Archive for May, 2012

Green Fingers

My grandfather was a wonderful gardener and it was confirmed to me this week that unfortunately I did not inherit his green fingers.  We have been invited to not one, but two weddings this weekend with one of them  being the first ceremony to take place at our centre.  With this in mind the staff have been working hard in order for the centre to be spick and span for this special occasion.  It is wonderful having a garden but of course it needs to be cared and tended to.  On Tuesday I decided I was going to spend some time in the garden sorting out the plants, straight forward you would think but only if you’re not in Cambodia.  First of all I needed some gardening essentials – tools and gloves.  David laughed when I used the ipad to search the internet, logging on to a gardening store in the UK and locating images of the items I required.  These were then shown to our tuk tuk driver, asking ‘where can we get these?’ Don’t you love technology!!

The plant I thought had seen better days

Off we went in the tuk tuk stopping at several roadside shops where I was presented with spades but no trowels or gardening gloves.  Eventually we were successful buying a trowel (that looked well used) and washing up gloves for $2.50.  By the time I got started in the garden it was the hottest part of the day, the rubber gloves didn’t last long and were soon discarded.  It was all going well, clearing away the weeds and removing plants that had already died.  Then I made two mistakes proving I am not a gardener.  I took the trowel to a plant that looked lifeless and droopy digging it up only to be told by Nita that it is a precious plant owned by the landlady which when it flowers, she can sell!  The clump I dug up was pressed back in and the plant was watered, I will let you know if it recovers from my attack!  The next error was pulling brown, droopy leaves from a tree which as soon as I did it, Nita asked ‘Why?’  I responded they are dead.  Her response, no they are just growing and different in colour because of this.  So I have decided to leave the garden in the capable hands of those who know exactly what they are doing!

School in session

Language has also been fun this week.  The teacher we had for 6 weeks has begun a new job, and although we were very sorry to lose him, we know he will make a huge impact in the lives of those he is now working for.  He did arrange a new tutor for us and we began with Rotha on Tuesday morning.  She is a lovely Christian lady and we spend a few minutes in prayer before the lesson begins.  One funny story I have to share with you took place during the introductory meeting we had with Rotha before she agreed to teach us.  David said to her, ‘You speak very good English’ to which she replied, ‘I know, even better than you!’ Sorry David, but she is probably right!We are taught separately and spend one hour in conversation and 30 minutes learning to read and write.  The lesson is very interactive, carrying out actions to describe words and phrases we have learnt.  So you don’t think I’m always making fun of David, I will share a conversation Rotha and I had in Khmer.

R: I have a problem, can you help me?

E: What is your problem?

R: I am hungry

E: (I thought she said I am sick so I replied) Go to the hospital

To which Rotha laughed and said, ‘Why do you want me to go to hospital, is it to eat the doctors and patients?’

Some of my homework!

On Thursday Rotha taught me how to write ‘I love you’ and ‘Jesus loves you’.  I was very excited as I wrote along with her and was also able to see how the vowels and consonants came together.  My challenge before Tuesday is to say ‘Jesus loves you’ to ten people, so far I have said it to five Khmer people and they have all understood me!  She also wants me to be able to write it, but I’m not sure I will be as successful with that part of the challenge!

Over the weekend we will be able practice the Khmer we have learnt so far with the fellow guests at the two weddings providing the music doesn’t drown us out.  As I write this we have just returned from the wedding rehearsal at the centre.  David has the very important role of leading the procession of bringing the groom and the best men into the church.  As we left the centre, it was being decorated by a team of people and will be completely transformed for the wedding.  We will post photographs in next week’s blog.

wedding preparations under way

Our latest newsletter for the months of April & May is now available, if you would like to be added to the mailing list, drop us an email at:

Thank you for your prayers, messages and words of encouragement; we really cannot express how much they mean to us.  Until next week, love and God bless x

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Always be joyful.  Never stop praying.  Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

True Heroes!

