Monday, October 17, 2011

October Update

Once again, we’re late getting our update out to all of you guys. It isn’t due to lack of activity and stories to share… to say there’s been a lot going on would be a huge understatement. Here’s a little bit of what’s been happening lately and how you can pray alongside us:
Channy continues to do well at Bloom, she’s had a few hurdles to overcome but, she is making amazing progress and God is really working in her life. As always, please continue to pray for her (and Sor Phea, her mentor/ ‘older sister’ she lives with) spiritual growth and maturity as she is in transition and training.
Veasa is really liking his English classes and learning a lot, on top of staying very busy with his job. Right now, his work schedule does not allow him to attend church or Bible study. Please pray that a way would be made for him to have time to worship and fellowship with other believers in Phnom Penh.
Rainy season this year has been the worst the country has seen in over ten years. Please, please, please continue to pray for all of those that are being affected by the flooding. Not only the current dangers (such as snakes and disease) that the floods pose,  but also the loss of property and crops which will have long term effects on many families here. We know even with all the devastation God is able to use this to bring people to Him. Pray for the local churches here to have opportunities to share Christ. Pray especially for our kids who remain in Lveasar for their safety and health.
Because the water in Lveasar is very high, about forty of the children have been moved to Pastor Sokhom’s house while the other children and some of the staff remain at HCO to look after things. Pray for Pastor Sokhom’s family...  they are a living, breathing example of James 1:27… There isn’t anyone else we’ve encountered that would take this many people (not only children but ill church members as well) into their own home and care for them just as they do their own family.
Our kids, what can we say, we just love them so much. We know they love each other too; however, as you can imagine with so many children in one space, they’re bound to annoy each other at some point. Pray for their patience with each other, and just the stress of just being away from home and, for some, being apart from siblings. Along with that, Yua (our little girl that has seizures) has been having more frequent episodes recently. Her doctor said the stress of the flood and evacuation could be a likely trigger, as well as other environmental factors. Please just pray for her and everything surrounding this.
We continue to hold English classes for a few hours in the mornings (at the house) and then follow up in the afternoons with movie or craft time. It’s given us some quality time to spend with the kids as well as giving the family and house moms a small break in their day. It’s been fun to share a little of our American food and culture with the girls when they come spy on us late at night. Between their incessant pleas to watch and sing “fish girl” (aka The Little Mermaid) and the amazement of the microwave, they have kept us laughing. Plus, the impromptu sing-a-longs, dance parties, fingernail painting, and hair straightening in our living room are just flat out fun. We don’t know for sure if we’ll get back out to Lveasar before we leave or not so, this is kind of our silver lining in the midst of being away from the village.
For a while now, friends and family have been reminding us how little time we have left in country; yet, it’s difficult to believe it’s already October… one year ago we were preparing to leave family, friends, and the good ol’ USA. Those were difficult “goodbyes” but, as we learned during our training at MTI they were necessary to make our “hellos’ here sweeter. Soon enough, we’ll repeat similar scenarios with our family here, kids we continue to fall even more in love with, friends we’ve made, and a place we’ve called home for the last (nearly) 12 months. While we aren’t looking forward to actually saying “goodbye” and the tears that go along with that, we realize what a blessing God provided in all of those things for us here. We left two of the greatest families anyone could ever ask for and God provided Pastor Sokhom, Ronnie, and their children who have treated us far greater than we deserve. They welcomed us into their home without really knowing us and have loved us… even when we’re loud and come in ‘late’ (after 6pm!). Neither one of us left kids, and we knew the ones we were coming to were amazing but, there isn’t any way someone could have prepared us for how much we would love each and every one of these children. They’re absolutely some of the coolest, loving, and passionate Christ followers we’ve ever met… plus, have you seen how incredibly adorable they are? We have a few thousand pictures and stories to prove it. We love our friends in Lake Jackson (and others from a little further away) and we’re grateful God provided us with friends in Cambodia who have encouraged, loved, challenged, listened, and prayed for us throughout our time here… and they even put up with our (extreme and maybe slightly annoying) Texas pride. Life is about to look drastically different for us, we know just as God walked with us through our transition into life here in Cambodia, He will ease us through the transition back to the states. Please pray for us as we say our “goodbyes” here. This place that was so foreign to us at this time last year has become home to us. But, we can’t wait to see all of you back in Texas, we’re looking forward to those “hellos” being pretty sweet.
Tamara and Lauren

