Tuesday, April 17, 2012


When we moved to Cambodia nearly 2 1/2 years ago, I knew that we would run into many challenges that, although anticipated, would still take some work to navigate well. We were at least ready for them, even though there were still some surprises. For one, we had already experienced the traffic when we visited. It is crazy and sometimes drives us nuts (pun intended) but we were somewhat ready for it and have mostly adapted. We also expected the hot weather. There are some times that we would still looooove a day where it got down into the low 60's even...but if that happened there would probably have to be a frostbite alert issued in Cambodia. At any rate, we have also adjusted to the heat...as much as you can. I would have to say that the food is another anticipated challenge that we encountered on our move to Southeast Asia. In America, we loved Asian food. Carolyn and I had a favorite date place. It was a great Vietnamese restaurant that we frequented. Yummy white rice and spicy Asian flavors. What more could you ask for? Well, now we ask for anything but white rice. In an effort to explain food challenges here, I often have visitors here think of the one restaurant from back home that they would say, "I could eat there all the time and would never get sick of it". Then I challenge them to really think about how that might end up for them. What if you ate there every day (sometimes twice a day) for 3 months? 6 months? 2 years? Would you still like it? That is how it was for us moving here. Nevertheless, we have still adapted to the food since sometimes each of us will actually crave white rice if we haven't had it for a while. Weird, I know. I am so thankful that God makes us so adaptable.

Our family with a couple of dear friends on vacation at Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia. 
However, I would have to say that one of (if not the) most profound and unanticipated thing that has happened in the past 2+ years happened mostly to Carolyn. Anyone who spends any amount of time around her (basically anything over 5 minutes...sometimes less), experiences her love, care and compassion. She has a gift to be able to make you feel like you are the only one in a crowded room during a conversation. She has a heart that connects deeply and cares immediately. You would think that that would be an asset with the kind of work we are doing...and it is. But as with so many things we have experienced, that positive is inextricably bound to a negative. It creates an unavoidable paradox. What I mean is that, we all left dear friends and family back in the US but Carolyn's connections run more deeply as a result of who she is. So to leave was heart-breaking but she is strong and we were all walking in the confidence of being in God's will so there was also great joy. However, the unanticipated aspect of this journey was that she has now made deep connections with people here. With kids that she loves almost as if they were our own. On the surface that doesn't sound like a problem. It may even sound noble and exciting to have moved here and loved so deeply in only 2 years. It is an amazing thing and neither of us would change the past 2+ years at all but there is a difficult reality that is unavoidable: for the rest of her life, her heart will be split in 2, on 2 separate sides of the globe. If we stay here, there are friends and family in America and eventually at least a couple of our kids. If we moved back to the States, there are deep bonds here that will always be. That will never change, unless all of our friends and family in America move to Cambodia with us (which is also unanticipated by me).

Carolyn and Abby on a service trip last year.

Alex and Cameron with David and Jonathan at a temple near Angkor Wat.

Carolyn with Calli and Abby at Angkor Wat.
We can only rest in that, although this was unanticipated by us, it was not unanticipated by our Creator. He has gone before us and prepared us for what we are facing. I have to remind myself of that often. We serve a faithful God who wants the best for us. I anticipate being thankful for that for the rest of my life!

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