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

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Two More Reasons WHY

Contemplating and meditating on these two verses today:

"If you want to think one year ahead, plant rice.
If you want to think 10 years ahead, plant trees. 
But if you want to think 100 years ahead, give education to people."
[Ancient Chinese Proverb]

"How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?
And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?
And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?"
[Romans 10:14 NIV]

Love love love,

Friday, August 12, 2011

Scripture is Alive & Active

As I was reading Psalms this morning, this reference reminded me of a very special moment that I spent with Him - Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, Creator of Me - on top of a mountain in Siem Reap, Cambodia two years ago.  I am thankful for that moment - a moment I hope that I never forget - and I am thankful that God's Word is truly alive and active TODAY.

Eternally Grateful,
and in Love,

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

We have been waiting for this day

I am almost without words; without words, but not without emotion.

JOY. Anticipation. Excitement. LOVE. Fear. Submission. Anticipation. Fear. Anticipation. Fear. Anticipation.

So much emotion.

Any idea what this is?

It's one small section of the visa interview schedule at the US Embassy in Phnom Penh.  The 7:00:00 hour on September 20th, 2011 is an hour of much JOY. Anticipation. Excitement. LOVE. Fear. Submission. Anticipation. Fear. Anticipation. Fear. Anticipation. ETC.

On September 20th at 7am (that's September 19th at 7pm, for all you Indiana and EST people,) my fiancé, Romdenh Chamnol (aka Titus) will stand before an authority at the US Embassy in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and be interviewed in regards to gaining legal status to enter the United States and marry the love of his life.

Who would DARE say no to that, right??

Trusting in His promises:

Love love love, Jewel

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

August 2011: An Update on What God is Doing Here and There

Friends, Family, and Supporters,

Greetings from a freshly-rained-upon Central Indiana. Praise the Lord for rain!! This past week I attended the Indiana North District of the Wesleyan Church’s Family Camp for at least my 15th summer-in-a-row. “What did you do at Family Camp?” I settled down two- and three-year-olds
in the nursery during the evenings, made special memories with friends around a campfire until
midnight, worshipped the Lord under a tent in the morning, heard the Word preached by powerful evangelists, helped organize a carnival, and joined 300+ others for meals in the dinning hall. Oh, and I dressed like Batman and rode a tandem bicycle with Superwoman in the children’s bike parade! At Family Camp, I have been reminded of all the ways that God has been faithful since this week last year. God has been overwhelmingly good to me in NUMEROUS ways. In the past few weeks my twin sister and best friend (Jessie) has moved to New York for grad school, Grandmom has been so sick and hospitalized since late June, and my fiancĂ© remains 10,000+ miles away… but God has been faithfully present and real to me, especially during my loneliest times.

In July, Titus hosted a short-term missions team from a Wesleyan church in Rochester, New York. He translated for them, traveled with them, and assisted them in their ministry in various
churches, villages, and at an orphanage. He also enjoyed spending time with old friends, and meeting new friends. Thank you to Phalkun and Janell and their team for their willingness to deliver some packages to Cambodia for me, and for their willingness to shop for Cambodian attire for our ring bearer and flower girls. ☺ Their kindness has been a blessing to me! Last week, Titus had a medical exam at an international clinic to meet the visa requirements before his interview. He received the results from the exam yesterday and we are praising the Lord that Titus is healthy, strong, and able to travel. Please join us in praising the Lord for a good health report. There are three remaining documents needing to be processed by the Commune Chief, and we are presently waiting [and checking the website every hour] on the embassy to post Titus’ interview date and time online. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE join us in praying that he will be given an early date!

Despite not knowing when Titus will be granted his visa, I have p.r.o.g.r.e.s.s.e.d in planning our wedding, confident that God will bring him here soon enough. It has been very stressful, but I have enjoyed preparing for our special day because – while we have been separated by MANY miles for MANY days – the wedding brings the promise that we will spend the rest of our days together, as husband and wife, as partners in the ministry He has called us to. Throughout this time of waiting and preparation for Titus’ MUCH-ANTICIPATED arrival, I have been reminded of the privilege and mandate to prepare myself to be the Bride of Christ. In the New Testament, Christ, the Bridegroom, has sacrificially and lovingly chosen the Church - those who have trusted in Jesus Christ as their personal savior and have received eternal life - to be His bride (Eph 5:25-27). Just as there was a betrothal period in biblical times during which the bride and groom were separated, so is the Bride of Christ separate from her Bridegroom during the Church Age. Her responsibility during the betrothal period is to be faithful to Him (2 Cor 11:2; Eph 5:24). At the Second Coming of Christ, the Church will be united with the Bridegroom, the official "wedding ceremony" will take place and, with it, the eternal union of Christ and His bride will be actualized (Rev 19:7-9; 21:1-2). Oh how I greatly anticipate BOTH of my weddings!

