I am starting this month’s newsletter talking about dogs. There are dogs in Cambodia that are wild dogs and there are those who wish they were. This morning driving into work I saw a dog sitting outside the house with a coat on (it was 28 degrees at 7.30am) and a nappy!!!! Poor dog, firstly having to wear a coat in this heat and secondly the indignity of having to wear a nappy, which would you rather be?
Next subject is traffic jams. In the West we have cars that cause traffic jams, in South East Asia it is cars but also Cows and Water Buffalo. They dander along and across the road not a care in the world and you just have to wait until they go into a field – this morning this took quite a while.
Life in the village is running along quietly except for a neighbour who had their front door stolen!
One of our children commented that his mum is always drunk as she starts to drink as soon as she gets up; not great when you are a 3-year-old child seeing his mum like that every day. Reminds us why we are here and why we appreciate your love, prayers and support so very much.
During March we are going to recruit another trainee day care worker so we can bring in more children. The circumstances of some of the requests for help are heart-breaking. One man contacted us to ask for a place – his small child was in a hammock in his tuc tuc, reached out of the hammock, fell out and was killed on the road. He then took his second child to be looked after by his mother, she didn’t watch the child carefully, and the child almost drowned, he wants us to help keep this child safe. We are going to open the second floor now and get more of these vulnerable children into safety. We would again value your prayers as we step out again and look for a new staff member and the children who are most in need of a place with us.
Our children are doing very well, and we are hearing good reports about the ones who left us for school. We are pleased to hear that someone who lives in the village is continuing to teach them English as it is not taught in the local school.
This month we took our staff on an overnight retreat, first one we have done in 4 ½ years. We went to a Christian Centre near the ocean (about 3 hours out of Phnom Penh). We did team building on the Saturday, devotions on the Sunday morning and went to see the ocean. 8 of our staff who range in age from 38 to 62 had never seen the sea and the oldest staff member was so happy (she was in the water with all her clothes on) and I could hardly get her to come out of the water to go home. They all had crab, squid, octopus and prawns for their lunch, they sat down on a mat which you can hire for a few pence and shared what they had bought – Mark ate healthy food and I had meat lol!
We celebrated this month as our friends Aream and Charlie had a beautiful baby boy. We were teasing them about the baby’s name – Charlie’s father was called Charles, he is called Charles and now we have Charles III, unlike King Charles he is not destined for a throne. We are so happy for both Arem and Charlie and are looking forward to being able to give him a cuddle.
We also celebrated another birth of a little Khmer baby girl to our friends Nimey and Tola who work at our favourite restaurant Lone Pine. I will give you her English name (Bella) as I can’t even start to pronounce her Khmer one.
With all these babies being born I am always crocheting blankets as gifts, it’s good to have a stash just in case. I know of another baby due to friends in March, so I am keeping my hands busy.
Our Bible Study saw the grandmas praying for Sokheng, they are becoming so confident now and praying for the Bible Study Leader was big for them. Sokheng did an exercise with them about drawing the five things that make them worry, like everyone else in the world, it was money, family and all the things we all worry about.
English class saw all the staff getting another certificate, some their first certificate and the rest their second one. They are working so hard on their English and putting full sentences together. To help those who started later, I intend to split the class into two so we can get them all up to speed.
To finish this month, our hearts are bursting we have just heard that one of our children who just started school in January has been moved up a grade because he “knows so much more” than the others in his year. We are happy for him as he was so keen to learn with us and it has proved he is a smart cookie.
As we move into March we ask again for your prayers as we expand our staff and select new children. God is so faithful, and we are so blessed to witness his presence within day care and the village. We pray God will bless you abundantly and that you will see his abundant grace and faithfulness in your own life.
Until next time …
God bless, Liz and Mark