Shall we dance?

Heading back to the church

Melanie and the weaver

Okay, perhaps the mirror ball wasn’t strictly orthodox, and the jumping was a little crazy, and I guess the ululating was a little out there. But the Spirit of God was all over the worship at the New Life Church in Krangthmoung village. Though the songs were in Khmer, most of the melodies were recognizable. So our people sang along their people and with the Handong people. Our people also jumped along with the Khmer (a worship phenomenon a Handong professor attributed to the influence of Hillsong.)

Pastor Pros, who founded New Life in 2001, now has 12 satellite churches in neighboring villages. His goal is to see Cambodians transformed, “both  in the spirit and the flesh.” Seyha Song, his worship leader and main jumper (really, this guy is a pogo stick) shares Pastor Pros’ vision. “I want people in this village to live in Jesus, and I want Cambodian people to become Christian,” he said.

New Life serves as the village hub, with scores of children playing in its yard and dogs running around. “Typically a preah vihear is a house of prayer, and this is considered a preah vihear,”” said Rick Degraaf, a CRWRC country consultant. “”It’s a center where people care a lot about each other and about the community.”

We toured the community on foot right after worship. It was a long, dusty walk through Krangthmoung and adjacent Chroumg Sdoa. Both were tidy, fairly prosperous communities with lots of signature Cambodian white cows and colorful chickens (still resenting every rooster I see) and women weaving fine silk scarves at looms. The weaving project (and the fish ponds) are CRWRC-fostered enterprises.

After supper and more worship, the band broke out some Khmer karaoke tunes, and the locals taught those of us with willing hearts and restless feet to dance. A tip, in case you’re ever in the neighborhood of Krangthmoung and you want to cut a decent rug: You can get the hang of the feet, but the hands are beyond the skill of a beginner. And putting them together? That’s a good one. Still, many of our students distinguished themselves with some less-traditional moves. Indeed, Jacoba Bulthuis may have invented a whole new dance form (with possibly a culture to follow) with her funky style.

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3 comments so far

  1. MJ on

    “You can get the hang of the feet, but the hands are beyond the skill of a beginner. And putting them together?”

    I can imagine you laughing as you try! I’m (vicariously)experiancing the trip through your posts.

    • myrnaanderson on

      Hey MJ,
      How ya doing? Nice to hear from you.

  2. MJ on

    I’m fine. It’s cold here (of course.) Jason is taking exams. Normal stuff. Not exotic and exciting.


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