Again, until our YWAM application is complete, processed, and approved, giving to our future ministry is limited to personal donations at this time. If interested, there is a PayPal giving button on this blog. If your church or any church you know would be interested in allowing us to come and share, please share their contact information with us. As always, thank you. Thank you for reading, for supporting, for praying, for loving, and for giving. The knowledge that you are simply behind us gives me confidence to pursue God’s will and the visions that He has given us.
Praying and Believing, 
Jewel (and Romdenh Chamnol)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cambodian Pastors

I am reposting this note to request prayer for the Cambodian pastors.  The Church is strong, and where the Church is strong, Satan fights. Please keep the Cambodian pastors in your prayers. There are presently 35 pastors -- both male and female -- in the Wesleyan Church of Cambodia.  In the last few weeks, much has happened in the Church, and the pastors need much prayer and encouragement.

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

and many others.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Requesting Prayers for the Visa

Please, please, please keep praying for the visa application process.  Although everything has been approved state-side, we seem to be at a standstill waiting for Titus to receive his paperwork through the mail from the US Embassy in Cambodia.  We cannot proceed until he receives a packet of further instructions, which was expected some time ago.  God has proven Himself faithful with every step of this long process and I have been very optimistic - believing that Titus would not only be approved, but that he would arrive in America much sooner than later; - however, at times, it is easy to become discouraged. It's possible that only God knows where our missing documents are.

Please pray that God will:
* Help the postal service to find our paperwork and direct it to Titus in His perfect timing
* Provide good results from Titus' medical examination
* Allow an early date for Titus to schedule his interview
* And be overwhelmingly present during Titus' interview.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I believe God will continue to be faithful and I commit to testify when He is.

Praying and Believing, 
Jewel (and Romdenh Chamnol)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The True Story of a Cambodian Heroine

Yesterday I finished my first summer read: The Road of Lost Innocence: The True Story of a Cambodian Heroine by Somaly Mam.  I have heard speakers discuss the issue of human trafficking. I have seen pictures of brothel conditions; and videos of raids in brothels, and of victims. I have attended sex trafficking seminars and conferences, and visited the World Hope Assessment Center in Cambodia. I have even read other books on young girls trafficked in SE Asia.  However, it is Somaly Mam's story that has impacted me in such a compelling and truly eye-opening way.  Telling her own story, Somaly Mam graphically personalizes the horror and violence of the sex trade industry in Cambodia.

Mam was living on her own in the forest around 1980 when a 55-year-old stranger claimed he would take her to her missing family. "Grandfather" beat and abused the nine-year-old Mam and sold her virginity to a Chinese merchant to cover a gambling debt. She was then sold into a brothel in Phnom Penh, and the daily suffering and humiliation she endured is almost impossible to imagine or absorb. She recounted disobedient girls being tortured and killed, and police collusion and government involvement in the sex trade. Somaly Mam managed to break the cycle only when she discovered the advantages of foreign clients and eventually married a Frenchman, Pierre. After a few years in France, Mam and Pierre returned to Cambodia and set up AFESIP - a charity "acting for women in distressing circumstances." Mam has fearlessly devoted herself to helping prostitutes and exploited children. This moving, disturbing tale is not one of redemption but a cry for justice and support for women's plight everywhere.

The statistics are shocking: one in every forty Cambodian girls (some as young as five) will be sold into sex slavery. In Cambodia (and in other countries,) many  people believe that sex with a virgin will cure AIDS; and in Khmer tradition, women are unquestionably obedient.

