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Musings from the World of Jewel Scarves for Cambodia Journals for the Journey

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Greetings from Cambodia!

I arrived safely in Cambodia on Thursday afternoon and it has been a whirlwind since then. I was very warmly greeted at the airport by friends, and with flowers. So so so good to be home again. I surely missed my family on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but I am happy to be where I am.

On Friday I attended Pastor Poleak's Christmas service in Takao. Note: Everyone was apparently kidding when they stated that it's cold in Cambodia now; no one was kidding when they stated that Christmas services are very long. In Takao, the service was almost four hours long. The young members reinacted the entire Christmas story from the time of Mary and Joseph's betrothal up to the point of their leaving for Egypt; it was 45 minutes long! After the service we shared a meal, and then made the one-hour drive to Phnom Penh, and left shortly after for the five-hour drive to Siem Reap.

I passed Christmas in Siem Reap, and we're leaving here tomorrow morning. I traveled here with Titus, Vandy, and Tess; missionaries Tim and Tiffany Gallant, and another pastor's family (Arun) came also. We attended a Christmas service at Pastor Banyen's church on Christmas Day. It wasn't quite as long; the music and games were almost 3-hours long, and Tim Gallant gave a powerful 15-minute sermon (translation time included.) After the service, we shared a meal, and returned to rest at our guest house for almost 2 hours before visiting some other pastors and church members, then returning to Banyen's church for dinner and a meeting. Friday night we walked through the night market, and last night (on Christmas) we went to the mall for ice cream and stopped at a carnival and threw darts and balloons and won our evening snacks.

The concept of Christmas in Cambodia is very different. Except for Christians, which is about only 1% of the population, the day continued on as normal. People were still sweeping the streets, they were still shopping in the malls, and still going to work.

I have big plans for this upcoming week and I look forward to sharing with again soon! Thank you for your prayers and support. I hope you are all enjoying a wonderful Christmas with your family and friends.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Friends, Family, and Everyone,

While some of the reasons drawing me back to Cambodia are personal, I am going with a new sense of urgency that “The night is nearly over; the day is almost here” (Romans 13:12a). Christ is coming back and only 1.3% of Cambodia’s population (15,050,000) knows Christ as Lord and Savior. I feel blessed to have the exciting opportunity to visit Cambodia during the Christmas holiday and to visit a number of churches for their Christmas services. There are approximately thirty Wesleyan churches in Cambodia, averaging twenty members each. Some congregations gather under stilted homes or in small shacks with wicker floors, other congregations are blessed with sanctuaries – with or without windows, with or without chairs, without or without anything more than their voices to make music. Whatever the circumstance, many of the churches will see an attendance multiplied three or four or ten times for the Christmas service. In the province of Kratie, regular attendance includes twenty to twenty-five youth and two to three older women. For Christmas, the youth will bring their parents and their siblings; the women will bring their husbands and children, and even invite their neighbors – some have never before heard of Message of Christ and His birth. So you can see that this is a critical time for reaching Cambodia with the Good News of Christ.

Please pray that in these services there will be a powerful testimony of God’s love and the joy of salvation. Please pray that the Gospel message will be presented in a way that captures unbelieving hearts. Please pray that the focus will not be on parties, gifts, or even gathering together, but on the humble birth of Christ and the significance of that. Also, please pray for safe flights, easy transitions through various airports, protection of my luggage, and safety on the road between the provinces. Finally, please pray that I will have wisdom, discernment, and guidance as I seek God’s will, discuss options, and begin preparations for moving to Cambodia long-term.

For those who like to pray while things are happening, I am leaving Indianapolis at 1:30 Tuesday afternoon (December 21st.) I have a short layover in Cleveland before a five-hour flight to Los Angeles, where I have a short layover before my 15 ½-hour flight to Guangzhou, China. I am in China almost six hours before my last 2 ½-hour flight to China. After thirty-six hours of travel, I should arrive in Phnom Penh, Cambodia around 1:50pm on Thursday (1:50am on Thursday in Indiana.) I leave Cambodia on January 12th and will arrive in Indianapolis on January 13th.

Any blog comments, emails, or facebook messages of prayer and encouragement will be cherished. For those of you who responded to my “SOS” for prayer while I was in Mozambique this summer, thank you again. You will never know the impact that those messages had, especially during a week that was incredibly difficult. Again, thank you in advance for your prayers!

Love love love, Jewel

Monday, December 20, 2010


I leave in less than twenty-four hours for Cambodia. In twelve hours, I will be leaving my house for the airport. At 1:36 tomorrow afternoon, I will be boarding my first plane from Indianapolis to Cleveland. From Cleveland, I will fly to Los Angeles. After sixteen hours and thirty minutes, I will land in China, where I will board a plane to Cambodia six hours later.

