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

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