Continue to Persevere

Someone once said ‘we will commence to begin’. I think it was on a movie once. We are in the middle of doing, way past beginning… And the opportunities are vast here. We are collecting bids weekly for work at health centers and schools. We hope to turn in 5 projects Monday morning for approval. There is always details to confirm and bits of missing information to collect to complete the submission.

We recently visited a health center 2 hours away that has no water available to them. They have been open now for a month and have been accepting patients. We are trying to rush this one forward to help them get clean water. Our contractor is concerned that neighbors in the area can not find water when they drill. We are hoping that this location will be successful.

Baty Health Center, no water, we are here to get bids to drill a well, build a latrine, and incinerator, and a place to dispose of sharps. Today it rained, most unusual this time of year during the dry season.

We also met with the Senior Minister of Public Works and Transportation. This is a high level leader who is part of the Cabinet of the Prime Minister. We were able to get an introduction and to meet with him. He promised to open doors in an area of Cambodia to allow us and Dr Warner to work with health care providers there. Our next meeting is this Saturday. It would seem that many of the Key leaders are educated in the US, or Europe. He went to college in both countries. We feel fortunate to meet with him.

Minister of Public Works and Transportation, to his right, Dr and Sister Warner, President Vicheat of the Mission Presidency, to his right is our Assistant at the Service Center, Chansophea. To Sister Stones left is Sea Samnang the Legal representative of the Church here. He signs all contracts and is our liaison to the government, To his left is Long Saret from the Service Center and an assistant to the doctors here in Cambodia. Pictured above left to right is: The current King, to his left is his father (the past King) and his late mother (referred to as the Queen Mother) Those pictures are in every public building in Cambodia. Note that Sister Stone is wearing a traditional Khmer Skirt. Worn at formal functions. Looks great too!
Beauty in Kampot Province. A walkway to a bungalow on a peaceful river in Kampot.

Because of Valentines, we took 2 days off and went to the south of Cambodia to Kep. It is a tiny community between Kampot and Vietnam on the Gulf of Thailand. The ocean is warm and the waves are gentle. Cambodia has very little coastline, and even less sandy beaches. We spent two relaxing days, ate a little seafood from the Crab Market and recharged for the coming busy weeks of travel and inspections of our projects. The people are as always kind, gentle and ready with a warm smile. We love Cambodia.

Beautiful beach in Kep, the next day, it was shoulder to shoulder, due to the Chinese New Year. The community doubled in size overnight.
Beauty, solitude, and reflection….The birds were alive and singing, the people are so kind. Our stay was sweet, and in a quiet garden setting…While we were checking in, the attendant said, you look familiar. You were both on the news today…you met with the Minister of Public Works and Transportation! Turns out our meeting was on National news…
At the Crab Market in Kep. This little guy was hanging around waiting for his mom. All of the kids are wonderful like this…

The Crab Market, notice the crab traps on the dock and in the water, people come from all around for fresh squid, crab, shrimp, and fish. The restaurants are just beyond the umbrellas, they serve wonderful Khmer seafood dishes.
Freshly caught shrimp, squid, fish and more….you point and they will weigh it for you and bag it. Nothing fresher than this!
Lunch at the Magic Crab. This little family are the owners, the cooks, the waiters and the janitors. They said we were their only customer for the day. They often go many days with no customers due to the COVID restrictions. When we ordered, they went straight to the market next door and bought the ingredients. Everything is caught fresh each day. Fish and Chips, and Crab and Vegetables, and a plate of fresh cooked shrimp. They come with the head on. Don’t let that bother you…the taste makes up for the look of a shrimp head. Everything was very delicious. A meal is usually $5 to $8.
Sister Stone is checking the weather station. Look closely at the signs…

Today we worshiped at the Sen Sok branch, and Sister Stone received a lovely rose from the branch. They asked her to say a few words, and as she gave an emotional gesture of love and appreciation, all of the sisters in the room were drawn into her words. Sister Stone has an amazing gift to relate her love to the people. Their faces reciprocated her feelings.

Later in the day, we attended another baptism. Wonderful people. The older man knew Jon Huntsman when they were both in China.

Baptism at the North Stake Center. Members, missionaries, new members and President and Sister Lewis.

Tonight, we expect to welcome 12 missionaries from the US who arrived two weeks ago and are expected to leave quarantine. We had visited with them earlier in the week and had a fireside with them. They are doing their best to quarantine and be positive. We are welcoming them back with ice cream and to hear their stories. We are delighted to have them here. These are some of the first missionaries in the world that are going international. They are coming because they were here a year ago, received a visa, and can come because of the visa. Unfortunately they only have several months left. They are excited to be back before their missions end.

Cambodia’s beauty abounds. In sight and sound. The soundtrack sounds like a nature sounds tape.

To all of you who are still reading these blogs. We miss you.We love you all. We wish we could be better at sharing the beauty of this country, we wish we could better express the wonderful feelings we get while we are here. We wish we could illustrated better what a wonderful thing our mission is. We love you, every one. Heaven is real, God is in the heavens, he hears your thoughts, and he loves who you are.. He created us, he knows us, and he loves us. We love you, no matter what…and even if…

More to come…

With all our love,

Elder and Sister Stone