Christmas 2010 Update

Dear friends and partners,

Its Christmas time again and the excitement is building. For Miriam and I the excitement is tenfold for after 5 more sleeps my journey with breast cancer will be over – well, not completely, but the intensive treatment of the cancer will be finished and we can go home.  The prognosis looks good and the daunting process is no longer so daunting. We are so very thankful for that.

My staff is marking off the days on the calendar till we meet – now they are counting hours. I prefer the days, it sounds so much shorter than hours. Several bus loads will meet us at the airport and the celebrations will begin.  Life is good.

While in Singapore I have met so very many of the volunteers who do so much for us. They touch my heart – I met a young lady of 9 raising money to build a school – every weekend she sells baked goods – sometime she gets tired but she doesn’t quit – I am touched by her dream. A seven year old gave me his birthday money to buy a pig for one our families, another child saved to buy two wells – two other children are writing and selling children’s books so that many other children in Cambodia can eat three meals a day -so many women here put in hours of their time to sell the products, and to raise funds. I enjoy the camaraderie amongst them; I am somewhat mystified by their passion yet thankful they have it. I am encouraged by volunteers from all our Foundations and the stories they share of what’s happening. It is like we have Christmas each and every day.

I talk with my staff each day – it’s our busy time of the year – every week at least 4 teams of volunteers arrive from all parts of the world to build houses – 318 houses in just the 7 weeks I have been gone – they send me pictures of three schools completed and three new ones started – they have dug 150 wells with 300 families doubling their income- they talk of our families being able to buy animals such as pigs and chickens, of new clothes and food for the little ones – they rejoice in the number of mums who are eating three times a day– meals that have more than just rice. It’s like we have Christmas each and every day.

There is a new gift beginning this Christmas – it is the gift of hope, of grace, of health to the women of Cambodia. It is not an easy gift, nor will it be an instant gift – but a gift that needs to begin and to strengthen and to grow. Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital is about one more step in the development process – one that will ease the pain and suffering of the poorest women in Cambodia for whom health care is almost nonexistent.

Christmas is about life and love and laughter – it is about the gift of grace – a gift underserved and unearned yet given freely. Each of you have made Christmas real each day of the year for so very many people in Cambodia.  I thank my God for that gift.

On behalf of my staff and our families, we wish all of you a Merry Christmas not just for one day of the year but for every day of the year. May 2011 be a year of the blessings and joy you have given to so many.