Love love love, Jewel

Friday, May 20, 2011

May 2011: An Update on What God is Doing Here and There

Earlier in the Spring, the Christian non-profit that Titus worked for (Cambodian Generations for Christ) was forced to close due to financial reasons.  So, Titus was not only no longer employed, but found himself homeless as he could no longer call his CGC office his home. Without a job and and with his church unable to provide a salary or a parsonage, the situation seemed hopeless. However, our God is Father and Provider and He proved Faitful [as He always does.]  Shortly after Titus left CGC, he board aproved the proposal for Titus to rent a room at the old Wesleyan Church Headquarters in the capital city of Phnom Penh, where two or three other Wesleyan Church families are also living.  Living in the community of Pastor Poleak's family, Pastor Reaksmey's family, and others is a huge blessing.  Also, friends who work for other ministry organizations, such as World Relief, have been asking Titus to assist in various translation projects and God has been faithful to provide.

After much fasting, prayer, seeking God's face, and talking to each other and others, Titus and I have decided to journey to Cambodia through YWAM (Youth With a Mission.)  The decision to join YWAM was an easy one, because it is such a wonderful organization and their dream, beliefs, values, and ministry seem to align perfectly with ours [Click HERE and HERE to read more about our vision for future ministry.] However, the decision to take step two was a little more difficult.  To join the YWAM staff, Titus and I first need to complete a Discipleship Training School (DTS) . DTS is the pre-requisite to all other training and opportunities and is offered at over 200 locations around the world, including in Cambodia.  After more prayer, fasting, seeking God's face, weighing the pros and cons, and asking others for wise counsel, we have chosen to apply to a DTS in Louisville, Kentucky.  The DTS is a combination of three months of coursework and two months of overseas outreach, and will begin in Fall 2012.  [To read more about YWAM in Louisville click HERE.]  Louisville is the closest DTS to my family, friends, and church, and we believe there will be the best opportunity for Titus to learn American culture and to lay the foundation of our marriage. Also, because we will still be in the States, we can continue raising prayer and financial support.

Also also, various members of my mother's side of the family has been involved extensively in YWAM, and my second-cousin Amos and his wife Amy are on the leadership team of the DTS in Louisville. Although I do not know them well, I am excited to have the opportunity to be taught, led, and mentored by them because THEY ARE AWESOME!

On April 30th, I graduated with a dual degree in Intercultural Studies and International & Community Development from Indiana Wesleyan University.  I am fortunate to keep the part-time job that I have had since Aug 2007; however, because it is an on-campus position and I am no longer a current student, I can only remain in my current position until September 1.  So, I am on the job hunt and I have already completed 31 applications.  It has been somewhat discouraging, but I trust that God has a plan and already has a job chosen for me - maybe I have not found or applied to it yet!

  • Please continue praying for the visa process. With the recent increase in the level of national security (due to Osama's killing), the projected approval has been delayed ONE MONTH. :( When we applied in January, we were told the entire process could take 7-9 months, meaning that Titus could be approved between August and October. Our wedding is planned for October 29. Let's pray him to America!! (If you would like a prayer reminder card like the one on the left, let me know and I will quickly send one to you!!)
  • Please also continue to pray for the ministry in Cambodia.  There are currently some transitions in the leadership and relationship between Global Partners (The Wesleyan Missions Agency that brought the Wesleyan Church to Cambodia) and the leaders of the Church in Cambodia.  Pray for God's grace, strength, and wisdom. Pray that God's Name will be glorified and that His Kingdom will prosper and not be hindered by the weakness of Man.
As always, thank you thank you THANK YOU for reading, for supporting, for praying, for loving, and for giving.  The knowledge that you are simply behind us gives me confidence to pursue God's will and the visions that He has given to us.

Love love love, Jewel

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sweet Blessedness

I am blessed... so so so blessed. In my senior capstone class this semester, one of the assignments was to craft a personal mission statement.  One of the lines in my personal mission statement reads, " direct attention to God's love and powerful activity in the world..." and part of that is accomplished by helping others (and myself) to recognize how blessed we are. I am blessed... so so so blessed.

Part One of a list that is to be continued::
1. In so many perspectives I am "poor", but on a world-wide scale, I am so indescribably wealthy. When and where that benefits His Kingdom, I am grateful. Did you know only 8% [EIGHT PERCENT!] of people in the world eat 3 meals a day?!