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


We love Cambodia. Even more so, we love the children at Hope for Cambodia Orphanage, who happened to steal our hearts...almost a year before we even lived here.
Even though we are head over heels with Cambodia, we often miss the great U.S.A. In fact, out of reverence, true patriotism, and maybe a little sarcasm, anytime we hear someone mention "America,"  or "the States," we proudly exclaim, "God bless it!" Some trivial luxuries such as dish washers, clothes dryers (for some time even clothes washers), 24/7 air conditioning, public bathroom toilet paper, Chick-fil-A; and some necessities such as modern medical care, started this trend/game we like to play. It's often the silly things we miss. However, there is a piece of our hearts that are still in our great country...and those are a ton of people we love dearly. Missing the things from home is enhanced even more when we have to miss the children too. Unfortunately, due to rainstorms and flooding (we'll have to post pictures for you people that have been to Lveasar before -- the river is SO HIGH!), we were unable to travel to the village for over two weeks. All of the sudden, it was easier to remember all we miss at home when we were missing the whole reason for being away from home!

This got us to thinking about what is "HOME"? There will forever be a part of us that calls Cambodia "home". We will also forever call the U.S. ("God bless it!") our home. Yet, really, neither of these is really our "home." We were recently reminded of a study we did here in Cambodia at our house church over 2 Peter. One of things that we emphasized was being "sojourners" on this earth. As followers of Christ, our home is not this earth, it's Heaven. Our house church is primarily missionaries and a few NGO workers...we're all Westerners, mostly Americans. So this idea, of living in a land (Earth) that's not our home, and anticipating "going home" (Heaven) was very near to all of us. "This world is not my home."

Those are the random thoughts that we've been thinking lately. We'd love to tell you more of what's going on in HCO right now, but since we've missed so much, we really didn't know what to say! We were able to sneak out to Lveasar a day early just to visit and play before we started teaching again. It was a great reunion and inside of a few hours we were refreshed by all the things we love about being here. Being away from our kids for so long gave us a little glimpse of what it is going to feel like come the end of October and it made us realize we're not ready to get on a plane just yet. We do have some prayer concerns that we need your help with...

Please ask God to...
1.  find a good home for Channy while she works at Bloom (she starts mid-September!!!)
2.  help transition Sopheak into a trade school and Veasna into university (still waiting on results for their high school exit exams...we should hear how they did this Saturday).
3.  help Pastor Sokhom find more staff and housemoms for the children.
4.  help us not to be so busy with the children that we don't focus on "home", but be "all here" with our work here.

Thanks for being awesome, friends!

We love you!
Tamara and Lauren

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

July Update

Some months feel like a roller coaster ride with ups and downs, twists and turns, and even the unexpected, just when you feel like things are beginning to make sense. When we felt God calling us to Cambodia we felt sure of our decision to follow Him, even if it meant we didn’t know exactly what our role would be here. We did know there were sixty kids that had stolen our hearts and whatever we could do to help them be healthy and successful now and in the future, we would be willing to do. It’s been easy to evaluate the tangible things like hand washing, water pots, and English classes (which are going great and our kids seem to be learning a lot, at least that’s what our visitors have told us). One of the most difficult aspects of our work here is not only figuring out what they need here and now, but also what they need for their future.

