Thursday, January 26, 2012

Praising God in Smelly Water

Today I decided we needed to figure out what Khmer dishes we are going to have on the menu. I tell the girls I wanted them to cook their best Khmer dish. The only stipulations I gave was no boiled eggs, no fish paste, and I wanted one vegetarian dish and sent them to the market. I had the change to have some quality FaceTime with my brother!! Then I began working on the POS System (point of sale) in the dining room. I heard water dripping. I get up to see what it is, my feet get wet from all the water. I guess I was so focused on the computer I did not notice til it was bad and I then realize the sink was backed up. I went into the kitchen to find Mr. Den; I notice all the sinks had the same problem. We quickly figure out the tanks were full. Call to have them emptied; as we are waiting I look at the pipes. (Unlike in America pipes, most pipes on people’s property are above ground) The pipes that carry the waste to the tank are on an incline and small, this was causing some of our problem. I talk with Den and he tells me he can run pipes so that they were on a decline and able to drain. So for $50 we ran new pipes that will drain the right way. We also had the tanks emptied and flushed out.

I found myself praising God have this happened now instead of in a month or so, when the restaurant is open. We would have had to close for the day. Also praising him that the pipes are above ground and were able to be fixed quickly. If this would have happened in the states I would have freaked out and let it ruin my day. Instead I stood in awe of God’s timing.

It didn’t faze the girls. They were all on a mission to cook a great dish. For lunch we some of the best chicken curry I have every eaten, wonderful veggie stir fry, and egg dish that have smoked fish (Not my favorite, but had good flavor), and stuffed spicy frogs!! I have to brag on them a bit, everything was great. I was very pleased.

Last week we started having a daily Bible study. It is going great, the girls really seem to enjoy it, and they are asking questions. I started in Genesis, since they have very limited knowledge of the bible or Christianity. We have normally been covering a chapter a day. As we finished the chapter and I get ready to pray they asked if we could continue and cover more than one chapter, I gladly when on. This excited me so, and with all the events of the day I had only planned to review, before English time.

Tomorrow I am going to give the girls alittle test. I plan on giving them all an item to cook that we have covered and they should know. Then Ly Phalla and I are going to do things around town, and see what happens. I am hoping they will pull together, work as a team, and come out with great products. I'll let you know how it goes!!

Things to Pray about:
      As we continue studying the bible, that girls will ask questions are they are able to see God and his wonderful love. Having Buddhist back grounds the spiritual side of this will be challenging, as well.
      I am going to Phnom Penh the first of the week, Pray this trip will be productive and I am able to make the connections and find the items needed.
Thanks for all the support and prayers!! 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Do for ONE what you wish you could do for EVERYONE

As I sit down to write this the words of Andy Stanley come to mind, “Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.”

So this story has been a few weeks in the making. It is pretty long, but I feel detail in necessary. 

Today I had a pretty laid back day scheduled. I needed to fill out a few papers dealing with my visa, planned to talk with one of the girls mom, and then dinner and a Christmas movie with my neighbors. The paperwork was done pretty quickly. Then we headed out to Nimol's house.

 Nimlo's House, This is Nimol's and the mom's 

Where they collect water and the Bathroom

A little about Nimol and her family.
Her father was killed in a car accident an few years ago. She was able to study in the orphanage after that. She has an older brother, Sambata, who is 19 and a little sister who is 13. She lives with her mom, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, cousin, grandmother, and dads sister. The mom goes to "wholesale" market every day at 4am, buys stuff to sale, from 6-11:30ish she sales, then goes home to eat and rest. Then at 2 she goes to sale again, if everything sales quick she is able to come home around 6:30, but if not she will stay last to sale til around 8 or 9. All that work to make $2.5 on a good day, many days less. The brother works 7 days a week, but is paid very little.