2. I was born into a Christian family. As a child, I heard about Jesus and I had Christian role models. My heart breaks for those who have chosen another way, but especially for those who know no other way. We believe so deeply what we were taught as truth from birth and it is a difficult decision to believe something otherwise, especially a way of life that is contrary to culture. What a gift of love that God placed me right where I am. He is good... so so so good. Please pray with me for the Buddhists in Cambodia and for others who were born into families of other faiths.

3. I can read. I feel so blessed that I can read the Living Word and meet God in Scripture. So many cannot read, and so many do not have a copy of God's Word in their language.

4. Technology. There are a few people many many many miles away that are very special to me, and various forms of technology have allowed us to stay connected and involved in each other’s lives. No, it isn't the most wonderful circumstance, but praise Jesus for Skype, email, Facebook, and telephones.

5. People who pray.  God's awesome power is released when His people pray.  As you are faithful in prayer, Jesus moves mountains and raises valleys, He heals and He provides. THANK YOU!

6. I am thankful that Yahweh, our God, is a personal and relational God. I recently had a great conversation with an old friend who asked me how I can feel so excited and at-peace about living in "a country like Cambodia." I had the opportunity to share with him the story of how the God, who had spoken to Abram (Genesis 12:1) and to Joshua (Joshua 1:9) came and spoke to me and asked me to go. Then I got to share with my friend the incredible miracle that God is still talking and by His grace, I am still listening. It is not a stagnant, commanding dictatorship, but a love relationship.

I am blessed... so so so blessed .The more I open my eyes and my heart, the more I realized how blessed I am.  In the last few months, I have been beginning each morning with the prayer, "Lord, reveal Yourself to me today and help me to be always conscious of you."  He is faithful. I am blessed... so so so blessed.
Love love love, Jewel

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Re-Run: The Yin and Yang of Cambodia

I am re-posting this entry and soon a "Yin and Yang of Cambodia: Part 2" entry from last September because I have been receiving a new influx of readers and I don't expect anyone to trace back to my earlier entries (although those might be some of the best) that are foundational to my blog, to who I am, and to my future ministry.  Thanks for reading everyone!  I would love to read your thoughts and encouragement in the comments section.

The Yin and Yang of Cambodia
The Kingdom of Cambodia: a country with a history both inspiring and depressing, a fascinating nation where the future is still waiting to be shaped. Cambodia is charming, yet strangely disagreeable. You can ascend to the domain of the gods at the landmark temple, Angkor Wat, an impressive fusion of spirituality, symbolism, and symmetry; or you can descend into the hell of Tuol Sleng and witness the history of genocide and the Khmer Rouge. The beaches are beautiful, but lack the tide of tourism; the wilds are remote, and even less explored; the cuisine is delightful, but yet to be discovered.

Traveling through Cambodia reveals a vibrant palette of color. Rural rice fields shimmer like emeralds; Buddhist monks’ saffron robes glow in the sunlight. Cambodia’s ancient temples are erected from sandstone, and are cloaked in soft green moss or are dripped with light shadows. Khmer food is as stunning in color as it is in flavor, mixing green cucumbers, red chili peppers, yellow mangos, and white rice to create recipes that gratify even this particular American girl. But the people of Cambodia, their warmth and beautiful smiles, bring the most color of all.

Despite the beautiful scene, life is no picnic for the average Cambodian. It remains one of the poorest countries in Asia and it is a tough reality for much of the population, as they battle it out against the whims of nature, and sometimes of their politicians, who are known to illegally evict citizens from coveted land. Income remains desperately low for many Khmers, with annual wages in the hundreds of dollars, not thousands, and public servants such as teachers are unable to eke out a living on their meager salaries.

Yet there is hope for the
Kingdom of Cambodia. There are two faces in Cambodia, and while one is dark and gloomy, the other is shiny and promising. For nearly every illegally established brothel, there will be a new NGO school offering better education, or a new clean-water initiative to improve the lives of the average villagers. Such is the yin and yang of Cambodia, a country that both inspires and dismays.

Love love love, Jewel

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

To God be the Glory

In my last entry I asked for your prayers regarding my first speaking engagement as a future long-term missionary. I am now writing to thank you for your prayers, and to testify to God's goodness and faithfulness.

