Sunday, February 26, 2012

Top Five

Saturday's Top Five (no cretan order)

- My Smoker came today, this excites my on many levels. We can start curing meats to have in the restaurant and wholesale, and I get to play with fire and have some good food. I will be buying a good steak next time Im in Phnom Penh, the fix a salad and baked potato!! I could use a visit to Outback right now :)

- The girls came together can worked as a team. About a month ago we had a little typical teenage girl drama, and I had felt they didn't fully work together. So I have been harping about teamwork. About only being as good as the worst person, so you better help each other out. Tell them stories about when people really works together and some about what happen when they didn't. Explaining to them, it's impossible to do it on there own. At pray time each day I pray for it. And finally today they clicked together as a team. I think it was out a sheer fear, (fear of felling, fear of disappointing, fear of not knowing thing, fear of the English people they were about to serve), whatever it was they came together and it was beautiful. When we sat down to talk about the day it was the first thing they said, 'we worked together as a team!!' This still puts a smile on me face as I type it.

- Prayer yesterday. (yea it was yesterday, but we were praying for today). We had a lot to get done yesterday in preparation for today. So instead of having bible study, we took the time to really pray. I had them pray for the person to their right, for their selves, for the restaurant, and anything else they wanted to pray about, then I would finish. We all pray in our native tongue. So naturally I don't not understand most of what they are praying for or about. Yet it was so powerful and true. They were speaking from their hearts, I could tell that. That being said, they normally only pray at lunch, and Im guessing its the normal, bless this food, amen. So it was amazing  hear them be true and open. By the time it got to me, my eyes were full of tears. This is super exciting and bring joy to my heart.

- There is nothing like the adrenal rush you can from a kitchen. I love the rush of craziness, having to move faster then you normally think. Yea some people might think I'm crazy, be I love it. We had that today! I had invited 15 people to come have breakfast with in a 2-hr window, for the girls to gain experience. Of course like normal 4 people come in sit  as soon as they order,  an eight top plus three kids come in. So that turns everything from nice calm, to everything is crazy( or oh goodness I'm pumped)!! The girls get the food cooked, drinks made, and served, as I pitch in were need and play happy hostess. As the next few people come in the girls are getting the hang of things and are able to do things without questing me how to. I am still pumped. I have been going since 5 am, in the kitchen from 6am-1:30, and it's nearing 11pm. I should be wiped out, but I'm not. It's been awhile since I had the rush. It's like a second wind, that came a the perfect time, as we make the final push to open in 8 days!

- Last but not least. Like in most restaurants the girls got tips today. I explained to them to make it fair to the ones who work in the kitchen that week, we would be splitting them evenly between each of them. So at the end of the day I counted them up and divided it evenly between the girls. I gave it to the after we talked about the day. As we sat at lunch, they start talking about how quick they can get to the market. I naturally engage in the convo, asking what they were going to buy. A few weeks ago I worked on teaching them to budget and plan, which is a really hard concept for Cambodians. Since then we have joke around with one of the girl who spent most of her money on make-up. Jokingly I ask if she is going to buy makeup. She replied with a big smile 'yes Chef and lotion.' we continue around the table of what they are going to do, buy phone card, give to family, save it, don't know and then look at the market. They all started laughing, I asked what . They explain they she never buys anything, she just looks and ask how much. She is my saver! Later in the day we head to the market. They normally fellow me around as I get what we need and plead to carry all the bags. As they start today, I looked at them and tell them they can go buy make-up, and off they go with big smiles. Ly Phalla and I continue getting what we need. They returned fairly quickly, back without any bags. So I ask led if the place was closed or what, she quietly says no Chef. I asked well why didn't you buy makeup, with a slight grin she tells me she is going to save it!! I know the other girls had influenced this choice, but I was excited to see they are listening and starting to understand. The culture here is very much life for the day. They don't really think about the future or tomorrow. I think this comes from not having much and Cambodia's recent history durning the Khmer Rouge. Having her be able to understand and want to plan for what is to come, breaks thru in and levels. Next task is to have them set goal for the future.

Today was a great day. It really sank  in that the restaurant is going to open and people are going to come eat. That the girls are learning and growing, not just in cooking but in live skills and more importantly toward God.

Thank you for all the prayers, they are felt and answered!!

