The months are just flying by, in just over four weeks, Mark and I are jumping on a few air planes and heading for the UK. Not being home for 2 ½ years we are beyond excited to see our family, friends and spend time with our grandchildren.
We will be sharing updates on our work in a few churches while we are back and will also be attending the New Wine Ireland Conference in Sligo from 14-17 July.
We would love to see you; we are speaking at services:
- St Patrick’s COI, Millisle, Sunday 24th July 10.am
- Christ Church, COI, Carrowdore, Sunday 24th July 11.30am
- Eggshell Cambodia, AGM, Belfast, Tuesday 26th July 7:00pm, Micah Centre, Willowfield Parish Church
- St John’s COI, Orangefield, Belfast, Sunday 31st July 11:00am
- Ballyhenry Presbyterian, Glengormley, Sunday 7th August 11.00am
- Willowfield Parish Church, Belfast, Sunday 7th August 7.00pm
May has been a month of happiness and sadness.
Our joy was having visitors for the first time since March 2020. A team from Church of the Resurrection, Chicago spent a morning with us. The children danced a traditional dance and sang Khmer worship songs, then the team had a tour around the building, ending with lunch with the children and staff. We had a great morning filled with laughter but also a few tears.
Our sadness was having an early graduation for one of our children.
This 5-year-old little boy has been with us for all the time we have been open. He has been through so much in his short life, we took him to the hospital weekly when he badly burnt his hand at his home, we have held him when he cried because his home-life was just too hard and enjoyed the times when he was happy and enjoying day-care.
His family decided to send him to live with his grandma in a village 10 hour’s drive away from day-care. We admit that we found his leaving so hard, our hearts were broken that he was distressed about this move and that he will not graduate with his friends this October. We pray for him that he will settle quickly and not miss his family too much. We pray that he will continue to pray to Jesus, that he doesn’t forget what we have taught him especially that he has a friend in Jesus that he can talk to and who loves him very much. He will be missed by all of us, but he knows that Jesus and we love and care about him.
We sometimes have unwelcome visitors to day-care. We had a very big Tokay Gecko in the building for 3 days. The staff were very frightened as they can give a nasty bite. After 3 days we managed with the help of a broom, and some mats to get it out the door. It put up a good fight, but we won in the end, he left the building without harm and we had a few less frightened staff.
On Saturday 28 May Mark and I went to Sokheng’s village for her engagement ceremony. She is to marry Phillip who is from Georgia in the USA- she has known him for over 10 years. It was a lovely morning and well worth getting up at 3am for the journey to Kampong Cham Province to her family home. The ceremony started at 7am and was a traditional Khmer engagement ceremony where they both exchange rings witnessed by family and friends. They plan to have a Christian wedding in November. We are so pleased for them both. Please pray for them as they prepare for this and for life together.
Rainy season has started. Our staff are very good at improvising when they are caught without rain wear. Here we have Ra and Sokha in their very fetching headgear ready for their walk home.
The lane down to our day-care is badly flooded and two of our new children live down this lane. Their home is flooded, and they have to wade through the muck and water in their home and also coming up the lane to get to day-care. This will happen now for the next 5-6 months until the rains stop again. The staff and some of the children have had leeches stuck to their legs going through the water which is very unpleasant for them. Another problem with rainy season is the threat of snakes in the water as they try to find dry ground. Please pray for safety for our children and staff.
In rainy season it can be difficult to see pot-holes and the roads are very slippy. Recently Sokheng fell off her moto and is suffering from bruising to her chest and body (the handlebars hit her), and road rash on both legs.
There have been a couple of one day Khmer holidays this month – the King’s birthday, the Royal Ploughing Ceremony (a blessing for the rice harvest) and Memorial Day It is a time for families to celebrate the King, pray for a good rice harvest in the coming year and remember those who died during the genocide.
Unlike the UK in July, to September there are no holidays, we still find it strange to see pictures of people on the holidays back home while we are working. Most Khmer cannot afford to take holidays at all and tend to stay at home when they are not working. It reminds us of how grateful we are to be able to visit other countries when many Khmer cannot. We wish we could take them all to the UK and let them experience our culture, beautiful scenery and our traditions but they do not like English food and have not experienced the cooler temperatures, so they tell us they would die from the cold. We are in sympathy with them, – when we get home to the UK, we will feel like we are about to die from the cold too lol! Our staff however love to hear how things are done differently in other countries and love to see pictures of the animals, the food eaten, and what the different countries looks like.
Our Bible Study is still going strong, and we are thrilled that the village people are still attending. Please continue to pray for them, that they find Jesus by hearing the word of God. One gentleman recently said to Sokheng “Your God is Good” pray that Our God becomes his God.
God has been showing us recently how he is in the small things, the little child who prays to Jesus when they are scared, the child who sings a praise song when they are sitting playing on their own, the enthusiasm of a child saying AMEN before eating lunch. He reminds us that he is present and at work all the time, we just need to open our eyes and ears to enjoy his presence and praise Him even if it is in a small way.
Until next month
Liz and Mark