Changed Perspective of God’s World

  1. We've only been gone for one week but I feel I have learned far more than a week's worth of information in both Bangkok and Siem Reap. I've been struck by the selfless servants that work in various nonprofits in both cities we visited so far. For example, we met a young Australian lady who chooses to live in the slums and work as a missionary. Many of her neighbors appreciate it while others cannot understand why she would give up everything she has. Despite living in the slums for years, she along with all of the other long-term missionaries, say they still cannot fully relate to the local living in poverty. I continue to be so moved by those who give up their family, language and culture to serve their God and King. Every NGO asks us to pray for fervently. These experiences have given me new perspective on God's world and his creation, helping me to know better how and what to pray for on a much more global scale. Many of the puzzle pieces in my life prior to this week have been jostled or shattered and do not quite fit anymore. The stark contrast between my life and many others we have had a glimpse of makes me feel uncomfortable. For example, even here from Siem Reap from our beautiful hotel room, we look down through our window to families who are obviously quite poor (by our standards). Piles of garbage surround houses that are made of tin nailed to wooden posts. The sales people almost beg for your business so they can have those few extra dollars to support themselves. Survivors of the land mines play music on the streets as their livelihood since it is nearly impossible to find work.I give thanks to God for this enriching opportunity. I continue to be moved while my perspective on God's creation is forever changed.

Blogpost 1 – Rachel Polikaitis

Hi! My name is Rachel Polikaitis. I am a junior majoring in Elementary Education. I grew up in Southern California and Japan. I am currently visiting my family in Japan for my winter break and will be joining up with the group in Seoul, South Korea. I love traveling, playing soccer and being around kids. I am extremely excited to visit a country that I have never been to before and explore its history and culture. Since I am wanting to become and teacher and hopefully teach internationally one day, I am excited to have the opportunity to see how kids act in a different environment than I am not used to. I hope to be able to hear stories from the people of Cambodia and really understand their culture and history. A bible verse that I always remember when traveling and experiencing new things is 1 Peter 5:7. "Cast all your cares and worries on him because he cares for you". This verse is an important reminder that throughout our trip there will be bumps along the way. However, we must turn to God in our time of need or frustration. My prayer for this trip is that our eyes be open to the beautiful country of Cambodia and the culture, history and people that surrounds it. I pray for safety and the opportunity for us to try new experiences and be open-minded.

Blogpost-Mia Onorato

  Family and friends definitely are important to me and have shaped me into the person I am. I am adopted and 1/4 Chinese and 3/4 Cambodian. It has always been a dream of mine to someday visit the land where my ancestors came from; now, it is finally happening! On a funny sidenote, I REALLY appreciate good food; some may call me a foodie! I feel like food is the soul into a culture and equally is a time of celebrating with friends! I cannot wait to experience both this month! (Be prepared for some mention of food throughout my posts!) I have always found comfort in Jeremiah 29:11. The future is endless! I am a good listener and easy going. If there is a conflict in the group, I try my best to resolve it. I hope that we will all have a lot of fun this interim while also taking the time to experience and learn from the people and places we visit. I am super excited for this interim. Up for anything and everything while also learning more about Cambodia and reconnecting to my roots.        

Blogpost 1- Jenna Van Bruggen

Hi all! My name is Jenna, and I'm a senior at Calvin, double majoring in Biology and Spanish. I grew up on a farm in Northwest Iowa, and I'm interested in seeing the differences in agriculture in Cambodia. I really like the following passage from Rom. 15:13 – "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope." My prayer for this interim is open eyes, ears, and heart. It's already been hard to see some of the videos that we watched in preparing for this trip. If you would like to watch the same video that we saw it is here: If you're like me or some of the people that I've talked to, you may not know about the killing fields, Year Zero, or the genocide of the Cambodian people.

Blogpost 1 – Ian

Hello! My name is Ian McClaskie. I am  a Junior Mechanical Engineering student.  I love hiking and exploring, spending time with my family and most things automotive. One of my personal strengths that i can contribute to the group this January would be a keen sense of direction and the ability to problem solve especially in unfamiliar situations. My Goal for this month in Cambodia is to step out of my comfort zone (within reason) to experience the culture, I want to use this experience to help myself grow and become a better student and person. I hope to get to know everyone going as we embark on our adventures.

Blogpost #1- Ben

Hey Guys! My name is Ben Johnson and I am currently a sophomore who is majoring in environmental science. I love all sorts of outdoor activities including hiking, camping, fishing, and rock climbing. I also enjoy reading, cooking/eating good foods, and exploring new places. Through this interim trip, I hope to experience the vibrant culture of SE. Asia and see how God can work through people to bring healing and justice to this world. I'm also interested to see how environmental issues can be handled while attempting to develop a growing country. I'd also like to leave with one of my favorite Bible passages form Philippians 4: 4-9. "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus". "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you".

Blog Post 1 – Aaron Tucker

Hello everyone my name is Aaron and I am a junior majoring in mechanical engineering  planning on graduation in the spring of 2017. Some things that are very near and dear to my heart include athletics, travel and a desire to learn. As such, I am extremely excited to embark on this trip to a new and unknown place with so much history and also and incredible tendency to overcome hardships. My favorite verse comes from Psalms which says: The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tents of the righteous. The        right hand of the Lord does valiantly.                                                                          - Psalm 118:15 I find this verse to be a perfect summary of the work God has done in the world. By sending Jesus, His son and right hand, God provided the opportunity of salvation to all those who are righteous and what better way to celebrate than with rejoicing? While I am certainly excited for this trip, I have tried to avoid setting too many expectations for myself and because of that, my biggest goal is to approach this trip with an open mind and a willingness to learn. I know very little about any of the culture in Cambodia or Southeast Asia in general and I look forward to experiencing something new and hopefully taking away some valuable lessons. Until next time, Aaron

Blogpost 1 – Heidi Boeve

Hi, I am Heidi Boeve. I am a sophomore engineering student. I have a great love for my family and traveling. Playing games and crafting are things that I also enjoy. I am excited to create new friendships and memories. One of my favorite bible verse is Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” My pray for this trip is safety. There are so many questions and worries when traveling and pray that everything will go smoothly.

Blogpost 1–Kelsey Hiegel

Hi! I'm Kelsey 🙂 I am a senior majoring in exercise science and minoring in psychology. I will be attending graduate school this fall for occupational therapy and I couldn't be more excited! I have played soccer basically since I could walk and have played all 4 years at Calvin. It has been one of the biggest blessings of my college experience. I love any kind of exercise (except maybe swimming because I'm not very good at it) and doing crafts! One of my favorite Bible passages is Proverbs 3:5-6, which says: Trust in the Lord with all your heart     and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him,     and he will make your paths straight. I think this is such a simple command but one of the hardest to follow. It's hard not to question the unknown and not to try to go our own way, and this passage is such a good reminder when I realize I am not relying on God. My prayer for this interim is that we learn, develop great relationships, bless others through our service, and grow closer to God. I pray that we have an open mind and heart and take in all that God has to teach us.

Blogpost 1 – Peter

Some things that make up me: Good thinking - the kind which blooms while listening to elusive music in the back of a bus plodding through heavy rain. Guitar and singing - acoustic and noisy. Soccer - any time, any place. Stories - they warm and teach like nothing else.   A goal: Experience everything to the full and not get ill once!   A prayer: May our eyes stay open against all fatigue and discomfort, our hearts adopt the rhythm of our hosts', our hands act only from honesty and overflow, and our souls joy in their Kingdom labor and learning.