Many people have made comments about the two of us in relation to our roles as missionaries and we really appreciate the encouragement and the support but you are the true heroes. You are the people who pray for us, who constantly lift us with your emails and of course support us financially. You are part of the team who do things without seeing first-hand the joy brought to a mother with nothing receiving clothes for her little children. We are privileged to witness this priceless blessing.

At different times of the year we miss home more than others.  Now at this point I want to say that we miss our families like crazy and there isn’t a day goes by that we don’t think about the effect our calling has on you. You will never know how many times we ache for a little bit of you. We love you and miss you all. Strangely enough one of those times we miss home is next Saturday 26th May when Bangor Elim church gets turned upside down by thousands of Biker enthusiasts. Yes it’s that time again the Bike and Fashion shows is back next Saturday from 11 am until 5.30 pm, and this year marks the 10th anniversary which promises to be the biggest and best event yet!

I loved it, we loved it and that was mainly because the Elim mission’s burger stall sells the best burgers. Trust me one of my highlights was getting to taste the burgers before the public, and then I got elevated from taster to flipper.  This is the biggest honour of all for a burger freak. The moments spent turning burgers with Stephen “Chopper” Moore and Trevor “Hot Dog” Williamson are special memories.  The fact your hands were swollen for weeks afterwards from oil burns just added more enjoyment to the whole proceedings.

Normally I would say trust me about the burgers, but not this time. I am challenging you to go to the Bike & Fashion show next Saturday and see for yourself. Buy a burger (from the Missions burger stand not the chippy van, remember we know and will hunt you down) in fact buy two and when you are there do something special; pay more than you are charged.  You know why, because every penny that the Missions team raise helps support us as we do whatever is possible to help those with absolutely nothing.  Yes we get to see their tear filled eyes as team WE (that’s you and us) get to bless others because you cared enough to give that little bit extra.

Back to True Heroes, there are two people who really do work tirelessly at this time of the year and they deserve all the credit.  We would not be able to do half of what we do without the constant love, respect and support from our dear friends Ruth and Phil McKee.  Please, please, please support them by going to the show and of course buying a burger.

Finally we salute all the extremely loyal, hardworking missions’ team – you are such a blessing and we love you all.  Thank you for your big, big hearts. I will miss my burger and that is a shame but we pray that the food will be sold out and people will give generously.

Saturday the 26th May from 11 am, what a way to spend your Saturday. Have a wonderful time many blessings to you all.

Luke chapter 6 verse 38 “Give and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom.  For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

We have suggested to Phil that they should hold a Car & Motorcycle show in Cambodia, the photos below depict what transport you would might see on display!

David in his role as part time tuk tuk driver!

Michael Schumacher could even be present!

Cyclo, a common form of transport in Phnom Penh

David and his moto! (not really)



Jesus loves the little children

Children arriving for Sunday School

On Sunday we were delighted to welcome a mission’s team from Thrive Church in Rangiora, New Zealand who were spending 10 days in Phnom Penh working with various NGO’s (non-government organisations).  The link between the team and ourselves is our good friend Julie who had organised a busy but productive itinerary for the team of seven, with the youngest aged only 15.  We were blessed to have Pastor Chris D’Ath as the guest speaker and he brought a word in season for the Khmer church.  Sunday School tripled in size with not one but two Tuk Tuks going to the village and returning with 2 ladies and 20 children!  It was wonderful to see all their smiling faces as they ran straight to the swings for some fun!

Waiting for bathtime!

During the week I had chatted with Nita about whether it would be possible for us to give the children a wash while they are in our care and she agreed to this.  But when I saw the 20 children run upstairs I didn’t think it would be feasible, however, Nita followed them with the shampoo and soap.  When I went upstairs the children were all sitting waiting their turn for a shampoo and bath.  There was a production line in place with Nita bathing the children, Srey Mao drying them and once dressed; they came to me to get their hair combed through.  It was great fun and the icing on the cake was seeing their wee faces smile in the mirror at their reflection!  Cathy was hands on too, as she tended to the little girl with the sore toe, cleaning and dressing the wound which is healing well.  Altogether there were 26 children who had a wonderful time in Sunday School hearing a Bible story, singing action songs, colouring in and taking part in a quiz.  We are very thankful to the staff from the Early Learning Centre who are serving as Sunday School teachers on a rota basis, please pray for them as they teach these little ones about Jesus.

