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

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