Saturday, August 13, 2011


Transitioning to a new place is such a strange thing that happens in my brain.  At this point I don't think that I understand that I am living in Cambodia, yet it feels so normal, like I have been here for a lot longer than a week and a half.  The reality will hit me a little later I suppose.  For now though, I have finished my first week of teaching, I have met all my kids, and am now working on composing a curriculum for the rest of the year. :)

This week was a whirlwind, but it was a really good and challenging one.  Every new place that we work and new group of people that we work with comes with a process of understanding how things are run, learning all the terms, and getting into a routine.  Hope School is run differently than other schools I have seen, but I am learning how to fit into the structure.  More important than the structure though, the students that I get to teach are just beautiful and they are what make teaching worth it.  They are from all over the world and have lived in Cambodia for different amounts of time.  Most of them I get to see once a week, so learning names is something I will be investing in.  I am spending a lot of time with a group of 8th graders in the mornings throughout the week for devotions.  Though they are still classic 8th graders, they have a different world view whether they know it or not.  I have seen creativity and crazy potential from so many of my kids already, I am excited to encourage them to think, to explore, to learn and to express.  Please pray for wisdom as I make decisions about what and how to teach these students. 

So what is Cambodia like?  I haven't experienced Cambodia too much outside of school, though I did ride on the back of a moto for the first time (public transportation where you get on the back of someone's motorcycle and they take you where you need to go) when I went out to coffee with a new friend from India.  We were the only people at the coffee place and were watched the whole time. :) The city is an interesting place to be--there is no space.  There are shops of everywhere, and swarms of motos and tuk-tuks on the streets.  I think the most frustrating thing for me so far though has been the inability to communicate.  I have not been in a culture for a long time where I couldn't communicate, and I forgot what it feels like.  Waving and smiling doesn't quite satisfy.  However, within the next couple of weeks I will start my Khmer lessons. :)

This morning I was reading Psalm 103.  As I have been going through this week and the past few weeks, I have made many mistakes in the ways I am teaching, in the ways I am interacting with people, and in the ways I am thinking.  And I know that those mistakes will continue to happen.  I have gotten frustrated with myself and though my emotions are mostly numb right now in my transition, my feelings of guilt have been active.  As a rational person, I have been able to tell myself to stop being overwhelmed by guilt, but this morning reading Psalms 103 confirmed what I had been thinking.  In verses 9-10 he says,
"He will not always accuse, nor will He harbor His anger forever; He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities." 
Then later in verse 13-14:
"As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him; for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust." 
My "need" to not make mistakes is not how God looks at me.  He remembers that I am dust and has compassion. :) So there is my thought for the day. 

I haven't been able to take too many pictures, but here are some of my music room.  It is one of the best classrooms in the school, so I am very thankful.  The last 2 pictures are taken from the roof of my house showing the contrast between people's living situations here in Phnom Penh.

1 comment:

  1. SO good to hear from you and about your experiences this far! I am JEALOUS that public transportation is riding on the back of a "moto"...oh man, that'd be exciting!! :) And I love what you quoted from Psalms. Thanks for that reminder! I love you and miss you, Sarah! God bless you!!!