Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Our Little Outreach in Photos

Hello All!

We have been back for three weeks from our outreach to Cambodia, and although not completely anchored, are enjoying our temporary stay at the Island Breeze YWAM base in Western Sydney. A fun way to transition back into the buzz and grind of Sydney life. Shout out to the M7 motorway for connecting us to our northside peoples!

We have talked often and fondly of our time in Cambodia since being back and it's a good indication that this little nation has won a piece of our heart. It has been an invaluable experience as a family being pressure-cooked in tight living quarters (actually that's still happening), in a foreign culture for an extended period of time that causes you to wonder, could I do this long-term? What would I need to effectively survive here and minister to the local people, how could I influence change for a greater good and partner with people to raise up a developing nation? All really good questions that Kevin and I have only the beginnings of answers to. We look forward to sharing more on this as the ideas and dreams unfold!

Below are some pics of our time and although it's not all of it, it reflects some of what we got to experience.

Thank you for your love, support and encouragement as we ventured out there  in this crazy season of life,

High fives all round,
The Friesen's

The People

Bananas for sale!
This woman rocks! Te cooking for the village kiddos.
Our team and kiddos at work with Village Kids Outreach
Always laughing with Mr Rich!

Beloved Grandma Ang
Cambodian generations, a rare and beautiful thing
The beauty we find...Mama and son at one of the villages we visit
Our local laundry ladies
Master of the Water Cow.
Our amazing tuk tuk drivers!
Village Life
Rice fields and village farmland
Known as a "water cow"....working the rice fields
One of the best ways around the villages
This is Aunty Jill's photographic gold!
Local farm cows, or on the side of the road cows.
The famous and construction defying Floating Villages
Buddies on a mission - Judah and Dan visiting floating villages
Uncle Al, photographing on the boat deck.

Daily Life
Our little urban district of Siem Reap
Rainy days bring flooded streets
Time-out. Reflect. Reset. At Sister Srey cafe.
Oh my! Tuk tuk drivers are young around here!
Visiting local churches - Freedom Centre we love you!
The makings of a film project
Izzy's toothpick art - ways we pass time at restaurants.
Final days at our fave Vibe vegan cafe
Things you see around town! Feet-nibbling fish.
Grocery shopping at Lucky Mall

Judah at Angkor Wat balancing on ancient stones
Happy Daddy with his Go Pro at Ta Prohm
Love spontaneous happy snaps!
Visiting the Landmine Museum
I loved capturing this authentic smile moment from our girl.
The rascals! Temple town locals.
Breastfeeding at Angkor Wat....what?
Family of Temple Trekkers!

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. "
Marcel Proust

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Four Years Later....and We're In Cambodia

Good morning!

Well it's certainly been a good long while since I blogged. Four years, four kids almost feels like another era. Well, I am not about to fill in every bit of time past - truth is it's been such a fog up here in my mamma brain, good luck trying to extract it all! But I can begin a new chapter of recent accounts in the Friesen's world.

Up until three months ago we have been living in Sydney, working, pregnant and barefoot (literally) and having a jolly old time with friends and family. I asked one of our mates,
shortly after the birth of our fourth baby if he could remember me NOT pregnant and he laughed - nope. Since moving to Australia five years ago, arriving here five months pregnant, I have been having babies ever since! And as much as I have loved this season of growing our tribe and the four little blessings we get to snuggle up to, I began to wonder what else I might be good at in life?!
Sweaty bubba in Cambodia

So began some months, of Kevin and myself asking some big questions about where and what we wanted to see ourselves doing for the next chunk of time. The end result of this has been a drastic change, as we uprooted from our comfortable and loved Sydney community and moved to a YWAM base in Wollongong. If anyone knows anything about YWAM they will know that it's a very minimalistic and stretching experience - often endured by the single 20 something year old. Well, we can't just let all the singles have their fun and adventure we have in full capacity invaded their segway in life with our noisy tribe, akin, searching for the next step in life.
Judah trying to understand what's on our street...

After three months of being students and learning everything from biblical worldview to relationships and missions we have prepared ourselves to now embark on the next leg of our YWAM adventure - living in Cambodia. For the next two months our family are trying to immerse in this drastically different culture and get a feel for life as cultural anthropologists with Jesus. 
The goal for long term missionaries these days is about becoming a 'belonger' of the new culture and serve, though love, the people of that culture. We go seeking to bridge the gaps of misunderstanding, create safe and empowering communities of sustainable growth all the while preserving the uniquity and beauty of the culture. Our model: The Kingdom of God. What is this?? A whole other level of love in action. Sometimes we are the ones, who in the process of it all, get humbly transformed first. In fact, anytime I have travelled and immersed in another culture, this is always the way. Culture shock lends way to a dying of self in order to become a more integrated, more resilient person. 
Our local coconut and cold beverage vendors - bless!
After reading up on some blogs and others experiences of culture shock, I have diagnosed myself as being in the third stage - The Re-intergation Stage. Aside from being irritable, and idealising the life I am accustomed to, I find myself rejecting aspects of our new Cambodian life and hiding away in my room eating 'western' food watching movies with the kids. If that eventually drives me crackers, I bust out of my confinement with kids in tow and hit the western grocery store and buy a whole bunch of food I would never usually eat, like Oreos and crappy granola bars! Kevin on the other hand, has just returned from a walk among 'his fellow Cambodians', as he put it. He has reached the 4th and final stage 'acceptance'. Hopefully, Mama and kids won't be too far behind!
Our street 

