Word of the Week Wednesday 6/7/17


Today starts my last month in placement, and that is a little too real for me. But, I have some exciting things coming up too, which brings me to this week’s word:


Language: Biblical Greek

Part of Speech: verb

Pronunciation: martyr-oh-my

Translation: To testify, witness, address solemnly, insist, urge
One of my exciting times this last months started today with a three day training on the Lutheran Confessions with Pastors of the Lutheran Church in Cambodia (LCC) and the Cambodian Lutheran Church (CLC.) This is a wonderful opportunity to learn about our Lutheran heritage and grow as two hutch bodies under one Church. On our first day today we mostly talked about the history of how the reformation started. Although there are many stories that have been made about Luther, he truthfully was not planning a reformation movement when he first nailed those 95 theses to the door.

As his path continued and his work was translated into German and distributed to the general population, there were a few events the really showed where Luther decided that he was going to push for the changes he wrote about. One was in an event that we could describe as a type of council meeting and after some explanation whether he will recant his statements or stand behind them and say that the pope can be wrong. He chooses to insist on his theses. That was a BIG DEAL back then and the fact that he questioned the pope’s authority was step one in sealing his fate.

Step two was when he received a letter that could have been his last way out. He had to answer questions so his old comments were then moot, or he was going to be excommunicated for what he did believe. He took the letter and burnt it in the town square. So, that killed any chance he had to return to the church and could also have cost him his life.

Our word of the week fits into all things because Luther chose not to back down. He had a Gospel revelation and was not intending to see those new thoughts and understandings of the Bible be pushed aside. He testified that there was corruption, witnessed on what he now understood as Gospel, addressed the issues solemnly, insisted on change, and urged that something be done. This word in Greek is also where we get the word martyr, which literally means witness.

Luther chose to stand up for the Gospel that was revealed to him, and got in a whole lot of trouble for it. But he continued, he did not back down, and he eventually when on to be a huge part of the history of Protestantism, and lutherans in particular. Hopefully you enjoyed a little church history today, and I urge you to find the things in your life worth testifying.

Keep Shining,



Word of the Week Wednesday 5/31/17

Namaste readers!
Today marks another month ending on my YAGM journey! So, in light of that bittersweet train of thinking, our word of the week is:


Language: Khmer

Part of speech: Noun

Pronunciation: Git-tee-ah

Translation: thought

Thoughts seem to be something that permeate my mind recently, as they should. These next few weeks will especially be filled with thoughts of the future, or past that want to creep into my present, and dwindling days here in Cambodia.Well, here I am to stop them head on. (See what I did there?) I acknowledge they are there, but this next month and a half is not about all of those thoughts, it is about the people and places that have accompanied me this past year as I do the same with them. So, that thought can wait, for now my brain is busy in the moment.

Keep Shining,


Word of the Week Wednesday 5/24/17

Joom Reeup Sua,
What a wonderful week this has been, and this weekend brings the first of many lasts in Cambodia. Worship weekend ascends, meaning that this Sunday will be the last chance that the CamFam will have to attend church together here. The next time we meet, we will have left our placements, which means our church home for the year, and my literal home, will no longer be a place for us to attend. However, the changes ahead are not the only things changing in Cambodia recently.


Language: Khmer

Part of Speech: Noun

Pronunciation: Plee-eng

Translation: Rain
The seasons are changing her in Cambodia and so the rain, rain, rain, has again started to come down,.down, down. In Phnom Penh we have been welcoming it every afternoon around 3-4pm. One thing I would like to say though, is that dry season almost seems like a myth after these past months. It was a bit hotter and no rain appeared for a few weeks, but it was nothing compared to the four to five months of rain-less heat that the YAGMs of last year warned of! Do not get me wrong here, I am a self-classified space heater and therefore do not mind the lower temperatures, but it does make me wonder about the many farmers that needed dry soil for their crops. Or just a dry day in general for rice. Now that rainy season is back, it does not seem to want to stop anytime soon.

Keep Shining,


Word of the Week Wednesday 4/5/17

Hello…it’s me…

Welcome to another week! This week is full of anticipation in Cambodia because next week we will have Khmer New Year! And that ties into this week’s word:


Language: Khmer

Part of Speech: noun

Pronunciation: Gohn-sigh-ng 

Translation: towel

So, yesterday after our all-hostel time, many students decided to play some Khmer New Year traditional games! Of course I excitedly joined in! So I think the night went in about ten parts:

Part 1: Cat and Mouse

This game had a circle of people holding hands with two inside the circle. The middle people have blindfolds and one hits a water bottle in his/her hand. Then the other person tries to find the one hitting with the water bottle. 

Part 2: King/Queen of Love

This game had two teams with one person on a chair between them (the king/queen). Someone from team one would go to the Queen and whisper “who they love” in her ear. This is really just a person from the other team. Then a person from the other team stands to do the same. If the person from team one said the name of the person from team two, that person is out. If not, that person whispers a name of a team one member and play continues. Sadly, the boys won this game. 

Part 3: Coke break

Because none of our parties happen without drinking Coca-Cola.

Part 4: Steal the Bacon

I don’t know what this game is called here, but at camp we called it Steal the Bacon. Two teams, each person had a number and a small piece of rope is between them. The moderator says a number and the player for each team with that number tries to get the rope back to their side. If they do, they get a point. But, if the other team player tags them before they reach their side, the other team gets the point. All about reflexes and strategy. Although we fought valiantly, the boys also won this game. By a super slim margin though. 

