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But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds… Jeremiah 30:17

When Rob was a young boy, he didn’t take a lot of sick days off school, but on one occasion he felt like skipping a day of school and pretended to his mother that he didn’t feel well. To his delight he was given the day off school, but to his horror his mother then arranged a visit to the family doctor. He was certain he was going to get found out for his scheme! It was a long wait at the doctors surgery for this moment of truth, but with much relief to Rob he was diagnosed with ‘bronchitis’. Forty-something years later Rob still isn’t in a habit of taking sick days, nor does he long for the attention of medical care.

The last several months for Rob have involved some ups and downs following medical treatment for a inguinal hernia. Surgery in Cambodia can be a risky activity as the medical standards can be unreliable. So to neighbouring Thailand we went to get our health assessed and a surgeon gave the advice for Rob to receive a laparoscopic surgical procedure to treat the hernia. A few weeks after returning to Cambodia, the expected recovery was very slow and physical symptoms were no better than before the operation. Rob sought explanation of the limited recovery from a local Cambodian surgeon. Unexpectedly the doctor diagnosed a relapsed hernia that he offered to operate on right there in his clinic. Some ten weeks past between the original operation and a reluctant return to the Bangkok hospital to see the original surgeon and get his diagnosis. Unlike the Cambodian doctors assessment, with the help of ultrasound the Thai doctor made the pronouncement that there was no need for repeat surgery, but recommended the offending fluid being reduced under local anesthetic with a needle guided by ultrasound. Dressed in a theatre gown and wheeled into theatre Rob had some apprehension about the procedure, but the new doctor quickly decided that aspiration wasn’t going to be required. Having gone to Thailand expecting a homecoming with some physical incapacity, this news came as such a relief. The prognosis: gradual healing without medical intervention. Or as we believe, healing in God’s timing. Unlike the childhood experience of relief from having a reason to see a doctor, this time the relief was multi-faceted. Thank you for those of you who contribute to making our healthcare possible. The privilege we have to receive such a high standard of medical care, is something that we don’t take for granted; most of our Khmer friends have no such access and treatment beyond a saline drip and a handful of tablets is out of financial reach. 

Yet in the midst of the health care setting in Cambodia Deb has the delight to be with people as a nurse and with families as a midwife. We rejoice that during this past month the exhausting process of getting Deb’s registration as a midwife in Cambodia was finalised. The Chreav Health Centre where Deb volunteers offers an open door to being involved intimately in the culture and the lives of local families from surrounding villages. A health clinic in Cambodia has many differences to an equivalent health centre you might find in a place like Australia. A village health centre in Cambodia for example is a place you would likely take a child to have their ears pierced. But the differences in health here go much deeper on a cultural level. Lately Deb has been learning about traditional Khmer natural medicines which may be administered by traditional healers in the villages. Of these natural remedies their importance highlights the priority of women’s reproductive system, fertility, children and families in Khmer culture. The Khmer are less inclined to separate their physical life and spiritual life as many Westerners are inclined to do. How many of you would consider house work as a spiritual practice? A Khmer family would often start the day sweeping the home inside and out; but more than seeking a freshly clean house this activity has a spiritual element of sweeping the soul clean afresh for the new day.

Life and health here in Cambodia is always interesting and sometimes involves some unpredictable outcomes. Thank you for journeying with us and for the many who support us in so many different ways.

A clean sweep first thing every morning
Khmer brooms made from a hardy grass
In Khmer the phrase “chlong tonle”, literally, “crossing the river”, means “to give birth”, like the hazardous passage across a river in times past.
Abundant joy of Rob’s healing not requiring any interventions.
For opportunities to share and grow in team relationships.

For pending visitors that bring such encouragement to our souls. 

Prayer Requests:
For wholesome goodbyes as the Hutchinson family depart Australia later this month. 
For our Khmer friends whose rice harvests have been reduced by unreliable rain.
That God will be at work in the hearts and lives of the Khmer people.