On Saturday afternoon I drove 2.5 hours to Kingsford Heights, IN. Typically I sleep through road trips, - the entire road trip - whether it is thirty minutes or nine hours; however, being that I traveled alone, I stayed awake the entire trip and prayed every mile. I thought it would be a good idea to start the trip with a prayer of safety. An hour later, I realized that I was still praying, and I kept praying. I prayed for my friends in Cambodia - poor friends, lost friends, discouraged friends, hurt and sick friends. I am thankful to God for laying these needs upon my heart at that time, and I am thankful for a God who is Father, Healer, and Provider, and who hears our prayers.

My old friends, Mike and Krista Brown, moved to Kingsford Heights, IN in 2009 to pastor Kingsford Heights Wesleyan Church - a small church with a long history and a lot of love.

Saturday evening we had a time of fellowship and eating with a group from the church. I prepared cha knai (ginger chicken) and grilled bananas. Another missionary couple prepared Bosnian stew (called "pot",) baklava, and salad. I really enjoyed this time that I was able to spend with the people. One service on Sunday morning simply doesn't allow those kind of relationships to be built, and I want to know (to really know!) the people that are praying for me. Afterwards, I returned home with Mike, Krista, and the kids - where I spent the night - and I enjoyed catching up on life and playing Cities and Knights of Catan.

Sunday morning was even more wonderful than Saturday night. Despite hours of preparation, I woke up Sunday morning still feeling nervous about speaking in front of a sanctuary of strangers, but I also felt God's peace. I went to the church early with Pastor Mike for pastor's prep things, so I was able to spend about half an hour with Fred, who does many things at KHWC and has been a faithful member for something like 50 years. What an incredible testimony! I spent a few minutes in each Sunday School class, answering questions about Cambodia, about Cambodians, about myself, and about the ministry there. During the beginning of the service, I still had no idea what I would say once I was on the platform. Once I was called to the front, I cannot tell you what happened next except that God invaded my mouth and blocked all the simple words that I had prepared, and He gave me a message - a message of HOPE for CAMBODIA - and I give Him all the glory.

Thank you for your prayers, your support, and your interest in my life and the ministry in Cambodia...

Love love love, Jewel

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Speaking Engagement

Satan knows that God has been doing awesome things in the hearts of the people of Cambodia, and he has been fighting against it; however, GOD IS STILL VICTORIOUS, and He continues to send encouragement and reveal His goodness.

This Sunday morning I have my first official speaking engagement as a future long-term missionary in Cambodia, and I am feeling pretty nervous. I have never been to the church, nor the town. I know only the pastor, his wife, and their three children. Saturday evening I am also preparing a Cambodian meal for the congregation, and I am feeling equally nervous about that.

Please join me in praying that God will communicate through me His love for the people of Cambodia, and engage the church community to feel a sense of urgency to reach the lost. I have a lot to say, but I pray that my words would be put aside so that God's message can be shared.
Thank you for your prayers and support!

Serving Him,

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Girl Effect

The good news? There is a solution. Keep your girls in school. Give them an education. Safeguard their health. Let them become advocates for a better future.
Love love love, Jewel

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Prayer Support

Let me know if you would like one of our prayer cards to keep in a place that you will see frequently and be reminded to pray for us during this long and grueling wait.

Use it as a marker in your Bible.

Frame in next to your computer.

Hang it on your fridge for all your company to admire see.

Tape it to your bathroom mirror.

How can you pray? Thanks for asking! LET ME TELL YOU:
*Sunday: For Titus, as he anticipates transitioning out of his current ministry position (pastoring in Kampong Spue) and training another to take his place.

*Monday: That I will remain focused as I try to finish out the school year and look towards graduation in April. That Titus will be encouraged and energized in/by His ministry.

*Tuesday: That the government will be accountable to approve Titus' visa within a timely manner, allowing us to get married at my home church on October 22, 2011.

*Wednesday: That Titus and I will continue to be faithful in praying, fasting, and seeking the Lord's will.

*Thursday: Especially: For a peace that transcends all understanding, as we trust that the Lord's will WILL BE DONE.

*Friday: That God will continue to prepare us - in every aspect - for future long-term ministry as husband and wife in Cambodia.

*Saturday: That our relationship will continue to be strengthened during this time of separation.

*AND EVERY DAY: Praise the Lord for the awesome things that He has already done in our lives and relationship - opening the door for me to visit Cambodia last Dec. and Jan.; providing the finances necessary for us to apply for the visa; blessing us with an incredible support system of friends and family; giving us the same dream, passion, and vision for ministry; and strengthening us with His sustaining power.

