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.