A photo of Nimol's Family

One the ride there Ly Phalla explains to me that her brother wrecked the family moto last night. It was his fault so he would have to pay for to fix his and the other guys. This means that until they had the money to fix their moto the mother could not get to the market to sale and make money. You can see the cycle.  The journey to the house was off the main road, down a small street and then onto a smaller dirt road. It took us about 20mins by tuk tuk. Nimol rides it every day by bike to the training center, and is normally the first one there every morning. When we arrive at the house, which was very small, just room for three beds with the kitchen and eating area was off to the side. Nimol had fixed French fries (better then he ones we made at school this week), cut mangos and apples, had green tea and bottled water waiting. After looking around and seeing the moto, we sat down to talk with her mother. We want to help the mom with some kind of business where she would grow stuff for the restaurant. We would have top choice and then she would be able to take the rest to market. Or we could put her in contact with other restaurants. As I talked to her and thought about the lot they live on. It seems it would be very hard to have a garden. I saw a chicken run by, and then ask her what she thought or would like to do. She looks at the aunt and explains raising chickens would be nice. But knows it would cost a lot more than a garden, so she said whatever we would like her to do. I smile at her and told her we would be serving chicken in the restaurant. Then I ask did they want to raise chickens to eat or for eggs. They talked to other with the family and she said both if possible. They explained to me that there is a short class to learn about how to raise chickens. I tell them that I have to talk to Chris and other people in America first, but I will do everything I can to help.

I then walk over to the wrecked moto and ask how much it is to fix the moto. They tell me they didn't know since there was no money to fix it. I talk with Bouth la, he thinks it could be fixed somewhere between $30-$50. I stand there looking at the family; their means of being able to survive is riding on not having $50 or less. The amount I spent on a pair of jeans to bring with me, or the amount I have spent on food the past 3 weeks. I tell them ok let's get it fixed. Nimol look at me and quietly ask when chef. I tell her why not right now. So we load the moto in the tuk tuk and took it to a shop. As I started to get in the tuk tuk, Nimol looked at me, I could tell she was about to cry.  I hugged her and hold her that I loved her and so does Jesus.

Loading the Moto in the Tuk Tuk to take to get fixed.

We got the moto to the shop. I was able to talk with Ly Phalla more about the family. The cost to fix the moto came to $37, but was going to take a few hours to fix. So I left to cook what I was taking to dinner and meeting the Internet man twice. We went back to the moto shop to check on everything and pay. They were just finishing up. When Sambata took it for a test drive, I could tell it shook. I asked the shop owner why, he explained to be because it had the wrong kind of tire. A few weeks before the tire had a hole, so a friend gave one that he had. They tell me that the mom had turned the bike over last week, and it's prob why he wrecked. I then ask how much the right tire is. As with most things, the reply was expensive. I ask how expensive, $8.25 for the tire and $1.75 for the tube. I instantly say put the big tire on. The total cost came to $47. He was so happy. As we were leaving I reminded him why and how I was able to help.  When we got back to the training center, Nimol called and asked if we were going to church tomorrow. We tell her yes, and then she asked if her mom could come, I reply of course!!
A note: The family borrowed the money to pay for the other man's Moto, from a neighbor. I talked with Ly Phalla about how they would be able to pay it back. She said they will pay alittle at a time. If the person they borrowed from is nice he will let them to that, if not he will demand the money quickly plus some for the loan. Then they will borrow from someone else to pay that guy. And so on til they get paid off.

The brother, Happy and grateful for the moto was fixed.

I later talk more to Nimol’s mom about the chickens and how to help the family. We decide that chickens were not the right fit for her. This was a learning experience for me, not to always jump at the first thought. She expressed to me that starting a coconut shredding business would be easy and would be able to make profit quickly. Here in Cambodia coconuts are plentiful, and are used in almost all the traditional holiday foods. We figure out the cost of the coconut business was just under $150. This amount included the shredder, a battery (so she could work in any of the markets in town), and a cart to carry the supplies. How this works is CGI has a program called the revolving fund. What happens is people in the states give money to the program, then the money is used to help families. CGI strives to give people hands up instead of hand out. This helps the families not just in the present but in the future as well. As the family begins to profit, they pay the money back over a year to a year and half. Then that money is used to help another family.

