There are times when God intervenes in our lives in interesting ways. Chris and I went to help work the FEBC Booth at the National Religious Broadcasters convention in Nashville recently and in the process God spoke to James, and James wasn’t even along! Chris and I shared a row of seats in the plane with a nice young man (says grandpa!) who was returning to Chattanooga from a short ski vacation. After talking with him for a while he reminded us of some things we really already knew. The Denver area and the SE USA have very different situations in terms of the job availability, housing and the cost of living. We had some other conversations with Uber drivers and other local folks in Nashville and when we arrived home, we suggested to James that he might re-orient his job search to the SE.
James and his girlfriend, Rebecca, both decided that trying to move South would be a good idea. James sent out his resume for a job in Chattanooga and heard back in one hour that the company wanted to interview him! So it was time to pack up his belongings into our VW bug and head out cross country. He got the job and is currently working laying IT cables in a variety of projects and locations in NW Georgia, Eastern Tennessee and Kentucky. He travels during the week and is staying with Georgia friends on the weekends. Please pray that he can find housing in Chattanooga soon and that he will continue to do well in his job. Rebecca is moving to Atlanta mid-May and will be living with her folks in Marietta and continuing to work at Music In Arts store. They are both looking forward to exploring the beautiful area of Tennessee and North Georgia.
Lauren’s temporary job with the State of Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Finance will be ending in July. She has gained some valuable skills in contract management and facilitating meetings. It is time to move to a permanent position – prayers appreciated as we support her in this next transition.
Chris has been working less at the math learning center, which is a praise! After running the center for four months when the last center director resigned because of family reasons, the center was sold and the new owner/manager is in place. Another transition, but one that is far less stressful! Chris has been able to attend BSF more faithfully and spend time catching up with friends in addition to helping James with his big adventure.
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The FEBC International Engineering Service Team (EST) held the first ever ARRL license testing session at National Polytechnic Institute of Cambodia (NPIC) near Phnom Penh, Cambodia. With four EST members accredited as extra class Volunteer Examiners, we just need to coordinate our travel in order to have the required 3 VEs for an official session. It may seem strange to test for USA licenses in Phnom Penh, but there is a good reason. The infrastructure for getting a local license was lost through the bad times of the Khmer Rouge, but the reciprocity agreement between Cambodia and the US is still in effect. That means that if we train up local Khmer folks so that they can pass the US licensing exam, they can then use their new US license to get a Cambodian license. We have two new Technition licenses and an extra class license awarded as a result of the session.
Amateur Radio at NPIC
NPIC renovated their Electronics and Computer Engineering programs some years ago with help from some folks in Korea who we have not been able to identify. We do know that these Koreans were amateur radio operators because they left behind a very complete set of ham radio equipment and antennas. This great shack was sitting idle for some years until the EST, through our locally resident engineer, Mike Adams, made contact with the school and built a relationship with the professors. NPIC thought it might help interest students in radio careers if an amateur radio club could be started and the shack brought back into operation.Some of the professors with the EST in the radio “shack”
Mike Adams (KH0AS) and Guy West (N0MMA), using the reciprocal license agreement received Cambodian licenses XU7AJA and XU7AKA and began the process of checking out the equipment and antennas at NPIC with the help of EST team members David Creel (AH0AM) and Owen Gabbie (ZL1OG). The first year provided opportunities via radio sport competitions to get the professors excited about radio through opportunities to work many countries during international competitive events like the World Wide DX Contest, held each year in November. In the process the NPIC Amateur Radio Club was born. Since anyone can be behind the mic as long as a properly licensed control operator is present, lots of professors and students got to spend time on the radios
What is our motivation?
Why work to bring Amateur Radio back in Cambodia? We have several reasons. First of all, these Khmer folks are great people who are fighting their way back after almost unimaginable destruction of their society. Capacity of local people as engineers and radio technitions and of the institutes of higher learning to train such people was part of what was destroyed. As people who follow Jesus our hearts are broken over what was done and we want to do our part to encourage our Khmer Brothers as they advance their country. Beyond that we know that amateur radio exists to encourage friendship between nations, encourages development of radio technology and provides communications assistance in disaster. Each of these results is good for Cambodia. Finally, we hope by doing our part that one day our local radio stations will be able to hire local people who have been locally trained as engineers and technitions to support the Family FM network and Voice of Love Cambodia NGO.