Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | September 20, 2011

Traveling With Women

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Occasionally, it happens! As I mobilize volunteers to serve in our various missions initiatives around the globe, I sometimes end up leading an all women team! And because I have led so many teams of only men, I have a basis for comparing what it’s like to travel with teams made up of only men or only women. I am currently in Cambodia with a team of eleven women. We arrived here earlier this afternoon after three flights totaling twenty-three hours, not including layovers. We have had more than a few laughs along the way and I told the girls that I would probably write a (tongue-in-cheek) blog about what it’s like to travel with them. So, here are a few of my observations about what the first couple of days have been like with my Cambodia women’s team.

Words | The women on my team have lots of words — and they have yet to run out of words. There has been absolutely no lull in any conversation since we left Houston. At any given moment lips are moving and laughter is seldom far behind. I think I have already answered two-thousand four-hundred and eighty-seven questions, not counting any repeats. Nevertheless, I am enjoying the conversation, especially when I am able to dive in to the fast-flowing dialogue with a word or two of my own. I have come to the sobering realization that I am a conversation rookie among these oratory giants.

Bathrooms | I am now familiar with the location of almost every bathroom between Houston and Phnom Penh because we have stopped at almost half of them along the way. Unlike men, women go to the bathroom in herds. They actually ask each other, “Do you want to go to the bathroom with me?”, as though it were some kind of social event. I can’t imagine a guy asking another guy a question like that. And, to top it all off, when we arrived at the airport in Phnom Penh, it happened again. As I waited with the luggage the herd stampeded to the bathroom. Only this time they all went to the men’s bathroom by mistake. I think this is because they were still using their words while they headed to the bathroom and no one bothered to check the sign or notice the urinals on the wall.

Movies | Whenever the conversation turns to movies, a rookie like me can’t keep up because I have not watched enough Lifetime Movie Channel movies. These are the kind of movies that make women cry and make men want to go out and mow the lawn at ten o’clock at night. But, I have enjoyed listening in and must admit that I almost had a little bit of man-moisture well up in my eyes. But I am not canceling my subscription to the DIY Channel yet.

Awareness | Because I am the only guy on the team and almost drowning in the current of conversation, the women have forgotten on a couple of occasions that I was in the neighborhood and therefore failed to edit their conversation about — well, about women stuff. But, thankfully God prepared me for all of this by allowing me to grow up in a home with three sisters. Honestly, until I left home I thought that panty hose doubled as shower curtains. So, I am familiar with women stuff. Without question, some of the funniest moments so far have happened when the women on my team noticed my wide eyes and stunned expression.

Inhibitions | One of the things that our team will do in Cambodia is to conduct a VBS for up to one-thousand children. Our ladies have worked hard on preparing their lessons, crafts, and music. I have learned that they have absolutely no inhibitions about rehearsing their music and movements while in the airports along the way. It’s like no one else is in the room. But, I am not complaining because at least half the folks on our flights have learned the songs and corresponding movements.

Seriously, we are having a great time together. I could not ask for a better team or one more focused on what they are here to do. In the coming days, these ladies will see a lot of very sad things as well as injustices that will make them angry. So, I am glad that we have had a pleasant journey filled with laughter, conversation, and fellowship. No one has complained or whined about anything and these ladies can load luggage faster than most of the men’s teams I have led over the years. It’s going to be a good week as I travel with these women who love God deeply and want to make a difference in the lives of the least of these. I consider it a privilege to travel with them.


Responses

  1. Omar, this is hilarious. Mark Lowry used to do a comedy routine about women going to the bathroom and all going to together. His punchline was how they all complained about the line at the bathroom and he responds, “yeah, you took it with you!” Will give extra time in prayer for you, brother, and I am sure you get extra blessings for this trip 🙂 May God go before you and prepare the way!!

    • Thanks, David ;-). Mark Lowry is an insightful man. This is really a fantastic group. We have had fun jesting about a blog about traveling with women. They are great sports and will do an even greater job as we engage with the children here.

  2. Well O, I can beat your 11 women to One Male. I was the Only Male Counselor with 200 Women clients!!

  3. So funny! I enjoyed reading about your travel with women! I can picture it!! I am Leslie’s sister-in-law and I am praying for you guys! I wish I could be there with you all!

