Saturday, February 27, 2010

Traditional Dance (Blog Back Issue #3)

This is a clip of three young women from Phnom Penh Mennonite Church doing a traditional dance in the Christmas program on December 27, 2009. They are (from L): Thavy, Sony, and Sophea. Didn't they do a great job? : )

Celebrating Christmas (Blog Back-Issue #2)

Here are some bits and pieces from our Christmas celebrations and festivities in December...

In the middle of December, we made a weekend-trip to Kompong Cham, the home province of Srey Roth, Pastor Dady's wife. We joined her mother's family for their Christmas service and dedication of the newly-constructed church building/house, which included a great pageant/concert by the children and youth.

The day before Christmas, I was finally feeling good enough to tackle my desired project of baking Christmas cookies for our family and several other families. Ming Nyaw's daughters, SreyMom and SreyLaek, stopped by in time to get in on the fun - perhaps the first time they made Christmas cookies? Despite some gas-stove issues, the cookies turned out pretty well!
Christmas morning, the kids wanted to open up the MOUNDS of gifts lovingly sent by our family and MST (thanks again, guys!) before eating a proper breakfast - who wouldn't? - so we stopped for a bread break amidst the gifts and wrapping when our bellies grumbled.

Our tree was up in the corner of our upstairs room/bedroom, and along with the stockings, really helped to make it "feel" like Christmas in the tropical heat.

Christmas night, our family enjoyed cookies and a showing of "The VeggieTales Christmas Special" video in the family room, and Juliana and Kai got extra silly, thanks to the antics of those crazy vegetables and some added sugar in the bloodstream!

The following Sunday, Phnom Penh Mennonite Church celebrated Jesus' birth in typically festive style. Along with lots of Christmas songs and special sharing, several members performed a special, Khmer-style "opera," lip-syncing along to the CD which told the story of Christ's birth. Above, Joseph and Mary praise God in "song." : )

Here the three Wise Men entertain the audience as they search for the new King. I couldn't understand everything said, but the congregation got a bang out of their part of the performance. : )
Lots of gifts were given out in the service as well. Mothers, leaders, and random-drawing winners were among those blessed with small tokens of Christmas joy by PPMC. Here, the children of the congregation receive gifts. (L to R: Kai, Juliana, Mittaphum, Daniel, Rachel, ____, Davey Will, and Allison.) It was a great day of celebrating the Lord's birth with brothers and sisters in Christ!
- Bethany

December Birthdays (Blog Back-Issue #1)

Dear Blog Readers,

We are doing some blog back-issues for the past 3 months because we have many pictures and stories we've not yet shared here. December was a busy and difficult month for us. Besides the busyness of 2 birthdays (Juliana on the 4th and Kai on the 17th) and Christmas celebrations, we were saddened to experience a miscarriage. We were 9 weeks pregnant when we miscarried on December 15th. So within two days we mourned the loss of our baby and celebrated the life of our 2-year old son. We sensed God's grace in special ways and felt very cared for by family and friends here and in the U.S. Thanks to the many of you who prayed for us and sent encouraging e-mails our way!

Birthday Bits:
Juliana had been looking forward to her 5th birthday party for quite a long time and frequently asked us, "How many days 'til my birthday?" On her big day, she got to go shopping for new sandals with Mommy, ride bumper cars with Daddy, and eat macaroni and cheese with the whole family.
Above: Daddy and the birthday girl at the bumper-car rink which we had almost to ourselves in the late afternoon. It was good that it was nearly empty, considering there were no seatbelts in the bumper cars and Juliana was excited, but also a bit nervous about her first experience in this kind of entertainment.

The next day, we had five of Juliana's preschool friends over for a party. Mommy made a yummy cake. Here we're singing. Other activities included facepainting, playing in the sandbox, and musical chairs...

Here Juliana poses for a picture with her friend Hannah after receiving a finger print/doodle pad for her birthday.
As for Kai, his party was much more low-key. We celebrated it as a family, inviting Nyaw, our househelper, to join us.
This boy knows what to do in front of a camera!

A family friend offered to make a cake for Kai's birthday because of Bethany being in the hospital and weak from the miscarriage when she would have liked to be baking. Kai loves cars, trucks, and trains so we were blessed that it was such an appropriate cake, complete with a little car on top.
We love our children and were happy to celebrate their birthdays. As we experienced the loss of a little baby in the same month, we were reminded again to not take for granted the wonderful gift of life that God has given us and our two little ones (who aren't so little anymore!).
- Ryan