Maarten expected to go through serious culture shock, but praise God, so far this has not happened. They are also thankful that they have not experienced any serious illnesses. The kids have already made some friends and understand the Khmer language more and more. Home schooling is going really well and they managed to complete their school year with good results.
Language wise Maarten and Mirjam are functioning at the appropriate level. Six weeks ago they had their first language evaluation and they both passed. God has led them to really nice language helpers. Maarten’s teacher is a trainee pastor and he and his family are really kind to them and make them feel at home. Mirjam’s language helper is a young woman who works for them in the house. She’s a very nice girl with a humble spirit, and she and Mirjam make a good team.
Ministry wise Maarten and Mirjam are involved in the local church. Mirjam has been asked to set up a women’s Bible study on Sundays and she does that with great enthusiasm. Maarten has been asked to help out with an outreach to a village close to the city. Since Maarten introduced the Firm Foundation materials they are now going through the chronological teaching. All of this is a big reason for praise, but Maarten and Mirjam are also aware that they also need a lot of prayer as they are far from being capable in the language. Nevertheless, there are people who speak English pretty well who can translate for them. Although this is not ideal they thank God that He can use them through these shortcomings and it is good for them to gain more experience.
Maarten and Mirjam felt spiritually uplifted attending the annual NTM Southeast Asia conference. They were pleasantly surprised that the main speaker during the conference was from North Cotes. But it was also a reminder of how much they miss the folks in England and other parts of the world whom they came to know and love. Maarten and Mirjam found both the teaching and subject challenging and they enjoyed studying the Bible together.
Pray that they would make more friends in their locality. Maarten is playing basketball with some guys in town several times a week and it seems to give some good opportunities for building friendships. For Mirjam it is even more difficult as she many responsibilities. As well as being a wife and mother, she teaches the kids and runs the household etc. Despite all this she is doing great with her language and culture studies.