From the Back of the Tuk Tuk
 
 
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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.

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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.  

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