December 26, 2011

An Extraordinary Day

It was a morning unlike any Christmas morning we've ever had before.  There was no tree, no decorations, no cinnamon rolls and coffee, and no presents.

Or so we thought.

Because turns out the Tavianos got a word from God and gifted us with a bag of Peanut Butter M&Ms and there was great rejoicing by the Jenkins.  They also gave us a super fun game and an adorable birthday banner that Marla's sister had made.

We are staying at a guest house run by a pastor and his wife.  They have been incredible hosts and work hard to provide an affordable and comfortable place for short term missionaries to stay.  There is a beautiful courtyard where most mornings you will find the kids playing chase and the adults on laptops.

Christmas morning was no different except the kids had something special brewing for the four of us adults.  I was called in to assist as narrator and was in awe at the homemade costumes and organization as they put together a re-enactment of the Christmas story to usher in Christmas Day.  There was the normal bickering as they worked through their creative differences (aka: Nathan wasn't getting to  run the show) and then Garrett rang the 5 min warning bell.

I knew that dragging him to the theater would come in handy!

They had placed plastic chairs in a row with my chair stuck in some bushes because apparently narrating meant channeling my inner Disney where music and magical voices come from vegetation.

The story opened up with Mary receiving a visit from the angel Gabriel.....

Mary and Joseph proceeding into Bethlehem.  Not pictured....Nathan as the donkey Mary rode.  And don't let Garrett's face fool you, he was totally into the whole thing.

There was an adorable shepherd that played her part perfectly.  Not pictured....Nathan as a lamb and then Nathan as a wise man.  The costume changes were frantic but he managed to pull it off. 

They finished up the telling of the Christmas story by singing a few Christmas carols and I can honestly say it was perfect.  It was spontaneous, home made, and wonderful.

After a few rounds of Spot It (you must get this is crazy fun), we headed out for lunch and then to the riverfront to wait on the entire orphanage to arrive.  Asia's Hope was treating them to an hour long boat ride along the river and the kids were super excited!

The river is really low right now and not particularly pretty, but that didn't stop these kids from loving every moment of it.

Our kids had a great time with their friends....there was a lot of running and laughing and posing while Marla and I prayed no one would go over the railing that was about a foot high on top of the boat.

It seemed only appropriate that our two real life angels from the Boy's Center, Yvonne and Steph, joined us on the boat ride.  I find it incredible that they both are involved in ministries outside of their own.  I'm just in complete awe of them.

After the boat ride we took the kids out for fried chicken, french fries, and ice cream cones.  They were in heaven!!!  It was a huge treat for them and I was so impressed at how sweet and gracious they were....all 20 of them.

Christmas night we had tickets to a church event.  Panha and Visna are brothers that work with Yvonne and Steph at the Boy's Center.  They invited us and we were honored to attend this not so small event.

And then came dinner.....

Because we didn't get a chance to give Panha and Veasna the gifts we had brought them, we did it today.  If you remember from a couple of posts ago about Panha sneaking up into the toy room at the Boy's Center to play with toys, you can understand how excited we were to give him his presents.  The Tavianos were super generous with both of them and we gave them micro lego type things.

After reading about Panha, Nathan had decided to give him his PSP and some games.....along with a verbal instruction manual.

If our boys turn out anything like these two when they are older, I would be thrilled.

We leave in this morning for Siem Reap which is a 5-6 hour bus ride from here.  Heaven help me.

That meant saying good-bye to our new friends and it wasn't easy.  I have been inspired and humbled by the people we've met here.  They make me want to be a better person.

Last picture with our tuk tuk drivers.....Po Heng and Po Sivana.

I can not believe how quickly these last 6 days have flown by.  We have 3 days in Siem Reap, Cambodia before we begin our journey home.  All four of us are excited to come back to Phnom Phen to spend time with our new friends and continue to invest in the amazing things God is doing through some folks that are faithful and humble and obedient and self-sacrificing.

Now that we know, we have to do something.  It is, I believe, one of the reasons we are here.

Thank you all for your words of encouragement and prayer.  It has meant a lot to all of us!

Merry Christmas!!!!


  1. You show us through your work how we can make a difference if we just put aside all of our own desires. Thank you for keeping us real of what really matters...those who truly need us and how we should step up and help more. You are such an amazing writer!! Thank you for sharing.

  2. No pictures of me? :) BTW There were 22 kids. Love Ya.


  3. Beautiful post. I'm so thankful for you. So, so, so glad God allowed this whole thing to happen. So glad you're picking up my blogging slack. I love you and all your boys.



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