Monday, October 1, 2007


Today is October 1st. How long have I been here anyway? My goodness. It is October?

I woke up this morning and thought to myself, "Yeah, I don't really want to be in Cambodia today." I think I had another dream about home.

Yesterday, Sunday, was kind of a lonely day. Most Sundays I call home. I was at the internet shop at 9am, trying to figure out Sype to connect with my sister, Ashley and her husband, Ben. It worked and it was so good. I talked to them, my dad in Colorado, and Tyler in Washington. I can't complain. The technology I have at my fingertips is nothing to complain about. Compared to SM's 20 years ago, I am probably cheating! It is always good to call home. My family reminds me I am human. My family asks, "How are you doing?" My family knows my history, my strengths, my weaknesses, they know me.

After leaving there, I was feeling really good. But alas, Sundays are grading days. I always have schoolwork to do, lesson plans to write, and papers to grade. So I buried myself in work. On days like this, it is hard to feel like I have much purpose. When I feel useless I get homesick. When I get homesick, it makes it very hard to keep living and breathing and teaching and giving to my students and being compassionate with people. I pray every day that God will help me to love this country and the people in it. I'm going to keep praying.

I know now, that I sought to be an SM because I wanted to say, "I was an SM in Cambodia for a year". But now I am not so sure. There is a huge difference between wanting to be an SM and actually doing it. There is a huge difference between being anxious to serve after seeing and ADRA video and actually serving. There is a huge difference between vowing to love people and actually loving them.

There is a 1st grader here named LyChard. He actually lives across the street. All in all, he is a good kid with decent English and a big, toothy grin. He is a little shrimp and prefers to go shirtless and cammando under his pants most of the time when he is at home. He likes to play and have attention. Sometimes I have the energy and sometimes I don't. When his sweaty little body wants to "airplane" and jump off tables into our arms, I don't always want to play. He wears a paper crown that says, "Today is my birthday", every day. On the inside is written, in very good English, this note: "LyChard, Happy Birthday. Here in America children like these sorts of things. Hope you enjoy it too!" LyChard is a sponsored child. Ya know the children you can sign-up for in foreign countries and write letters to? That is LyChard. I have no idea how many of my students have American sponsors. Several I am sure. But this made me remember, there is a difference between writing a child letters and sending them gifts, and loving them.

Sometimes these children aren't so loveable. Cambodia is not a beautiful place. It just isn't. There is nothing glamourous about teaching in a hot classroom surrounded by 30-some sweaty bodies. There is nothing particularly "cool" about walking past beggars without legs and children without clothes. The language barrier is awful and isolating. Being labeled a "foreigner" get's old, fast. But I am. This world I have entered is foreign to me. It isn't always exciting. It isn't always an adventure. It isn't a nice mission trip experience and I won't be returning to the comforts of home any time soon.

This blog is not meant to demean. I do not write to discourage people from sponsoring children in other countries or send money to help ADRA. But I have just come to realize that the things I thought would be rewarding because I was doing them for God are not guaranteed to be easy. There is a difference between talking and doing.

Henry Ford says, "You cannot build a reputation on what you are going to do."

Preach it Henry. Preach it.


Anonymous said...

Heather---You continue to inspire me to be a doer and a giver...not just a talker or intender! We love you! Sandy