During rainy season we have what people in the West would call heavy downpour rain, it comes on out of the blue and you get a drenching in seconds. Lately the rain has been unrelenting, and a lot of Cambodia is now under water. To date 11 people have died and many have lost their crops and homes. Driving to the village on the flooded roads is hazardous but once at the village it is not too bad. In Phnom Penh the garbage collectors are also on strike, so rubbish bags and rotten food is floating down the streets, not a good situation at all. We ask you to pray that the rain stops soon, that no more people lose their lives or livelihoods and that the garbage collectors return to work soon. The economy here has been hit badly by COVID and people who were already struggling now had an added burden of flooded homes and failed crops.
At the end of September, we held our second Graduation Ceremony for two of our children, one boy and one girl. They will start Public School this month. We prepared them as much as we could, but it is still a very emotional day for everyone. For the children it is their last day with us, for us it is about them leaving our protection – it is so hard to let them go. We will however keep an eye on them as much as we can and pray that they will continue their studies at school. Our two Graduates from last year came to the ceremony, it was so good to see them. This year the Village Chief joined us and presented the children with their Certificates. We think the children were terrified that he was there as most of them froze to the spot when it was time to do their singing and actions. Liz talked to the Graduates about dreaming Big Dreams, that they should aim high, study hard and show others that they can make their dreams come true. She told them that Jesus has big dreams for them too. Our prayer is to see them do well, get out of the cycle of poverty and love Jesus; perhaps someday they could be spreading the good news of Jesus to others within Cambodia. wouldn’t that be wonderful?
Our children are so lovely and as soon as Liz arrives at day care, they are over straight away to hug her, they remind her that during the difficult times, God gives blessings in the small significant ways. Recently one of our children came in looking a little strange, he had shaved half of his eyebrow off (he said he wanted to look like a cartoon character), well he definitely got his wish.
Life here never stands still, so we have already started two new children and have another one coming onboard within the next two weeks. Three more children at risk, cared for and protected by you. One little boy is 2 years old, never has clothes on and is running about the village unattended. Another, a little boy goes with his mother and 2 month old sibling to sit by the side of a busy road while she tries to make a little money selling mangoes. Our last little boy, lives in a very run-down wooden house with bits of wood and tiles piled up 6ft high everywhere you look, his mum has already sent one child 300 miles away to live with relatives. has a new baby and wants us to help keep this little boy safe. We may get the privilege of working with them every day, but you are key to protecting and providing for them. Thank you.
18th October was our 40th Wedding Anniversary. We took at few days over a weekend to go to the seaside at Kep which overlooks the Gulf of Thailand and celebrate. With all that is going on back home, we feel very privileged that we were able to go and spend a few days away without restrictions. It is very beautiful in Kep, so relaxing and refreshing, famous for its seafood – just what we needed. Look it up, it might make you want to visit Cambodia… Kep is very close to Kampot which is famous all over the world for its very fragrant pepper and its National Park just what we needed to recharge our batteries.
October has been a very unusual month, too much rain (after praying for some), children going back to school after 10 months off, Water Festival (with the boat racing cancelled because of Covid) and us starting to prepare for Christmas. We are still doing food giveaways to the poor in our village and a second location as the economy is stretched, businesses go under and money becomes harder to come by. Huge thanks to all the donors who make this possible and to St. John Ambulance for the rice for our latest give-away.
We know that at the same time Europe and the UK is starting to tighten restrictions again and we pray that this will be for a short period of time, Cambodia is still low in numbers of those reported to have COVID but for now our borders are still closed and the monitoring of people coming into the country is strictly adhered to. We have a lot to be thankful for and we continue to pray that it does not get a grip on this country – it would be catastrophic.
Jesus Christ is our living hope, he is with us in every breath we take, in every waking moment he is guiding, reassuring and comforting us, at times like now in uncertainty we have Jesus, he goes before us. He asks us not to hoard his hope for ourselves but that we need to tell others about him and give them the opportunity to share in his gift to us and his world.
To sign off this month here is a little more background on one of our children:
We continue to pray for you all back home as we hear restrictions are tightening up again.
Lots of love and blessings until next month.
Mark and Liz