Well we are indeed glad to be back into this beautiful country! We arrived here very late on August 7, and as we went through immigrations here, we also tested for Covid. They people on our plane were bussed to a hotel to await the results. Next morning, we were told that someone had tested positive and the entire group would spend the quarantine in the hotel. Restricted strictly to our rooms, all meals were delivered to our door. As a side note, this is a Chinese run hotel, and the kitchen prepared native Chinese dishes. Chinese food in the Orient is not at all like Chinese food in Northern Utah! We didn’t recognize most of the items, we learned to acquire new tastes for the way they prepared food.
Finally at the end of the quarantine, our tests were negative and we are now out of our little room and ready to finish settling in and unpacking.
We have had several new experiences this first weekend! Saturday, we attended a baptism of a young woman in the North Stake, and saw another beautiful building that they use for church. Because it is so difficult to legally arrange to build a church here, they bought a home and remodeled it into a chapel. It is a beautiful building, that almost looks like a temple. It was wonderful to listen to the testimonies in Khmer (pronounced Kamiah) and to see their faces radiate the Spirit.
Saturday evening, we were invited to a wedding and reception of a US missionary who had returned to Cambodia and married his Cambodian sister missionary fiancé. It was indeed a beautiful cultural experience. The bride has several outfits for the evening that she wears. She is pictured in one of them. A narrow neighborhood street was blocked off, a stage was set, bunting overhead, chairs and tables filled with friends and family, music played, and dancers performed. Platters of food flowed, people ate, visited, and greeted the newly married couple, pictures were snapped. It was an overload of sites, sounds and smells. What a wonderful experience to share on their special day!
Today, Sunday, we joined another baptism by Zoom, a Chinese couple that were baptized at the International Branch. Their two small children watched as their father and mother were baptized. Much of the Branch joined in by zoom and shared the joy of the moment. How humbling to see folks supporting this new family! We saw people living here and worshipping that were from, Sudan, Singapore, US, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, Iran, and other locations. All had smiles, some had tears, as they all waved at each other at the end of the meeting. How warm it felt to see their waves and smiles, they lingered as the meeting ended, enjoying the fellowship of just seeing each other. No biases, no racial tension, no judgement. Just the pleasure of feeling the spirit together as another family made a commitment and was baptized.
We love you all! Especially our family! We miss you all! The Lord bless you in the coming week!
We love our mission. We are anxious tomorrow to begin again in our humanitarian projects here. I remember years ago a phrase on a public service announcement: “It is the hardest job you will ever love”. Indeed !
All our love…
More to come……!