Sunday, January 20, 2008

Preparing for Cambodia!

This is just a quick note about what’s happening with me as I enter the final two weeks of my preparations for going to Cambodia. I head from the family home here in Mill Valley to the San Francisco airport on Saturday evening, February 2. I will take an Eva Airways flight that leaves about midnight and travels through Taipei to arrive about noon in Phnom Penh on Monday, February 4, approximately 21 hours after departure.

When I returned to the States from Ghana last June, I almost immediately commenced work on my application for a position as a career missionary with the United Methodist Church. By mid September I was in upper New York State for orientation and on Oct. 9, 2007, I was officially commissioned by the General Board of Global Ministries. My first assignment (nominally for three years) is as an agriculture development advisor attached to the Methodist Mission in Phnom Penh. I will be part of the effort there known as CHAD, for Community Health and Agriculture Development. I will divide my time between the office in Phnom Penh and work in the rural countryside. The main task of my first ten weeks or so in-country will be learning the Khmer language.

In late June last year, as a member of the church’s Annual Conference for California and Nevada, I was elected to be first alternate lay delegate to the church’s Jurisdictional Conference in mid July in Portland, Oregon. I hope to attend this conference (which elects bishops), as well as the church’s quadrennial General Conference in April 2008 in Ft. Worth, Texas, but do not yet know whether either of these trips will be possible and practical to arrange.

Last September, I resumed my U.S. course work at Sacramento State in my masters degree program. That course work is now successfully completed. The remaining step in the degree program is formal approval, writing, and oral defense of a thesis. The data collection for the thesis research on well water quality in West Africa is complete. The next main step is the statistical analysis of the data. Before I leave for Cambodia, I hope to obtain the formal preliminary approval of my thesis subject and also to make substantial progress on the statistical analysis and initial drafting of the paper. I will need to make an oral defense of the paper at some point in the future during a return to the States from Cambodia.

For further information and posted photographs on my experiences in Cambodia, you should be able to check my blog, which I started in Ghana and will work to update from Cambodia. A further communication project on which I also plan to work is picture postcards. For a tax deductible donation of $50, which goes towards my support, I will mail each donor 10 picture postcards over the course of the year. You can subscribe to this by mailing a $50 check payable to Mt. Tamalpais United Methodist Church, 410 Sycamore Ave., Mill Valley, CA 94941, with a check memo line annotation “Advance Special # 15187Z”,.

This is truly a Great Adventure. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers.