January 30, 2014

New Scholarship Students!

Let's talk about provision: something supplied at the right time.

Looking back to our earliest Threaded Leaf Project beginnings, we can say that we cannot take any claim for ANYTHING — it's all been the Lord stepping in and being our PROVISION.

He has done it again — and YOU have helped.

We're a small organization, still learning, still growing — and we do our best to follow what we feel God leading us to do, helping as much as we feel we can responsibly handle and manage. When we got back to the USA a few months ago, we felt we were at a standstill, unable to add any new students to our TLP Family...

He had other plans.

We're ridiculously excited to share that our Threaded Leaf Project Family just grew by four more students. FOUR MORE STUDENTS! Just when we hit the standstill, He stepped-in and once again, became our provision.

New Students! Sovern, Sarat, Piseth, Sarun (plus Maury and Karen)

These four students have been in our hearts and minds since we first met them at our student Bible studies, and we knew what we needed to be able to help — we just didn't have it. While we were in the USA, the Lord spoke to many of you, and through you, He provided just what we needed to be able to bring them into our Student Family.

He didn't provide almost enough.
He didn't provide too much.
He provided what we needed.
Something supplied at the right time.

THANK YOU for supporting our work here in Cambodia. We could NOT do this without you. So many of you pray for us, so many of you support us financially, so many of you love Cambodia and her people and want help be part of the Life Change we see spreading like wildfire.

THANK YOU ALL! We now have 10 students in University, and with Sovern moving in, we will have 5 girls in our Girl's Home. Good stuff! An extra bonus is that the BPF Team got to meet the guys when they visited our Girl's Home.

Sarat, Sarun, Piseth, and Sovern are about to begin a really cool journey, and we love that YOU are a part of it.

And above all, we thank God for always being our provision. For always showing His hand. For His blessings, poured out. To Him be the glory and honor and praise!

January 25, 2014

Cambodia Trip Six Photos!

Posting pics as we take them so you can follow along "real-time" as we're over here in Cambodia! I'll keep this post at the top, so check back often often for new images!

  • Some of our students were able to meet us at the airport when we arrived, and they made a sign for us and our church team! I cannot think of a better way to come back to Cambodia than first seeing our students' faces and hearing their voices!
  • The ride to our apartment, full of giggles and laughing!
  • It's SOOOOOOO nice to see this view from our apartment again!
  • Karen and I took a crew of Cambodia first-timers to one of our favorite spots in Phnom Penh, Jars of Clay Coffee Shop. Had a great time with everyone, and I must admit that I am EXTREMELY proud of them for holding out for so long! It was a long first day for them, and they did an awesome job of staying awake, haha!
  • Christmas play at Lvea Sar!
  • Live band!
  • Robbi made some English students happy playing an alphabet game!
  • Took a crew to get our favorite hamburgers in Phnom Penh! It's such a blast to hang out with these folks! LOVING IT!
  • Craft Time at Lvea Sar!
  • Craft Time at Lvea Sar!
  • Craft Time at Lvea Sar!
  • Craft Time at Lvea Sar!
  • Craft Time at Lvea Sar!
  • My coloring parter, Theary, is back again this year! She's the cutie on the right.
  • We were blessed to have some of the church team break away and come with us as we looked for fabric for our upcoming Summer clothing line. We got ALL our fabric picked out in ONE DAY thanks to the awesomeness of this group! We love LOVE everything we selected, and can't for y'all to see it!
  • We were blessed to have some of the church team break away and come with us as we looked for fabric for our upcoming Summer clothing line. We got ALL our fabric picked out in ONE DAY thanks to the awesomeness of this group! We love LOVE everything we selected, and can't for y'all to see it!
  • Lunch with our awesome Threaded Leaf Project Fabric Crew!
  • Patiently waiting for the decisions to be made, haha!
  • We were blessed to have some of the church team break away and come with us as we looked for fabric for our upcoming Summer clothing line. We got ALL our fabric picked out in ONE DAY thanks to the awesomeness of this group! We LOVE-love everything we selected, and can't for y'all to see it!
  • Massen-Girls!
  • Lvea Sar chmaa.
  • Meagan with the girls that attached themselves to her all week, Neeta and Theary.
  • Me and Karen with one of the girls we sponsor, Phany, and one of the littles that attached herself to me throughout the week, Leesa.
  • Me and my buddy Leap! We've been buds for a couple of years now, and it's always fun to hang out with him. He doesn't talk as much as some of the other kiddos, but he always manages to find me and come give me hug. As we waited for the ferry on the last day, he came over, hugged me, grabbed my hands, and turned to face the water with my hands over his shoulders. We just stood there for a while together, and it was great.
  • Some of the crazy-fun village kiddos we got to hang out with again this year! My coloring partner from last year, Theary, Neeta, Leesa, and more!
  • Carol and some of the pastors that came to the conference at Lvea Sar.
  • Karen and I took a big crew to another one of our favorite spots, Will's Brunch Cafe.
  • Karen and I took a big crew to another one of our favorite spots, Will's Brunch Cafe.
  • Oh, Paul's BreweHouse, it's so good to be back in Cambodia so I can each your delicious food and drink your delicious coffee!
  • Half of the church team enjoying lunch at Daughter's Sugar 'n Spice Garden Cafe.
  • Bopha got a new machine to give us even more options for our Threaded Leaf Project clothing line!
  • Moto!
  • A beautiful day in Cambodia...
  • Bopha always spoils me with her delicious tea, fruit, or iced coffee!
  • Sorphea, Sam, and David surprised me with some gifts for our BPF Team! I have scarves for everyone, each sporting the Threaded Leaf Project logo which was screen printed by Sam (Sorphea's brother). All kinds of colors, too! SOOOOO thoughtful of these guys! THANK YOU!
  • On a tuk tuk to the airport, picking up friends! We would LOVE for YOU to the next group we pick up!
  • Cracked open the Big Gun today: 4 pounds of Creamy Jif Peanut Butter. BOOM!
  • Another beautiful day in Cambodia!
  • Cruising around Phnom Penh with friends on a gorgeous day! Doesn't get much better than this!
  • When we went to Bopha's tonight, I showed Travis where I go to work while Karen and Bopha are working on clothes.
  • Katherine got to spend time with Sreypov tonight, and Katherine gave her a top-quality, super-cute — and pink — stethoscope of her own as Sreypov works through nursing school!
  • Katherine got to spend time with Sreypov tonight, and Katherine gave her a top-quality, super-cute — and pink — stethoscope of her own as Sreypov works through nursing school!
  • Nurse sisters!! So glad they were able to finally meet and spend time together!!
  • You're too good to me, Paul's Brewehouse...
  • Katherine and Travis surprised me with these goodies from the USA! ANOTHER POUND OF PEANUT BUTTER CUPS! The rationing can STOP!!
  • Work work work!
  • Katherine and Travis at Psaa Thmey.
  • Karen, Katherine, and Travis at Psaa Thmey.
  • Celebrating Katherine's 50th in Cambodia and with our Threaded Leaf Project students and friends!
  • A GORGEOUS Birthday cake made by the awesome team at Bloom Cafe, Phnom Penh!
  • The newest members of our growing Threaded Leaf Project Family! Sovern, Sarat, Piseth, and Sarun! They will be starting University soon, and we can't wait to walk alongside them on their journey! Thank YOU for helping us help these students!
  • On our way to Living Stones Church!
  • Sisters!
  • At Living Stones Church!
  • Working on something cool...
  • Two of our new students, Sovern and Sarun, registered for Chenla University today! Let the journey begin!
  • One of our new students, Sarat, registered for University today at the Faculty of Medicine and Pediatrics! Let the journey begin!
  • Updated and redecorated upstairs Study Room at our Threaded Leaf Project Girl's Home!
  • Updated and redecorated upstairs Study Room at our Threaded Leaf Project Girl's Home!
  • Updated and redecorated upstairs Study Room at our Threaded Leaf Project Girl's Home!
  • "Threaded Leaves" on the balcony door and window.
  • Updated and redecorated upstairs Study Room at our Threaded Leaf Project Girl's Home!
  • Little Liviya wearing her cool glass on the way to dinner!
  • Karen and Sorphea working!
  • On the way to visit the homeland of six of our students!
  • Field Trip!
  • Sorphea making us a DELICIOUS lunch!
  • This is one of the rice fields their village plants and harvests from. They all share the work and the rice, but it's not usually enough to feed everyone.
  • Sorphea's family recently started to raise chickens, and it was lunch time for them!
  • The banana trees planted in the back yard.
  • Family and friends came together to cook this wonderful lunch for us.
  • We had great conversation with Sorphea's Aunt about some possible Threaded Leaf Project work we can do in the village with the kiddos.
  • This is the church in the village where several of our students and their families attend. There are no trees or plants on the property, because they can't afford a fence yet. Without a fence, cows and pigs will eat anything they plant.
  • This is the inside of the church.
  • Sina's Mom, her little brother, and Sina!
  • Piseth and his family. His Dad is a Pastor, and his whole family are Christian. I just have to say, his middle sister is so CUUUUTE!
  • Sovern and her family. So sweet! Her little sister (on the left) was crying because she was so excited to have foreigners at her house that spoke English. She is studying English, and finally had a chance to use it with real English speakers.
  • We all got a big laugh as Karen and I tried to walk up and down the ladder-rung steps into their house. You could tell we'd never done it before!
  • Sovern, Sarat's Mom, and Sorphea!
  • Sarat and his Mom! The only time that beautiful smile left Sarat's Mom's face was when she told us her story. In short... Sarat's Father died when Sarat was 3 years old, and the family has struggled ever since. Since he was little, Sarat dreamed of being a Doctor to help children, but higher education was never a possibility. She told us she has prayed for years that Sarat could go to University, and now, her prayers have been answered. What a blessing to be part of it!
  • Sarun and his family! Sarun's Grandmother was so sweet and cute! She is 80 years old, and had never seen a foreigner in person before. She was so excited and just couldn't stop staring at Karen!
  • I thought our students were bad about taking pictures, but Sarun's Grandmother was every bit as bad! She wanted pictures with us so that we could print them and give them to her to look at! She was so sweet!
  • Sarun's Grandmother and Karen, who she said looked like a doll.
  • Sarat's Mom wanted a pic, too, so she scooted-in for a shot!
  • Sreypov and her family! her sister and brother in law are farmers, and they work to help support her by sending food, money for clothes, etc. Just a beautiful, sweet, loving family!
  • Walking around the village, visiting family...
  • A local preschool, waiting for people to come teach. They also want people to come short term to teach English and computer to folks in the village. How long is short term in their minds? One to two weeks. How long have I been thinking people could come over and work alongside us? For one to two weeks. Hmm...
  • Sorphea's Uncle, who maintains and operates this preschool. He has big — but VERY realistic — plans. We want to help, and we want you to help us!
  • Group shot!