Many of the children come from difficult pasts and carry ‘baggage’ with them when they come to HCO.  For most of them, coming to HCO was the first time that they were exposed to the gospel and shown the hope that there is in Christ. We love that our kids have a church that loves them, attend a Christian school (up through grade 6), have house moms that love them, and have many people that pray for them daily. Even still, we have kids that because of their past, easily fall into the lie that their situation is hopeless... Channy is one of those kids. She’s seen things and experienced situations we can’t even imagine. When she was twelve, God allowed Pastor Sokhom to rescue Channy from those circumstances and gave her a safe place to call home at HCO. Over the last five years, she’s had the opportunity to go to school, be cared for, fed, and learn about a God that loves her regardless of anything in her past. Even still, she doubts herself and struggles with the feeling of hopelessness in her situation. About a month ago Channy reached her ‘breaking point’ and decided she wanted to leave HCO and go with a friend who convinced she could find her work in Phnom Penh. We’ll probably never know the exact circumstances that led to Channy leaving that day and if it was just a culmination of lies from Satan that caused her to reach her breaking point. Regardless, God pulled the right people together that afternoon to go after Channy and bring her to HCO once again… before she had the opportunity to make her way out of the village and into the city.

The next several hours involved many talks with Channy (a combination of Khmer, English, charades, and Pictionary), attempted phone calls, and lots and lots of prayer. We had Channy come back to the house with us so she would be able to meet with Pastor Sokhom face to face and hopefully avoid another ‘run away’ situation. By that night we were checking out trade schools and training programs available and had replies to our email inquiries waiting in our ‘inboxes’ the following morning. Even in the chaos that seemed to surround Channy’s situation, it was evident that God was (and still is) guiding us to care for Channy. Again, we admit we don’t have it all together and most days we question whether or not someone else could do a better job… we’re sure there are people out there that would. But, for whatever reason God has allowed us the opportunity to be here at this time, and we’re very grateful for that.

This is where you come in. Once again, we’re asking for your prayers. The plan is for Channy to interview at the school within the week. If this goes well, she will be accepted into the training program and will begin in September. We will then have the challenge of finding a suitable housing option in Phnom Penh… for now, this appears to be the most difficult obstacle to overcome. We know God is in control. God has shown Himself faithful countless times in this year alone, and we know that this time is no different. He loves Channy more than we are capable of, and can care for her better than we are capable of. We have no doubt that He will provide not only for her, but also for the other sixty children as they graduate or age out of HCO.

We appreciate your prayers more than we could ever express! Thank you all for being so faithful for praying and supporting us. If you have committed to supporting us financially, please remember to send that in to Brazos Pointe.

Young sroline nek! (Bonus points to our first non-Khmer friend to translate this and post the translation on our Village Feet page. The winner will receive one Facebook poke!)

Tamara and Lauren

*This just in… this post was written before Channy had her interview today. She had a great day at Bloom, and we’ve never seen her so excited about anything. Today, she was pretty shy, and they want to be sure she has the confidence necessary for the job. Tomorrow, she will be going back for an additional interview. Please keep her in your prayers. We know Channy comes from a very difficult past, but we also know she can do this. Thanks for the prayers, we’ll keep you all updated on our Village Feet page on facebook.

Monday, June 13, 2011

June Update

Time just seems to be flying by once again! Since our last update we’ve visited a new church Pastor Sokhom has planted, said goodbye to friends visiting as they’ve headed back to the states, talked with several local organizations about training for two of our older orphans, and managed to fit in teaching English and hygiene. It’s been a busy month to say the least. We’ve had a few ‘interesting’ days but, God continues to show us that He is in control and is providing in ways we couldn’t have imagined! We’re so thankful for His provision and to you all for your continued prayers and support. We’re looking forward to a busy summer and some exciting possibilities for our kids at HCO.
While Lauren’s fiancé, Kevin was visiting he put together a video update of things happening at HCO, we hope you enjoy.
Thank you so much for your prayers and support not only for us but for the ones we are serving.

Tamara and Lauren

Friday, May 20, 2011

May Update

Thankfully, we rarely label a day at the orphanage "useless" or "discouraging"; unfortunately, however, a few days ago was one of those days. "What are we even here for?" and "Is nothing sinking in?" was the beginning conversation over lunch. For the last six months we have been working so hard to improve these kids' lives. As simple as hand washing before eating, filtering water before drinking, and learning to take care of what God has given us (i.e. don't litter!!) may seem; these lessons are unheard of for some of these kids who came to HCO with little or no previous parental guidance. These are just a few of the lessons that we have consistently poured into these precious children's genius (yes, they are geniuses!) brains. Yet, because kids are still kids, they have yet to implement some of our "lessons" unless we are standing by their side. And like all kids, sometimes that comes with an attitude; somewhat that day.