Things to pray about
-For the girls as they are making the final preparations for the opening. 
-For health of me, the girls, and the staff.
-For the Restaurant.
-For the girls as they continue to learn and understand about God and the love of Jesus.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cold Shower by Candle Light

I have always been one who enjoyed to simple pleasures in life rather then the big elaborate things. This has not changes living half way around the world.
One of the simple things I miss is sitting outside with a group of people and just chilling. Its always calming, and relaxing. Many problems or big choices in life  have been made in this type setting.
I thinks biggest simple joy is a nice long hot shower. Every since bathing down stream of cows in a creek near the Black Sea almost 10 years ago, I always enjoy my time in the shower. I mean really think about it, there isn't much that compares to a nice hot shower.
Here in Cambodia I have a hot water for my shower. No where else in my apartment has hot water. Which I am perfectly fine with. If I can only have hot water come out of one place, I would choice the shower without thinking twice.
Well tonight is the second time the power has gone out in my three months of living here. They say it goes off for many different reasons. Sometimes they cut it off in parts of the city because they were using to much, other times it goes put for line repair, and stuff like that. It can be off for mins, hours, or even days. The first time I experienced this it was only for a couple hours. This time the whole city is without power and who knows how long it will be out.
So naturally when I get hot after sweeting all day the first thing i do is take a shower each night. Tonight was unlike any other. I get a big ice cold bottle of water, chug half of it, sit it on the counter and head to shower. It was dusk at this point I walk in shut the door and realize I can't see. Thankfully the first this Chris made me buy once getting to Battambang was a small battery light. I found it and took my shower with it. I have to say no matter how hot I get, it still enjoy at least a luke warm shower. Oh well I made it and my sure there will be many more as rainy season comes along.

This makes think of all the people in the world who have never has the pleasure of standing under never ending water to clean themselves. Or all the people who don't have clean water to drink let alone to bath in. Something that seems so simple to me, would be huge to more then two-thirds the world.
Tonight or in the morning when you are just standing under the hot water, say alittle prayer to thank God that you are one of the chosen people who have clean hot water to use. I know that God has richly blessed me.

"From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." Luke 12:48

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Unable to Help Everyone

One thing that has hit me lately is its impossible it help everyone, and to be honest it have been a little overwhelming.

There are the beggars, it seems like someone is begging every time I look up. Many beggars come to the market day in and day out. Others walk the streets, some hang around western cafes, just to get a little money. In this situation I use the same principles I did in the states, I will give food or something like that, but don't give cash. Let me tell you it would be a lot easier to just hand them a few hundred riel and walk on. What good would that really do, they will be back the next day or even the next hour  needing more.

Then there are the people who share their story with me, I feel that most of them are not directly looking for money, but someone to listen and relate to. The stories range from the mom is sick and had to sell some of the wood from the house to because she is sick. The son shared the store with me. He works in Battambang 7 days a week consisting of over 110 hours, to send most every dime he makes to his family. It just isn't enough to pay for all the needs. Or the lady I buy chicken from at the market. I ask her for a kilo of breast, as she's cutting she tells me about her son who died. 

Then there are the kids that live around my house. Each day as I come and go on the Tuk Tuk they are waiting to yell Hello as loud as they can. I am not sure how many there are, I would guess from 10-22 (from different families). Most of them have 1 or 2 outfits, they play with sticks, mud and rocks. They swim in the little creek, where I'm sure they are going to get sick from. Yet they are so excited no matter day or night to see a white person and be able to yell the only English word they know. We have alittle game now to see who can yell first me or them.  How can I help all of them? I don't know if they are able to go to school, if they are able to drink clean water, take a bath (other then in then in the smelly creek). 

Then there is the people who come asking. This is the one that hit me hard on Sunday. Battambang is one of the largest cities in Cambodia, yet it is more like a small town. Everyone knows each other and normally knows what all is going on. So of course once construction started on propriety, people started asking questions. Once they found out an American was here to teach and hep, people starting coming up to me or to the property. The first time I experienced this I was able to help the ladies daughter, and now her is apart of the program. Some come to just ask if I will teach them to cook alittle, others come wanting a job, others come to try and get a friend in to program.  I always take the time to listen, learn about their situation, what their dreams are, but normally at the end of the conversation I have to look at them and say, we can't currently help you. I write down their information, make a mental note of their face,  and tell they if or when we are able to help I will call. Pray with them and send them on their way. I then normally stand there thinking, why can't we take them in or why cant I give them a job. And asking God why are you sending these people when we cant help more at this point. 

Most of those questions I have not gotten answers to yet, but I have on a few. I am not the one helping them, it is only by the love of Jesus that they are being helped. I am just a tool for God to use. I also know that the loving God we serve did not create more people then he created resources to take care of them.  This gives me hope and makes me excited.  I know that we are hoping to add 12 girls to the program. This will open doors to 12 new families, with new needs and new situations. The way we are able to help these 12 is through sponsorship, to help pay for the needs, supplies and support they will need. At this point the sponsorship is around $250 a month for each of the girls. Please be in prayer for us to connect and find the girls who will benefit the most from the program, and how God wants has planned.  I would also appreciate prayer to have the words needed when I talk with these people. That I let God speak and that I do not get in the way.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

After spending most of the week in 'The Big City," I took Saturday as a run around day. Which meant lots of time in the Tuk Tuk. In the States one of my favorite things do to was get in the car and just drive, saying nature and God's creation. I felt today riding around is the closest thing I will get to my long car drives. As we got close to my home this is the sight I saw. I couldn't have ask for a better ending of the day.