Ok, can’t believe it’s now July, when did that happen?
Rainy season is here but not making a huge appearance, lots of noisy thunder but little rain. The staff and children are happy as they love rainy season, can’t say that Mark and I feel the same way. Everyone in Cambodia, at the first sign of thunder and dark clouds begin to lose their senses in an attempt to get to where they are going before the rain starts!! The traffic laws (which are sometimes obeyed) are thrown out the window, chaos reigns and anything goes. We always start off our day praying in the car for safety for the day ahead and for our travels. Driving here is scary but it becomes a prayer of “Lord get me home without hitting someone” as bikes, motos, tuc tucs and lorries all decide to drive on the wrong side of the road because the rain is coming and I have the right to get to where I am going first…
The children are doing well, it is so beautiful to see their big smiles as they run into day care each morning. They love looking at books and spend a lot of time making up their own stories around the pictures they see. We smile when we see the girls making tuc-tucs out of a toy shopping trolley and clipping it to the bicycles as they become street sellers – it helps Liz with her Khmer as they come to ask her what colour Lego she wants to buy and how much it will cost. They also love to pick up the dolls and become mum (Khmer style) doing what they see mums around the village doing, swinging the babies in hammocks, then bikes become mopeds and up to three dolls and two children can be seen on one bike as they imagine going to the market for food. The boys fight, as all boys do, over the small cars and trucks as they imagine driving them on those crazy roads. We pray that if they do drive later in life, that God will protect them.
It is sometimes hard to imagine their home lives when they seem so happy, are clean and have food to eat. At an event recently, it was brought home to us when three of our children arrived, in dirty, threadbare clothes and we admit it tore at our hearts and brought it back to us just how all of you are making a difference in the lives of these children. We have many women in the village asking us to take their children and one in particular stands outside our fence just looking in with her child. It can be tough as we want to help but we need to build up slowly and gradually.
The children are all well and are enjoy getting their vitamins each day, they think they are getting sweets and are jumping about with joy when the jar comes out.
Our new boy has started to become more confident, loves to dance and loves watching Paw Patrol – for those of you without small children, it is a cartoon where puppy dogs save the day. Liz actually enjoys watching it with them. He is such a good boy, when it is time for sleep, we put him on the mat and off he goes, when he awakens, he does not move until we call him.
All our children enjoy hearing the Bible Story each day and praying afterwards. They are almost finished their workbooks of Khmer writing and we are amazed at how much they can say in English. Even the youngest. She was recently asked in English “who says “no” to her a lot “and she pointed straight at Liz.
Our day-care recently hosted an event in the village with St John Ambulance in Phnom Penh and Church of Christ Our Peace. 100 Families were invited to a small church service, a training session on basic first aid and were given a basic first aid kit provided by people back in Northern Ireland. Thank you all who contributed.
We came back to Northern Ireland at the end of June to speak at a number of churches about Eggshell Cambodia and see family and friends. Our staff decided to have a meal together to see us off and thank us. They planned it all and used the Cook’s house to eat. Of course, the karaoke machine came out and we all had to do a song. Freddy Mercury would have cringed at Liz’s version of “The Great Pretender” but she rocked it out so all the villagers could hear at full pelt. A poor duck who had been walking around earlier that morning was one of our dishes and the other was a chicken that received the same fate. Must say, duck with lemon grass was lovely and the chicken with cabbage was fab.
We are looking forward to coming home to Northern Ireland, seeing our family, doing our speaking engagements but, we will be just as excited to come back to Cambodia. We will miss our staff and children; they are such a big part of our lives here.
We will leave you with a thought. God asks us to protect and love his children, there are so many children who lack protection and do not have their basic needs met. Recently Mark and I were returning home to cook dinner, when we spotted a little girl of around 2 years old, filling her plastic drinking bottle with water that was running into the gutter, her mum and baby brother or sister were sitting in a doorway on a piece of cardboard. Who is protecting them? Eggshell Cambodia is here to protect and provide God’s love and care to these vulnerable children, please pray for us, for them and for God’s provision to continue doing this vital work.
God bless until next time.
Liz and Mark