I have a new name! – Malis (Ma-Liz). Sokheng’s mother cannot say Liz so she calls me Malis (which means white flower or Jasmine as we know it). I feel honoured to be named after such a beautiful flower. Sokheng arrived at our house recently with a present of Malis for me which now takes pride and place in the little flowerbed at the front of the house.
October started with Sokheng (our Ops Manager) and Liz running around paying deposits and organising delivery of equipment. This needed to be done before the work was finished to erect protection inside the building to prevent the children from climbing and falling from a great height.
All the staff came and cleaned the areas where the equipment was to go, and it looked lovely but two days later it was as bad as ever again. It is a little disheartening, but the men need to do their work which is messy, and we will just have to have a team bonding morning and clean again once they are finished.
Mark and I have been on-site most days. A lot of days we could not see what progress if any had been made, but then suddenly, it all started to come together. Some of the men have been living on-site, which must be hard, as yet we do not have running water, showers or toilets for them to use. There is also a little girl aged around 6 yrs. old (one of the workmen’s daughter) on-site every day.
We will be having our official opening of the new building on Wednesday 24th November (God willing!) and we are so looking forward to seeing our children and having them back in day care with us as quickly as we are allowed. Please pray this goes well and that the children settle into their new surroundings quickly.
Mark and I had our 41st wedding anniversary on 18th October and to celebrate we had a nice meal together. God has truly blessed us during our marriage, and we are looking forward to whatever else he has in store for us over the next year and beyond.
We also got our third Covid vaccine a few weeks ago. We nearly missed it due to a vehicle coming around the street telling everyone in Khmer that they should go and get it soon. Sokheng lives near our house and telephoned to say that there was a small window in which we could get the vaccine. She took us next day. We went to the vaccine centre, the man asked us to take a number and wait to be called. There was no one there! No queue. We walked approx. 12 feet to another man sitting with a box, put our numbers in the box and we were done and out in 5 minutes. Praise God we didn’t have to queue for hours under the sun to get it.
Liz took a food pack to one of our staff members (Sokha) as her father is very ill. This is done traditionally when someone is sick. Liz filled a shopping bag with fruit and essentials and took it to Sokha’s home. The family allowed her to pray for him and her prayer was that Sokha’s father would believe in Jesus before he dies.
Life in Cambodia is starting to move forward again, tourists are to be allowed back into the Kingdom from 1st November, and there is a real sense that the worst is over. Churches and Schools are re-opening and, cinemas, sports clubs etc are now allowed to operate again. We are getting on with the new way of doing life just as you are in the West.
Our friend Richard, who had the bad motorbike accident, is recovering well. God is healing him very quickly and he went into hospital to have the fixator on his leg removed (much quicker than expected). He is now in a full-length fibreglass cast until everything settles down. He still has a long road ahead, with more operations and physio before he can walk on it again. Please pray for him. We went to see him, together with some other friends recently and enjoyed a Mexican takeaway and a good laugh, just what we all needed.
God has been speaking and showing us what patience and grace looks like. Through all our situations: what happened to Richard and seeing him patiently and graciously waiting for God to heal; our impatience to see the building work finished and the children back, and the real desire to go back home for a visit to see our family and friends, but he is showing us what patience and grace looks like. He knows and hears our impatient prayers, our faults and weaknesses our groanings, and is reminding us that he is in control and his timing is perfect. We all know this right? But being human makes us think we can do things better and quicker than him who made us and knew us before we were even born. He is a good father.
During the month we gave out food aid packs to our children’s families. We will continue to do this until our children are back with us. Most of them are not getting enough food to eat at home as money is scarce and we know that they are well-fed when they are with us, so these food packs are essential to help the families in the meantime.
We are thankful that rainy season is almost over and the homes of some of the villagers can dry out. You know how it is when you see or experience flooding in your home due to a burst pipe, or excessive rain, some families here live with water in their homes for 4-6 months every year. It is painful to see homes in 2-3ft of water with women hanging out their clothes while standing in stagnant water up above their shins, while children are sleeping in the beds with water 2-3 inches below them. They cannot move out; they have nowhere to go. Our God sent us to the village to look after vulnerable children, to show them that although life is very hard, he is with them, that he loves and wants to protect them. Mark and I are nothing without Jesus, we are his hands and feet, we do his will, and he guides us in that. We are not superhuman, we are normal people with the desire to follow Jesus and do his will.
Anyway, enough for now. Not sure if you know that in Cambodia it is quite common to see people in the heat of the day, sleeping in bus shelters, on a piece of astro-turf outside a shop, or on top of their motorbike – anywhere really. If you are tired, you stop your moto and sleep.
Until next month
Blessings Liz and Mark