About KIRSTEN AND MICHAEL BELLONI
It all began when...
We were introduced to Cambodia by Mark and Joan Bouman, long-time missionaries who ran the Sihanoukville Children’s Home. When Mark sought to partner with Grace Christian School in Anchorage, AK, to take a team of High School students on a short-term mission trip, Kirsten thought it was an “interesting” idea. When the school asked for volunteers everyone else “stepped back,” and we were chosen by default.
Little did we know that helping to lead that first group of students would subsequently result in our selling our house, leaving our jobs, saying “good-bye” to our puppy, Phoenix, and heading to Cambodia for a year of service. In all we have have come to experience Prov. 16:9 intimately: “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”
Kirsten and I both have backgrounds in education. I retired from the Anchorage School District, where I was a Training Specialist in the Professional Learning Department. Kirsten took a leave of absence from Grace Christian School, where she had been the elementary music teacher for the previous 9 years.
We returned to Anchorage, where I resumed work on a contract basis with the Anchorage School District and Kirsten resumed work on her Masters in Photography, while running a portrait business. We have been making short trips twice a year to Cambodia, serving primarily with the Asian Hope Village Development project. But now we are heading back to Cambodia full-time, starting in January. I am taking a position at Logos International School, a mission of Asian Hope, as the elementary principal.
We have two grown children. Our daughter, Heaven, and her husband, Mike, live in Anchorage with their two children adopted from Ukraine - Alina and Gavriil. Mike is a flight paramedic and Heaven is a new flight attendant for Alaska Airlines. Our son, Wayland, and his wife, Brandi, now have a child of their own - four-month old Everly. They have both been to Cambodia with the GCS team, and now live in Eugene, OR. We also have a "fur-baby," our beagle, Shelby.
What is a Tuk Tuk?
A tuk tuk is an open-air taxi - a two-wheeled carriage pulled by a motorcycle. During most of our time in Phnom Penh we have had to rely on public transportation, so we have used tuk tuks a lot. Learning how to tell the tuk tuk driver directions - turn left, go straight, stop, etc. - was one of the first things we learned in K'mai. As foreigners, we are constantly being asked by passing tuk tuks if we want a ride.