How excited am I on a scale of one to ten? At least an eleven. I am so so so excited that I won't even know what to do first once I'm outside the airport. There are dear dear people in Cambodia that I love very much and I haven't seen them in eighteen months. So much has happened, and I have hated to miss it - rejoicing and mourning.

But soon, I'll be there. I know this trip is going to change my life. This trip is also going to change other peoples' lives too - both in Cambodia and Stateside. It really is amazing what God has been doing, and my prayer is that He will receive the glory for all that happens. I serve an amazing God, and it has been an incredible opportunity to travel the world and to worship Him in among many tribes, tongues, and nations.

Thank you Jesus for being born in the manger, dying on the cross, and bringing joy to the whole world. Thank you for calling me to serve you in Cambodia.

Love love love, Jewel

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Special Announcement

A special announcement in regards to my relationship status: I am in a relationship.

♥ Romdenh Chamnol, AKA: Tito or Titus ♥

He is incredibly strong. He is beautifully handsome. He is funny - so funny! He is a pastor, a teacher, a leader, a visionary, an example, and above all, a God-fearing man.

My love for Cambodia came before Titus... kinda amazing how God works His will out like that.

I haven't seen him since June 12th, 2009! Can't wait to see him December 23rd. Imagine...

Love love love, Jewel

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Paroath is getting married!!!

Pastor Paroath is a young, faithful pastor in the small province of Kampong Chhnang, and HERE is a post ("picture diary" rather) of the short yet influential time I spent with him in May 2009. On January 8th, he's getting married!!! I am beyond excited - so happy for him!

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” [[Genesis 2:18]]

It is always a prayer concern that the single pastors will find their God-ordained partner for ministry. Pastoring a church, whether small or large, is a big responsibility and it is a wonderful thing when a husband and wife can minister together and reach all the members - children, youth, elders, men, and women.

Below is a picture of Paroath and the widow he lives with in KC. She is a gracious member who allowed him to teach English and have church services under her home; that is until a church was built only a few yards from the home.

I currently have no idea whatsoever about my schedule while in-country (December 23-January 12,) but I am hoping that it will include attending Paroath's wedding, or at least a visit to see his new church. My 2009 team funded the construction of his church [Click HERE to see it's construction and HERE to see it's completion] and I would love to see the results in-person.

Below is a letter given to me from Paraoth on my last day in Kampong Chhnang:

Love love love, Jewel

Monday, December 6, 2010


Please keep the ministry in the Kratie Province in your prayers. The ministry flourished during the time that Pastor Vandy, Pastor Titus, and Tess were there, and struggled shortly following their transfers to Phnom Penh; in fact, the church and school were both closed [due to a reason other than their transfers] for some time. Pastor Piseth is currently ministering there, and I am sure that God is doing great things in and through Piseth.
God's work in Kratie drew me to return to Cambodia a second time, and it was there in Kratie that my passion became firmly rooted in youth ministry. Because of it's relations with the School of Hope, which shares a property with the church, the congregation has mainly youth and students; however, you will notice two older women in the back right - some parents also attend:

Faithful church members

The Way to Life Wesleyan Church and The School of Hope
(A World Hope International school offering courses in English and computer)

Tess, on the far right, was my host for almost three weeks in Kratie. She came to Cambodia as a Filipina missionary and was teaching English at the WHI school when she met Vandy, who was pastoring The Way to Life. Two years later, Vandy and Tess were married. They are like family to me.
Pagna was my first friend in Kratie. He and his girlfriend, Nary, are two of my closest friends. They are both currently studying in the university of Kampong Cham to become teachers - Pagna for English, and Nary for elementary.

Pastor Vandy, Ura, Pastor Titus, and Rado
(The Tico is a popular Korean car in Cambodia that can be purchased for $2000 to $3000 - less than some motorbikes.)

Dona and Chanta at Kampi - a natural resort along the Mekong River

Church members sharing a meal in the church

Ratana presiding in worship
(Ratana is a name derived from "Ratna" which means precious stone; Jewel also means precious stone, so Ratana and I have a special bond!)

Love love love, Jewel

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Dear Cambodia,

Dearest Cambodia,

Children in Kompong Spue

In eighteen days, we will meet again. Only eighteen! It was exactly one and a half years ago that I left. The wait has been long, but at the same time, it feels like I was just there, because I can remember it like it was yesterday. Of course, the wait has been eased by Skype, Facebook, and memories.

Rice field and backside of Wesleyan Bible Institute

I imagine that the 36-hour travel period will feel more like 36 days! I'm quite accustomed to the long trip, but I still don't enjoy it. Going through Cleveland to Los Angeles, then fifteen and a half hours later, I will land in China and finally one more flight to Phnom Penh! Finally... to Phnom Penh - one of my favorite places in the entire world! (And I've seen a lot of places!)