Part 5: Baby Powder

I just found out today that this part is actually a Khmer New Year tradition, but we had baby powder everywhere! Clothes, hair, face, all over! 

Part 6: Partner Tag

There are many lines of two in a circle and one runner and one person it. The person that is it tries to tag the runner and tiles switch if they do. The runner avoids being tagged by standing in front of a line of two, forcing a back person in line to now be the runner. This one was really funny when the line suddenly changed directions now and then.

Part 7: Towel- Duck Duck Goose

So, this game is the reason for the word of the week. Almost duck duck goose. With a towel. A person with a wrapped towel round the circle and drops the towel to the left of someone. That person now runs after the person to their right and tries to hit them with the towel as much as they want. Here is the different thing, if you get hit or do not get hit, there is no difference other than you got hit with a towel. The runner gets back to their seat and sits (with sore spots from being hit with a towel or not.) Whoever got the rope then continues and the cycle goes on. 

Part 8: Couple- Duck Duck Goose

This one was all of us standing in a circle holding hands. One couple (also holding hands) runs around the circle and hits one pair of hands. Those two people keep holding hands and run the other way around the circle. Whichever team makes it back to the opening first stays and the other team continues as before. The funniest part of this was if the teams tried to switch partners as they passed outside the circle. It was usually a mess and always left everyone laughing. 

Part 9: Group Pictures

Hot, sweaty, and smiling we took a few group pictures. One with the standard “feeestyle” shot. 

Part 10: Clean up and bed

Sweeping, stacking chairs, and finishing Coke bottles took a very short time and then we were off to bed, happy with the fun night we just had together. 
So, hopefully this gives you some fun games you can play. Or reminds you that sometimes life turns out the same, whether you get hit with the towel or not. 

Keep shining,


Word of the Week Wednesay 3/29/17

Hi,I chose that greeting because it is short, like our word of the week:
Language: Khmer 

Part of Speech: noun 

Pronunciation: Sahm-mote

Translation: Sea
I’m on retreat this week in Kep with my CamFam and we are having a great time! Sun, hiking, forests, and the ocean (or sea!) However, that means moments are fleeting and I can’t spend too much time explaining. Have a great week and talk to you next time! 
Keep shining,


Word of the Week Wednesday 3/15/17

Top of the morning to you!

Welcome to another wonderful Wednesday! Although St. Patrick’s Day is this Friday, I thought it should be incorporated somehow. Fun fact, “top of the morning to you” is an Irish greeting, and a normal response would be, “and the rest of the day to you!” However, that phrase is a freebie for your Friday festivities! Today we are looking at the word….


Language: Khmer

Part of speech: adjective

Pronunciation: t’mei

Translation: New

Now, while this word is not new to my vocabulary, I found it strikingly relevant quite recently. As mentioned about a month ago, I am now in the second half of my year here is Cambodia. I am astonished every morning when I look at the calendar and realize that March is already here, and a quarter of what we were just calling the “new year” is almost over. Now, I often try not to dwell on the time I have left here because it makes me quite sad and distracts from the now. We were warned when coming into this year that there will be days that become monotonous, or routine. This is even more likely the longer we are here, but I realized this past week that “new” things are still happening.

I am still trying new foods, seeing new places, meeting new people, learning new words, and thinking new thoughts. New is a word that we often take for granted. It is the dress we just bought and want to show our friends, it is haircut we try when the old style wasn’t doing it for us, it is the occasions that can be memorialized, or highlighted. But what about all the new things in our everyday life that we may not remember as being new six months from now?

For instance, I learned the word t’mei months ago. I cannot tell you the exact date, or even what made it stick in my increasing Khmer vocabulary. What I can tell you is that the day I learned it, you better believe all my hostel friends knew it was new to me. Learning a new word is exciting, and makes me want to use it so that it really sticks. And now, new is old, and I’ve moved on. But THAT is what we shouldn’t do. Rather, we should realize that the small and big moments that are new today and every day are still important when their shiny paint is faded.

Just like that pair of shoes you never want to stop wearing, that song that is always in your head, or that friend who never had an expiration date, new things become old things that make up our life. So, celebrate that new piece you just painted along with your crumbly clay cup from second grade. Rejoice in the comfort food you ate as a sick child while also finding new foods and flavors. Remember the new today, and then remember it again in 2020.

Keep Shining,


Word of the Week Wednesday 3/8/17


Though a bit behind the mark due to technical difficulties, Happy International Women’s Day! Celebrate your mom, aunt, grandma, sister, cousin, niece, wife, and friend while reminding them that they are valued and important every day! Our word of the week goes out to all the women in this world, and those celebrating with them! 


Language: Khmer

Part of speech: Noun

Pronunciation: S’drey, but often pronounced Srey

Definition: Woman or women

I don’t think an explanation is really needed here, but one note. Khmer does not have a way to differentiate plural from singular in many cases. That means that saying a sentence in Khmer such as “the women have power” also means “the woman has power.” (They don’t conjugate verbs either.) This is a reminder that together we are strong, and find out identify as women. But we are also individuals in that group. We are part of the whole, and a whole part of one thing. Just some thoughts on a day like today! 

Keep Shining,