Archive for May, 2013

Lights out

We have had a week of power cuts like we cannot remember in Cambodia.  It is becoming daily life to expect them and there are cheers when the electricity comes back on.  This last week has been unreal with the power being off for longer than the usual one hour and means we are even hotter and even stickier. But we are not complaining we are so blessed in our new home with amazing Cambodian friends and church family.

Sunday was the first time we had no electric at all during our church service. I was speaking and I was aware that with the heat people were very uncomfortable so I kept it short for once, something many people would say is impossible. We had a good crowd out and I talked about discipleship and baptism.  We are having a baptism service on the 9th June and at the minute we have 11 people who want to be baptised. We are experiencing exciting times and are so blessed.  I would  like to go on public record to say a massive thank you to my fellow Elders Chamnap and Dana; two amazing Godly men, for all the extra work they did when we were back in the UK.

We came home from church excited by the life that exists through God and is so obvious in our congregation to be met by a very sad situation!! This is not funny ok, when we moved into our new home the landlady told us that she was leaving her fish in the pond, I did tell her that I don’t have a great track record of looking after fish. Anyway she pointed to the largest one a beautiful yellow one and said that it was worth $150.  At that point I begged her to take it but she told me her pond wouldn’t be ready for a month. Each time she called to see us she went over to see her special fish and each time I asked if there was any sign of her taking it off our hands. On Sunday when we arrived home I did my usual got out of the car and went to feed the fish but to my horror her prized fish was floating upside down.  Somehow I had managed to kill it. I had to phone and explain to her and thankfully she put it down to the many power cuts and the pump not working. I felt awful, so I fished it out, put it in a thick black plastic bag to keep it for her but the next morning I found that a big rat had gnawed through the bag and now the fish was a skeleton just like something you would see in a cartoon.

We have had a busy week preparing for Paul Hudson and his team of young people from Dewsbury Elim who arrives on Sunday morning. Along with the church members and the staff we are excited about hosting the ‘Samuels’ team and have a packed itinerary planned for them.  As many of you already know Paul is going to be our new boss from the end of August and we look forward to building on an already solid friendship. We are so thankful for the strong relationship we have with our current boss Chris Jones and thank God for all he has done for us and will do until August. Paul’s team is mostly made up of young disciples, who he has worked with over the last number of years, and they are going to have a very busy schedule but they are young so they will cope!

We want to thank our friends Dave and Hayley who brought a group from YWAM based in Australia to the Early Learning Centre today. They were a huge blessing to all the staff as they cuddled babies and joined in with the pre-school programme and some of them even painted the outside wall of our centre in soaring temperatures. Before they took their leave of us we gathered the staff and children together so the team could pray for us and we thank them for giving of their time to be with us.  We were so blessed as a team to have them and we pray that God blesses them during the rest of their visit to Cambodia.

Tonight we invited all the staff round for a small house warming party; I spent the morning in the kitchen baking chocolate cakes and pavlovas. We had a lovely time together and everybody seemed to enjoy the desserts, Esther was busy as usual taking pictures so I am sure you will feel you were here with us.

Yummy desserts

Yummy desserts

The Khmer love socialising

The Khmer love socialising

Happy men

Happy men

You are maybe wondering why we have posted this week’s blog entry a day early.  It is to inform you about the annual Bangor Car and Motorcycle show which is being held at our home church, Bangor Elim tomorrow from 11am to 5.30pm.  This is a brilliant day out for all the family with a huge selection of cars and motorbikes on display, stunt riders, falconry show, fashion show and lots more.  Tickets are £5 for adults, £3 for children or a family ticket for £10.  Finally you must visit the Elim Missions Burger stall where the mission’s team will be flipping burgers and raising money towards the work of Cambodia, so go along and treat yourself to a burger knowing it’s for a good cause!

Thankful for Public Holidays

We were only back in the country of Cambodia for 10 days when the national holiday to celebrate King Norodom Sihamoni’s birthday took place.  His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni is the current sovereign of Cambodia who has been serving the country since 29 October 2004.  The King’s birthday is observed as a public holiday in Cambodia.  Thus, most people are granted a few days off while schools, government offices, banks, and companies are closed.  People use the time to rest and gather with family or have a holiday in a different provincial area.

