Here we are in November; the year is just flying by!
We are watching Facebook posts about how autumn has arrived back home and although it is beautiful to see the leaves change colour, we are not missing the colder days that go along with it. Here we are in “cold season” although daytime temperatures are sitting around 33 degrees with little rain. We will still get the odd downpour but they few and far between. The rains in Phnom Penh this year have not been great and water levels are lower than they should be for this time of year, this will make things difficult for those who rely on water for feeding livestock and growing food to eat.
Ok, enough about our fascination with weather! Last month we told you of the birth of a little brother to one of our children. A kind donor gave us some money to buy some clothes for the baby. We brought 4 outfits, a towel, hats and gloves and a towel. We also bought the family two large blankets for them to sleep under. It was lovely to see the mother’s smile when she received the gifts and the pride on her face as she brought the baby into day care the following day in one of the outfits to show us her precious baby in clothes that fit him. To the donors, we thank you very much for the blessing that family received.
In Khmer culture birthdays are not normally celebrated especially in the older generation. They may know what month they were born, but maybe not the date or year. We celebrate all our children’s birthdays with a small bun with a candle in it and a carton of milk. Recently one of our day care workers Sokha had her birthday. We surprised her with a bun, and a present of a scarf and a notebook (for learning her English) and we all sang “Happy birthday”. She kept looking around the room to see which child this was for until she realised, we were singing to her. First, she smiled then she cried. She is 34 years old and had never had anyone celebrate her birthday.
On 18th October Mark and I celebrated our 39th Wedding Anniversary. We went to a restaurant which we love for a meal and thought about how God has blessed us over the years and continues to do so. We have been blessed with two wonderful sons and a beautiful grandson and a ministry to children in need. The best thing is that we get to do this together.
19th October saw the arrival of a lady’s team from St John’s Orangefield. They were real troopers working extremely hard (in the heat) at day care blessing our children with bible stories, crafts, gifts and love.
They told us on more than one occasion that they want to take our children back home with them as they have fallen in love with all of them. They went to the homes of our children and blessed the families with food and prayer. We needed to do home visits for potential new children, and they went into homes within the village, offered prayer and listened to the needs of the families.
They also blessed street children doing a kid’s club in the middle of Phnom Penh at night and doing a couple of days at a school bringing God’s love to them. They blessed Mark and I with lots of food goodies from home. Liz has been eating her way through the bags of Tayto Cheese and Onion and is looking forward to cooking an Ulster Fry. We have had such fun with the team, laughing, talking, experiencing Cambodia and its wonders, we hope they will come back out to us again in the near future.
Good news, following these home visits and assessments, we now have another three children, taking our total to 9 in day-care! Two boys are from one family; their grandmother is looking after 7 grandchildren with little means to support them. The younger boy is 2 ½ years old and the older is 4. The grandmother was so grateful and remarked that she had been told how good our day care was and that she was so happy that they had been given a place.
The other child is a little girl 2 ½ years old, mother and father away and the grandma is struggling with a lot of children to look after. Again, the grandmother is excited to see her grandchild with us. On the first day she came back for her grandchild and was smiling from ear to ear seeing her having fun in the paddling pool. All our new children are settling in well.
The children are learning fast. It is so good to watch them grow in confidence and see them have a hunger to learn. Listening to them count, say colours in English and sing is just lovely, the best thing is how they listen so intently to the bible stories and how they say their prayers each morning.
Lastly some kind donors gave us some funds with specific instructions to take the children on an outing. We hired a bus to go to a play-park, then for a walk, lunch and then back to the village. Except for one of the children, none of them had ever been out of the village, so the excitement was something else. The St John’s team came with us and had a child each to look after. We had a great time and the children got to see a little bit of the city they call home.
Ok we think that is enough for this month. We would like to thank you all for your continued support and thank those donors who gave us the extra blessings. For those families now on half term holidays with your children have fun and for those having autumn walks on cold frosty mornings wrap up well and enjoy.
Until next time – blessings from a hot, sticky but beautiful Cambodia.