Update: March 2010

Dear Friends and Family,

Spud’s dead. He checked out while I was in Kenya earlier in the month.  The rats and in Cambodia have declared a three day holiday! They hired a hit man. Unlike Caleb of the Bible, taking the mountain when he was 80 years old, O’le Spuddy was 91 (dog) years old, he not only took the mountain, but crossed over it as well. Actually, Spud was more like “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”. He went down with both guns blazing and died with his boots on. You see, it was a cobra that took Spud out, but not before Spud gnawed that sucker in two. Spud’s my hero. He out lived the snake by about 15 minutes. He died doing what he loved, for him; killing rats and snakes. That’s a good way to go (doing what you love). Well doneSpuddy! You were a good old dog! http://www.missionreports.com/spud_funeral The rats are happy.

I went to Kenya to try and help my friend Julius Mbagaya to find a way to take care of about 4500 orphans. It’s a tuff row to hoe when you have no money. What is needed is what we are working toward inCambodia, some kind of sustainable model. Granted we’re not there yet, but for us it looks like the answer has come into view out on the horizon. The solution relies on a series of micro-enterprises, sustainable small scale agriculture projects that range from fish production to quail, ducks, and turkeys, to vegetable gardens for home use and local sale. The big “Khahuna” will be our commercial rice production which we hope will soon be able to feed our kids, and eventually sell off a surplus to support the church growth as well. In Kenya the key is in white maize production. All we need is the means to get there in both countries.Right now we rely on the ever present help of hundreds of Churches, Warm Blankets Orphan Care Int.,Gleanings for the Hungry, Lou Binninger, the Butte County Rice Growers, Children of Promise, and dozens of others who sacrificially give to keep us going!

I returned home to Cambodia in time for a great convergence.  Valentines Day, Chinese New Year, and Sunday all coincided. It was a big deal for our Cambodian kids, and they surprised us with a special program at the Chom Chao church. One of the best parts of the morning was the special angel dance put on by the younger orphan girls. I could hardly keep from laughing as I recalled seeing them waist deep in mud grubbing for fish when we cleaned out the pond, and especially one girl who, a few days before the dance, had to receive a ‘talk’ as she bounced a golf ball sized rock of a boys head for teasing her (the boy survived with a small ‘goose egg”). Nevertheless, they performed like perfect angles. Then Pastor Peter broke a huge Cambodian taboo and spoke about “Love in Marriage” and yes, he talked about the forbidden topic in Cambodian churches; “SEX”! Gasp! After the sermon the kids and staff showered us with multiplied dozens of roses and a large framed montage of Sou and I entitled, “Love Forever”. Do you think Peter was using us for a sermon illustration? It was the most special Valentines Day I’ve had in 63 years! http://www.missionreports.com/valentineday10

This month we were miners and de-miners. Miners? Well not exactly, more like ‘wanna-be’s’ in terms of prospecting. Believe it or I actually did some gold prospecting in Arizona back in the 70’s, never foundmuch, but it was a good education. That, in conjunction with my geology course in college, came in handy as we are desperately trying to find a source of limestone to correct some very acidic soil conditions. With a claw hammer and a mattock pick we must have examined rock from a dozen sites. It pays to persevere! We stumbled across one outcropping of limestone and what we think may be rock phosphate and even some sulfur. If I just had an assay lab!  Anybody know of one??? And mines, land mines that is? We just started construction on a new church home in Bantemeanchy province at an ethic Lao village a as they were digging the foundation “clunk” they hit a land mine. Thank God it was a dud! But, as they carefully dug around it they found the edge of another. We moved the building over 3 meters and tried again and are awaiting the de-miners to remove our problems. Right now, we have one very nervous, but very careful contractor. They tell me his prayer life has vastly improved!

I spent time at both ends of the month, and the middle, running up to our rice farm trying to get ready for planting. We received a couple of containers full of used farm equipment that can greatly increase our production. Our goal is a 15 fold increase in 2 years. The problem is the stuff was disassembled and piled in the containers. That’s ok, we had pictures, but parts were missing. Have you ever gone nuts trying to finish an incomplete jigsaw puzzle?  Only God knows where the missing parts are, but I became the best customer of about three machine shops in Bantemeanchy for February. We’ve got most of the stuff running and it works great! Now, please pray that I get the seed I ordered from South Africa. I may have been scammed! Bummer!

Some things sound great but just don’t work. Like water saving toilets that use 30% less water but take two flushes to clear. Do the math. They don’t work! Our single cylinder Chinese Diesel generators are a prime example. We’ve purchased over 100 of them and though they just sip diesel, I have yet to see one run for a year without major problems, they are noisy, and hard for the kids to start. Hey! This may be my absolution for buying a bulldozer. We’ve gone green! Solar electric units may be our redemption. We’ve had to learn as we go, had a few false starts, but they seem to run long and strong. We now have lights to study by but a new American problem has emerged, the kids are watching TV at night. Hmmmm?? Is this progress or should we pull the plug?  http://www.missionreports.com/solar_system_preykhmer

One of our Foundation funded projects is to reach out to the ethnic tribes in Cambodia. Most of them dwell in the northeast (Parrot’s head) of Cambodia. Look at a map and you’ll see that Cambodia looks like a giant parrot. Anyway, some of these places are pretty remote and our “Young Lions” have made several trips. Imagine 500 kilometers with 25 youth bouncing in the back of a 2&1/2 ton truck over roads that are sometimes worse than nothing, breathing choking dust, and dealing with blown out tires and non existent bridges. But with over 200 saved and baptized in the Spirit in this remote area it is quite a big deal. These revivals continue as kids travel back to their villages with new found power. http://www.missionreports.com/pk_youth_revival  A case in point is two young people that had fallen off the radar. They had been prayed for at our Cham Cho Friday night prayer and then disappeared. Well they emerged at this remote site and, guess what? The one boy who was so crazy he had been kept in Chains has been evangelizing and setting people free for over six months. He has personally led 82 people to Christ. These kids are walking miracles. http://www.missionreports.com/two_miracles

The newest member of our staff, Stephen Jensen, showed up with a medical team from “Asia Link” inNorway. They’ve left, but he’s here to help out for a few months. Jenny and Chalk led the charge with three of our Cambodian doctors. They saw nearly 1000 of patients and led hundreds to Christ in an area that has been so ignored the pastor thought we’d forgotten him. I had to take a break from my machine assembly to run for extra meds. It was one of the great success stories of the month. http://www.missionreports.com/kumru_medical_nor  

That’ll do for this month! Find me a new “Rat dog”!

We love you guys! 

Blessings!
Ted (Pa Thom)
Sou (Mak Thom)
And all the staff doing all the work!

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