I know you love getting mail, and I love certainly appreciate your prayers. Leave a comment or mail your address to jewel.reed at . Seriously, I will mail it the next day! Thank you for your prayers

Love love love, Jewel
[and Titus]

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Anticipated Future Ministry [pt. 1] - Re-posted

I am re-posting this entry from October because it is worth re-visiting, even for me.

Do you know that feeling you get when you're waiting in line for your favorite roller coaster? It's nervous excitement. The wait feels like an eternity and I'm so anxious to take the plunge, but the closer I get, the more nervous I become. However, only an act of God will get me out of line.

God has given me a great passion and many big dreams for reaching and for sharing His love with the people of Cambodia. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed when I have such big visions, because I do not always feel strong, but I am drawing my strength from God and from others there. Anyways, I cannot fully explain how excited I am for this ministry... but please stick with me as I try to organize my thoughts and feelings into words.

Dream #1) -- Cambodian Youth for Christ

I have a passion to reach young people, through working with the local Wesleyan churches to raise up lifelong followers of Jesus who exemplify godliness in their lifestyles, devotion to the Word of God and prayer, passion for sharing the love of Christ, and commitment to social involvement. I want to create a safe place where youth and students can come after school, spend their freetime, and be introduced to Christ. I feel my heart drawn towards the youth who are shackled by the chains of Buddhism. I want to open the Bible with them, to sing praises with them, and to learn and grow with them. I want to speak truth into their lives, to show them God's love, and to introduce a new way of living, a way from very differnt from their families and their traditional culture. Youth are at an age where they can be so easily influence, and also rather strong influencers. Ideally, the center will offer English classes, and eventually computer access and music lessons.

Here are pictures from a recent university students fellowship at the home of missionaries Greg and Resie Fernandez:

Love love love, Jewel

Saturday, March 5, 2011

I Will Follow You

This video is great for three reasons: Leeland and Brandon Heath are two of my favorite Christian musicians, and third: I obviously love Cambodia very much. The lyrics are also phenomenal and inspiring, and I have posted them below the video. Check it out:

You lived among the least of these
The weary and the weak
And it would be a tragedy for me to turn away.

All my needs you have supplied.
When I was dead you gave me life.
How could I not give it away so freely?

And I'll follow you into the homes that are broken.
Follow you into the world.
Meet the needs for the poor and the needy God.
Follow you into the World.

Use my hands, use my feet
To make your kingdom come
Through the corners of the earth
Until your work is done

'Cause Faith without works is dead
And on the cross your blood was she'd
So how could I not give it away so freely?

And I'll follow you into the homes that are broken.
Follow you into the world.
Meet the needs for the poor and the needy God.
Follow you into the World.

I give all myself.
I give all myself
I give all myself... to you.

And I'll follow you into the homes that are broken
Follow you into the world.
Meet the needs for the poor and the needy God.
Follow you into the World.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

How having a safe border is hurting the people..

UNICEF has designated Cambodia the third most landmined country in the world. Unexploded land mines left behind in rural areas have attributed to over 60,000 deaths and thousands of injuries since 1970. The majority of the victims are children herding animals or playing in the fields. Most adults and children that survive landmines often require amputation of one or more limbs.

According to World Vision, 1 in 236 Cambodians is disabled, making Cambodia the most disabled country on earth. Each month there are between 300 and 700 amputations due to land-mine injuries; approximately 4 million land-mines are still active.

[Yes, that is a real t-shirt that I have seen for sale in the Russian Market in Phnom Penh. Let me know and "For you, I'll make it cheap cheap."]

Not all victims and amputees resort to begging for survival, but many often do. If you have been to the Russian Market or to Wat Phnom, you have probably seen an amputee [like the man below] selling books, DVDs, and paintings. If you have ever received a hand-painted watercolor greeting card from me, know that it was painted by an amputee, and probably sold to me by his cute little son or grandson.

There's also this group of amputees, who form a band of traditional Cambodian instruments to grace the pathways to the Ta Prohm Temple at Angkor Wat. [Playing for spare change, of course.]

It's one sad reality of a post-war-torn country that is only gradually seeing positive change.

Joyfully praising Jesus,
Love love love, Jewel

Friday, February 18, 2011

He is Father. He is Healer.