After class that day, we did our usual...hanging out with kids. Reaksa, one of our boys, ran to his room to get the ball -- its soccer time. As we were waiting for him to get back, we simultaneously glimpsed the horror: trash EVERYWHERE. In Cambodia, it's not taboo to litter. It's actually common and accepted. We've gotten some strange looks as we have stuffed our garbage into our backpacks because we refused to let it join its little trash friends that fill the Mekong River. So, for our kids to decorate the campus of HCO with litter really shouldn't be so shocking. Unless, you know how much not only we, but also Pastor Sokhom, has battled this issue. It was only two days before that we had every student to help us pick up trash. Today, it happened to be worse than it had been just two days before. Imagine our reaction...stifled a bit, because we love these kids too much to let them see how angry it actually made us. So, again, we rounded up the perpetrators -- from 5 years and up, they were handed rice bags and asked to pick up every piece of trash in sight. And yes, we were very aware that day that it is officially hot season...not only by our own sweat, but by the complaints of our kids. In Khmer, "It's hot, teacha! Very hot!" Our reactions were very simple, "I know." Followed with, in English, "Pick up trash." (We have yet to learn the Khmer for this, yet the kids are very aware of what it means in English :) We got some protesting and some complaining....but, we persisted. Finally, the bell for lunch rang, and ALL of us were relieved.

And that brings us back to our conversation at lunch...."useless." That's how we felt that day. Something as simple as a messy day had got us down. Some days we feel we have conquered our little corner of Lveasar....other days, like that day, we feel like we're doomed to fail. As we replayed all this in our heads later, God reminded us of 2 Corinthians 12:9: "But He [God] said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest in me." We're declaring weakness. Let us just get it all out there now. If you sent us to Cambodia so WE could help these kids, then you have sent the wrong people. I guarantee that in our own strength we will fail miserably. We're declaring this weakness, because despite the failures we've encountered so far, we have faith that GOD is going to do something with this year. And we want you all to know, that whatever success occurs during this year, it's not because of's because "the power of Christ rests in [us]." So, we will sleep easy tonight, knowing that "when I am weak" [my Savior] is strong.

So, things for you to do: continue to pray for us. This month, we would like you to pray for some transitioning that is happening with the staff at HCO. We have been so blessed to see some of our older girls stepping up to fill in the gap and help the other house moms. In addition, some of the other kids have been stepping up in some responsibilities to help. Kevin, Lauren's fiancé, is here this month, and several of the boys have been a huge help to him as he has been working on some projects around HCO. Even though we have some discouraging days, we are so often reminded about how good we have it. These kids are awesome! Pray also that the kids will not get discouraged too during this transition. Pray that the ones that are helping and working hard don't get burned out, and keep working hard. Pray for some of the younger ones as they see servant hood and responsibility modeled by some of our older kids, that they too might be a help around the orphanage.

You have no idea how much we appreciate your prayers. Thank you all so much for the feedback about our prayer calendar last month -- you guys were a huge encouragement to us!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

April Update & Prayer Guide

Hi Friends!

