and desired prenatal care. We saw a few more women who wanted help with other medical issues as well. One mother brought her baby to us who had been burned and one young man came to us to help with a fish scale that went into his eye (a common cause of blindness for these people). We always treated as we could and prayed with each of them. God continued to bless. We had thought at first that we would have to go to them, but they came, desiring for something different. They wanted someone who would care.

There are so many other stories, so many other things I could share. We were blessed to see two of the girls we were working with come to Christ at the end of the 10 days. What a blessing! Their parents had only allowed them to come as it was an opportunity to learn English and maybe some medical information, but in addition to that they accepted Christ into their lives! It was so AMAZING!
What more to share? I loved my time on the boats. I loved getting to know the people, their culture and ways. We had so many fun experiences... How many of you have watched a open air movie in 3 languages? One night we watched “End of the Spear” on a sheet with a projector... the movie uses native language, there were English subtitles and the entire time, translated in Vietnamese over a karaoke machine... it was a great experience! I also ate snail and turtle for
the first time. Only turtle got a second try. :) I loved learning to paddle the suong (small canoe like boats they use to go between the house boats, more on that story here) and spending time doing “prayer paddle” with the believers- like a prayer walk, but in a boat. 
We took time to share our testimonies with the believers there. After sharing my testimony with a group of the girls, one of them turned to me and said “how nice it must be to have such an interesting testimony... mine is just so boring (really meaning more like normal)”... let me clarify... she had shared her testimony with the group that morning. Her testimony of how her grandmother was a medium, how she had been possessed and how Christ had saved her.... what a lesson on perspective!

The day before we left, the believers asked us for help. One woman's father was sick and not doing well. He had previously accepted Christ but then rejected Him when his village began to persecute him. We saw a weak and frail man lying on the mat before us. Our translator shared how not long ago he had been a strong man, not shriveled and weak. We treated him as best we could and prayed for him. The next day was Sunday and we were to head back after the service. Church happened to be held in his daughter's house. During the service he turned to the church family and asked for God's and their forgiveness. His wife also accepted Christ just before the service. It was so powerful to see the Church gather around and pray for this man and for God's will to be done concerning their restored brother. We took him with us to send to a hospital when we returned to land.

I didn't want to leave. Women asked us to stay, or at least to return to deliver their baby... they didn't want to go through the same way again... The believers all stood on the edge of the barge and waved until we were far into the distance. A sight I will not quickly forget.

On the return trip to Siem Reap, I was able to swim in the lake before we left..... It was fun and the water was not cold at all! 
Our last days in Cambodia were spent debriefing and preparing to return to the Philippines. I don't think I truly recovered from the rocking sensation till I flew back on the plane.

What a trip. Emotional, Spiritual, and Physical. It was a great time of learning, teaching, and sharing. I saw God moving and preparing the way for us. I saw people reaching out to teach one another and share the Gospel. I saw people opening their hearts to receive Christ. Again and again I heard testimony of how God had saved them from Spiritual darkness and affliction. What a powerful and amazing trip. God is truly doing a great work there... I am thankful that I was able to go and witness this work!
Well, that is all I have for you... at least for now! Here you can read my friend Echo's blog about the trip, which includes a video... Well worth taking the time to read another perspective and to watch the video! And here is Brittany's blog... I highly recommend following Brittany as she will continue to post more updates in the future... Until Next time!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Skill #9

Skill #9... September came and with it followed another busy schedule full of adventure! I spent 10 days living in Cambodia on a Lake where the team I was with helped with health care (mostly maternal, but it varied.... for the short version of the trip, read here.... and the long one to come)....
On my trip, I learned a lot, and with it skill #9....
How to Paddle a Suong
Now a suong is a long and shallow boat that is somewhat, slightly similar to a canoe, but not exactly... it is much wider and more shallow. It can have places on the bow and stern which you can kneel on to paddle... you sit on the floor cross legged if you are a passenger.... Paddling it is similar to canoeing, but also very different.... kind of hard to explain....
It was a lot of fun... it took a little coaching and a lot of observation, but after a few short trips I was able to handle and maneuver one fairly well, tho not nearly as well as the other girls who had been doing it their entire life... but close though!! 
Enough about the experience... I am sure you all want to see the pictures by now! So here are a few! Enjoy!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Cambodia Trip in short

What to write...How do I share all that happened... all that was in my heart? The past 2 weeks greatly affected me! But I keep sitting and trying to write, but the right words are not coming.... Then today it came.... Here is the short of my trip...

I saw..... God move and work miracles...... people  commit their lives to Christ...... God create a greater heart of compassion in my soul.... and so much more!
I experienced... spiritual warfare...... the love of fellow believers..... new foods..... ancient ruins... a Biblical perspective and way of life... and so much more!
I learned... that there is so much more that I could use and apply.... how my past training truly can help now... how my testimony is totally wrapped in my family's testimony... how to relate to others even if you cannot speak their language.... how to share knowledge and instruct in a simplified/easy to paddle a suong ... and so much more!
Now I pray that I will apply all that I saw, leaned and experienced....

For those who would like the long version (which, yes, includes more pictures).... be patient.... it is on its way!
Angkor Wat

Another view of Angkor Wat

Visiting the ruins was a powerful reminder.... this was for a DEAD god...                                            How far are Christians willing to go? 

My Friend Brittany and I

Life on the Lake

Yes, people live on these boats

The Barge complex we stayed at

God's Marvelous Beauty!

More will come soon! I promise!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Inner Strength = "Jin Bricks"

Just got back from Cambodia and right back into the swing of things at the clinic... time for another Baby story (know you love these!)...
Shift started at 5:45am... I was tired, but awake enough as there was only one laboring mother for me to care for... after observing her, it was determined she was only in early labor and that she should return to her nearby home to rest and wait for labor to pick up....
At 8am another mother came in. She was smaller framed with a "basket ball" belly, though it measured small for her gestational age... She appeared active and soon we determined that "Love-Love" would stay at the clinic. I prepared for the birth I eagerly anticipated...
"Love-Love" labored for a while, but the pain built and she grew agitated... she was ready to push, and tried then thrashed about and said how she couldn't do it...

Another midwife and I exchanged glances and she whispered... "she just needs to find that inner strength"... I nodded, knowing exactly what she meant, silently praying that my patient would find her strength as I tried to softly encourage her.... A minute or two later, a gush of amniotic fluid and another contraction, she found the strength... she pushed intensely for <2 12="" 5="" 9:34am="" a="" and="" at="" baby="" blessed="" born="" boy="" breathe="" bricks="" came="" day="" encouragements="" from="" healthy="" ignored="" in="" it="" lb="" minutes="" my="" name="" ot="" oz="" p="" sure="" the="" though="" to="" was="" where="">
The day continued and got busy, but I still look back and smile... my friend was right... sometimes that inner strength makes a world of difference....