"Like Clara Peller being bludgeoned to death. With the AFLAC duck."

5:30 a.m. and the Jumanji sounds are once again emanating from the bowels of this hotel. And there's apparently someone pulling cats backwards through cheese graters on my balcony. Oh, wait. That's the wedding party a block down the street. Judging from decibel levels alone, it seems they rented their sound system from the Rolling Stones' most recent world tour. And then shot it repeatedly and at close range.

Adding menace to the mayhem, government propaganda is blaring from the large and horribly bespeakered pickup truck parked just outside my hotel, courtesy Prime Minister Hun Sen and the Cambodian People's Party.

It sounds like Clara Peller being bludgeoned to death. With the AFLAC duck.

So let's just say that, while I like the sound of a live goat being eaten by a condor as much as the next guy, it hasn't been the most relaxing morning.

I was hoping to get a little more sleep, as we're planning our own noisy "people's party" tonight, a dance and ice cream extravaganza at the Asia's Hope campus. Perhaps some late-night Gangam Style or Cotton Eyed Joe will be sufficient payback for the aural affliction imposed on us this fine Cambodian morning. I'll throw in some Call Me Maybe if I'm feeling sufficiently retributive.

Sleep-deprived snarkiness aside, we're having a pretty great time here in Battambang. Our little piece of heaven in Battambang, Cambodia really is one of the happiest places on earth. Inside the gates of our community, the sick get healed and orphans get families. It's really extraordinary, and if you haven't been here, you really can't get the full sense of what it's like. If my photos and stories convey even half, it's a minor miracle.

We've spent hour after joyful hour with our kids and staff, and are really going to miss them when we say good bye after tonight's party. Tomorrow morning we will pack up the car and drive to Phnom Penh, where we'll spend a week with our friends and family there. 

I can't wait to see the new campus taking shape in Prek Eng -- just one year ago it was an empty field. Today it's something quite different. There's a church and a school and homes being built. We still need more funding to finish the project, but it'll be amazing to see in person the progress I've been following through emails and Facebook all year.

So, be encouraged. I am. There's a lot of bad, bad stuff going on this world. But there is also profound good. It's a privilege to be a part of what God is doing here.

John McCollumComment