weddingparty

We had the great privilege of being invited to the marriage of  Raksmey, the young man who heads up the TWR Cambodia Youth Team to his sweetheart Rathmony. It was a wonderful celebration, a beautiful blend of traditions that honoured  both the Khmer culture and the Christian culture. The ceremony, which began at 7:00 a.m. was held in the chapel of the Phnom Penh Bible School and of course included breakfast and lunch.

The morning began with the community tradition of each guest carrying in a gift of fruit or food to present to the families of the bride and groom.

fruit

Both families then “met” and with the services of an intermediary, negotiated the terms of the marriage. When both families agreed that the marriage should proceed, the mother of the  bride brought her out to present her to the groom’s family. The members of the families where then introduced to one another and the congregation. With all of this settled we broke for breakfast and the first of many changes of wedding outfits for not only the couple but for the wedding part as well.

community

The next session of the ceremony was a pretty traditional western style wedding with a processional, the couple in white and Dad walking the bride down the aisle. After the vows, exchanging of rings and charge to the couple by their pastor; the marriage was sealed with a demur little kiss on the bride’s forehead.

whiteoutfit

While the next change of clothing took place, the stage was rearranged so that family and guests could present best wishes and a token gift of money to the happy couple.

gifts

After lunch, we broke for the afternoon while people went home to prepare for the evening reception which is all about eating, socializing, music and dancing. For the women this was the time to get your make-up done and dress in the most amazing outfits. The bride and groom again changed outfits regularly throughout the evening.

greenoutfitpurpleoutfit

redoutfit

fruitstall

Having arrived home earlier than planned from our Redang trip, we were able to get a good start the following day for a day trip to Melaka. Our little rental car is a pretty comfortable ride so the three hour road trip went pretty smoothly. We stopped a few times along the way to snack on some local fruit and see some scenery. It was a little tricky to find the central area of town and we were quite amazed at how the city had grown since we were last there seven years earlier.

Malacca was a major trading port for ships from India and China. The Portuguese conquered Malacca in 1511. Later the Dutch took over in 1641 until much later the British empire ruled Malacca. The state finally obtained independence with the then “Malaya states” in 1957. There are still many reminders of this rich history to be seen.

Christchurch

We found ourselves parked just at the beginning of Jonkers Street, the famous Chinese shopping street so we wandered happily until we came to the town square. took the obligatory photos at Christ Church and then toured the ruins of St Paul’s Church enroute to visit a replica of the Melaka Sultanate palace. The design is based on the description of the palace from the sixteenth-century ‘Malay Annals,’ or ‘Sejarah Melayu.’ It is the only building of its kind in Malaysia, and it provides a rare glimpse of the ancient Malay kingdom that once flourished here. The palace houses the Malacca Cultural Museum, which includes many artifacts of that kingdom.

SONY DSC

The rains held off while we walked along the waterfront and enjoyed tea at a little shop before we headed home. We decided to swing by Putra Jaya on the way home even though it would be dark. We arrived to find the place packed and the main street blocked for a large eFormula One event. Got totally lost attempting to find a back way in but did get there and it is every bit as beautiful at night with the bridges and buildings all lit up. We even managed to find the mall and had dinner at TGI Fridays.

SONY DSC

Our time together went by way too quickly but we did have one final evening sharing dinner at another of our favourite outdoors dining spots; Oasis. In spite of really miserable weather, Al and Shelley are pretty laid back and took it all in stride. We were sad them off but excited that they would have four days to explore Singapore. Thanks Al and Shelley for taking the time to visit with us and for all of your encouragement and support during our stay here.

Oasis

 

resort

With three days booked at the hotel and four sets of snorkel equipment we were thrilled to find that although the name had changed, this was the same hotel we had loved seven years earlier. It is a beautiful hotel, on an incredible island and was fully staffed in spite of the fact that there were a total of eight guests, including us. Sadly it rained, almost literally, the entire time we were there, By the second day we decided that the waves were calling to us and it was warm and there was no lightning.

SONY DSC

Steve rustled us up four boogie boards and we spent the next two afternoons riding the waves. We all had some pretty amazing runs. It was so sad to know that the beautiful coral reefs and colourful fish we came to see were only feet away but completely unreachable because of the rough seas. We had internet access, plenty of books, tons of snacks and drinks and a deck of cards and great friends with us. Not at all what we hoped for but it was fine in spite of Shelley falling on the steps and landing on her computer. And they got to experience monsoon rains up close and personal- enough for a life time.