Our update is a little later than usual...sorry about that! It's been a super busy (but very fun!) month for us. We started out the month celebrating Khmer New Year early with our kids at HCO. Khmer New Year is the major holiday here in Cambodia. Everyone leaves the city and heads out to the provinces to see family. It usually includes new clothes, good food, family time, and lots of dancing. Understandably, this is sometimes a tough time for our kids. Not only do they not receive as many material things as other children do, but many also do not have family close enough to visit. However, Pastor Sokhom does a great job at making sure the kids feel extra special during this time. All the children started off our night of celebration with a new outfit and a special (and delicious) meal including a SODA (a luxury for these guys!). An hour later, the dance party was off to an official start. The older boys stuck a bamboo pole with an attached flourescent light in the village dirt between our school and dorms. Veasna (our oldest at HCO) was our official DJ sitting behind massive speakers. Traditional Khmer music, Khmer pop, and even some recognizable American music was blared for over 6 hours into the night....and few of our kids stopped for a rest. If we weren't dancing out on the "dance floor" with them, we were on the sidelines watching....and usually laughing. NOT an experience we will ever forget. We can't even express how happy it made us to see our kids SO HAPPY. Channy kept asking us, "Teacha! Sabi? Sabi?" (in Khmer, "Happy? Happy?") with a huge grin on her face. And the answer was an emphatic would have been impossible to answer that question any other way.

A week later, we took advantage of the holiday time off of school and took a trip to Thailand with two of our friends who are also serving in Cambodia. Although the trip meant four different 12-hour bus rides round-trip, that small inconvenience was well worth it. We got to experience Songkran (the Thai New Year) celebrations, visit some of our favorites (Starbuck's!) in Bangkok, and see the beautiful coast of the Andaman Sea. As much fun as it was, we cannot wait to see our kids again (tomorrow!).

This newsletter we wanted to give you an opportunity to pray SPECIFICALLY for the different needs we encounter in Cambodia. Don't be overwhelmed with how large this month's newsletter is! Each prayer topic is organized by days -- 18 days total. Print out this newsletter and keep it on your fridge, in your desk, in your car, in your locker, in your Bible...wherever. Just keep it somewhere you can access it daily. Each day, read the short description and pray accordingly...pray fervently...pray faithfully. Please commit to praying with us for these next 18 days. Keep updated on our Facebook page, Village Feet, for updates on different prayer concerns. And, please keep us updated on ways we can pray for YOU.

We love you all, and appreciate all that you have done for us! If you have committed to giving monthly we want to remind you support checks are due and thank you again.

Tamara & Lauren


DAY 1:

Pray for our relationships with Cambodians who do not know Jesus. Our tuk tuk driver, "Boo" (which is "uncle" in Khmer), and a lady that works at a little shop on the ferry landing are two people that we have fell in love with since we have been here. Although we feel as if we know these two Cambodian friends well, our conversation with them has been limited to the very few Khmer phrases we can speak. Thankfully, God has provided us with resources such as translators to speak for us. Pray for Boo and the ferry lady, that they may see the light of Christ in us. And just as Paul asked the church at Colassae, please "pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ," regardless of the language and cultural barriers.

DAY 2:

Pray for Sokhom and Ronnie. Sokhom is the pastor of Lveasar Bible Baptist Church (LBBC) and leader of Hope for Cambodia Orphanage (HCO). In addition to their work at the church and orphanage, Sokhom and Ronnie both work full time. Not to mention, they are the parents to four (really awesome!) kids. And if that wasn't enough, these two have to deal with these two loud Americans living on their third floor! Pray that Sokhom and Ronnie have time for rest, time for family, and strength to continue their ministry in Lveasar. There are over 60 children that have a loving family at HCO because of the love of this awesome couple.

DAY 3:

Pray for the unreached people of Cambodia. Very few Cambodians know the hope that only can come from Jesus Christ. With less than 1% of Christian Cambodians, it's no wonder that the majority of Cambodia is considered as "unreached". According to, 71% of Cambodians are "unreached". This basically means that 71% of Cambodians have no means of hearing the Gospel. Please pray that the current groups of Cambodian Christ followers will continue to actively pursue their families, friends, and neighbors with the Gospel. And pray that God will give them the strength to endure the inevitable social persecution from fellow Cambodians.

DAY 4:

Pray for Japan. One of the most humbling experiences since coming to HCO was listening to the children pray for their brothers and sisters in Japan. Even among the immense suffering that many of these children have endured, they have not forgotten to pray for those that are suffering too.

DAY 5:

Pray for future missionaries. We love that song that Kristen often sings at BPF that says: "I see a generation rising up to take its place/ with selfless haste." We love that song, because we do see a generation of Christ followers willing and committed to serving God regardless of the cost. In addition, we see many church leaders, small group leaders, mentors, and friends that are pouring into that generation that will affect the Kingdom of God eternally.

