Asia, Culture, Food, Missions, Travel

Until the Whole World Hears

I posted my 50th blog the other day. I had no idea I had posted that many. I feel like my 50th post should’ve been something monumental or moving. But, instead, it was about popcorn. That’s probably a pretty accurate description of my writing though, so it seems appropriate. After being alerted that it was post #50, I took a little trip down memory lane and read back on some of my earliest posts. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I don’t usually read things after I’ve written them. It’s just a quirk of mine. But, I wanted to go back to remember where I started.
This has been such a fun (and funny) journey for me. Reading my first posts reminded me why I started writing and how much I enjoy it. It had me laughing and remembering stories that I didn’t even write about. The funny thing about these stories is that a lot of them aren’t monumental happenings. They aren’t about the major stories of my life. To me, they are the little things, the details that weave the bigger stories together, the daily things that often get lost in the mix. Those are the stories I love to tell. And those are the stories I love to read, so here’s to the next 50!
Four years ago, I was in Micronesia on my second medical mission trip. (If you don’t know where this is, don’t worry, neither did I! We had planned to take this trip to the Dominican Republic and instead got saddled with the Micronesia trip. It’s a tiny tiny tiny set of islands in the South Pacific, by the way.)
Landing in the Land of the Islands

Landing in the Land of the Islands

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Three years ago, I was in Armenia on my third trip. (Interesting fact: we could see the mountain that Noah’s Ark landed on from where we were in Armenia. The mountain {Bible trivia: anyone know the name of it?} is in Turkey, but we were in the Ararat {that’s it!} Valley, so we could see it from there. Another interesting fact is that I skipped my first week of senior classes in college to go on this trip. It was totally worth it.)
Cloud covered Mt. Ararat

Cloud covered Mt. Ararat

One of the many monasteries we visited on that trip

One of the many monasteries we visited on that trip

And, two years ago, I was in Cambodia on my fifth trip. Now, I’m gearing up for number 9. I never realized it before but I think I see a pattern that has been established. People always ask me where my favorite place is. I never have a good answer for that. They’re all so diverse, both in geography and culture, and I went to all of them at different points in my life, so they all hold memories from those times. (Like trying to do the homework I was missing from class while trying to soak in the scenes of the Armenian countryside)
The other question people always ask is what’s the weirdest food I’ve eaten. And, I can answer that one (although this is a really long list…)  It was in Cambodia and it was called balut, which is apparently quite a delicacy. It’s a half developed duck egg that has been cooked and it is served over rice. So, I tried it. Because when in Cambodia.. Right?
Balut

Balut

I should also note that when they sell these eggs, you can buy them according to the stage of their development. So, you can buy a less developed egg (which maybe wouldn’t have formed feathers or a beak yet) then scale up from there on development. This one that was cooked for us was a late stage of development and very close to hatching, which they said was not ideal. Here’s what it looked like after it was mixed up and ready to eat. (I feel I should mention that this was Matt’s idea, the guy holding the bowl, and I blame him completely for bringing about these circumstances. He specifically requested this delicacy from our hosts, and they went out and tracked down the eggs and cooked them for us.)
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Cambodia has been on my heart lately because there are some really neat things happening there right now. When I was there in 2013, they had the ceremony which established the first church in Cambodia for our particular missions group. It had been a nine year process of building and growing, and it was such a blessing to be there to witness the establishment. Here’s a picture of our missions group with all the founding members. Can you pick me out of the crowd?
First BMA Church of Cambodia

First BMA Church of Cambodia

Currently, the church is ordaining a pastor and the missionaries there will be turning more of their focus towards work in a remote village on the river. This village is called In Village and we got to visit when I was there. When I say this village is remote, I definitely mean it. It is only accessible by boat, so our group of over 20 loaded up in these rickety boats and let a 9 year old motor us across the not so gentle waters. (I’m not sure if you can tell from this picture, so let me detail it. There is a 9 year old in front who is the driver, and one of the boys jumped out of the boat to get the motor free of weeds while going across the river. Jake is in this boat and I am standing on the shore because I came across in the earlier boat. No big deal.)
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I am told that they received official papers from Provincial Cults and Religion to be able to construct buildings in the village, which will serve as a project center, place of worship and living quarters for a couple of young men who will be working there. This is a huge step forward for the work in the In village. On our trip there, we worked out of the “community center”. Which was essentially the place they met for the animal sacrifice ceremonies. The jawbones of various animals nailed up inside the building were the first thing to give that particular detail away. Now, they will have a place of their own, where they can work and serve.
Me and a Khmer lady in the In Village in 2013

Me and a Khmer lady in the In Village in 2013

Not very many people know anything of Christianity there. Buddhism reigns supreme in this region of the world. In fact, in another village we visited on our trip, one of the members of our team asked a local man if he knew who Jesus was. The man replied that there was no one named Jesus in their village, but we might find the man we were looking for in the next village over. He had no idea who we were talking about, had never even heard of Him.
Sleeping Buddha

Sleeping Buddha

Cambodia was my first exposure to Southeast Asia. It was a whole different world, for so many reasons. It opened my eyes to needs, both spiritual and physical, that I wasn’t even aware existed. It’s that same hidden hunger I started this blog talking about. When I began traveling for missions, I had no idea what I was in for, where I would go, the people I would meet. When I started writing, I had no idea what stories I would have to tell.  50 posts in and I feel like I haven’t even begun.
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One thought on “Until the Whole World Hears

  1. Pingback: T-Shirt Trade | brittneylorelle

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