Happy belated New Year, over here we celebrate three New Year’s (very confusing). We have:
- Western New Year 1st January,
- Chinese New Year 12th February
- Khmer New Year 14th April.
At the moment everywhere is red, all the shops, restaurants, and malls very colourful – although we are not fans of the music.
Most people make resolutions at the beginning of a New Year, with celebrating three in Cambodia does everyone get to make three sets of resolutions for each New Year.?
Mark and I have been reflecting on the year past and how in the midst of COVID we have seen God work more powerfully than we could have ever dreamed of. The hardship suffered by everyone around the World has been difficult to watch as millions have lost their lives, their jobs, people having to deal with isolation and hunger. In Cambodia, our COVID numbers have been very low but a lot of people have lost their jobs as raw materials are scarce coming into the country and garment factories have closed their doors. We noticed that in our village, the little market where the villagers buy their fruit, veg and meat every day was getting smaller as more and more stalls did not open.
God put it on our hearts to help and we prayed for additional money to be able to provide food packages. So far, we have given out nearly 400 food packages to the most in need not only in our village but also in another nearby. We give God all the glory, he made it happen and like feeding the 5,000 we dreamed small, he provided big!
January is windy and cool for us. The staff are freezing and coming into work wearing hats, coats, and gloves. We are not quite there yet but admit a few mornings we have felt decidedly chilly. It is also kite season and driving out and back from day-care it is lovely to see the children in the fields with handmade kites flying in the sky. Bin Bags make good kites!!
Our first New Year started off well as we got to open Day care again after yet another closure due to an outbreak of COVID in the country. Then on 3rd January 2021 our granddaughter – Faith Alexandra Desney Fetherstonhaugh made her grand entrance into the World. 6lbs 4ozs of gorgeousness. She is the first girl Fetherstonhaugh born in our line for over 100 years and in Liz’s family, girls do not feature a lot as between Liz and her brothers they had 12 boys. We are so happy that both Faith and Sarah are well, but we are itching to get home and meet her.
The traffic here still amazes us. Apart from 5 lanes of traffic where there is only room for 2, and cars ignoring lights, wonky trucks are not unusual here, sometimes while driving you just see a truck coming towards you sideways until you realise that the truck is completely down to one side, it can be scary. The other thing is car or lorry breakdowns, not plastic cones here, you just break of a tree branch and place it in a pot or bucket and put it on the road. We said earlier that it is cool at the moment, a rare sight today was a guy in shorts, on a moto with a full-length fake fur coat on!! Sometimes you have to stop yourself doing double-takes or you would never progress in the traffic getting nowhere fast.
The new children have now settled into day-care and are now part of our little family. We had a breakthrough with one boy, he cried for weeks, recently out of the blue he smiled and kissed Liz on the back of her hand, it was a lovely moment. Another boy is struggling as his father is in jail. Day care is making such a difference to them emotionally in providing them with a stable and safe place each day, it allows them to forget about problems and conditions at home allowing them to enjoy being children.
One of our recent graduates has now started public school. He is very smart, good at drawing and maths and we are praying that he will continue to attend and learn. Many children are removed from school at around 8 years old and are put to work or stay home to look after siblings. We will continue to encourage the family to keep him in school and that by doing so, he will be able to get a good job and get out of the cycle of poverty and exploitation. Our other graduate, a little girl is not in school, we are praying that her family send her to school as she is very vulnerable and needs to be somewhere to keep her away from danger and exploitation. Please pray that the family see the value in her and her education.
One of our new starts lives in very bad conditions and has skin problems as a result. He is a lovely boy, but the itch must be driving him crazy. We would love you to pray that God heals him. One of our girls was burnt by playing with fire at home.
Another major event in January was Liz’s birthday. It was a big one!
29th January Liz turned 60. We celebrated by having our Khmer and ex-pat friends join us for a meal at our favourite restaurant Lone Pine. We had a great night. Mark organised her family and friends from around the World to send her video messages which took almost an hour to watch. We thank God for continued good health and that Liz is able to do what God has called her to. We pray that will continue for many more years.
Lastly, do not come to Cambodia if you are easily offended. A new shop has just opened its doors –
Until next time…Blessings !