We don’t know what to say that has not already been said but we are praying for you.
We pray that this virus will not take any more lives and that it does not affect you or anyone within your family. We ask if you will pray for us, for our friends and for for our family back in Northern Ireland.
We visited all of our children in their homes to see them and speak to their family telling them why we are not able to open at the moment. We are missing our children and can’t wait to see them back with us. Our worry is that among the poor, if they become sick, they will not go to the hospital or receive treatment so if they have Coronavirus it may spread and stay undetected which will lead to deaths.
Our staff did a deep clean of the all the equipment, toys and the building so it will be ready for our children when they return. We all had to spray ourselves with sanitizer and wear masks, we played worship music very loudly and had fun together. One of our children arrived at the gate with a big smile thinking we were open, her little face was so sad when we said we were not.
On a lighter note, our staff’s English language like our Khmer can be lacking especially when we forget the next word and freeze mid-flow. Anyway the week before we closed Liz was going outside day care and a staff member hugged her and said “Liz you smell” she could easily have been offended except she had just put perfume on and likes to think that the staff member forgot the word “Nice”.
Recently our male staff member came into Liz with a piece of paper in his hand and quietly asked her in English would she be his Grandmum and would it be ok if Mark became his Grandad, – he was brought up in a care home. We were both feel very privileged to be asked as he is like one of our sons anyway. He now calls Liz “mum” which just makes her heart burst. It is lovely to be grandparents to a 30-year-old Khmer man.
While doing devotions one morning recently, Sokheng was telling the story of Jesus healing the sick woman and she asked the children did they know what was wrong with the woman in the story, one little boy aged 3 said “her heart is broken”. It brought us to tears as this little boy’s home-life is so unstable and he been struggling with what he is witnessing at home, sometimes he is inconsolable.
One of our boys in day care is 4 years old and has been wearing his 2-year-old brother’s clothes as he did not have any. As it was his birthday recently we bought him two outfits and received some used donated clothes from the Anglican Church members in Phnom Penh – you could not wipe the huge smile on that boy’s face when we gave him a bag of clothes that fitted and were just for him.
Liz did staff training just before we had to close, giving tips and ideas for interacting with the children, teaching them English in a fun way and showing them how to play memory games and Duck, Duck, Goose using the alphabet and numbers. The Khmer people love games so of course they had to practice the games; it was such fun to see them running about room enjoying the games.
Our staff met up at the end of the month and took food packs to our day care families to help them a little bit through this crisis and show them God’s love and provision. They received rice, soy sauce, fish sauce, salt, sugar, noodles, garlic, cans of fish and other items used in Khmer cooking. We’ve had some truly amazing additional donations from you over the past couple of weeks – it is especially wonderful to see your love and generosity in these dark times helping bless others so far away from you and the extreme difficulties that you face. Thank you!!!
Our staff met up at the end of the month and took food packs to our day care families to help them a little bit through this crisis and show them God’s love and provision. They received rice, soy sauce, fish sauce, salt, sugar, noodles, garlic, cans of fish and other items used in Khmer cooking.
Cambodia still makes us smile – another unusual sight we spotted on our way home one afternoon, was a scooter with a glass fish tank strapped unto the back seat with water in it and goldfish swimming about – yes, he was selling them in bags as pets. It is a miracle how the water stayed in the tank never mind the fish!
We will leave it there for this month. Praying for God’s peace, strength and comfort to surround you and all you love.
God’s richest blessings to you all.
Liz and Mark…