Amidst it all, there is something so special about being here in the Kingdom of Cambodia. We are met with curious smiling faces everywhere we go and the smell of outdoor BBQ's. Tuk-tuk's (motorbikes with a passenger canopy) scoot by and take us to our destination, the warm air breezes past us and cools the sticky sweat that is notorious in these parts of the world. The food is surprisingly delicious and Siem Reap has so many amazing food options (I have already posted a shout-out to Vibe, vegan cafe). Our kids are in awe of such a vastly different place and are thanking their lucky stars we have access to a pool, regardless of how much higher the chlorine content is than normal! And we haven't even explored the ruins of Angkor Wat! 
Izzy getting crafty at Pouk Village
This week has been a busy one as we help run a King's Kids camp for 25 teenagers and primary aged kids. Kevin has been teaching alongside our team and Izzy and Jubes have been able to partake in a very kid-focussed and fun event. They have been meeting friends from Cambodia, Korea and Phillipines, even the USA. It's been so cool to see the kids even writing in their journals each day!

We have had the opportunity to reach out to other communities outside of Siem Reap and help them in their ministry to the poor, and uneducated. One such couple Sokha and Theada are angels in action as they live in a corrugated tin shack with their three year old son and open their home up to 30 plus kids each day to teach them basic schooling and feed them. They recently enlisted our help to come and help teach a 'kids camp' and we have all taken turns teaching and orchestrating activities for these beautiful children, hungry to learn. 
Kev filming with Nate and Yang
We are also working on a video project to help the YWAM base here raise funds for a new education and missions facility here in Cambodia.  We were super excited get started working with the local leaders Nate and Sophat on their vision and bring life and helpfully the funds needed to achieve their vision. 

It's hard to believe we are almost half way through our outreach, yet we are so excited for whats ahead! Massive shout out to our team, Jill, Geoff, Rocky, Solomon, Irene, Al and Cheryl for having our backs all the way. We have managed to have a date afternoon and they have many times lightened the load of kiddos so Kev and I can take time to get our bearings in this hectic place. We are so blessed to be surrounded by these beautiful people. 

Well, that's all the time I have .....making the most of my 'power hour'!
Bless you all and I'll be putting fingers to keyboard again soon.

All smiles in the Tuk-tuk

The Friesens x

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Ferry Rides, Friends and Footy

Five Year Anniversary Holiday to the Hunter Valley
Hello Dear Ones!

Sydney ferry ride on the harbour.
It is a blustering day here in Sydney, with sun shining and winds between 60-80kph billowing through our yard. 
I madly chose to walk the kids up the hill to our local coffee joint, and typically got wind blasted on our walk back. Poor Izzy has a love hate relationship with the elements these days. To the point, where I look back on the path to find her swatting at her face, exclaiming "Get off me wind!!" Bless her heart!

Baby baller in blue.
To think, our precious son, Judah is 10 months old as of this week! Nearly a year! He's by no means slowing down from his 90th percentile size - he must be Texan - Go big or go home, as they say. Just more of him to love....

Our keen artist painting.
We have been feeling more and more the peace of knowing that we are exactly where God wants us to be. It's taken a good year, but The Friesen's have made a home here in Sydney, Australia. Its a nice feeling, regardless of the future and what and where it holds for us, being committed to the present and going deeper in our community is where its at for us and is an incredible blessing.

Birthday Boy
The Big 40!
On of the things that's really burning on our hearts lately is relationship with others. Whether it's your two and a half year old, your husband, a girlfriend from church or the barista at your local coffee shop, God sees it as all very significant and valuable. And it seems that we've caught on to this. 
Some of the best stories I love hearing from Kevin are when he has an encounter with someone he just met or has bumped into, and the comedy and sentiment that follows. We both get so excited to have opportunities to encourage people no matter where they're at in life or to just sit and take a bit of time to listen to their story. 

Staring at the Opera House
Two people whom have no connection to us other than they worked at the cafe that we often go to as a family or just Mum and the kids, is Alessia and Jake. Both took an interest in Izzy and for months would say hello and try and play or have a conversation with her. A cautious social engager, Izzy loved the attention but would not converse or play for quite some time. Finally after months of persevering, Alessia was the first to get a smile and some interaction. They would hang out in different parts of the cafe (which is alfresco) checking out the birds, drawing on the chalk board etc Soon Alessia was on Izzy's radar and a friend. However, Jake, being a bigger male figure, was still on the outer ring with Izzy, until one day, Kevin and I got to witness our little girl finally take a leap of trust and say "Hello" to Jake. Hearts were melted and a friend was made. Today Izzy and Jake are just two noisy buds drawing on the chalk board and talking about giraffe's. Sadly our cafe friends are moving onto other places, but because of the relationship we as a family have built, are choosing to remain in contact. This is the gospel in action! Its so simple a two year can get it.

Some of our wonderful community
Kevin is also reaping the benefits of good customer relations through his business and is off to a game tonight of AFL - Aussie Rules Football as we call it here. It's not Rugby (unfortunately) but it still holds a quick and more nimble approach to footy - and if you like men in tight shorts, well then this is the game for you. I personally am a Rugby fan, but hey, can't knock it till you've seen the game and Kevin is getting a first hand opportunity with one of his business clients, Brian, a Sydney Swans fan! I will thoroughly enjoy my Canadian hubby's view of this mad sporting event, later this evening.
And last but not least - CTF Sydney has just recently celebrated their one year birthday! Check out the video link to see our past year of fun!

Well, the children are sleeping and Bread and Butter Pudding bakes in the oven....the only thing left to do is curl up on the couch and watch an episode of Downton Abbey - for all you BBC fans out there you will hopefully know what I mean!

Sending love and loads of sticky baby and toddler hugs your way,
Be blessed,
Kevin, Amy, Israel and Judah