Dr Cathy in her element

Children enjoying refreshments and snack time

Since we returned to Phnom Penh on 2nd February life has been really full on and we hit the ground running so to speak.  With Bill & Maureen’s help we accomplished a lot during their time here and workshops facilitated by our friend Julie were instrumental with regards to the long term goals and vision of Elim Missions in Cambodia.  Several brainstorming sessions really challenged us and the heat sometimes got the better of us!  But by the time our mentors departed back to the colder (and more comfortable) climate in the UK, Elim Phnom Penh was thriving.  A Khmer church leadership team is in place, a worship leader, Sunday School leader, Youth leader have been appointed with teams in place to assist each ministry.  The weekly prayer meeting is established with ministries for the Men and Women commencing at the start of June with people in place to head these up.  We are in exciting times with the whole church are coming together seeking God’s guidance and wisdom as we reach the Khmer community around us.

We took advantage of our time together with our friend Cathy to enjoy a few days in Kep, a sleepy coastal village in Cambodia, just over 2 hours away from Phnom Penh.  Coming from the coastal town of Bangor, we do miss the sea and there is something therapeutic about watching the waves and breathing in fresh air, a luxury we miss out on living in Phnom Penh!  Kep was the equivalent of the French Riviera popular with wealthy holidaymakers from the thirties right up until the Khmer Rouge took over in the seventies.  One of our mornings was spent hiking through Kep National Park; we were a bit concerned on the outset of our walk as we read the poster of what animals we could encounter.  I did scream once when a snake slithered on the path beside me, making me rather nervous for the remainder of the walk.  We did see some interesting bugs but I could cope with them.  Walking is another luxury we don’t get to enjoy due to the heat and crazy traffic so we thoroughly enjoyed God’s beautiful creation of breath taking scenery, flowers and greenery.  We came back to Phnom Penh feeling rested, refreshed and the batteries recharged.

Animals we might come across!

Breathtaking scenery

We even discovered blackberries!

My favourite tree in Cambodia

Beautiful sunset in Kep

On Friday the team from New Zealand split up with the men joining David as he coached the boys from CFC (Care for Cambodia) at the pitch next door to our centre.  The ladies accompanied me at the Early Learning Centre where first of all they presented Nita & Sokhom with some resources for the children to make use of – coloured card & paper, colouring pencils, glue, face paints, play dough, large whiteboard & pens etc.  We are very grateful for the team donating these goodies and the children will get a lot of enjoyment from them. The ladies spent a few hours in the centre chatting to the staff and playing with the babies, toddlers and pre-school children.  It was a privilege to spend time with a group of people passionate about Jesus and willing to give up their time to make a difference to the children of Cambodia.  We will be praying for the team as they travel home that they will know God’s richest blessing as they have been a blessing to those they came in contact with.

Ladies presenting gifts to ELC


Matthew 25:40  “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me”.



Happy Endings

the little girl with burn wounds bandaged

Some of you may recall the story of a little girl we came into contact with last year.  One Sunday whilst her mother was cooking rice the pot of boiling water spilt over the girl causing serious burns to her body.  At the time a medical team went into the village every Sunday afternoon and they were on hand to treat this little girl.  It was heart-breaking to witness the sheer agony she endured as they tended to her wounds but she was so brave through it all.  Because of the severity of her injuries it was arranged for the little girl to go to hospital and receive the necessary treatment and care.  Shortly after this we lost contact with the family, unsure if they had returned to the province where their remaining family lived.

