Goodbye Cambodia, Hello America

Many aspects of Cambodia reminded me of time spent in Mexico or Peru. People that were different from me, yet the same. A different lifestyle and value system than I was used to. During this trip we looked at the development in Cambodia (and Thailand). Cambodia has a unique history  in that less than 50 years ago the country faced a large holocaust followed by famine. Almost all the people with any knowledge were wiped out. Thus, Cambodia is trying to rebuild its government, education system, healthcare, and food security. Continue reading "Goodbye Cambodia, Hello America"

Final Reflections

My adventures in Southeast Asia have ended.  I'm now situated in my dorm room anxiously waiting to start classing. The feeling is quite surreal.  I truly will miss Cambodia.  I will remember staring into the eyes of young malnourished children that seemed to glisten with something that I don't have.  I will miss all the times engaging how God's working in Cambodia.  I will also miss the great conversations within our amazing interim group. Continue reading "Final Reflections"

Welcome ‘Home’

I am now composed of gratitude, largely for the ease of our allowance into the States but also for the stretching I have endured and grown from. These stretches range from myriad minute differences between living with North Americans in and outside the US to days of incapacitating illness to strings of small but compounded stresses. I hope terribly to continue in this spirit of thankfulness all my days and make immediate changes to make room and nurture the growth of this hope. Continue reading "Welcome ‘Home’"

Well, How Was It?

It's the question we all dread to hear and dread to ask; how was your trip? We dread to hear it because how can you possibly summarize any length of trip into an answer short enough to keep someones attention and we dread to ask it because, again, how can you possibly summarize any length of trip into an answer short enough to keep someones attention?  You can't. There never seems like a good enough way to answer those three words; you either leave out too many good details and simplify your experience too much or you recall every moment that made you even remotely happy only later realizing those inside jokes and times you were slap-happy probably weren't the greatest stories to hear. So, keep that in mind as I try to summarize the last 3 weeks; here's what I've got. Interim was a time of learning, a time of trial, and a time of adventure. It was nothing like what I expected, but if you were to ask me what I expected I wouldn't be able to give you a concrete answer. Continue reading "Well, How Was It?"

Final Blogpost

Tell me all about your time in Cambodia. This is what my friends have been asking me to talk about since I have returned. I found that it is very difficult to find an answer that completely encompasses all that I felt and went through while I was in Cambodia. Even now, I am still reflecting and trying to process everything that I experienced during my time there. However, there are a few things that I have been including in my answer to summarize my experience. Continue reading "Final Blogpost"

This is it, Cambodia.

So Cambodia, a group of 26 calvin students and 3 professors embarked on a 3 week long journey as we engaged development in Cambodia. Our journey started in Bangkok Thailand where we started our journey of visiting NGOs. The one that most stood out to me was the Tamar Center, there they were dealing first hand with the issues of Prostitution as they attempted to bring the girls (and ladyboys) out of the industry. Continue reading "This is it, Cambodia."

Little did I know the hardest part of the trip was waiting for me at home…..

For our last blog post, we have been asked to sum up our thoughts about this interim trip in a short four minute speech. This has been one of the most difficult things I've had to do on this trip. How are we supposed to condense three weeks of experiences into four minutes? Despite my struggles, this assignment has also been very beneficial to me as I process my experiences. I have been forced to decide what are the few things that I have learned that are most important to me. These are the things that I will forever keep in my memory and that I will relay to my friends and family. Continue reading "Little did I know the hardest part of the trip was waiting for me at home….."

FInal Blog

As people begin the "hellos", "how was your trip?", and "What did you do there?", I become speechless. There are so many experiences and so much knowledge I want to share, but also so many questions I seem to be wrestling with. I discovered that I cannot fit the whole trip into a sentence. I keep waiting for clarity of what I experienced, but it seems to get fuzzier and fuzzier. I hope to be able to share at least a small glimpse into how my perspective has changed over this past month. I believe that education is universal, but curriculum should not be. Why teach algebra and biology when they need to know how to raise chickens or catch fish just to survive? So, what is good education? I still do not have an answer, but I do know that education is important and if given the opportunity should be taken. Next, I learned the power of relationships. Traveling all across Cambodia visiting many people and NGO's. I saw the impact of forming friendships spiritually, emotionally, and physically. The gift of time and prayer meant so much more to the Khmer people than any amount of money or material goods. Which leads to what is good development? Money is not the answer; neither is handing out free food or clothes. As I am still wrestling with that question, I believe that part of good development is to find a way to empower the people to sustain themselves. This trip was a humbling opportunity to be exposed to more of God's creation and a blessing to engage in Khmer culture.