Friday, July 17, 2009

Spotless.

Josh and I have been going through this great Bible reading plan that Jaime sent to us, and the other day it took us into the book of Leviticus. If I’m being honest, I’ll admit I waited until after I finished my fried eggs that morning to read the section entitled “Regulations About Infectious Skin Diseases,” and even then I skimmed it…

As I read on however, I got to a section talking about the requirements for an
“unclean” person to once again become “clean.” And the further I read, the more emotional I became, which surprised me (and surprised both Josh and Jaime when I told them the cause of my emotions was Leviticus..).

The people during this time who had a disease had to go to tremendous lengths, including living alone away from others and yelling “Unclean!” when approaching people. Multiple sacrifices had to be offered both by the infected person and the priest in order to make full atonement. And as I read through the requirements, I became nearly overwhelmed at the reality (which I am sadly so prone to take for granted) that God decided there was a better solution to this situation.

And what was it?

This.

2 Cor. 5:21 “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”

Philippians 2:5-8 “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself & became obedient to death – even death on a cross!”

I have struggled to comprehend the depth of these statements many times in my life, knowing that many people will ask “If He’s really God, why
couldn’t He have found another way to remedy things??” It seems unbelievable to think that God could and would come in human form and sacrifice His life for us.

My wise husband articulated it well the other day when he shared that with our free will inevitably comes choice (the two cannot be mutually exclusive), and that while many definitions arise,
“sin” is really a separation from God. And with that “sin” comes the need for atonement, or re-establishing a relationship with God (and a right relationship to Him), which is what we were created for.

Jesus was the sacrifice that meant nothing further had to be offered, no middle man necessary any longer for direct access to God.

The reality of God coming to earth in human form meant freedom, forgiveness, and connection to God for all humanity, enacted no longer by shouts of
“Unclean!” but changed forever by the phrase “It is finished.”


Hebrews 4:15-16 "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have One who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."

Life is a highway.

On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to experience what would be my second time to ever drive in Cambodia. I've felt it has been in the best interest of everyone on the road to avoid this activity until it was deemed absolutely necessary.

Driving in Cambodia will test your mental capacities, your hand-eye coordination, reflexes, skill, agility, and other words and phrases people like to use when talking about the benefits of video games. And it is like a video game really….like Grand Theft Auto meets Mario Kart. You have your fancy Lexus SUV’s driving directly toward you in your lane (of course), and you also have your little Mario-like moto’s driving in front of you with coconuts and other random items falling directly into your lane (like a Koopa Troopa shooting a turtle shell at you...you know).

All this to say, I normally let Josh drive.


Only on Tuesday, as we were on our way home from hosting some in-town guests, Josh reached for his wallet and quickly realized that it was in his bag back at our offices. Not a big problem in and of itself. I mean, we had my ATM card should we need it, and what were the chances of us getting pulled over???

Apparently, that day, quite high.

Or, we are simply very good at beating the odds....

Either way, as we drove, abiding by all of the Cambodian driving laws (which surprisingly do exist, despite appearances), 3 policemen slowly walked out into the road and waved us over to the side.


It is quite normal to see an admittedly un-intimidating looking police officer on a street corner attempting to pull over a moto. If you can evade the red and white stick the officer will attempt to stop you with, you go free. Otherwise you pay a "fine" of sorts which we suspect doesn't quite make it past the point of that interaction with the officer.

After the officer waved at us (so friendly), Josh tried to explain to him that his wallet was back at his office. The officer told him to call the office and have someone bring it.

Of course...

So Josh called our office manager, Naret, who talked to one of the policemen (it took 3 of them to supervise shady characters such as ourselves) and told us that if we gave them 10,000 riel, we could go. This equates to exactly $2.50 US.

Normally such a small "fine" would be no problem, but in this case all my wallet held was a Crystal Light Iced Tea Drink Packet (which the officer refused), and 2,000 riel ($.50). Unfortunate.

Naret said he would bring the wallet and be there as soon as he could.

We sat for roughly 5 minutes as Josh ate a granola bar and we watched the police try to pull over others (some successfully, some not so much), and then a third officer came up asking for the $2.50 again. After a few minutes of convincing him we really didn't have it in our possession, he sighed and waved us on, not even taking my 2,000 riel.

We briefly celebrated our liberation from the law before pulling over to the side of the road so I could jump into the driver's seat :)

The drive home proved uneventful, aside from creating within me a great desire to own one of these some day. http://autodata.ibsrv.net/images/?IMG=U6TOGEI3.jpg&WIDTH=425

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Number 3.

It's hard for me to believe that it has been more than a week now since Josh and I saw off our 3rd team of the summer! The group was comprised of 7 students and 4 adults from Ireland, America, Scotland, South Africa and Malaysia, all of them currently residing in Hong Kong attending Union Church.

We worked together for 4 days doing what we will call a "generous" amount of scraping and painting at the Pdau Penh Church Orphan home in the Kompong Speu province :)

We were grateful to discover that what we anticipated being a 3 hour ride in the back of the truck, became in reality a 45 minute ride to the guest house...don't tell the Santa Rosa team about this :)
"Whitening creams" can be found on any number of supermarket shelves throughout Cambodia as well as Whitening Deodorants because you just can't be too thorough when striving for that perfect pale complexion so highly sought after in Southeast Asia.

Dale, however, has found a cheaper alternative to such methods....sanding the cement wall of a church home for 3 hours...

The students on the team worked incredibly hard, following the examples of their team leaders.
The team gave the kids new toothbrushes (to take care of the effects of the candy they gave out :) as well as new clothes for each child and care giver!
Many of the youth on the team were the same age as the youth at the home which made for instant and deep connections through games, times of connecting through a translator, and crafts. It was powerful to watch how quickly friendships formed despite not having a common language and a variety of cultural backgrounds.

It made for quite the moving, tearful goodbye at the end of our time at the home :)

We left our guest house for the grueling 45 minute drive back to Phnom Penh (again, don't tell the Santa Rosa team who are probably still paying chiropractic bills for the roughly 873 hours they spent in the back of this same truck....) and took the team to one of our favorite places for authentic Cambodian food in Phnom Penh.....The Pizza Company! Our new staff member, Ryan, successfully built his very first "1 time through so you have to build it as high as possible within the confines of a ridiculously tiny bowl" salad bar salad!

Well done friend, well done.

It also happened to be our staff member Jock's birthday! And nothing says "birthday" in Cambodia like ordering seafood macaroni at the Pizza Company followed by an acapella, tambourine-driven rendition of "Happy Birthday," complete with hand clapping and the full attention of an entire restaurant.

I will miss these distinctly foreign cultural traditions once we return home.