Redangdinner

It was evident that the weather was not going to change and it was now too dangerous to take a speed boat so we opted for the public ferry. It was an enclosed boat, large enough to seat over 250 so a safe option. It was a pretty wild ride with swells that appeared to be a couple of stories high. Almost two hours later, we were pretty ready to celebrate when the town jetty finally came in to sight. For a price, a significant price, we switched to an earlier flight that got us home to KL by early afternoon. When we looked down on the floods in Kuala Terengganu, we felt very fortunate to be heading back to a much drier KL.

floodsinkt

Couch

We are a long way from home and it is not very often that our Canadian friends come by this way. It was especially sweet to have Al and Shelley come and stay with us for ten days. Al has been in here before with his work but it was Shelley’s first visit to Asia. November is in the dead of the monsoon season so a bit of a risky time to come. It had been a pretty dry couple of weeks and we were beginning to wonder if they would even get to experience the amazing monsoon rains which we actually love. We needn’t have worried!

CloudonTower

Fountains

For the first few days Steve was working so we didn’t go too far afield. I took them on a city tour on Thursday and then we met up with Steve at the end of the day for dinner at KLCC and then an evening at our favourite spot for watching the Twin Towers light and the dancing fountains; the Skybar at the Traders Hotel. Friday we hung around locally, spending the morning at the pool and then touring the university before coming home for dinner and a evening just chatting with friends; a rare treat for us.

Batu

On Saturday we made the climb up to Batu Caves on our way out to take the cable car up to Genting Highlands. There is not really much to see up there but we will never tire of the 4.38 Km ride over the rainforest. It was a beautiful day, sunny and bright at the top. Spent about three hours visiting over a great multi-country buffet. Sunday we went to church and did some shopping then came home to pack for a trip to Redang Island early the next morning.

Plane

We were up and ready for an early flight to Kuala Terengganu when we saw the first warning signs of heavy rain. We took off in the rain and as we came in for landing in KT the rains were torrential. We waded into the airport only to learn that the ferry to the island had been cancelled due to weather. However very helpful hotel staff met us at the airport and took us to their lounge while they arranged for a fast boat to take us to the hotel. We agreed to it because it really had to get better, right?

fastboat

Even getting to the jetty was a challenge because the roads were pretty much flooded the whole way. The “fast boat” was open but covered by a canopy and they graciously provided us with rain gear while we bounced through eight to ten foot waves in the pouring rain. We took a few hard hits when the boat crested waves and then crashed into the troughs. We were happy to see the helpful hotel staff at the jetty with warm towels and a dry van. Took some negotiations and an upgrade to get settled into our lovely hotel rooms just steps from the beach. Just waited for the sun to come out after the rains. But that never happened!

rain

 

IMG_2737 The frequency and timeliness of the posts to our blog are inversely related to the number of Master’s courses we are working on. Right now Steve has three and I have two on the go so we have plenty of writing projects underway and deadlines to meet eery three to four days. Needless to say, the blog is suffering. This past week I had the wonderful opportunity to be part of a full day workshop with our Singapore team. My dear creative friend and mentor, Dr Su Min Lim, with a little help from myself, took us through some fun and very visual discussions to bring the team to a more wholistic understanding of the work they are called to do. We started the day by dividing into three teams, randomly picked by Su Min who did not know any of the participants. Using picture cards as cues each one talked about the passions that drive them and then the teams looked at their common passions to come up with a team name, a logo and, of course, a poster. IMG_2731 The next sessions looked at the concepts around wholism and what defines “good health” for ourselves, our homes and our teams. We had a great lunch together at a little boutique type restaurant and a chance to visit so Dr. Su Min could get to know the team better. The afternoon sessions looked at potential areas of conflict for a team and a process for identifying the root causes that need to be addressed in order for a team to move forward, using the visual of a Tree of Despair and a Tree of Hope. In order to do some vision casting, each team created a front page for the New Straits Times for Oct 3 2024 and it was really exciting to see their visions drawn out on paper. The final session was geared towards identifying the steps that would need to be taken to reach these goals. IMG_2733 The Singapore team has heard about the CHE approach that the teams in Cambodia and Philippines are using for a few years but this was their initial exposure to this oral, graphic and participatory type of learning. The first time they were asked to draw their response they were a bit taken aback but by the time the first posters were up they were all into it and we had a great time sharing. I am so looking forward to meeting with them again soon to see how they envision using this strategy to make their own lives and work more wholistic.