So on Saturday I went ago town buying the items. Once we had everything we called for Nimol’s mom to come to the training center. Present her with all the items she needs to start the business. We agree that she will pay $8 a month for 18months. She tells me that she would pay it back faster than that. It was such a joy to be able to make a difference in this families live. I prayed for her, the family, and the business and got do explain the love of Jesus to her.
 The Shredder, something so simple could make such a change for this family.

Filling the battery with acid, no gloves or anything. Stuff like this makes me shake me head and wonder.

Making the Cart

Presenting Nimol's mom with the Cart. Shredder, and Battery. 

Nimol's mom getting 7 snut of bananas from the trees on property to sale at the market. We sale them to her a reduced cost, since we have more then we can eat and she can make money from them.

Driving away with a huge smile on her face!!

This week I will be going to the market where she works, to see how business is going. I also plan to work with Nimol on how to take sales and figure out what the family is making.

Please be in prayer for this family. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The dining room is starting to make some progress.

 Not sure about table layout yet. The green is a little brighter then I wanted, but it looks good. 


 Coffee and Smoothies will be served at the bar.

 View from behind bar.

 Looking down the bar.

There is still work to be done. We need to add an awning for outdoor seating. Also some stuff on the walls. If you have any ideas, please share (I'm not the greatest at that stuff). I thought maybe some sepia tone pictures of food or of Cambodian life, a big map where guest can mark where they are from?

I'll post more pictures as things develop.

Friday, January 13, 2012


Some day I feel like I am not taking time to experience and learn the culture. Then others I stop and think to myself where am I and what am I doing. On those days I am normally smacked in the face with culture. Tonight was one of those nights. About a week ago I saw people were setting up a stage and looked to be fair type stuff near my house. I asked the girls what was going on, they tell me its going to be a concert. A few of them got excited and asked if I wanted to go, without thinking I say sure. This week has been a busy up-down week, and I totally forgot about the concert. Then today as the girls are leaving they ask me about going. I wanted to say no really bad, but I knew I needed to go and let them see me relaxed.

So we head to the field for the concert, we got there before it started. I seemed relaxing. I walked around, there was 2 fessis wheels (one fast and one slow) all kinds of dart and ball toss games. As I looked at the prizes it starts to hit me, I'm in a different place. The prizes were shoes, rice cookers, cooking oil, note books, bottles of soda, all things you would never see as prizes in the states. The closest thing to fair food was kettle corn, most venders were selling meat on a stick, boiled eggs on stick, crickets, steamed buns, no funnel cakes, corn dogs, lemonade, or turkey legs. Its time for the music to start. The first group was a boy band, I felt like they were a mix between river dancers and disco, quite odd. The next was a girl singing with backup dancers, then a guy who look like and asian Justin Bieber.

The girls told me the concert lasted til 11. I think by the look on my face they knew we were not going to stay that long. As we were leaving I realize the amount of people. It was crazy, I bet there where over 100,000 people. I can say that today I had my fair share of culture!! There is another concert tomorrow night, I will prob pass, but who knows. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012


WOW Im tired.
                                  WOW Im excited.
WOW There is lots of work to be done.
WOW God is working!

