(Mostly) Live from Phnom Penh

My welcome team. Savorn, not pictured, is holding the camera. Great to see you guys!

My welcome team. Savorn, not pictured, is holding the camera. Great to see you guys!

Well, I survived the 40+ hour journey to Phnom Penh (via Chicago, Doha and Saigon) without much drama. Didn't miss any flights, didn't lose any baggage. Maybe it's because I'm getting older, or maybe I'm coming down with something, but I emerged feeling pretty beat up. It's not the "quick pop across the globe" that it used to be.

Usually I arrive in Phnom Penh late at night, go straight to the hotel, pop a couple Ambien to jump start the jet lag recovery and get my first taste of Cambodia the next morning. Yesterday, however, I arrived at 2:30pm. I was greeted warmly by all of the parents from our six Prek Eng homes, got dropped off at my hotel, given a set of car keys and told, "See you tomorrow at church. You're preaching!." I guess I'd forgotten the "tomorrow is Sunday" thing. No worries.

At the hotel, I met up with Jeff Cannell and Peter Shumaker from my church, Central Vineyard (Columbus, OH), Conrad Esh, from Vineyard Marysville (OH) and Curtis West, a young many who is moving to Cambodia to minister among the Cham Muslim minority population. I attempted a brief nap, but was unable to get any shut-eye. So, we gathered up the crew, jumped into the van and headed off to dinner. On the way, I stopped to get a sim card (so now I'm reachable — use Facetime or Whatsapp if you need to call me), and get measured for a couple shirts.

We ate at Sam Doo and had a passable assortment of dim sum-style dishes, and headed back to the Queenwood Hotel. It's central, it's cheap, but it has deteriorated since my last visit. The water isn't quite as hot, the rooms aren't quite as clean and the sex tourists who frequent the hotel make even less of an attempt to hide the nature of their activities. I think it may be time to look for a new hotel.

Anyway, I slept poorly despite the assistance of pharmaceuticals, and finally gave up on sleep at about 5am. I'm a bit achy, but excited to get out to our Prek Eng campus to see all of the kids and staff. I've not yet written my sermon, but I have a couple of hours to do so. I want to teach the parable of the Prodigal Son and focus on the figure of the father who, despite all of the cultural expectations surrounding his relationship with a son who had shamed the family, went out every night and searched the horizon, waiting for his return. And who when he saw him on the edge of his field, hiked up his robe and ran to him, weeping...and welcoming.

Or something like that.

I'll be sure to take lots of pictures. But for now, you'll just have to imagine it.

John McCollum1 Comment