♫♬ and so this is Christmas ♫♬
Can’t believe it’s the start of December and we are now writing the November Newsletter; it seems no time since we wrote the October one!
During November saw the celebration of Water Festival, it marks the end of the rainy season and the start of the hot season. This year there was not enough rain – so much for rainy season! Anyway, in all the years Liz and I have been coming to Cambodia, Liz has never witnessed Water Festival. It is quite a spectacle as thousands of brightly coloured boats (big and small) race against each other down the Tonle Sap River ending each night with a huge firework display out over the River.
This year she got to experience it and was not disappointed. Over 2 million people come into Phnom Penh over 3 days to take part in or watch the racing. The King and Royal Family also come out to watch so it is a big occasion for the whole country. The villagers represented put a lot of effort into training for the event and are so proud of themselves after they finish the race. It is very hard work and they row a great distance – we were exhausted watching them but the cheers from the crowds and the party atmosphere makes all their hard work worthwhile.
Day care is still a joy with the normal highs and lows of life here. One of our little girls who has a particularly hard home life was looking at Liz’s name badge the other day and noticed our Eggshell Cambodia logo, she asked her “is that little girl me?”. Liz thought about her question and yes of course it is her and all the other children in day care covered under the umbrella of God’s protection and love.
One of our newer children screamed coming into day care every day for 3 weeks (she settled quickly once in, it was just getting her through the door). Anyway, she was sick one day recently and was taken home – her mother said the next morning that she cried all that day at home because she wanted back to day care. She comes in now every morning with a big smile and loves to colour in.
There are so many challenges in the lives of the children and the villagers we have contact with. One of the St John’s Orangefield team who were here recently summed it up nicely – “they have no comfort in their lives”. Everything is hard, living day-to-day, not having enough to eat, living in homes made from bits of tin and wood that are not waterproof, no comfortable chairs or beds, it is hard…
The St. John’s team were such a blessing to our day care, bringing talents and gifts that they were aware they of, and many that they were not aware of. They told stories, rocked hammocks, did crafts, fed children and sang songs. They visited the children’s homes and blessed them with a food package for each family. Just before they set off for home, they bravely came with us on a day care outing to a play park. They took their small charges and followed them everywhere except down the slides!
Some other activities they did were kid’s clubs for Street Children and a school, making and sewing Christmas decorations and anything else we asked of them. They enjoyed the quirkiness of Cambodia, its traffic, people and food – they even laughed when the wheel of their tuc tuc got stuck in the sand outside our home and everyone had to bale out to help unstick it. They laughed a lot and they cried a lot as Cambodia showed them the extremes of life, its joys and its daily battles. We loved their company and hope they will return soon.
We are now preparing for Christmas. The tree went up at day care yesterday and the children enjoyed decorating it. This year was more organised as they now seem to understand that throwing the balls at the tree does not make them stick on the tree.
Liz and I have very special friend and her family joining us this Christmas – we are so looking forward to having them here and spending precious time with them. We miss everyone back there so much; friends, family and churches (not the cold!). The rewards and blessings in serving those that God has called us to are beyond measure but we do miss all of you!
However, Santa has arrived in our house early…
Franklin Graham Ministries are holding a big event here in Phnom Penh on 7-8- December. Please pray that many Khmer people will attend and that they will find God at the event. Pray for the Christian Khmer people who are working at the event and that they are encouraged by what takes place.
Do try and get along to the Willowfield Christmas Fair and St John’s Orangefield Christmas Fair on Saturday 7th December and say hello to our wonderful group of volunteers selling goods and giving you information on Eggshell Cambodia.
I’m sitting in a cafe typing this, “Oh Holy Night” is playing in the background and is so appropriate.
Have a truly wonderful, blessed and special Christmas. Thank you for all that you do for those in so much need out here. As they say locally;
“Happy Merry Christmas!!!”