This week flew by. Sunday I spent a lot of time costing the menu, since there was no church because of the New Year. A task I started on Thursday thinking it would not take me long, well it did. I didn’t think about having to convert many of the recipes before I could cost them. That afternoon I had been invited to an English church service. It was good to be able to understand and worship. There were only 8 people there because it’s a new service.
Monday we hit the work week hot and heave. Chris was coming to Battambang and bringing 5 people with him. I know that having a group here would be a great experience for the girls. So Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday we prep select items for the menu that we would be having while the group was here. In the afternoons we worked service and making smoothies. Katy and Allen got here mid afternoon on Wed. After the girls greeted them, they were more than willing to let the girls practice serving. I always enjoy being able to spend time with Katy and Allen. We went to CafĂ© Eden for dinner and were able to sit and talk for awhile that night. Thursday morning they decided to come to the training center for breakfast, so the girls would be able to practice real timing. The group arrived for lunch. The girls were excited but nervous as well, to have to serve the group. The girls did a good job for this being their first time really working with “costumers.”
Thursday afternoon was filled with things do, places to go and people to see. First was for Chris and I to meet with a young lady and her mother about the girl joining the program. I have met her mom a couple weeks ago. She cleans my neighbor’s house and as I locking my door one morning I turn around and she was there. Mind you I live in a pretty quite area, and not many people are around early in the morning. Thank the Lord that Ly Phalla had come with Bouth La to pick me out or I would not have been able to speak with her. Any way she talks me she has a daughter who want to study cooking and could she come learn at the training center. Only being here a month I had no idea how to handle the situation. I explain to her that I am unsure and I will have to talk with my boss. She also asked me if I need help cleaning my house. It is very common to have a house helper here. I tell her sure, show her around my apartment, and hand her a key. I get she number and tell her once I talk with my boss I would call her. On the way to the school I called Threay, to ask how to I handle this. She tells me to see if I can meet the girl, go to her house and try to figure out ‘her story.’ The week before I was able to hear Threay and Katy working on the stories of a few new girl in the Daughters Project, this helped me to know what kind of questions to ask. So I went to her house, met the family, and got some of the info. I wrote it up and sent to Threay. So we meet with the girl and her mom, and decided that she was a good fit for the program. She asked when did she start, Chris tells her tomorrow if she want to. I thought to myself, tomorrow really. She speaks no English, and I knew Friday was going to be busy, why he couldn’t have said Monday. It all worked out, she was able to see how we do things and started to get to know the girls. On Friday we gave her a bike to be able to get to school, we provide all the girls with one. She was so excited, the family does have a bike or moto, and they walk or find rides. It’s wonderful see how God connects people together. I am excited to see her grow and change for a very shy young lady with very little confidence to someone has a skill, whom believes in herself, and understands that she is loved by her heavenly father.
The rest of Thursday afternoon we went to the two orphanages some of our girls live, and to Nimol’s house. This gave the group a change to meet some to the girl’s families, and see where they come from. Nine of us went to dinner at La Vila, the nicest restaurant in Battambang. It was good I was able to meet and get to know them. Nathan and Whitney, they both work for CGI in America. Nathan does all the office, and keeps CGI organized, at the rate its growing is not an easy task. Whitney is over ByTavi. Jamie and Jeremy, a couple from Indy who were checking what CGI is doing in Cambodia, they are a sweet couple. I am sure they will be back, it might just be for a visit or for a longer time, we will see. The rest of the nine where Katy, Allen, Threay, Chris and myself.
Friday morning came early. When I got to the restaurant (20mins earlier then most Fridays) all the girls were there and already cooking breakfast. We cook and served breakfast. Then the girls fix some sweets for the group as they had a 5+ hour ride ahead of them. Chris and I took this time to catch up and make sure we are on the same page. The group went to the mountain. They returned a little after noon, said their goodbyes and headed to Phnom Penh. I sat down as the girls cleaned up the kitchen, I felt like to was nine o’clock at night. I had noticed that many of the girls didn’t have all the recipes written down, I gave them a list of recipes they each needed. I knew that at least one girl had each of the recipes, so they have to work together to get them all. I headed out to run earns and pick tile to the bathroom.
The girls really benefited from Thursday and Friday. I think they finally understand the importance of serving and also working on their English daily. We have month or less til the restaurant opens. I feel really good that we will be ready.

Tomorrow I am headed to Phnom Penh. All the people working with CGI is meeting on Monday and maybe Tuesday. We will be discussing 2012, things we need to improve on, and just get everyone on the same page so we can more effetely do what God has called us to do.

Please be in prayer for this meeting. Be praying for the girls I am working with as we make the final push to open the restaurant that they form a closer bond together, and they are able to learn and understand the things they need to know.