1 March 2006
"Tell us a story,"
     the men said to Tom, Jeff and Jet when all were seated on the  mat. They knew the strangers had come to tell them something new. They were interested. So, they arranged to gather in a house and got out a mat for sitting. They had even organized refreshments, fermented palm toddy (made locally from the sweet juice of the sugar palm tree) and roasted cowhide with charred bits of meat clinging to it.
 Radios, TVs, telephones and electricity are rare in this rural village. So, a visit from a distant relative (Jet) and some foreign friends created quite a stir. A meeting and a chance to hear a new story was in order. In Kuy culture, sharing stories is a way to pass on information or to entertain each other.
 It had taken the three men more than a day and a half to get to the village of Thmea by motorbike. They had to delay their start a bit waiting for Jetís bike to get fixed. Jeff's bike broke down just a few kilometers from Rovieng. The others pushed him in and they had to abandon that bike at a repair shop to get up to Che Saen that day. On the third day they made to Thmea, where Jet has relatives.
 They were able to tell some Bible stories and talk a lot about the gospel on the mat that evening. Jet, a Khmer church leader, had been given some instruction and examples of how to tell Bible stories. But when it came down to the mat, he fell back on his own strong Christian traditions. He found it difficult to leave out the "Christian language"  to which he is so accustomed. It would be a bit like a believer in the US using "King James vocabulary" to share the story of Jesus in an elementary classroom.  
 Tom, Jet and Jeff spent three nights sleeping in hammocks with mosquito nets slung under peoples' homes. They made the return trip in one long day. Jeff's motorcycle had been fixed well enough to make it back. Tom's broke down about an hour from Phnom Penh. He had to catch a ride in a van and tie it on the back!
 Tom went back to this same village again with another Khmer friend, Meng. His tendency is to expound on the stories.  It was clear to Tom from these two trips that people in predominantly oral cultures learn by apprenticeship, that is, by being with someone who knows how to do what they need to learn. We need to work to improve our training methods for story tellers.
 Pray with us that Kuy villagers will begin to believe the Bible stories and want to know more so that a house church would be born in Thmea.
Pray for these workers:

Tom and Lynn Newhouse
Strategy Coordinators for the

Kuy People of Cambodia
P.O. Box 1365
Phnom Penh
Home Phone :  855 23 880274
Mobile Phone : 855 12 690413
Email : newhouses@newhousesonline.com
Website: www.newhousesonline.com

P.O. Box 30947
Seattle, WA 98113-0947
(206) 781-3151