JANUARY 2023 when did that happen? It was a busy month no easing in quietly for us.
The children enjoyed their Christmas break but were keen to get back so was like a rugby scrum watching them all trying to squeeze through the doors.
They are all eating 2-3 bowls of lunch each day, which is good to see but also good that they enjoy our cook’s food. Nutrition is something that is so important for these young children, we try and give them a good well-balanced diet and extra vitamins as well to build them up.
2nd January, 5 of our 8 graduated children had their first day at the village school. We are so happy and proud of them and they looked so grown up in their new uniforms. We wish them well as they continue their journey of learning.
January is a month full of birthdays.
January 3rd our granddaughter was 2, January 9th was Sokheng’s birthday, 29th is my birthday and 30th is my brother Bill’s birthday.
January also saw the return of our older son Adam to Cambodia; we are thrilled he is back. He has accepted a new position as Managing Director of a new enterprise and we are praying that he will settle back here quickly and that our family back home do not miss him too much.
We also had a few visitors to day care during the month which the children loved as they get to show off what they can do. They have been learning “Jesus Loves Me” in Khmer and gave our visitors a rendition of it while they were here.
Over the middle weekend, Sokheng and I went on a Christian women’s retreat in Phnom Penh hosted by our friends at Reech Cambodia. What a wonderful, restful, inspiring and God-filled weekend it was. I was at one they hosted 3 years ago and was so excited to be invited back to this one it didn’t disappoint.
Our staff were also invited to 3-day pre-school training also hosted by Reech Cambodia which they enjoyed and learnt a lot. Only two staff can read and write in Khmer never mind English, so the organisers were great at using lots of visuals and practical ideas to help inspire them to then inspire our little ones. They all got a certificate at the end of their training which will be framed and put up in our staff area to show others how well they did and just how proud we are of them.
Chinese New Year is just over and things in Phnom Penh are getting back to normal. A lot of shops and factories owned by Chinese people or Chinese descendants were closed over this period. Many people went home for a long weekend, so the Phnom Penh roads were very very quiet, lots of karaoke was sung and families got together to enjoy food together.
27-28th January there was a big celebration of the 100th anniversary of Christianity in Cambodia. The organisers were expecting over 10,000 people to attend each day. We are so lucky to be able to celebrate this as a nation freely and we look forward to what comes next.
One of our graduated children has moved close to day care, we are concerned as the house this child and siblings came from was much better than where they are now. There are 9 in the family the youngest is 3 years old. We are trying to find out what has happened, if the family lost their home or if some of the family have moved out, until we know this, we cannot see what help we can offer if any. Please pray for them.
Staff English class is going well, finding ways to teach can be challenge. To help learn numbers we recently played Bingo, which was great fun, but you have to watch them closely as they are so competitive, they will do ANYTHING to win. If the staff got their way, they would dance to Zumba every class! I used it to teach them up, down, left, right and middle but as they really seem to enjoy it, I have had to put a limit on Zumba to once a month.
Bible Study is steady, and we are pleased that the village people are wanting to come and learn about Jesus especially when the older villagers are very set in their ways. They continue to pray for people around the village and are seeing prayers answered – we can feel God moving in this place. One lady’s husband has diabetes and has just had his toe removed, please pray for healing for him and peace for her.
Sokheng’s mother has also been unwell. She has had diabetes and has been on medication for two years and recently had pain in her back and stomach. At the retreat that Sokheng and I attend everyone prayed for her mum. Sokheng’s brother took her to a Thai hospital, and they could find nothing wrong with her, no diabetes and no pain in her back of stomach. We are praising God for this miracle.
As I close this newsletter, I want to pray that into this year, God will continue to work within the staff, children and the village, that his Name will be uplifted high and that in the next 100 years of Christianity in Cambodia there will be many Khmer souls that will put their trust in Him.
I also pray for your journey, that you will seek Jesus first, that you will seek his presence for others and that you will give him all the glory as our King of Kings.
Until next time …
God bless, Liz and Mark