DAY 6:

Pray for sponsors. It's true, we're still searching for sponsors. We hate to harp, and we hate to plead. But, for those of you that have been to HCO before, you know how difficult it is to spend time with these awesome kids...and then watch as they have to do without. Everyday we see what COULD be done if all our children were fully sponsored. We know that God is bigger and greater than money, and we know He will provide. Please pray that every child will soon be fully sponsored.

DAY 7:

Pray for our older kids at HCO. Recently, some college students from a church in Phnom Penh came to play, sing, and love on our kids. Many of them have been to HCO before (either to translate for BPF mission trips or to play with the kids) and already have a relationship with them. One of the older girls at HCO asked one of the college students an interesting question, she said: "When I'm inside the gates at HCO, I know I am loved, and I know God loves me. But why do people in the village not care about us?" She continued to tell the college student how many of the kids get picked on by the other village children for being so poor and for being Christians. Although we might have imagined this was the case, it was really disturbing for us to hear one of the kids actually say this. Many of our older kids go to high school in the village. On top of all the normal teenage dilemmas every kid faces, these kids have even tougher issues they must deal with. Pray that God gives them strength and confidence in who they are in Christ.

DAY 8:

Pray for our English classes. English classes have been going great. But just like any other teacher, one day you're saying "Wow, these kids are GENIUSES!" (and they really are...haha) and then the next day you're saying "Do they remember ANYTHING we've learned?!" As much progress as we're making, this month is Khmer New Year. They have had most of the month of April off. Please pray that we can start where we finished without too much review, so the students can continue to progress.

DAY 9:

Pray for Lveasar Bible Baptist Church. Although physical persecution against Christians is practically unheard of in Cambodia, the emotional and social persecution is often extreme. When a Cambodian publically chooses to follow Chirst, he is sometimes faced with intense persecution: husbands have been known to leave their wives; families have been known to refuse to talk to its members; and communities have been known ostricize even the closest neighbors and friends. Please pray for the members to find their strength in God and grow closer as a church. In addition, pray for the other villagers that are interested in following Christ, but may be struggling with the possibility of future persecution.

DAY 10:

Pray for Jamie and Marianne. Jamie and Marianne go to our church. These two friends have gone through some tremendous health issues recently. It's difficult to find quality healthcare in Cambodia, so they have had to visit Bangkok several times for adequate care. Please pray for their healing, patience, and their families during this time.

DAY 11:

Pray for our house moms and teachers. There are about a dozen staff at HCO that influence our kids on a daily basis. Pray that they will continue to be godly examples for the children and that their relationship with Christ will continue to be strengthened as they live in a Buddhist community where being a Christ follower often means being an outcast.

DAY 12:

Pray for Sokhom’s children (Rachana, Soterhett, Srey Pet, & Srey Po). Rachana is currently attending medical school in Phnom Penh and in the process of pursuing possibilities for education in the US. Pray for wisdom and confidence as she studies for language and medical school exams and visa applications.

Soterhett is in 8th grade and speaks English extremely well… we’re proud ‘big sisters’ and like to brag on our siblings but, it’s true. Pray as he has to face all the things that come along with being in intermediate school as well as being a Christian in a predominantly Buddhist country.

Srey Pet (5 years) & Srey Po (3 years) are Pastor Sokhom and Ronnie’s youngest daughters. It’s difficult for us to imagine them as the two shy little girls they were when we moved in… these two keep us on our toes between jumping on our beds to always wanting to paint nails. We’re so thankful that they have such an amazing family that allows them the opportunity to just be kids. Please pray that they would come to know Christ when their hearts and minds are ready and that their generation would seek Christ as no other generation of Khmer has.

DAY 13:

Pray for The and Khim Mey. The is Ronnie’s (Pastor Sokhom’s wife) uncle and the man God used to connect Brazos Pointe to Cambodia almost 10 years ago. Pray for Pastor The and his church, Rosharon Bible Baptist Church, as it grows as well as the Cambodia community surrounding it. Pray for good health as Pastor The and Khim travel to and from Cambodia each year.

