As you will not get your newsletter until in January, can we start by saying we hope you had as wonderful Christmas as possible and that you got to spend time with those you love. Also, we pray that 2021 will be a good year for all of us, that COVID will go in the name of Jesus.
December for us was also a cold month with night temperatures down to 23 degrees and chilly winds.
The month did not start of well for us, due to a local outbreak of COVID, our day care had to close again. This was not good for our children but was especially unsettling for our three new children. We had just got one of the children settled and enjoying day care, had one boy crying less and our last child didn’t get to be in day care for even one day. We were continuing to pray that it would not be long before we could open again. Our staff were still going in preparing crafts, taking food to the families, and doing devotions together. We also prepared packs of pencils, colour-in sheets, number and writing sheets which we delivered to the children to keep their minds occupied and connected to us. One of our children had a birthday early December, so we took him a little bun, put a candle in it and sang happy birthday to him. We also took him a carton of milk (the children all love milk, it is a real treat for them).
Our newest child lives in a house with 9 other family members – the house has no back wall or doors, and a broken wooden pallet as a bed. A kind donor said they would pay to make the house more secure, fix the pallet bed and provide a mattress, so the house now has a back wall and two doors – the bed has new planks so they can lie on it at night.
This is our third Christmas in Cambodia. It still seems strange to us to have Christmas in the heat and sun. Like everywhere else, Christmas here was different. Last year we had our friends the Simpson’s with us, this year it was just us and our older boy Adam. We made the most of it and got to see and talk to family through social media on the day.
As we did not spend time with our family back home, we tried to think of ways to connect across the miles, Liz had been sending our grandson Christian, pictures every day of what the naughty elf had been doing out here, so he could be involved. Think the naughty elf may well be deported from Cambodia when borders open and find his way to another home to torture them.
We drive a 24-year-old Toyota 4runner which for its age is faring well. In this country if you have a leak in your tyre you can get it plugged for a dollar. Well, our tyres have had so many plugs that the plugs are not working anymore which meant having to put air in the tyres every few days. We felt that we could no longer drive safely on the existing tyres, so we bit the bullet and replaced them. When we got our new tyres, we were told that these are very good “Chinese American” tyres! Mark is delighted as his job every few days was to pump the tyres back up, so that is one less thing for him to do and I certainly feel a lot safer on the road using my new tyres.
We are waiting for the arrival of our second grandchild with excitement – another little Fetherstonhaugh, we are praying for a safe delivery for Sarah and the baby. We in the meantime will be impatiently waiting for a time that we will be able to fly home and spend time with them and hug our grandchildren.
While driving to work one morning a moped went across the road in front of Liz, the guys on it had been fishing with a bamboo rod, the fish they had caught was still hanging on the end of the rod! Suppose there was no point in bringing a bag to put it in, easier to just leave it dangling on the hook letting it soak in all the car and lorry fumes as you go…
One of the things that can be upsetting at Christmas, is seeing shops selling santa outfits for little girls with very short skirts, they feel very inappropriate.
On 23rd December, the staff and some of the Board went around the village to visit our children and deliver Christmas presents to them. They had a portable speaker for the music, musical bells to shake to the music, food for the family and of course presents for the children. The children received a pair of shoes, clothes, and a toy each They checked that children were ok and shared in their joy at receiving presents. Afterwards everyone had the staff Christmas party at a restaurant called “Spicy Noodle” for some noodle soup and a soft drink before breaking up for Christmas.
Not being with family at Christmas can be hard, but Mark, Adam and I spent a very enjoyable Christmas Evening with some expat friends in one of the few places in Phnom Penh serving turkey with all the trimmings. It was a great night of fellowship, fun, good food and entertainment.
Christmas is a time for remembering Jesus, the light of the World who was born with the purpose of reconciling us with God and offering us eternal life with our heavenly father. His mother Mary did not know how God’s plan would unfold and that her son would have to die for us. In the same way we do not know God’s plan for us, and for that we can be thankful, if we knew that COVID would cause such devastation, heartache, and suffering, would we have been able to cope knowing it was coming? We do know that God has been with us through it, that his hope remains steadfast and sure in a world full of uncertainty. For such a time as this, we are to share that hope, to bring his assurance and comfort, to stand with the bereaved, scared, poor, broken and hurting people of this world – to be his hands and feet and show them our God, the one and only God who loves and cares for them.
Ok, enough for this month. Praying for all of us as we start another year may it be a happier one.
Happy New Year (Sous a Dei Chnam Themi).
Blessings until next time.