So much going on in the past two weeks. We missed our post deadline last week, so we will catch up today…Our mission is full of opportunities galore! We are so anxious to do more than we are. We have recently submitted a project to do improvements at two schools in Kampong Cham. We are waiting for the Committee in Hong Kong to get to them and approve them so we can begin to move forward. The two schools have no hand wash sinks, so the children use the latrine and play hard and then return to the classroom. We will help them by putting in hand wash sinks, by adding an incinerator to burn the garbage that piles up. There is no garbage service outside of Phnom Penh. We will also add a small water tower that will give water pressure to the hand wash sinks. We hope that these small contributions will help to slowly transition the community toward better hygiene and sanitation. The people there are so kind and appreciative. When we arrive at the school, the children stand and gaze at us with wonder. When we stop and wave, they sometimes hide behind a classmate in embarrassment, or others will grin broadly and wave back. Most want a ‘high five’, which we are anxious to oblige. We love the people.
Earlier this past week, we met with the Minister of Posts and Tele-Communications. We presented our work history to him and discussed ways of working together. He is a very educated man and very powerful. He holds a cabinet position with the Prime Minister. He is also very down to earth. Having been educated in Russia and the US, he has become very influential in helping Cambodia move forward. He has personally given scholarships to over 1600 students. One in particular graduated from Columbia University, has received a Masters degree, and is moving on for her Doctorate.
Thursday and Friday, we visited our partners who provide wheelchairs in Cambodia. We are renewing our relationship for another year and are taking contracts for the organizations to sign. All involved are anxious for this moment. There is a great need in the land here for wheelchairs and orthotics.
Previous to this past week, we were plagued with computer problems. We spent 4 days trying to resolve printer problems. We count on our printer/scanner to help us submit necessary documents for our projects. We had plenty to do while we were office bound dealing with it, but it also kept us from moving our projects forward. So…some weeks are more successful than others. We lean on each other when the week is not so happy. We know that what we are doing is important, we feel it when we have resistance and we have had a fair amount of resistance.
Today we went to a missionary district sacrament meeting. President Lewis presided and one of the Khmer Elders conducted. He is teaching these missionaries how to run the church. Their mission experience is the best thing that they could have. It is wonderful to see them step up.
Monday, we leave early for the 7 hour drive to Battambang, a province in the north western part of Cambodia. We will meet with government leaders to distribute emergency food supplies to people who have been displaced by flooding. We will be involved in the distribution of supplies Tuesday and Wednesday, and then on Thursday and Friday, we will meet with school officials and community officials to complete the well projects where LDSC has provided clean water to 30 villages, and a school. If all goes well, we will make the drive back to Phnom Penh after our last meeting on Friday, bringing a missionary who is being transferred into the city. Traveling this route is probably the most challenging, 3/4 of the journey is on a highway that is totally torn apart for construction. It is narrow, bumpy, dusty and noisy. It is crowded with traffic, and we certainly want to get back before dark. Many of the travelers have no headlights or tail lights. This trip is one that we take very seriously.
We love our Mission, We hope you all have a wonderful reflective Thanksgiving. We will be thinking of you and thanking the Lord that you are in our lives. We love our family, We are thankful for them. We are thankful for wonderful friends. We are thankful for our health that allows us to be here, we are thankful for each other, we are thankful for Jesus Christ, whom we serve. #give thanks
With all our Love
Elder and Sister Stone