DAY 14:

Pray for our family and friends at home. It’s difficult to be separated from people you love even when you absolutely love what you’re doing. Please pray for good communication between us and those at home, for our family and friends that do not know Christ, and that we would have opportunities to share that even while we are away.

DAY 15:

Pray for our older kids as they transition out of the orphanage. We have several older children at HCO that in the very near future will need training as they finish high school and/ or age out of the orphanage. Pray for provision as far as housing, school, and funding as well as wisdom, Godly mentors and a Christian community for them to connect with as they leave Lveasar.

DAY 16.

Pray for our babies and preschoolers. These children tend to be more susceptible to respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses than their older siblings and friends. Pray for health and safety for them as well as adequate nutrition for proper growth and development and a nurturing environment.

DAY 17:

Pray for hygiene at the orphanage. We know all kids need constant reminding to wash their hands, brush their teeth, and all the things that go along with cleanliness. While we feel like we’ve made some pretty decent progress towards this we also realize kids are still kids… and we have 66 of them. Please pray that proper hygiene would become part of their daily routine and that they would be protected from illness.

DAY 18:

Pray for our new house church. We were invited and began attending a newly formed Bible study by a friend of ours back in early December while we were looking for a church home here in Cambodia. Overall, Sundays were our most difficult days because our church family was one of the things we really missed. While we still miss BPF, it didn’t take long for this group to feel like they were our church family here. Over the last several weeks we have been studying what a church is by Biblical definition and after prayer and discussion we felt like God was moving us to become a church. Please pray that our church would continue to follow the model that is given in Acts and that God would use us individually as well as collectively to accomplish his will and reach the lost.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

March Update

It seems like the longer we’re here the faster the time is flying by, this month marked the beginning of our fifth month in Cambodia! We’re following up with a few of the things we mentioned last month such as doctors visits, hand washing, and our quest for clean drinking water. This past week we spent a good portion of our afternoon cleaning all twenty of the water filters the kids drink from. Several of our older boys pitched in and we were able to teach them how to properly maintain this… we will be passing this off to them over the next few months so they will have clean water after we leave.

We do have one big announcement: we are officially partnered with BrightPoint for Children for child sponsorship! The best part about this is that this makes it easier for you to tell your family, friends, coworkers, postman, milk man, barista, waiter, congressman, mechanic, cashier at Buc-ees, and neighbors (future sponsors??) how they can make a difference here in Cambodia. Please partner with us to spread the word: make it your facebook status, send obnoxious forwards, make it your screensaver, tattoo it, leave voicemails, send mass texts… do whatever; be creative! We know many of you share the same passion for these kids that we do, so we know this will be easy.

So, now that you’re excited about telling the world about the needs at Hope for Cambodia, we’ll make it easy for you. Copy and paste the link below:

For those of you that committed to financially support us monthly, please don’t forget to send in this month’s support. Thanks again for all your love, encouragement, and prayers.


Tamara & Lauren

Monday, February 14, 2011

Laundry Lessons

Just another typical Monday… a day I dreaded up until a few months ago. For 17 years it was the first day back to school after the weekend, then it became (generally) the most hectic day of the week to work at the hospital. Around here it’s the only day we don’t leave the house or have anything we have to do… our designated ‘chill’ day. Sleep in, enjoy our typical pancakes & coffee around noon (it’s practically a tradition by now), clean a little, and an opportunity for an extended quiet time.

After finishing up our leisurely lunch of pancakes and coffee (with the company of our littlest Cambodian sisters) we decided it was time to wash our village clothes… the washing machine is broken again (still?). So, we retrieved the giant metal bowls from the balcony and set the water on to boil (we prefer the week’s worth of dirt, germs, & who knows what else that accumulates in our village clothes DEAD). I headed back to my room to do a little reading, thinking, praying, writing down thoughts from the week, etc… After I came to a stopping point and the water had had time to boil I started the first round of laundry. It takes a while to wash with all the water boiling, scrubbing, soaking, and rinsing… sometimes multiple times per bowl. I don’t ever wash clothes in the same order or even the same way. I’m still trying to perfect a method that is the least time consuming, simplest, and most effective. So far I’ve failed at finding even one that meets any of those qualifications. The nice thing about this time consuming method of washing is that it gives me time to do things during the ‘soak’ phase. Today I chose to resume my quite time.

