Friday, October 7, 2016

Happy five year anniversary of my life in America!

Standing in front of a beautiful tree with my beautiful fiance a few days after I arrived in America - I had never seen leaves like this before!
Happy five year anniversary of my life in America!

Time has flown so fast. It’s been a great five years. Five years ago, I left my family, friends, best friends, foods, church, church members and country, got on the plane, holding a very important document package from the US Embassy and traveled across the Pacific Ocean for 36 hours to the greatest country in the world, The United States of America.  Traveling alone to a very different, very far away place, I was filled with emotions and I had my questions.  But I knew God was leading me and had opened this door for Jewel and I to get married and live together in Indiana.

My friends threw me a "going away party" once I passed the interview at the US Embassy
I often told people that ‘It’s like I was born again’ when I first came to this country. I had to learn and relearn almost everything from the very beginning.  I did not know the traffic rules.  I did not know how to order food.  I did not know where any stores were or where to find what I needed.  I did not know how to interact with people and I did not understand many customs in this culture. 

Members at the last church I pastored in Cambodia.  I still miss doing ministry to my people!
The first two years in this country were very hard because everything was new and strange, but God has been so so faithful in my life! When He said, “He’ll never leave us alone” at the end of chapter 28 in the book of Matthew, He respects His Word!  I am very thankful for His faithfulness to me.

I have had so many experiences here.  Jewel and I have traveled together to Daytona Beach and Orlando, western New York and New York City, Chicago, Lake Michigan, Hilton Head Island, Georgia, Los Angeles and San Francisco, Lake Tahoe in Nevada, Kentucky, North Carolina, many parts of Ohio, and throughout Indiana.  My daughter was born in February 2014, I became a U.S. citizen in July 2015, and my son was born in August 2016.  I’ve also had other experiences like:
  • Walking from our apartment to the local K-Mart store in the snow, but getting lost for three hours.
  • Being spoken to in Spanish many times, usually by waitresses.
  • Accidentally ordering off the diet menu many times.
  • Taking the written driving test 5 or 6 times before finally passing.
Winter is very cold!!!!!!!!!!!!
I could not say thank you enough for all the support from my wife, the family-in-law, church leaders, pastors and friends for these past five years. Without them, I would probably have become a frozen ice statue my first winter here, but they warmed my heart with their love and the love of God.  Gas City, Indiana has become a home to me.  My family-in-law has become my family.  Jewel’s friends have become my friends and I have made my own friends.

America is blessed.  My life is blessed.

Here are pictures taken at the airport as I was leaving Cambodia on October 7, 2011.
Missionary friends
Mom and three of my brothers
Fellow pastors
My students