    Sincerely,
    Jennifer

    • Thanks, Jennifer. I’m so glad to have Leslie on our team. She was on my Uganda all-women team a few years and did a great job. Leslie and Lisa and I had fun as the three of us ordered spaghetti at a Thai restaurant earlier today.

  4. Omar: you crack me up!
    You have several dear friends with you on this trip- I am positive every thing you have said is true! Praying for y’all as you serve in Cambodia.
    Lotsa love from Oklahoma!

    • Thanks, Tracey. What a great team of women. They each have a good sense of humor and a determined outlook. They know the days ahead will be challenging and are ready to get started. Enjoying our fellowship along the way.

  5. That does not surprise me!! 😮 Nice to have some taste of home when you can, huh? Tell her hi for me and I love her!

    Best wishes to you all!
    Jennifer

    • I will pass along your greetings! Thanks for your prayers for us as we work with the kids here in the coming days.

  6. Hi Omar,

    Kara, Leslie and Kim are some of my best friends and I’ve traveled with them so I can tell you with great confidence that the bathroom breaks nor the laughter will stop until you get back to Katy! The days ahead will be challenging but all those women will do it with all the grace and love they have! Thanks for the updates on your blog – we are all praying for the work that is ahead as well as safe travels. Tell my girls hi! Eva Parkerson

    • 🙂

      I will pass along your greetings, Eva. And, thanks so much for your prayers for our team.

    • Ditto – Wendy Duncan

  7. As in, ditto what Eva said. Take care of my sisters out there and bring them back safe. 🙂

  8. It sounds absolutely wonderful–I’m praying for all of u–lots of love!! K

    • We miss you, Kristin. Praying for you and your family during these difficult days after the death of your grandmother.

  9. Thanks for the memories It’s been delightful so far. Can’t wait to see what else “Uncle” and our Lord have in store for us!! We love you Pastor Omar!!!

    • Thanks, Sheryl. Glad you’re here with our team. Good days ahead as we serve together.

  10. Love reading the stories! You’ve caused much laughter back here as we read your blog. You realize even more women will want to go with you on your next trip! Many prayers for you all and your work on this trip!

    • Thanks, Carla. Look forward to the next all women team from Kingsland. Our ladies are determined to change the world by engaging tough issues. Very proud of these gals!

  11. Omar, I’m so thankful for your blog. I’m Kelly Jo’s mom, and feel a whole lot less anxious about this trip after reading your entries. Kelly can confirm that that’s quite an accomplishment. Daily prayers are with you and the girls. Stay safe.

    • Thanks, Kathy. Glad that Kelly is on our team. She is truly enjoying her Cambodian experience.

  12. Haha Dad, you are awesome! I love you!!

    • Love you, too, Gina. It’s great to be closer to your time zone here in Southeast Asia. I look forward to seeing you in a few weeks.

  13. I heard about this blog topic and had to come and read it for myself. It is SO MUCH better than hearing about it… so FUNNY! Omar, you are an AWESOME man to take on a trip with these ladies. I am praying for y’all and for your lights to shine so bright no darkness can over come it. May God be glorified through y’alls mighty work.

    • Thanks, Sterling. And thanks also for praying for our team. This is really a great group of ladies.

  14. Kathleen and I just laughed our way thru this blog as we catch up tonight on your time in Poipet. Praying for VBS – and your harem! Love that we can get a glimpse into your time with the Imparting Smiles kids!

    Sandy and Kathleen

    • Thanks, Sandy and Kathleen. We are having a great time with the kids at Imparting Smiles orphanage and also with the kids from Poipet. VBS in the rain is fun!

  15. Our family is praying for the team daily, Pastor Omar. Thank you for taking the time to post the updates. And great post…”rehearsing dance moves” made me laugh the most! LOL.

    • Thanks for your prayers, Ely. We are encouraged to know that so many are lifting our team up in prayer.

  16. Living with my wife and four women I can relate brother!!! lol, My God bless your path always!!!!
    Dios te bendiga!!!

    • Gracias, Carlos. I appreciate your prayers.


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