Changing Course Mid Stream

This week has been a week of surprises. We started out with plans to do two handoff ceremonies in Battambong. We were to leave Thursday and close the project wrapping up the construction of 31 community wells, and then speak at a entrepreneur class Friday evening. Saturday morning (today), we were to have a handoff ceremony to complete the water improvement at a high school. Then to drive back the 5 hours to Phnom Penh.

This is a walking Walmart. Folks here pull a cart loaded with housewares around the neighborhood. It is another way to make a living. When driving in the provinces, there will be a wagon pulled by a moto, both are loaded high and wide with similar plastic ware, woven wicker baskets, and tools. We will miss this wonderful land,. We hope our departure is for only a short while.

Things changed dramatically Wednesday afternoon. While we were making apartment visits with the missionaries of the North Zone, we got a call indicating that the Bretheren from Salt Lake had concluded that the Senior Missionary couples should depart Cambodia at the first possible opportunity. We recieved instructions to fly home and to immediately self isolate for 2 weeks before contacting anyone. The missionary department is also sending many missionaries home that are due to leave in the next several weeks. Managing the risk here in Asia is a concern for the missionary department.

The security guard at the Service Center. A cheerful, wonderful man whom we hope will someday listen to the missionary lessons. Every day he greets us and gives us a new word to learn.

We are shocked and saddened by the news. Our departure is causing several local folks to loose their employment. Landing a job here is different than looking for work at home. There are no labor laws and there is no cushion for the unemployed. We pray that the virus will cycle out quickly.

We leave our home here Sunday at 12:40 pm and arrive late Sunday evening in Salt Lake. We are so sad to leave this beautiful land. There are so many things coming up that we were just getting started on. We hope to return and pick up where we left off in the coming weeks.

Our driver Pich Sareth, his wife and 11 year old daughter at their home. Today he learned that his work as an interpreter and driver for the couples had ended. He was devastated. He is a bright and talented man, he is anxiously looking for work. We all shed many tears today.

As we complete our quarantine, we expect to receive a temporary assignment until we can return to Cambodia. Please pray for the people here. Please be safe and be prepared as you are instructed at home. If you are advised to get items for protection, get it sooner than later. Face masks here went from a $2 per box to $12 per box, hand sanitizer, if you can find it is very expensive now.

All the Sr Missionary Couples, preparing yo leave. Our mission President and his wife up front. She leaves next week, he will be running the mission by himself. 98 missionaries… he doesn’t speak Cambodian… he will be blessed.
Ready to depart

We love you all. We love our mission. We are anxious to see what Father in Heaven is expecting us to do next. More to come…!