A day late. Wished I did this a day before but alas…HAPPY NEW YEAR!
This year…now, last year was a year that many, if not all, will remember. COVID-19 has brought many challenges and exposed things that otherwise perhaps would have gone unnoticed. Amidst the difficulties, there were also gifts and graces. Perhaps even the difficulties themselves are occasions to be encouraged and strengthened by. Upon reflection, there are many things to be thankful for and hopeful of, helping us to press on and persevere. Though we look forward to the days when we can meet and reunite with loved ones without masks and temp checks, quarantines, and doubts.
Here is a glimpse of our year by month:
JANUARY. Nate’s 12th birthday, Susan’s new English classes, and precious visitors from dear friends and ministry partners.
FEBRUARY. Susan joins the medical clinic in Prey Thom with Family Clinic and what-would-be our last visitors until…
MARCH. COVID-19. Everything changes. Travel restrictions begin. All plans for trips, short-term teams and visitors are canceled, including our new long-term teammate, John.
APRIL. Adaptation, resilience, and creativity via technology. In the picture below, former teammates, Emily & John, hang out w the boys playing online Code Names.
MAY. No picture. That says it all.
JUNE. A paradox of existence. In the midst of this global pandemic, Cambodia slowly lifts some restriction. No visitors and a continuation of masks, temp checks, outdoor venues and social distancing but things slowly open up to allow us to meet. Needed haircuts. Caleb turned 16, ends his term as Senior Patrol Leader but became a Star Scout and participated in the international Scout Youth Leadership Training. Nate learned horseback riding with some homeschool friends for the summer.
JULY. Celebrated 23 years of marriage. Our team meets for worship at a beach town. Our local church, KCC, responds to one of the growing needs as a result of the economic hit from the pandemic by starting a small Food Bank. KCC also starts a band class in hopes to train up a praise team.
AUGUST. Restrictions are further lifted. We have our first in-person church worship, Scout troop meetings start for the new term, and Susan joins a medical outreach w Family Clinic at a safe house for girls. The biggest event of the month was the long-awaited arrival of our former intern, now long-term teammate, John.
SEPTEMBER. Busy month for Susan with starting the new school year and in-person ministry. A visit to a recently orphaned member of one of our church plants, RCC. Fellowship with pastors’ wives. Food Bank continues. A team retreat. Paul helps another dad coach Saturday basketball for our homeschool fanatics.
OCTOBER. Garbage collection strike. Major flooding. Annual youth conference for all our college and young adults. Rejoining our homeschool coop after a year hiatus to help with the isolation. First Scouts campout and Nate elected Patrol Leader.
NOVEMBER. Susan starts volunteering at the newly established safe house, Grace House, and visits Prey Thom. Team Worship in the village, which always includes a round of basketball.
DECEMBER. With a set of new COVID cases, Phnom Penh went through another sudden social lockdown. End of the year classes and events were postponed or canceled. Thankfully we were still able to meet in small groups and/or in the villages. We ended our year with a handful of families. It was a special times for the boys, especially as some of them will be leaving Cambodia in 2021. Then we ended the year at Angk’jeay for a wedding ceremony and worship.
As you can see in just the handful of pictures, God has been gentle and loving. He has been faithful to meet our needs and hear our hearts by giving of Himself, ultimately, but also providing things we would not have been planned or expected. We are thankful for our Heavenly Father but also the people He has placed in our lives.
We know many of you have experienced similarly. We know many of you are suffering and hurting. Our hearts and prayers are with you. The biggest ache has been the separation from loved ones and not being able to be physically present. We love you!
Another blog post to come with plans and prayer requests for 2021.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!