As I searched the concordance and Blue Letter Bible I realized my laundry logic mimics my quiet time habits. … I’m always looking for some magic resource or strategy to give me to that ‘ah ha!’ moment with God. I’d like to have years of knowledge and wisdom pour out from the pages into my head and heart within a matter of minutes. I know there are strategies and resources that help with studying but, I have a tendency to consume myself in the resources instead of God. Ultimately the only way I am going to deepen my relationship with Him is by spending time with Him (and reading my Bible). I spend far too much time trying to figure out the most effective way to study His word when in reality I need to use that time to be in it and praying. So, for the next few weeks my primary resource is going to be time. I’m going to try to use it when it’s available and be more intentional with how I spend it.

I hope your Monday is as relaxing and productive as ours… and that your washing machine doesn’t break.


Friday, February 11, 2011

February Update

This past month started out with the most progress and success we've seen since we arrived in Cambodia -- it's been one exciting month! The kids are drinking clean water, drinking that water out of their own cups, washing their hands before meals (at least when we are there!), learning even more new English phrases and words, and several children are even getting some needed doctor visits. We're so incredibly thankful for what God has done, and we are so thankful for your donations and the team's help to get this all done!

God has been so good, and we know that much of the great things that are happening here are because of your prayers. When many of you committed to support us financially, you also committed to support us with your prayers. We are holding you to this commitment. In the last week, we have been discouraged and burdened about the small staff at HCO. Great things are happening, but there is a great need for more staff at HCO. Although we love this staff tremendously, HCO needs more awesome ladies (or a couple) to help and give the quality care and love for these children. We know that God loves these children more than we could ever imagine. This burden is not just our burden, this is also God's burden.

"When [Jesus] saw the crowds, He had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore, pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.'"

There is story after story of the pain, suffering, and abuse that many of these children have endured. We know that Jesus looks on them with compassion. However, He wants us to be a part of providing for these children. We MUST pray "earnestly" to bring people to HCO -- to show Christ's love to them in a tangible way. We know and trust that you will obey this command to pray for our kids. And even more so, we know without of a shadow of a doubt that God is going to provide these kids with what they need. We are asking, and he will answer.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Life the last month or so...

It would take me forever for me to put into words everything that’s gone on in this last month (and let’s face it, it probably wouldn’t actually happen) so, here’s just a portion of what we’ve been up to on our side of the world recently:

Starting December 27th we loved…

 Picking up our moms from the airport

 Taking them to all our favorite places in Phnom Penh

 Mother/ daughter lunches, coffee dates, pedicures, …

 Picking up the rest of the BPF team from the airport

 Catching up on life over coffee instead of over the internet

 All of our kids having someone to play with or hug at the same time

 Getting 20 water filters from RDI and bringing them to HCO

 Looking around & seeing kids read their Bibles (Christmas present this year)

 Our kids singing, “The Stars at Night…” & a few other songs we taught them for the team

 Hearing stories about what God was doing in people’s lives during the time they spent here

 Knowing people we love, love our kids (almost) as much as we do

Then, on January 7th we dropped our moms and (most of) the team off at the airport… just for the record, it was a lot more fun picking them up. However, it’s been nice settling back into ‘real life’, right now which consists of…

 Hanging out with 66 of the coolest kids ever

 Teaching phonics & making up ridiculous hand motions to songs our kids are learning

 Teaching the kids how to wash their hands… more fun than you might think

 Processing water filters (clean water coming very soon!)

 Catching back up with our friends here

We had such an amazing time with everyone who came! We can’t say thank you enough for everything that was done for us and our kids, we really enjoyed having you all here!!