There is no 911 service here in Poipet so when it comes to protection from the “bad guys” it’s pretty much every man for himself.
Personally I am not worried. My years of watching martial arts movies and the Original Star Trek TV show have more than enough equipped me for taking on anyone, or anything, that might try to make their way onto our property. Makara on the other hand gets worried a lot about potential intruders. She tends to lose sleep when our neighbors tell us that someone was asking questions about our house while we were away.
I asked Makara, “Don’t you think my manly manliness is enough to protect us?” She just looked at me with a “are you serious or can I start laughing now” kind of look. So, for peace of mind and Makara’s quality of sleep, I’ve decided to beef up our security.
As a missionary it often feels like “every man for himself” in regards to the work that I do. I am surrounded by a culture which thinks and believes very differently than I do, not just in regards to faith, but in day to day life as well. I can remind myself that I belong to a larger organization, and that I am supported from home, but neither of those things are a practical reality. The real support I receive as a missionary is not from the other side of the world, but it is from all the others like me close at hand:other missionaries working in Cambodia, and Cambodian Christians.
But my biggest support comes from my wife. God has put she and I together to “do battle together”, as she would say it.
I’m sure many missionaries feel like they’re on their own when it comes to financial support as well. A western church which regards itself as a “missions church”, but doesn’t put its money where its mouth is is just blowing hot air. But I do strongly believe that if a missionary can find ways to support himself then he should make every effort to do so.
Before Makara and I married I bought two pieces of land. On one piece I built a house. The other piece we are going to use for some farming projects. There are two main reasons we want to do this. First is so that we can begin to make money to support ourselves, and be financially secure in the future. Secondly, we want to be able to use our finances and experience to help the Cambodians around us to break free from poverty. Perhaps in the future we can provide micro loans, and teach wise financial planning.
The farming projects we are looking at are chickens, fish, and grasshoppers. Grasshoppers are actually very popular with Asians. Westerners think it is gross and weird to eat grasshoppers, but once you get passed the mental barrier grasshoppers are quite tasty. What you do is fry them up with a little oil and salt and they taste a lot like buttered popcorn. Hey we all might be eating insects one day! The other day Makara and I visited a home where they farm grasshoppers. The people were more than happy to show us how it’s done. This may be the first farming project Makara and I attempt, as raising grasshoppers is a lot easier than fish or chicken.
In the next week or two we hope to visit some fish and chicken farms so that we can learn from them as well.
Please pray for us as we continue to do our work here in Poipet, Cambodia!