Thursday, May 24, 2012

May in the Mekong - Day 2 - Ants are to Eat (Who Knew?)

Day two in the Mekong region (Cambodia, to be specific, Phnom Penh, to be more specific yet) was spent visiting a world class "Continuing Education Program for Alumni" or CEPA, run by one Danish missionary and two Cambodian colleagues. "Capacity-building" is the key expression, as these three gather together Bible School alumni -- NOT in order to give them continuing education, encouragement, or listening ears... but to teach them how to provide on-going continuing education for each other, how to encourage each other, how to provide a good listening ear for each other.

So often students go through a full graduate program, earning a Bachelor's Degree, only to find themselves out in the Cambodian countryside where the latest data concludes that less than half the population has completed a primary school education.... and may not be very open to the ideas, hopes and visions of a young Bible School graduate. CEPA is trying to help Christian alumni link up with each other, providing a professional community of sorts, exchanging ideas and attentively listening to each other, as well as helping each other listen with new ears to God's voice in the Scriptures and in shared prayer.

Speaking of listening ears, a recent article in the Wall Street Journal (scrounged free by yours truly on the Phnom Penh-Bangkok leg of my journey) describes a Harvard neuroscience study which suggest that the opportunity to talk about one's own feelings, experiences, and opinions activate the same sense of pleasure in areas of the brain as do food and money! 

Which suggest to me that a program such as this CEPA is providing the equivalent of manna to hungry Bible School alumni!

Speaking of manna... food which falls from heaven...
Students at the Asian Resource Development Center,  where LTS alumni Sarah and Sarin teach, administer, and counsel.
Students here can earn their Associates Degree in areas such as Computer Science, Accounting, or English.
I had the chance to share with them something of my own Christian faith and understanding... that despite a world which sometimes seems not to care about far away Cambodians, in fact,  they are, each one,  beloved  "stars" in God's eyes, designed for a purpose.

They humored me with great attention.

And then, the day was topped off with a delicious meal of...

Yes, you read the title of this blog post correctly...

Ants. Big ants and little ants. Little brown ants and big green ants.

Ants, shaken down from the mango tree. Fried and mingled with rice.  Sour, crispy and delicious.

 In the past, he let all nations go their own way.   
Yet he has not left himself without testimony: 
He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.      
 Acts 14:16-17

1 comment:

  1. It is interesting to see my face and some other familiar faces on the articles ^-^. Christa, you are just GREAT ;-)