Friends: Leak and Somon

I remember when I arrived there for my second trip; Greg and Resie Fernandez, filipino missionaries who had been on furlough during my previous trip, came to greet me at the airport. I knew Greg and Resie only through email and pictures, but with them came Somon, who was a student at the WBI. When I heard my name and saw Somon, waving, smiling, and leaning over the "do not cross this point" line, I knew that I was home.

Amongst friends at the airport, before my departure in June 2009

I can't imagine what I will feel on the afternoon of December 23rd when I pick up my bags and walk out those airport doors. Who will be there? I haven't been told, but I do know that there will be one very anxious pastor. On June 13, 2009, it was where I said, "Goodbye. I'll miss you." On December 23rd, 2010, it will be the place where I say, "Hello. I've missed you."

Love love love, Jewel

Thursday, December 2, 2010

This is My Father's World

This is my Father's world:
I rest me in the thought
of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
his hand the wonders wrought.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Prayer for Pastors

Please keep the Cambodian pastors in your prayers. There are presently 35 pastors -- both male and female -- in the Wesleyan Church of Cambodia.

Pastors cannot win the battle alone; they need committed intercessors to lift them up in fervent, specific prayer. I believe that the power of God will be released when we begin to faithfully pray for our pastors. Pastors are human—they face the same challenges that their people do, with some additional ones! They grow tired in ministry, are tempted to sin, and may find it difficult to balance their many roles and responsibilities.

Here are just a few ways to pray for the pastors in Cambodia:
  • An intimate knowledge of God
  • Faithfulness to spend time reading God's Word daily, and for insight into Scripture and an understanding of how it applies to Cambodians today
  • That he would preach with clarity, power and boldness, and that his preaching would be anointed and empowered by the Holy Spirit
  • Protection from the work of Satan and victory over temptation
  • To keep a soft heart in the face of abrasive and abusive people; Buddhist families often deny relatives (even children and siblings) when they become Christians, especially pastors.
  • A successful ministry - however God defines it in his life - and that people would be won to the Lord through his life, ministry, and preaching
  • Boldness to speak the truth, and grace to speak it will humility
  • That he would persevere through whatever trial he is facing
  • That his children will grow up with a positive impression of church ministry
  • That he would remain pure and that his love for his wife would increase daily
  • Physical and mental strength, and opportunities to relax
  • To live according to God's direction and worthy of his calling as a shepherd of God's people

Pastor Titus and Pastor Greg

Pastor Paroath and Pastor Poleak

Pastor Sopheak and Pastor Sithat

Pastor Kieth, and Pastora Socheata and Pastor Rotha

Pastor Sothkan and Rev. Kimsan, and Pastor Banyen

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sinking Realization...

I'll be in Cambodia for Christmas.
And while I am so so so excited to finally be back and visit my cherished friends there, and teach the children and see all their smiles, and encourage the pastors, who somehow always end up giving me more than I could even offer them, I'm sad to leave.

I'll miss baby Mal's first Christmas.
I'll miss Christmas Eve with Dad's side of the family.
I'll miss staying up all night to play games with my friends at church on New Years.
I'll miss those 3 cherished weeks at home with my family.
I'll miss seeing everyone open their presents on Christmas morning, and reading the Christmas story, and eating cinnamon rolls for breakfast while I open my stocking with Jessie, and having peppermint ice cream, and playing Scrabble.

And that's just Christmas. Will it even feel like Christmas?
But, like I said, I'm so so so excited to return. This trip is significant for many reasons, and I can't wait to see everyone.

Love love love, Jewel

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Real Countdown Has Begun!

The real countdown has begun. I'll be in Cambodia in 25 days! With the stockings hung on the mantle, the trees lit, and Christmas music excitedly playing in the background, I can hardly believe all that is happening.

With the friends who took me to the airport for my departure - June 2009

25 days. I am leaving on the morning of December 21st; and will be arriving on December 23rd in the afternoon. I will be in Cambodia for one day short of three weeks, and will spend my time with friends, visiting churches, encouraging pastors, playing with children, etc. I will be talking, listening, eating, laughing, praying, singing, and learning. I will be graduating from IWU on April 30th, and I plan on moving to Cambodia within one year after graduation. I still have much to learn, and I hope that while I am in Cambodia this Christmas, I will gain some direction on how to better prepare myself -- financially and otherwise -- before I make the big move.

Vandy, Titus, Tess, and myself

I have no tentative itinerary for my three weeks in Cambodia, and no idea what I'll be doing on Christmas. My plans will primarily be established by what Titus and my hosts (Vandy and Tess, and filipino missionaries Greg and Resie Fernandez) are doing.

A few people have mentioned to me already that they read my blog, and I am so happy that you are. My friends and family -- although you are staying and I am going -- are a significant part in my journey to and ministry in Cambodia. Thank you for your prayers, support, and encouragement!

Love love love, Jewel