Happy New Year !!!
It’s a leap year so I guess it’s 366 new chances!
Our December started off with good news that our older son Adam will be joining us in January in Phnom Penh for 2 years as he has been offered a position as the Director of Operations in a language school in the city. He has been busy trying juggle putting our house on the market, doing a master’s degree and spending time with his grandad, brother, sister-in-law and nephew before he leaves.
It also saw Liz being stuck on a very busy road due to the car gear box deciding to blow up on her way out to day care. Her stress level went up a 100% as she was sitting outside a business and didn’t know the Khmer words for “my car Has broken down and I am sorry to be blocking your business entrance”. Anyway, Mark came like a knight in shining armour, Liz got a tuc tuc to the village and he sat in the car until a breakdown truck came and towed the car to the garage. For the next two days, Liz travelled back and forward to day care on the back of one of the staff’s motos.
Now for those of you who have been to Cambodia, you will know how frightening the roads can be. The staff member drove very carefully and safely, but the other road-users around them were a nightmare. It made her think of the dangers the staff face on the roads on a daily basis and the need for prayer for God’s protection as they travel. Anyway, car is now fixed, and her stress levels are back to normal. To be honest I think the staff member was more stressed than her, as they had the responsibility of bringing the boss to work for two days.
December also brought a cold snap. For approximately one week the temperature went from 33 degrees to 22 degrees and everyone was freezing. Scarfs, hats, gloves, jumpers, down jackets were seen on most people in Cambodia except the tourists. Even we felt the cold, having to put on an extra layer (well, Liz did). One of the staff members asked how cold it was in the UK, when we said about 3 degrees, she said “I would die”.
The sights of Cambodia still amuse us. Liz was driving out to the village one morning and in a field, she saw a man sitting with his dog and around 2,000 geese all walking in a straight line towards him. It reminded her of a tv programme in the 1980’s “One man and his dog” except this time it was geese instead of sheep.
The Anglican Church in Singapore built the church we run our day care in. Every Christmas they bring over a team to do an outreach programme in the village. It is always well attended by the villagers. This year was no exception. During an alter call for people to know Jesus, we watched some of our children’s grandparents come to the front and make a commitment to follow Jesus. It was a privilege to pray with them and see how hungry they are to know the one true God.
Franklin Graham Ministries came to Phnom Penh early December. 23,000 people attended the two-day event and almost 2000 people gave their lives to Christ, isn’t our God amazing?
Our children still face challenges in their home lives. Sickness is never far away; high fevers leave the children very weak and we have had a month of children being unable to come or having to send them home. One little girl burnt the back of her leg on a moto and was in a lot of pain, thankfully she is now mending. Another child it very stressed due to problems within the family. You make a big difference in all their lives by providing them with a safe place to unwind, vitamins, food in their tummies and the love of Jesus shown in the way the staff support them throughout the traumas they face. Thank you so much.
During the run up to Christmas the children listened to stories about Jesus and how he was born to save them and made lots of Christmas decorations and cards. They also practised “Away in a Manger” to sing on Christmas Eve. They all got presents of new flip flops (some got their first pair ever), for the girls – a little doll and the boys – a little toy car. They didn’t know Christmas was coming as they don’t normally get presents or see Christmas trees – Christmas in the village is just another normal day. It is therefore important to us as Christians to show them how much God loves them and that he sent his son to earth to die for them.
Our other joy was having our friends out for Christmas. Esther Simpson and her children, Hannah, Rachel, Ben and John arrived in Phnom Penh on 22nd December for a holiday. They came to day-care on Christmas Eve and did a drama of the Nativity. The children and staff loved it. They then went to the children’s homes, gave them food packs and prayed with the families as a Christmas blessing. We did miss our children and grandchild on Christmas Day, it is hard being away from them and is heightened at certain times of the year when other families are spending time together.
We spent the Christmas break eating Christmas dinner, showing the Simpsons Cambodia and took some down time at Siem Reap so they could go and see Angkor Wat and swim at the waterfall in the Kulen Mountains. Our time together was very special, and we miss them now that they have left.
We want to thank everyone – you have supported us is so many ways over this last year; you are amazing and I know if our children could speak to you personally, they would say Akun Charan (thank you very much).
To those who fundraised over the Christmas period for us, whether that was by manning a stall at a Christmas Fair, gifting to our Alternative Gift Christmas Appeal or who gave up time to pray for our work here a thank you. We also want to say a big thank you to the staff of Regent House School who donated to us instead of exchanging presents and to the pupils of the Junior Choir who went carol singing – such a lovely thought, that children 7,000 miles away were singing for our children in Cambodia.
Rainy season is well and truly over so we are now looking at temperatures starting to climb to 38c-42c by the end of January and water pressures dropping and power-cuts. We won’t see rain now until May or June. Please pray for the people who do not have any means of cooling down in their homes over this period, as it can be extremely uncomfortable for them.
Ok, we think that we have said enough for this month.
All that’s left is to wish you all a very Happy New Year and God’s richest blessings for 2020!