WithAmanda

We feel very privileged that we live in a world in which it is possible to take a Master’s level course through a seminary in the States from the other side of the world. And not just any seminary either. Fuller Theological Seminary is a leader in missiology and social justice, the two areas of greatest interest and impact in our ministries. The online format requires that we engage in dialogue with others in forum discussions. Believe it or not, you can actually get a pretty good discussion going this way. But we do miss the chance to meet people face to face and work through ideas as they are developing.  Alpha Omega International College is a Bible College in KL at which we can take courses in residence which can then be accepted for credit transfer to Fuller. Last week we finished out third course at AOIC.

We like to keep an eye out for visiting professors who come with a great deal of knowledge and broad experience with their topic. Last year we were fortunate to take a course with world renowned author and Christian leader Ajith Fernando. This past two weeks we took another course with an Australian, Amanda Jackson, who is the Head of Advocacy for the Micah Challenge; a global coalition of Christians holding governments to account for their pledge to halve extreme poverty by 2015 in compliance with the Millennium Development Goals. She is not only a very experienced communicator in church life and advocacy campaigns, but is a wife, mother, grandmother, pastor and a very gracious woman. She was also a great teacher and just plain fun to be around.

The course looked at what the Bible has to say about injustice and our mission as Christians to overcome it. As the course progressed, we learned even more fully that as Christians we need to be the voice for justice both locally and globally and become catalysts for change at every level of influence. In one text, Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes You Just, Timothy Keller asserts: “If a person has grasped the meaning of God’s grace in his heart, he will do justice. If he doesn’t live justly, then he may say with his lips that he is grateful for God’s grace, but in his heart he is far from Him. If he doesn’t care about the poor, it reveals that at best he doesn’t understand the grace he has experienced, and at worst he has not really encountered the saving mercy of God. Grace should make you just.” Food for thought for anyone who claims to be a follower of Christ.

8a78

While our family and friends in Canada celebrate the last long weekend of the summer, we also had a three day weekend to mark the 57th anniversary of our adopted country. We opted to use the time to revive our very old scanner which is capable of scanning our family’s slides. It stretched the limits of our technical knowledge to convert thirty year old slides to digital format using a ten year old scanner and new computer platforms. But with the help of Steve’s now out of date Windows XP on his work computer we were able to upload the necessary software and the CanoScan 4200F was soon up and running again.

With the technical details behind us, we were soon absorbed in the wonder of seeing long forgotten images. Once we got over the shock of how much we had aged and shrunk, we were caught up in the wonder of the memories that cascaded over us. The sheer volume of those collected experiences began to sink in, and we were overwhelmed by the depth of God’s blessings on our family in our adventures with these three wonderful children through their growing up years.

Scan10026

With our water babies – all of them – we spent many happy hours on the beach in Port Stanley or at the cottage in Barrow Bay on the Bruce Peninsula. They loved their routines and yet were all very flexible, adventurous and could roll with the punches effortlessly. You could pretty much toss them their blanket and they would curl up and sleep wherever they happened to be. Throw in some sand on a sunny beach and they would entertain themselves for the entire day.

Bangladesh

Their fearless and accepting attitude to whatever came their way gave us the courage to pack them up for an amazing adventure that found us living for a year in a quite remote hospital station in the southern panhandle of Bangladesh. There we served alongside some faithful servants of God and made life long friends while our kids learned much about independence as they explored the compound with their buddies. As we made our way home, we had the joy of visiting Kathmandu and driving out into the Himalayas to watch the sun rise over Mt Everest. From there we flew to Amsterdam where we picked up a camper van and had an amazing three weeks exploring some of Holland, Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland enroute to visit with our TWR missionary friends Steve and Barb in Monte Carlo.

Sleeping in camper

Shantz

Seven years on, we again packed up and headed off for a year at Black Forest Academy in southern Germany and were again touring the countryside in a camper van. It wasn’t a very fancy set of wheels but it took us on several trips to England, enabling us to spend time with Steve’s Dad just a week before he passed away. We made many trips that year through France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy. There were great experiences skiing in the Alps, swimming in the beautiful lakes of Italy and the beaches of the Adriatic, amazing European campgrounds, and city tours of Rome, Venice, Florence, Zurich, Bern, Paris and Frankfurt. We grew to love the beauty of Interlaken, Alsace Lorraine and the Black Forest.
Camper2

Italy2

But babies grow up, teenagers move out and young adults establish their own lives. Grandchildren are born and their own parents take photos of their little ones. Before you know it babies are taking “selfies” on their tablet and grandkids are making their own videos. We don’t know what technology will be available when our own children look back on their family experiences, but we pray that they will have made the type of wonderful memories we were delighted to revisit.

Family

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 38 other followers