April has been a funny month. It began very cloudy, rained and the temperature was very pleasant not the normal, very hot and humid with little or no rain – climate change? Not sure!
Khmer New Year saw a vast movement of people out of Phnom Penh into the countryside, in places Phnom Penh looked like a ghost-town. After 2 years without celebrating, everyone was eager to bring in the new year with a bang. Huge water-pistols, and vast quantities of talcum powder were used to ensure that everyone got a good soaking, and their faces were whitened. There was lots of traditional dancing and Khmer games, and everyone enjoyed spending time with their families. Our children and our staff also played traditional games before breaking up for the 3-day holiday. The cook made traditional Khmer Curry which was absolutely delicious, and the children were super happy. It is traditionally eaten with bread and noodles, which is a treat for the children as they wouldn’t normally get to eat a lot of bread.
Some of the older children have been learning a traditional Khmer dance. The story behind the dance is about how a Khmer woman is beautiful inside and out and is good at cooking, sewing, and looking after her family. Watching them doing the dance has brought tears to my eyes – my prayer is that these traditional dances and stories continue to be passed down through each generation.
We have been recently teaching the children safety, road safety, safety around fire, water etc and stranger danger. We do this periodically to ensure they remember, and our hope is to prevent anything bad happening to them and educate them in what to do if faced with a situation.
The children and staff are as also very excited, as people from the USA are coming to see them in early May. They love to see visitors as it is break from seeing us every day and they can practice the English they have been learning.
We love people coming to visit. Mission teams and individuals are always welcome, long or short term. If you church or group or yourself feels that Mission is for you and would like to come to Cambodia, we can organise your itinerary while you are here suited to your gifts and talents, just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and start the ball rolling.
This month in introducing our staff is Sam Sopheap She is one of our new staff members, I’ll let her tell you a little about herself.
My name is Sopheap. I was born in 1961, I have two children, the oldest sister got married and youngest boy is 10 years old. My husband is 71 years old he is a Passapp driver. My mom died since I was one year old and I had raised by a stepmother. During Khmer Rouge (Pol Pot) I was about 16 years old and I was forced to work hard on a farm and when I got sick could not work they beat very bad. I nearly die one time because I was very sick and no medicine but thank God there was a man gave me medicine and I got better.
I was moved from the village to live in Koh Pich, my husband was a Moto Dop driver (motorbike taxi) at that time, a few years later they move us to live in the village I live in now. It was not easy when we first moving here I have no job and my husband don’t make much from Moto Dop.
I become Christian in 1998. There was a woman came to my house and tell me about Jesus at that time I was very sick (with unclean spirit) then one day I decided to go to church and people at church prayed for me since that day I am healed and free from the spirit.
I been praying for a good job to work with a Christian organization for about 20 years. One day I came to join Bible group at Child Haven Organization. And Nekru (teacher) asked if anyone has a prayer request, I told her I need a job, she said; “please continue to pray and trust God, he will give you a good job”.
A few weeks later there was a cook position open in day-care, so I apply and I got a job!
I am so happy for the last period of my life I can work in a place I like to serve God and been praying for many years. I really enjoy working every day and I feel I am more healthy and strong then before. I thank God for his faithfulness and his blessing to me and my family.
I know, I go on about Moto’s, but the different uses for modes of transport here is something else. One of our children was on her grandma’s bicycle sitting on the back in a tin cooking pot. Flatbed trucks make good additional seating space, so plastic chairs are put in place and the flat bed becomes a bus. The old type of Tuk Tuk is more open than the new ones and many times I have seen a hammock strung up in the middle and someone is sleeping in it, while the other drives the moto. Moto’s are transport not only for humans but for dogs. They either stand on the front of the moto, sit on the back of the seat or stand on the seat on the front with their legs draped over the handlebars, it just amazes me how they stay there and don’t jump off, must be down to how they are trained as a pup.
Our Women’s Bible Study continues to flourish. Just before Easter, we told them the Easter Story and they got to paint hard boiled eggs. God is speaking into their lives just for the fact that they continue to come and hear about his love for them. Our prayer is for them to accept him as their Saviour.
Staff English Classes are continuing, and the staff faithfully attend twice a week. They are enjoying it and have been learning conversation so they can speak a little with our visitors when they come. Every morning, I go to each one, and go through Hello, what is your name? What age are you? Are you married? Etc so that they will have the confidence to ask questions but also answer them. Most of the staff will never be in situations where they need to speak English, but they can use what they learn to teach the children English words and it gives them the confidence and pleasure to know they can communicate with English-speaking visitors.
As April draws to an end, we think of Spring and new birth, I am reminded of my own rebirth as a child when I accepted Jesus. Our Prayer is that our children will accept Jesus and that through the work we are doing here we will see rebirths in Jesus among families all around this village and beyond.
Until next time
Liz and Mark