One of my favorite sports to watch is Formula 1. Most of their pit stops where they change all four tires, fill up with gas, and clean out all the air ducts and check other parts lasts about 5-7 seconds. It is amazing to watch. Sometimes I feel like my home is much like a pit stop.
Today I drove from Northeast Cambodia in Kracheh province to Phnom Penh. The drive took about 5 hours. I then took everyone I was traveling with to lunch and then headed home to see my kids. I knew I only had 16 hours before I left again, so I wanted to maximize my time.
After I unloaded my car I drove to the car wash where I have the whole car washed. The wiper blades have not be cleaning the window that well, so I changed the blades out, cleaned the air filter, added some steering oil and checked the other fluids. After 50 minutes doing that I headed to a petrol station to fill up the tank. 71 liters at $1.47 per liter was painful, but necessary. (That’s $5.57 per gallon!)
Finally I drove home and guess what? No electricity! Our generator was not starting because the battery was dead. So I had to change out the battery as quick as possible so that all the guests in my house would be comfortable. Tonight I have 10 guests from 5 different countries staying with us. But I couldn’t stay to visit with them. I was like a man on a mission.
A few weeks ago when I was eating Cambodian chicken (Cambodian Chicken: this means many bones with a little bit of meat and skin). Anyway, when I nibbled at the chicken I ended up chipping my front tooth on the chicken bones. So, being that it was my front tooth and it irritated my tongue, I wanted to rush to the Cambodian dentist to get it fixed. I went to the family dentist near my house, but guess what? No electricity their either! I knew God had a plan.
I called my wife and asked if she knew any other dentists. She said that she did and in fact, our family dentist moved and set up a new practice. My wife gave me directions and I was off. I had to wait in the lobby for about 20 minutes (I didn’t have an appointment), so I used the time to check some e-mails and apply for a visa for a friend of mine to visit Cambodia (we can do it online in Cambodia!). Then I got into the chair and the buzzing of the equipment began. Within 30 minutes they had cleaned all my teeth and patched the chipped tooth. Then I got the bill: $18.00. I love Cambodia!
So, I headed home and I got an idea. I have friends visiting from the Philippines, India and Ethiopia and they are all poor and probably not able to go to a dentist too. So I went home and asked them if they wanted a free dental check up. Sure enough, they were ecstatic about an opportunity to go to a dentist. Most had not been for decades and had constant tooth pain. Three hours later two pastors had all their teeth cleaned (first time in their lives), one had a root canal and another had two completely decayed teeth pulled. Total cost: $89.00. So far, my tank of gas was still more expensive than dental work for 3 people!
Not only that, but during my time at the dentist I found out that the main dentist’s home village was in Kracheh province where I had just come from that day. I told him I ran the “Imparting Smiles” children home near his home village. He was thrilled with what we were doing and promised that he will send his dentists to treat all 75 of our kids for free!
But my day was not over. I rushed back to the house because we were hosting a dinner for about 20 people. Fortunately I don’t have to cook, I just show up and eat. My wife was working like crazy though. So now, at 8pm at night, I finally have a chance to hug my kids. Only nine hours to go and I’ll hit the road again. . . heading further south to hold a staff retreat.
Why not write a blog and then head to bed? You might think this is an “unusual” day, but actually, most of my days are very similar. Often from day-to-day I may be dining with Government officials at one moment and fixing electrical wiring the next only to be followed by plowing a rice field in the afternoon. In the midst of my daily conversations is when I find moments to share Christ; Today a dentist, yesterday a Buddhist leader and a poor widow. I am excited for what tomorrow will bring.
I think my pit stop at my house is a very fulfilling and efficient 16 hours!