January 24, 2014

Cambodia Trip 5 Pictures

There are 100 pictures from Cambodia Trip 5 ready to view!

Cambodia Trip 5 Pictures

Visit our Photos page to see pictures from our other trips, as well!

January 1, 2014

One Day To Go!

Tomorrow afternoon, we head back to Cambodia for another 3 month stay! We're also going to be traveling with our local church, and some of the folks will be leaving that group to experience Cambodia the way we do while we live there — and we're super excited about that. Plus, we have some great friends that will be staying on an extra week to get more involved with our work.

For me and Karen, it's all about the relationships. We don't want to be "moments" or "events" or "times" in the lives of the people we get to work with — not that there's anything wrong with that. For us, personally, we want to become facets of their lives, living Life alongside them, day by day, through the ups and the downs, in real time. We're blessed to be able to do just that, and we can't wait to continue growing closer and closer to our friends and family in Cambodia!

We must also share that 2013 was, by far, the best year in Threaded Leaf Project's history! Six students began their journey of higher education, five girls were given a safe, loving home to live in, a team of five women had full-time employment to better provide for their families, and a team of four crocheters were able to have work when no one else would give it to them. LIFE CHANGE! We saw our student Bible Study grow from two students to over a dozen, we've seen community and relationships grow and deepen, we've seen wall after wall come down as lives thread closer together. We saw our TLP Family grow, grow, and GROW! The Lord truly blessed TLP in 2013!