In February before we left Cambodia on furlough we knew our time in the UK would be busy and along with our friend Julie who was returning to New Zealand for the same time as us, we made plans to celebrate the King’s Birthday in our favourite place for a retreat – Kep.  After church on Sunday we packed up the car and David drove the 2 and half hour journey.  Our church elder Dana’s Mum lives in Kampot, 15 miles before Kep so he and his youngest son joined us along with Becky and Julie.  We heard the next day that Chamnap and Nita brought a group from the church to Kampot for the day – 14 in total were in their car. Now that’s being Khmer!

Map of Cambodia, Kep is at the very bottom

Map of Cambodia, Kep is at the very bottom

Today I filled in a survey with reference to our booking in Kep and when asked what two words best described our accommodation, I choose ‘nature and widlife’.  Anyone who knows me knows I freak out over all living creatures so although having our very own tree house to sleep in for three nights looked lovely, I was panicking inside!  Nature really did come alive at night, I was grateful to be tucked up in our mosquito net, bringing back memories of our times in Uganda.  There was no need for an alarm clock when at around 5:30am a large gecko, similar to the one we left at home, woke up!  The beauty around us in the morning made up for the anxiety I felt during the night and we did enjoy our few days in the beautiful Kep.  We didn’t do very much – read, relaxed, enjoyed dinner at one of our favourite places – The Sailing Club and of course brought fresh crab back for the folks to devour after the prayer meeting.

Our treehouse

Our treehouse

The road outside our accommodation - simply beautiful

The road outside our accommodation – simply beautiful

The Sailing Club

The Sailing Club

Oh we do like to be beside the seaside

Oh we do like to be beside the seaside

Gorgeous sunset

Gorgeous sunset

On our return to Phnom Penh we are back to work preparing for a team from Dewsbury Elim arriving on Sunday 26May.  The team of ten led by Paul Hudson are with us for six days and we are excited about how they will be a blessing to the people of Cambodia.

Today is a busy day with Chamnap, Dana and David having an Elders meeting in the morning and then we have two family meetings planned in the afternoon and evening.  Please pray that in all these appointments we will know God’s wisdom and sense His guidance. Thank you for your continued love, prayers and support!

New Horizons

Whenever I say to you God provides our every need, I am totally understating how awesome God is.  Not only has God provided us with a beautiful home and the furniture to go with it, He has given us the best possible place to fellowship with the amazing Khmer staff and church people that have become our adopted family.

Our new home

Our new home

On Saturday morning we moved into our new home, we had about 20 Cambodian helpers. They were all so keen to be a part of the big move, not one of them minded giving up their day off, in fact it just epitomised the community spirit we have within our church. The girls cleaned everywhere while the guys lifted and carried, we got so much done and we want to thank them all for their help. As we moved in and settled into our new home we realised that there was more than just the two of us living in and around the house, Esther got a surprise when she turned round to find a large blue speckled gecko right beside her.

what's hiding?

what’s hiding?

Our pet lizard

Our pet lizard

Sunday was unbelievable; we had a guest speaker Chris D’ath from Thrive New life church in Rangiora, New Zealand. Chris had spoken the year before and blessed us then but this time the Holy Spirit really moved through Chris in a prophetic ministry which was fantastic.  The whole service was special as was our Wednesday night prayer meeting, please God let this just be the start of a new season of blessings. We want to thank Chris and his team for taking time to come and minister to us.

church service

church service

As most people know by now our boss Chris Jones has decided to step down from his role as International Missions Director.  We want to honour him for the blessing he has been to us and the Khmer people certainly over the last 2 years. Chris hasn’t left yet but we have been blessed by one last visit from him, he landed on Thursday and we have had a couple of really good days. On Thursday night Chris joined the men for football and he played very well helping our team to an 11-10 victory.  In our team we had 4 Spurs men, 2 Chelsea and 1 Liverpool; how could we lose!

Two Spurs men ready for the big match

Two Spurs men ready for the big match

The Khmer staff have always respected and been grateful to Chris for protecting and supporting them so it was lovely for them to get the chance to say goodbye. Chris took us all out to a restaurant called Booloom Booloom where we had a Khmer buffet, and then afterwards they presented Chris with some gifts to show their love, respect and appreciation.

Early Learning Centre staff presenting Chris with a farewell gift

Early Learning Centre staff presenting Chris with a farewell gift

Chris receiving handmade gift from Chamnap and Nita

Chris receiving handmade gift from Chamnap and Nita

It has been a long week with lots happening but it has been exciting, God is so awesome. Esther, Becky and myself sense He is about to blow our minds even more than last year. In Cambodia rainy season has just started yet although we are no strangers to rain, we want to shout out to our wonderful Saviour open the floodgates of heaven and let it rain. Please join together with us as we seek God to do mighty things to shake this country to its knees and in turn to Jesus.