Tuk Tuk laden with children

In films and books I am a sucker for happy endings, and this is what happened on Sunday.  We had organised for a Tuk Tuk to go into the slum village situated about a 10 minute drive from the centre.  The Etjai lady who has been attending church lives there and we visited her last Friday to let her know transport would be coming so she and her family wouldn’t have to make the journey on foot.  On Sunday morning it was a picture to behold as the Tuk Tuk drove in the gate with two ladies and seven children on board.  Once they had all climbed off one little girl ran and wrapped her arms round my legs.  When I looked down I was over the moon to see the face of the little girl who was so badly burned last year.  I lifted her top to check it was her and although her burned body has healed so well the scars were there to prove it was really her.  I gave her a big hug, delighted to see this wee angel so healthy and happy!  Thank you to everyone who like us was praying for this little one’s recovery especially when we didn’t know where she was and how she was doing.  The little girl with the infected toe was also happy to be at church and her toe looked a good bit better.  We gave her a pair of crocs to wear and she skipped about not wanting to take them off.  She has probably never owned a pair of shoes and it was lovely to see her appreciate them.

David thanking Bill & Maureen

During the service Bill & Maureen were presented with flowers as David thanked them for everything they achieved over the past 8 weeks.  We both think they deserve a medal for coming to Cambodia at the hottest time of the year and are truly thankful for all their help, advice and input into Elim Phnom Penh.  We will miss running upstairs for an ice lolly and a chat but I am sure Bill & Maureen will be delighted to be back home to a cooler climate and renewing fellowship with family and friends.

Chamnap, Nita, Sarah & Naomi

On Tuesday night we were delighted to join with the Early Learning Centre staff and church family to celebrate Naomi Esther’s first birthday and big sister Sarah’s 10th birthday.  The staff had prepared food when they finished work and off course there was cake!  Everyone was given sparklers to wave when we sang ‘Happy Birthday’ and like any one year old, I don’t think Naomi knew what all the fuss was about.  But we all enjoyed the special occasion and there is always such a lovely atmosphere when this group of Khmer friends get together, everyone appreciates each other’s company which is wonderful to be a part of.  It is always fun to buy noisy gifts for children and we were delighted to hear that Naomi loves her musical xylophone which Bill, Maureen, David and I bought for her.  Apparently she plays it any chance she gets which her mother and father are really enjoying.  Sarah’s gift was the card game UNO which I can’t wait to play; I only hope I won’t be too competitive for the child!

With the birthday girls

Cathy learning some basic Khmer phrases

For the past week and a half we have been relishing the company of our special friend Cathy.  We first met 3 years ago in the lead up to going to Uganda with Cathy on one of our teams.  She was a joy to have on the team and I’m sure she won’t mind me sharing one wee story from our time together then.  Whilst working with the street children each day a drama was performed.  One particular drama required Cathy to be sad but she just couldn’t do it.  She acted her part smiling, it was just impossible for this young lady to be sad.  She smiled from morning to night and nothing was a problem to her, a dream for us as team leaders.

Cathy enjoying a cuddle from one of the babies

Anyway we were thrilled when Cathy contacted us last year and asked if she could include a visit to Cambodia as part of her gap year travelling adventure.  We didn’t even need to think about it – we replied YES, YES, YES!  So we picked Cathy up from the airport late at night and you guessed it, she was smiling, as were we to see her!  We knew she would love Cambodia and the people as much as we do and I think I will need to do a head count when she leaves to make sure she hasn’t sneaked any babies or children into her backpack! Pray for Cathy as she leaves us in one more week to continue her travels before commencing university in September to study to be a Doctor.

In closing this week’s blog entry our thoughts return to home as we will be thinking of those who will be walking, running or crawling the Belfast Marathon on Monday to raise funds for charities that are close to their hearts.  We will be cheering you on from here, keep focused on the finishing line where your supporters will be waiting to cheer you through it.

Hebrews 12:1-2: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.