One of our goals and dreams for Threaded Leaf Project is for people here in the US to catch the vision and get involved, and 2013 was our best year ever on that front, too. So, so, so many of you stepped-up to help in SO many ways — from home shows, to prep, to praying, to getting the word out, to financially supporting, etc., etc., etc. We saw our USA TLP Family grow by leaps and bounds in 2013, and we appreciate you guys SO MUCH! Thank you for being part of the Life Change in Cambodia!

As 2014 begins today, Karen and I look forward to what the year holds — and we're excited that we begin the year in our other home, Cambodia. We hope and pray our TLP Family continues to grow in 2014, and we can't wait to start seeing the awesome things the Lord unfolds!

December 8, 2013

Just A Few Days To Go…

In less than a month, we'll be heading back to Cambodia for another 3-month stay — and we can't WAIT! It's all about building and developing relationships with these wonderful young people, students, and young adults. Becoming facets of their lives, not just moments or events. Living and experiencing Life alongside them and with them, day by day, week by week, month by month. Actually being there, just minutes away. They're all such huge blessings to our lives, and we're honored to haae such a big, extended, Khmer Family!

We will also have some friends staying with us for a week, experiencing life as we live it while we're in Cambodia — and we're super-excited to have them with us! Our hope is to have more people come and experience our work, meet our students, seamstresses, crocheters, and friends — and get more and more involved with Threaded Leaf Project. We already have people preparing to come over with us when we're there this summer, but there's always room for more!

Now a confession: in this day and age, it's so easy to keep people up-to-date via our Facebook page page, which means this site gets neglected. I am going to work toward more consistent updates here, more photos, more everything — so please be patient as I work to make our site a better resource. Thanks!

July 19, 2013

A New Student

Tuesday was one of our best days so far. We went to our student Bible Study, and about halfway through, a young girl arrived and joined the group. After we finished BIble Study, we all sat and ate rambutan and talked, laughed, hung out — then Sorphea asked everyone to leave so we could talk with the girl that arrived during the study.

Her name is Thavry, and she's super sweet, kind-hearted, and speaks English really, really well. She goes to church with Sorphea and our other students. She's studying to be a doctor, and she's just finishing-up her fourth year of school — with four more to go. She lives at the school's dorm, where she helps as a resident assistant, allowing her to only pay $5 each month for rent. She's a full-time student, but she works here and there helping translate for various groups and organizations where her busy schedule allows. This helps her have a little money for food.

As we see with a lot of students, the support from her family has run its course for now. Her parents are farmers from the Provence, and very poor. This was to be her last semester in school so that her parents could spend all of next year saving as much money as possible to hopefully be able to pay for school again. Not only would this take its toll on the educational momentum Thavry has built up over the last four years, it would also mean that when (and if) she was to return to school, she would have to pay a higher tuition amount — and that, alone, could mean the end of her higher education. As long as she maintains her status as a full time student, she is guaranteed her current tuition amount.

As she told us her story and her struggles and fears, tears welled-up in her eyes, and she was just wrought with desperation. We could all feel it. It was as if we could sense her feeling her whole life collapsing around her — she was losing hope, and feeling like the last four years of her life would be wasted, and her dream of being a doctor to help poor Cambodians would be lost. She said Sorphea had told her about our organization, and she just wanted to talk to us and see if we thought we could help. I answered: "we will help you."

When I said this, she broke down and wept like we've never seen a Khmer person weep. Emotions are heavily guarded in Cambodia, even among the younger generation, but she just wept uncontrollably for a few minutes, covering her sweet face, and we could feel the weight of her anxiety and fear lifted. We all had tears in our eyes, and we all felt hopelessness get kicked in the gut. It was a good feeling, that.

And the timing? All God. He knew we would be in Cambodia. He knew we would be at Bible Study. He orchestrated Sorphea telling Thavry about us, and getting her to come to the house while we were there. Just when she was at the end of her rope, He allowed our paths to cross.

She practically floated out of the house, excited to tell her family about this huge relief. We did, too.

Life change. BE-ing here. BE-ing where He needs you to be. BE-ing His hands and feet and attitude. We are so blessed to be able to do this work, and that He's chosen us to walk this path. We simply cannot imagine doing anything other than this.

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