Has it really been a whole month?
It’s hard to believe that we’ve been here that long already. We’ve been so busy that the time has flown.
Friday seems to come around so quickly and suddenly we’re another week in, another subject, another challenge.
Finally I’ve found the time to get away and write this update and hopefully give you all a bit of a taste for what life it like for use here.
We live on the top floor of ‘Base 2.’ YWAM has a number of properties around the city, some for schooling, some for accommodation.
We share the base with some of the female staff and an outreach team from another base (more about outreach later!).
We have two rooms and a bathroom, and a large balcony pretty much to ourselves. Leyla and her nanny, Tamara, spend a fair bit of time on the roof, throwing water at each other and laughing loudly while Carrie and I are in class.
We have class Monday to Thursday, 9-12, as well as nights on Tuesday and Thursday. Each week we have a single teacher focussed one a single subject. Last week we had Garth, the base leader (see his link at the bottom of the page) teaching about the cost of discipleship.
It was, as every week has been, amazing. This week we’re actually looking at two subjects- an overview of the bible, taught by my great friend, Mark Smith and Gifts of the Holy Spirit, from our school leader, Stuart (who is also Australian, so inherently awesome).
Every week we are learning so much and being so challenged by not only the teaching, but through sharing our lives with the other students.
There are about 25 students in the class, ranging from 19 years old all the way up to me, about two thirds Cambodian and the rest from USA, Switzerland and Australia.
As well as classes we have other activities most days. Carrie and I take the girls to Jeevits House every week. It’s a ministry that’s run by a long time YWAMer, Laura, that reaches out to children in some of the slums around town. It’s quite confronting to see the conditions some of the kids live in, but it’s great to have the chance to love on them and teach them a bit about Jesus.
I’ve been really affected by one young boy, Chia. He caught polio when he was 5 and has been wheelchair bound ever since. Jeevit’s House is trying to get him into a school, because otherwise his future is confined to begging.
He’s a smart kid, with a really bright smile that lights up when he sees Leyla and I coming to collect him. We saw him begging at one of the markets and it broke my heart. It has really put a face on things for me, brought some real clarity to what we’re doing here.
There’s a kid who was fine until he caught a disease that’s non existent in most of the world, and now his future is bleak and he doesn’t know Jesus.
While it’s a challenge being here sometimes, because everything has to be translated and sometimes cultural proprieties turn 5 minute meetings into 45 minutes of being polite, it’s also a blessing to have people from different cultures and in different places in their faith to talk to and share with, not just from our class, but with other outreach teams.
We share our base with a team from Kona, Hawaii. They did their main study phase there, and are in Battambang for two months, working with some of the ministries here. They have adopted Leyla and Myra and have even babysat for us a couple of times so we can let Tamara have a night off.
There are, fortunately, some great cafes and restaurants in town, as well as amazing street food for next to nothing. Leyla has become a local celebrity.
About 500 Cambodian High School students come to the base every afternoon to study english, and Leyla, with her curly blonde hair, usually draws a crowd.
It’s got to the point where we’ll be in town and kids we don’t even know will ride past on their bikes yelling “Leylaaaaaaaaa!” I’ve constructed a seat for Leyla to get around on, zip tied to the back of our bike.
With Myra in a tummy pack we’re totally mobile now, and make a scene cruising though town with our kids attached, people are not afraid to stare as we go past.
There’s also a fun park in town, It’s got some pretty sketchy rides, like a roller coaster that adds a dimension of terror because it could actually collapse at any moment, and an inflatable waterslide with a not quite right picture on the side.
It’s all part of the fun really, I’ve put in some photos to show you.
Overall, we’re having an amazing time. It’s not without it’s trials and tribulations- being very busy in a third world country with two small children is not the perfect recipe for a harmonious life- but we know we’re where God wants us, and we are learning and growing so much and I wouldn’t trade it for any other life I could think of.
Keep us in your prayers and thoughts and please write back! We will always do our best to reply.
Lots of love,
Carrie, Dom, Leyla & Myra