I am continually amazed at the awesomeness of my God - the God who is Father and Healer.

On January 26, I asked you for your urgent prayers for two-year-old Lily, the daughter of Pastor Rotha and Elizabeth, who - four days after being admitted to the hospital for breathing complications - was given a fatal diagnosis of blood cancer.

All around the world, prayers were raised for the precious life of Lily, for wisdom and discernment for her doctors, and for strength for her parents, Rotha and Elizabeth. People prayed and people fasted. God heard and six days later, Lily's blood tests reported no leukemia, no anemia, and no impurities.

Praise God! He still works miracles today! Thank you Father God for saving Lily's life and giving her a testimony of healing.

Joyfully praising Jesus,
Love love love, Jewel

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How it all began...

This story of how Titus and I met and fell in love really deserves much more attention and detail than I have given it, and for the sake of future generations, I will edit and improve it; however, for now, this is sufficient.

Titus and I met in May 2008, the summer between my freshman and sophomore year of college. I went on a team with five other girls from Indiana Wesleyan University, and we traveled throughout Cambodia, teaching English and doing children's ministry. At the time, Titus was co-pastoring The Way to Life Wesleyan Church in the province of Kratie, and teaching English at the School of Hope, a small English and computer school that shared the same property as the church. It was there in Kratie that Titus and I met, and Kratie has felt like a "home away from home" ever since.
First, he was my translator, but he quickly became my friend. Meeting Titus, I immediately determined that he was the funniest guy I knew and I am still sure that he is the funniest guy I know. We had an instant connection because Titus and I owned very similar cameras - his was pink, mine was blue; he wanted to trade, but I refused.
I spent only a few days in Kratie, but Titus later joined our team in Siem Reap, where we made many lasting memories. We played Uno. We stayed up all night and watched the sunrise at Angkor Wat (one of the 7 ancient wonders of the world.) We ate noodles and Mentos at 3am. We watched a scary movie (The Messengers.) We shared a banana pancake. We laughed, and laughed, and laughed.
We shared our testimonies and talked about our dreams for the future. It was then that I realized what an incredible man He is. It seems we have the same passion and dreams for ministry, but in the areas where I am weak, he is strong.

Without admitting my feelings to anyone, especially Titus, I left Cambodia, wondering if I would ever return. The opportunity arose for me to return to Cambodia the following summer, and I went. On my second day in Cambodia, my best friend Vandy visited the place where I was staying. He asked me if I wanted to call Titus. Call Titus?? Of course I wanted to call Titus, but I wondered why he thought I would have wanted to call Titus.

A few days later, Titus and Vandy joined my team and we returned to Siem Reap, to Freedom Hotel, to Angkor Wat, to Pastor Banyen's church -- to places where we had made so many lasting memories only 12 months before. I cannot say that I avoided Titus, but I kept my distance. I didn't want to attach myself. I was hesitant afraid - afraid that I would do or say the wrong thing and the Cambodian Church (which is very different than Western culture) would down upon me and my testimony would no longer have validity. By the end of day one of my second trip to Cambodia, I was confident that God was calling me to Cambodia and to Cambodians. The more I watched Titus interact with the people, the more I was attached. I spent hours talking to Pastor Vandy -- who loved seeing us together -- and asking for advice.

After three weeks, my team left and I remained in Cambodia for another month. I saw Titus on a variety of occasions, and we texted almost every evening. One week before I left, we had a DTR (a "Define the Relationship" conversation) and decided to wait for each other until I could return to Cambodia again - that meant no dating anyone else. A few days later, we went on our first date. We had pizza, then went on a romantic tuk tuk ride through the city at night, observing all the lights, taking in all the traffic, and asking each other dozens of questions about everything past, present, and future.

What else can I say? 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. His love overwhelms me and I cannot believe I found such an amazing guy that loves me. God is everything to me and He fills my heart; however, I also believe that God created humankind with a need for the love of others. Titus fills that need in my life, and I cannot imagine myself happy with anyone else.

We met in May 2008, I took my second trip May and June 2009, and finally returned December 23, 2010. We got engaged December 26, 2010 and we plan on getting married in America on October 22, 2011.

That's our love story - part of it anyways!

Love love love, Jewel
the future Mrs. Romdenh Chamnol