We have have been extremely busy taking on new children and getting them settled into day care.
Last month we graduated 7 children and we have been replacing them with new children over this month, the majority of which are boys this time. We are now back at capacity again, it doesn’t take long for word to go around the village that we have places available and the need here is great!
The Ballyhenry team arrived and worked so hard during their time with us – one of the team will tell you in her own words how the trip went.
“Hello everyone, my name is Kathryn, and I was part of the Ballyhenry Presbyterian Church Mission Team. This was my second Mission Trip to Cambodia, having previously visited in February 2019. I wanted to share a few thoughts about my experience and the changes I saw three and a half years on.
As some of you may know, our outbound journey didn’t exactly go to plan with our trip being pushed back five days. But we knew that Proverbs 16:9 states – The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Whilst it was a disappointment, we knew it was part of God’s bigger plan. It just meant that we had a condensed programme when we got there, and we made the most of every minute.
On Friday morning, Liz gave us the instructions… ‘Today the kids and staff will look after you.’ We honestly had no clue what that entailed, but when we walked in, we were absolutely delighted to be a part of the graduation ceremony for seven of the children. The older children surprised us by performing some Khmer traditional dances and worship songs, they were simply brilliant! After, we all climbed the stairs for the presentation of certificates and records of achievements. The parents sitting around us were beaming with joy and having the Village Chief in attendance made the event all the more special for the children. It was such a privilege to share in the celebration.
As Eggshell has moved buildings, I was excited to see the new space and the opportunities it provided. The team hosted a Kids Club for four afternoons, using the ground floor of Day care, inviting all the children in the village to join us in playing games, listening to Bible stories, singing, and doing arts and crafts, with a puppet show to finish. By the end of the week, we had over 90 children show up! It was a great opportunity to share God’s love with them and a foundation for Eggshell to build upon in future.
We joined the Bible study group that meets in the Day care building, and we spoke on the topic of prayer and shared ideas about what we can pray about. English classes with the Day care staff were also much anticipated; despite wanting to impart Norn Iron lingo, we did teach practical things like parts of the body and items you would find in a pencil case. It was great fun as the staff were keen to learn and interact which helped us form great friendships.
Thanks to the donations received during our fundraising, we were able to give out food packages to each of the Day care children’s families. It was such a lovely moment for me to see one of the children I met back in 2019, she had just returned from school for the day. We were also able to give out rice in another local village that we visited, being able to lead a kids club and have a youth evening with them. We visited the area where the new Elim Church is going to be built and distributed food packages to some of the families there. We hope and pray that our support would be a positive witness within the villages and that the food provided will help ease the burden of poverty.
I know that as a Church and team, we pray that God continues to work in Eggshell Cambodia through Mark, Liz and Day care staff and we pray for God’s hand and provision in everything they do in Jesus’ name. I want to say a huge THANK YOU on behalf of the team for taking such good care of us.
Just one final thought… Mark and I were discussing how my experience of Cambodia was different the second time around. This time it was like picking up where we left off, but I was able to see the little things – the homeless lady who sits at the side of the road, the girl with a bit of plastic and leaves to cover an injury on her foot and older siblings coming to Kids Club with babies and toddlers they’re looking after. Life in Cambodia is very different to what we’re used to at home, and as a team, we are reminded of how fortunate we really are. Christian faith is a powerful thing, and I have seen what fully relying on God and surrendering your life to Him truly looks like.”
During November the country celebrated Water Festival. This is a time when many people come into Phnom Penh from the Provinces to watch and participate in boat races in the Capital. This festival was delayed for a year due to the country hosting the ASEAN Summit which saw country leaders from around the world descend on Cambodia to discuss various topics important to Asia and the rest of the world. It was wonderful to see Cambodia hosting this important meeting and show the rest of the world how great this country is.
This month we said goodbye to a good friend of ours Richard, (you may remember over a year ago, how we reported that he had had a really bad moto accident and nearly lost his leg). God has done a remarkable healing in him and he is now able to do small journeys without using his crutch. He returned home to Australia to continue to heal and pray about his next steps with God whether that be back in Cambodia, in Australia or elsewhere. It was hard to say goodbye to him, but we know he needs for now to be with his family and it is a part of living in another country, people do decide to go back home. We wish Richard well.
We also had a visit from our friend Reaksa who is the Child Haven Organization Chairman. He flew in from Canada and came out to visit the children and see our new facilities. It was so good to catch up with him and be able to show him what God is doing within day care and the village.
Our Bible Study continues and have been making decorations for one of the two Christmas trees friends donated to us. They really enjoy crafts and it is a great way to teach them the Bible while they create something nice.
The tree is up and ready for them to decorate next Bible Study Day. The children will decorate the larger tree at the end of November. We will hold a Christmas party for them before we break for Christmas but if it is anything like last year, we could have most of the village children attend too. This will be our fourth Christmas in Cambodia, how time flies.
The little boy who was being assessed for Autism has had the assessment and the doctors are saying he has ADHD. The doctors want to work with him and his family but the family are saying “no”. Please pray that they will have a change of heart and that this little boy, his family and our staff can get help to be able to meet his needs.
As I close this newsletter we are thinking of friends and family back home preparing for Christmas and for a lot of people the hardship that brings trying not to disappoint, we are reminded that Jesus is the reason for Christmas and that he never disappoints, he was the best Christmas present anyone could possibly have and through all the parties and excitement we remember and be excited too about the child who came to save us.
Until next time …
Liz and Mark