Sous a Die,
We have been in Phnom Penh for five weeks now, how time flies! God has been so good and gracious to us since we arrived. We have been staying at the home of our friends David and Esther who run Elim Cambodia. God placed us in a house where we have plenty of Khmer and western friends nearby. We get to meet the locals and try out our Tic Tic Khmer (“small” Khmer) on the girls in the coffee shop and the ladies who live across the road.
We arrived at the hottest, most humid time of the year and everyone was saying how hot it was, yes even Liz was struggling. Five weeks on, it has been more bearable, cloudy and rain (don’t even go there)! Mark had to take his shoes and socks off yesterday and wade through the 4 inches of water on the road which looked like a small lake….
A lot has happened since we arrived. Lots of meetings with our network here. We attended a Chab Dai Members Conference the first week which helped us network with other NGO’s and people we had not previously met but who are willing to help us avoid the painful pitfalls they fell into.
God has turned up daily and so tangibly through devotionals and worship, confirming clearly that he wants us to walk forward in His name. Liz met up with a street girl who she met on her first trip out to Cambodia (this girl is so smart and could sell snow to the Eskimos) and who works in the red-light area. She has such a beautiful smile and a very tough life. Our prayer is that she will take the opportunity to get off the streets and come to know Jesus. She tells Liz she knows about God – she is a work in progress.
We have been coming to terms with not seeing family which has been tough, but Facetime and WhatsApp are great and being able to talk and see them this way makes the distance between us seem much smaller. Our boys, beautiful daughter-in-law and Liz’s brothers are wonderful at keeping us informed and Facetime her when they visit her Dad (93) and her Mum (94) – we are looking forward to seeing them all at the end of June. We are so excited that we are to be grand-parents for the first time in July and pray that our little grandson makes an appearance while we are back home.
We are missing out church family so much, having said that we have been worshiping at the Anglican church, visiting Elim and New Life churches – it still takes 35 minutes to get Liz out the doors after the service. The Anglican church opened the doors to their new church building Sunday 3rd June; it is a beautiful building which will be a beacon of light in the City of Phnom Penh. Felt just like being at Willowfield as we got Krispy Crème donuts on the way out, Mark was a happy boy.
There are many challenges here and things to get used to. God found us a worship leader who doubles as a Rental Agent and he found us a home of our own to rent at an amazing price (everyone says they don’t know how we got it so cheap, we do, isn’t God amazing?). We are having lots of frustrations trying to furnish it. An example would be – to buy a bed you go and buy the base at one place in the city and then have to go right across to the other-side of the city to get the mattress, takes forever to do simple things that back home we take for granted. We have now spent two weeks trying to find sheets for the bed! One excitement was that our washing machine plays a tune for us when it finishes – how sad are we!
Food in the supermarkets that we take for granted can be expensive. £4-6 for an ice-berg lettuce, cheddar cheese £5 for a small block and cereals can be £5 for a small box. Needless to say, we have been trying other local alternatives, some ok, some not.
We have now started intensive language classes which takes up every afternoon, we have had some laughs at mispronunciations as we try to get our tongues around some of the words.
God has been ever present in the small details too. Liz has been trying to pull down resources for the children and a website has kindly given Eggshell Cambodia access to their online resources free of charge for a year. This has been such a blessing, so she has been busy getting the English words translated into Khmer.
Last week we were taken out to Rokakos Village by the Priest in Charge of the Anglican Church (Gregory), the office Administrator and the driver to look around the premises we will be using for our first day care centre. It felt so good to be there again and the location feels right, our hearts skipped a beat as God confirmed this is where he wants us to work and reach out in his name. Lots of pictures were taken, lists made of equipment needed and work required to make it a usable space for the children.
We are home at the end of June for 4 weeks and on our return, we are excited that we will have two friends coming out Jenny and Chris who are going to help us get the place ready and resourced for opening. While they are at the village we will also hold a few kid’s clubs, fun days and an information day for village ladies who may use our day-care facility.
So, as you can see, our days are very much full on, but God is so very close we don’t feel alone for a moment and are continually strengthened and affirmed. We are getting a lot done and go to bed tired but satisfied that God is working and standing beside us.
- That God will continue to place our work and the children of Cambodia on your hearts and the hearts of many to pray for us and to financially support the work Eggshell Cambodia
- That God blesses us with language skills, so we can communicate effectively.
- That God upholds and strengthens us when times are tough, and we could feel overwhelmed.
- Give thanks for the rich blessings that God is bringing through the partnership and negotiations between us and the Anglican Church of Cambodia. These have been going so incredibly well. Please that timings for the Day-Care Centre opening are realistic and achievable.
- As we start to look for Khmer staff to work for Eggshell Cambodia and at the day-care centre, that good Christian people come forward.
- We need to buy a vehicle to get to the village – it is located in a very rural area and the roads are not good. Pray that the right vehicle can be found at an amazing price that has all its paperwork and is legal.
- Pray for safe travels as we return to Northern Ireland.
- We will be speaking at a Seminar at New Wine Sligo in July – Monday 9th at 4pm, entitled “Persistence in Perusing God’s Call”; please pray for our preparations for that and for the people who will attend it.
- Pray that God give us wisdom and discernment in all that we do and say.
Until next time.
Li Howie (good bye!).