Thursday 7th September, Sokheng and I headed for Phnom Penh airport and the start of our trip to the UK and Germany. Two staff members came with me and held my hands all the way to the airport, one had never seen an airport, the other had been there once before. We had a cup of coffee while we waited for Sokheng to arrive.
We started our journey by going to Singapore and then on to Manchester. We were so excited but not about the 2-hour flight to Singapore and the 14-hour flight to Manchester. We both managed to sleep on the airplane a little which helped put the hours in.
My son Craig was at Manchester airport to meet us, and we then had a 3-hour car journey to his home in Scotland. We have the loveliest time with my family going for picnics, collecting Bumbleberries (my granddaughter could not say Blackberries). It was also so special to be with Sarah (my daughter-in-Law) and my grandchildren in their church.
Sokheng and I were both a little nervous as it was our first talk in Scotland, but everyone made us feel very welcome. We spoke in turn about how I got from Northern Ireland to Cambodia and Sokheng about her life and what she does as a director with us.
There was an extra blessing that Sunday morning as Sokheng got to see her first kilt.
A little girl was being dedicated into the church and it was lovely to be a part of that. They were wearing the clan tartan, The mother and baby had a cape on and the father his kilt, there was tea and cake afterwards which gave us a time to talk.
Many people wanted to encourage us, and we left with the feeling that would not be our last time in Penninghame Parish Church, Newtonstewart.
On 11th September Sokheng and I got the ferry to Belfast. We stayed in Belfast with my good friend Elizabeth and her husband Bobby. They were great hosts and made us feel very welcome. We had a busy time in Northern Ireland talking at various locations within Belfast and talking at a Women’s Breakfast in Dungannon. Sokheng and Bobby cooked one evening, it looked like an episode of Masterchef.
One morning we made a special trip to Carrickfergus Castle. Sokheng was so impressed to see it and know that it was built at about the same time as Angkor Wat. Sokheng also saw her first sheep, there was such excitement.
All the churches and venues gave us a wonderful welcome and a lot of people signed up for our newsletter, offered to pray for us and made donations.
We spoke at a women’s breakfast held at St Anne’s Dungannon and had approx. 50 women there. It was a lovely morning of worship and fellowship. It was hosted by a good friend of Liz (Lesa Martin) and her daughter sang and played piano. Thank you, Tamah.
One of our other speaking engagements was at St Clements, Templemore Avenue. The children and congregation collected for Eggshell Cambodia during Lent. The children sang and prayed for us, then presented us with a very generous cheque. Another faithful supporting church is Gilnahirk Presbyterian and it was a joy to be back and to have the chance to catch-up to to update old and new members.
It was very emotional for me to be back at our “old” church of St. Columba’s where our children grew up and at our “home” church of Willowfield Parish; having Sokheng visiting and speaking in these was a special time.
We always look forward to Ballyhenry Presbyterian and to seeing all our old friends there. Ballyhenry have had two teams out with us on short-term mission and we always try to visit when back; this time the rest of the church had the chance to meet and hear Sokheng and her story.
Speaking at all the churches we went to was memorable, meeting people and sharing with them the need in Cambodia for the work that we do.
We thank God for all of you.
Monday 18th we headed to Germany. We stayed in the most beautiful village, with lovely old houses and our cameras never stopped.
Our host was my friend Heike, she made us feel at home and was again a wonderful host. Highlights for Sokheng was seeing apples hanging on a tree, the love we felt from the local people and for Sokheng, a very special experience as a passenger in a gilder. For me it was going to the Christmas Shop and getting onto a cable car for the first (and last!) time. We laughed a lot and enjoyed the hot sun. An old man from the village, gave Sokheng and I presents of two Wooden Angels, we were very touched.
Again, it was a very busy week, recording for Christian radio, talking to the community and youth and attending a church service, we were able to take communion there and we ended up with us having lunch with the parishioners and a newlywed couple. We also spent a day at village on the Rhine the scenery was just wonderful.
We left for home 25th September from Germany, we enjoyed our trip, but we were ready to go home by that time. It was a truly wonderful experience and God blessed us with new contacts and new friends. Our prayer is that we will get new donors and requests from more speaking engagements in other parts of the World to enable us to continue and expand.
Mark (my husband) was looking after Day care while Sokheng and I were away and did a fantastic job. The staff told the children if they didn’t behave, they would go to see Mark (the children are afraid of him because he has no hair), so I believe the children were extra good for our time away. (Mark:- Don’t tell Liz, I bribed the children and staff with sweets and snacks, they all behaved wonderfully for me 😂)
First day back at day care the children were so excited to see us. Many hugs and smiles as the staff and children welcomed us back. We had missed them all so much, it was great to know that they had missed us too. Bible Study continued while Sokheng was away, and they all prayed for us which was lovely.
A few months ago, I had told you that the street to day care had been concreted but that they had left about 30ft not done just outside our building, well, our return gift was that they finished the road, and we now have a lovely new concrete road the full-length of the street – I am so happy.
The not so happy news was that someone stole the electrical cable into our building, and we had to close for two days until it was replaced. I guess someone needed the money and they could sell it.
We thank God for his faithfulness, protection, and love in keeping us all safe and we walk on into what he has for us next.
That’s more than enough for this month 🙂