Greetings from Cambodia

Greetings from Cambodia!  We flew out of Belfast International Airport at 15:10 on Wednesday 1st May and three flights later arrived into Phnom Penh at 23:10 on Thursday 2nd May.  Prayers were answered with regards to luggage allowance, no delays and God even blessed us with 3 seats each on our longest flight of 10 hours from London to Seoul.  We were greeted at the airport by Chamnap, Nita, Naomi, Sokhom, Rith and Visal.  It was lovely to see their smiling faces and as David pushed the trolley with our bags I ran through the door to hug Nita and Sokhom.  I am blessed to have four sisters who I love dearly and these two ladies are the closest thing to me having younger sisters in Cambodia.  David was thrilled to greet the welcoming party too and as we drove to our accommodation it was as if we had never been away.

Plane waiting for us

Plane waiting for us

Starbucks at Seoul airport

Starbucks at Seoul airport

We both had a great night’s sleep and were greeted in the morning by Becky Haldane, the newest member to Elim Cambodia.  Becky arrived in a few hours before us after what appeared to be a less straightforward journey from the UK.  We met for breakfast and only in Cambodia can you have fried rice and vegetables for your first meal in the day, David and I both ordered this and it was good! Dren, our faithful church member and tuk tuk driver, then picked us up and we first of all went to our new home to meet the landlady and receive the keys.  We are very excited about how our new home will not just be a house for us but will be used for small groups to meet in, to have the staff over for dinner and fellowship on a regular basis, as well as David and Chamnap being able to use one of the rooms as a church office.

We then drove the short journey to the centre, as soon as the tuk tuk drove through the gates we could hear the children shouting out ‘Hello’, ‘Hello’ as they were waiting to be served their lunch.  It was lovely to see all the staff and give them a hug and a bar of chocolate!  These girls love chocolate from the UK and several of them tried to trick me by saying they didn’t get any so they could have another bar!  The staff are like a family unit who all look after each other and care for one another, for the past two months we have been sharing in churches about the work of Cambodia and now it is wonderful to be back amongst our Khmer family and we are excited about what God has in store next.

At the close of this blog I’m going to share a few highlights from our last week in Northern Ireland which concluded a busy but blessed time with our loved ones.  We have many special moments that we will cherish and we thank God for the people in our lives.

Beautiful Bangor

Beautiful Bangor

Titanic Museum & Afternoon Tea

For those of you in Northern Ireland who have yet to visit the Titanic Museum make a date in your diary and go – it is amazing and well done to everyone who put it together.  My sister and niece who are also Titanic fanatics accompanied me and we had a brilliant day out which concluded with afternoon tea in a nearby hotel.

Titanic museum

Titanic museum

Titanic artwork

Titanic artwork

At the Titanic slipway with Ruth and Jessica

At the Titanic slipway with Ruth and Jessica

Titanic cupcake

Titanic cupcake

Afternoon tea

Afternoon tea

Farewell Sunday at Bangor Elim

We were priviledged to share with our home church family on the last Sunday prior to leaving.  As we stated during the service everyone who supports the work of Elim Missions in Cambodia either prayerfully, financially, practically etc. is a link in the chain of lives being rescued, restored, transformed, living with a hope and a future.  We are incredibly blessed with a home church who support us with all of their hearts – Pastors, Elders, Mission team, adults and children – we love each and everyone of you and couldn’t do this without you!

In our Khmer dress with special friend Amy

In our Khmer dress with special friend Amy

Time with friends

Anyone who knows me knows there’s nothing I love more than a coffee and a chat, last year I had a skype tea party with my two best chums so we saved a lunch date to get together in the flesh! These two do so much for us behind the scenes both with Julie working in the church office and Ruth heading up the missions team.  I love you girls and can’t wait until the time you will both be able to come to Cambodia together!

Lunch with my chums

Lunch with my chums

So in closing, our time at home was wonderful – we do miss our friends and family more than words can say and us not being with you is the sacrifice we had to make but we also know you are in God’s hands and we pray for you as we know you do for us.  Thank you for releasing us to be able to come to Cambodia and serve God amongst the amazing community of people that we have got to know and love.