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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Christmas Eve in Cambodia

Having only returned last Thursday, it's difficult to know where to start in briefing you about my last trip to Cambodia, but I'm going to start on Christmas - Christmas Day and all the Christmas celebrations.

I arrived on the 23rd, and attended my first Christmas service on Christmas Eve. Pastor Poleak is one of my favorite pastors, and I am so glad that I was able to attend his service in Takao. The service was not in his church, but at a nearby property that was larger and could accomodate a much larger-than-usual attendance. It was my first experience celebrating Christmas away from home; it was an emotional day, but the joy of the people made me glad to be there.

What was a simple property was beautifully transformed by a colorful tent, balloons, flowers, and a large banner. Simple plastic chairs were covered with gorgeous slip covers, making them suitable for a wedding or a Christmas service.

The service -- almost four hours long -- consisted of hymns, carols, children singing, dances, a long Christmas-story skit, testimonies, and a message. It was dramatic, colorful, loud, and worth the extreme heat and time committment. Following the service, we shared a meal of spicy Cambodian curry, bread, and cokes.

I had a great time meeting and getting to know Bernie and Nan Dykhouse, visitors from N.C., and of course, being in Cambodia to celebrate Christmas with my new fiance!

Love love love, Jewel

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