Photo: Cambodian mother & daughters, courtesy, battembang.net
This is a special year when Easter coincides with the three day Khmer New Year festival. It will be quite a celebration. The rains are just starting to bless us with some cooling in the early evenings. In Cambodia we call this time of year when the rains return as the New Year because it marks that the time to begin growing rice is here. Farmers are out harrowing the fields and those with some irrigation are already starting to flood the paddies with the little remaining water in the ponds.Community Health and Agricultural Development (CHAD) just had a major evaluation with our partners from the Methodist Church in Finland. Lots of good feedback!
On my blog, a new story about prison outreach ministry
is available. Thanks for reading. Thanks, also, for your continued support through prayers, visits and financial contributions .Happy Khmer New Year! Happy Passover! and Happy Easter!
*EASTER GREETINGS FROM THE COUNTRY OF GEORGIA by Kathy Starostka, Individual Volunteer
Happy Easter. I hope you are all well and that you have a wonderful Easter. The Georgian Orthodox Church goes by the old calendar so Easter will not be celebrated here until April 19. On Friday before Easter, parents will color many many eggs red to represent the blood of Christ. They do it only on good Friday and the children do not help. On Saturday night people go to church and spend the entire night there praying and the priests take turns reading scriptures. On Easter families break the fast of the last week six weeks during which many devout Georgians do not eat any animal products. They finally can eat animal products again so it is a happy time for them. They believe that fasting is a way to bring people closer to God. On the day after Easter people go to the cemetery to bring flowers and to leave food. They bring the colored eggs and two people each hold an egg, click them together and the person who breaks the other person’s egg will have good fortune. No Easter bunny here.
I have been busily setting up an instructional program in one of the small villages for several hundred refugees from the conflict last August. I have made arrangements for three of my students of English to go to the village two times a week and teach Georgian, English, and health and first aid.
April 9 was the day to remember the tragedy of when Russian troops came into Tbilisi about 20 years ago and shot down peaceful young people demonstrating in the streets. Tiko and I went down to that area where demonstrations were taking place yesterday. There were many people but it was totally peaceful. The people want changes in the government or at least they want the president of Georgia to acknowledge their problems and concerns.
My students at the Youth House are preparing songs, plays, and little poems for our end of the school year program. The little kids are doing Goldilocks and the Three Bears and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. They are memorizing everything in English which is quite an accomplishment for five year olds.
So life goes on in Georgia. We are doing fine, spring is here and we are waiting for strawberries to appear in the market.
Happy Happy Easter.
Happy Happy Easter.
*EARLY RESPONSE TRAINING (ERT) APRIL 25TH IN COLORADO
EARLY RESPONSE TEAM (ERT) Training - Saturday, April 25, 9:00 - 5:00 pm. This training is for people who would like to help with disaster relief soon after a disaster, such as a tornado or hurricane strikes. ERT members are self-sufficient, badged volunteers who help with tasks such as debris removal and making homes safe and secure. Training will be held at the Rocky Mountain Conference office in Greenwood Village, CO. To register, contact Betsy Keyack, email@example.com, 303-346-7057.
*VOLUNTEERS NEEDED IN FOR GUATAMALA MEDICAL TEAM
St. Luke's UMC 2009 Guatemala surgical team will be providing surgeries in Guatemala the week of September 11 - 20, 2009. We still need more nurses for this trip. Please contact Mark Ely, firstname.lastname@example.org if you are a nurse who would like to participate in this amazing trip. Please spread the word to nurses at your church and place of business!
*VOLUNTEERS NEEDED IN NEW MEXICO
McCURDY SCHOOL MISSION TRIP, New Mexico - You are invited to join a team from Salt Lake City on this mission trip, August 9-14. Contact Marilyn and Hugh Douglas, 801-571-4870.
*VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR UTE NATIVE AMERICAN RESERVATION
UTE MOUNTAIN NATIVE AMERICAN RESERVATION, Tawaoc, CO - You are invited to join a team from Salt Lake City on this mission trip, July 6-10. Contact Marilyn and Hugh Douglas, 801-571-4870.