Archive for January, 2014

Another building project!

As I start this blog I would like to say that we are both deeply saddened by the news of the passing away of a very dear person to us both. Bill Ramsey was a legend in our eyes, one of the nicest, sincerest, funniest and wisest men you could ever meet. He will be deeply missed by us and many others; to Anne we send our deepest love. You and your family circle are in our prayers and we will definitely come and see you in June.

It seems years ago when we signed contracts and started work on the renovations to turn our building into a church, conference centre and the building where Esther would launch Freedom Project Cambodia now known as ‘Be Free Cambodia’.

Yet in the past six months we have finished the work, moved the church in and launched Be Free. In reality it’s amazing what has been accomplished but not by us, we are only a small cog in a big wheel. God first and foremost has steered, directed and blessed the things that have happened. We thank God daily for his continued blessings. We thank our Elim Missions team in the UK for their continuous support and of course Bangor Elim, other churches, and all our friends and family who support us and the work financially and in prayer.

In September it became obvious that we needed to act quickly to find a better financial way to support the Early Learning Centre. We came up with a plan to install a second level into the ground floor of the new building. I couldn’t believe it another building project but one that made a lot of sense. We would only have one rent to pay; there would be less outgoings plus room to expand child numbers. So we set about putting a second floor in and we worked out the best way to use the space. After 3 months graft we have a good sized baby room, a large toddler’s room and a large pre-school room. Upstairs we have a classroom kitted out to teach the older kids, a TV room, 2 offices one for Nita, our Early Learning Centre manager, and the other a church office for Sarak and myself. There is also a conference room, a good sized kitchen and toilets with showering facilities. To say we are chuffed with how it has turned out is an understatement we are really excited as our boss Paul Hudson and John Martin are arriving this weekend to be part of the celebrations and we feel they will be thrilled with the results.

Beams going in place to support second floor

Beams going in place to support second floor

beams going in above kitchen where conference room is

beams going in above kitchen where conference room is

pre-school room

pre-school room

The opening of the ELC is next Wednesday and we are looking forward to showing the parents, children and staff their new facility. There will be plenty of photographs in next week’s blog showing the rooms with all the finishing touches in place. Please pray that all goes well but more importantly as we move into the same building as our church that the parents will see a difference in us and through that will want to come to church and see what it is we believe in. Please also pray for the church we are really starting to look at ways of reaching our local community. Tomorrow the ladies of the church are going for a walk around the area just to talk to people. Pray this will arouse people’s curiosity about Jesus!

Again as I close I want to say to you all that none of the above was possible without God’s blessing, nothing we do out here is about us or for us; it is all about and for Jesus. We will never be able to repay God for the love and sacrifice He showed through His son’s life, death and resurrection. It’s all about Jesus.

Guest blogger Linda

We are thrilled to have Linda Murray currently visiting with us and she has kindly written a few thoughts about her time here for this week’s blog entry.

This is my third visit to Cambodia. I feel very much at home with David and Esther but also very much a part of all that’s going on here in Phnom Pehn Elim church and within the Be Free project.

When I left in October 2013 plans were in place to reconfigure the ground floor at the new Elim property to relocate the Early Learning Centre there. All the hard work is now complete and the place looks a treat! The children will have great space to learn and play. This week sees the final touches being put in place making it bright, cheerful and ready for the grand opening on the 27th January. Paul Hudson our Mission’s Director flies in to do the honours and it’s a special pleasure to be here for this event.

Last September when we opened the Freedom Project – now called ‘Be Free Cambodia’ little did we know there would be another big building project to re house the Early Learning Centre. By doing this we bring this very important children’s work right into the heart of the church. The Early Learning Centre has been established as an Elim project in Cambodia for many years. It offers safe child care to working parents but its primary purpose is to show and share the love of Jesus with families right here in the community. The Elim building is just a great location and facility for its multifunctional role.

With the Early Learning Centre and offices for pastors and church staff on the ground floor, church in the middle floor and the Be Free project on the third floor it will be like one big family working together. The church at the heart of it all sharing the love of Jesus.

There is also exciting developments since my last visit with two more staff members at Be free Cambodia. These ladies are precious and entrusted to us to show them how much our Heavenly Father cares for each of them. The project offers all sorts of new crafting skills, has a full time Khmer teacher improving language skills together with church staff and Esther is always available to offer help. It provides employment and offers a good standard of living for each girl. It has been my privilege to be there every day since I arrived working alongside them.

One afternoon we were chatting round the table while Esther was collecting dates of birth for her new Christmas diary. It had been one of the new girls birthdays just a few days earlier as was mine. I made her giggle by declaring all the very best girls were born in January, then it was my privilege to pray for her, that God would bless her, provide for her and restore her hurting heart. I just had to fight back the tears. I had that very morning purchased 2 little purses to take home – one instantly became a suitable birthday present. I had the feeling it might have been the only present she had received. Her evident delight in something so simple was very moving, I was over come when she whispered ‘thank you’. She told me she had no mum but wished I could be just that. I am so humbled to sit with these girls who have suffered so much and it makes me realise how much we have to be thankful for.

It also makes me proud to be part of an amazing vision that offers so much in an attempt to restore and rebuild hope in people’s lives.

Be Free logo will appear on all cards and craft items made in Cambodia

Be Free logo will appear on all cards and craft items made in Cambodia

Be Free Cambodia

The Be Free Cambodia training programme has been operating for four weeks and I am already immensely proud of our staff and trainees. From day one the staff have welcomed and showed love to the two young ladies who have joined our team and we are already a family who care for one another. I cannot disclose names or show you their photograph and I know you will understand that it is imperative that we protect them by not exploiting them once again. But I can tell you that when they are working they have the biggest smiles which light up their whole face. Our staff consists of Sokim and Channak who are teaching card making and sewing skills; and Dany whose role includes teaching Khmer and translating. Margaret, a retired nurse from England, volunteers three mornings a week and will be using her knowledge to teach first aid and medical topics; and from next week I will be teaching English a few times a week. Other classes include financial budgeting by Mindy and Bible study. Each morning we begin with prayer and we have already seen prayers answered and are trusting God to see more breakthroughs in each of our lives.

Our special friend Linda Murray from Cardiff arrived on Wednesday morning and we are delighted she is here for three weeks. This is Linda’s third visit to Cambodia and she is such a blessing to the work of Elim Missions here that she is just part of the family. On Wednesday afternoon Linda and I called into ‘Be Free’ and it was lovely for her to be welcomed and renew friendship with Sokim and Channak and to also meet the new members of the team. Both of us shed a wee tear of joy when we saw Dany teaching her first lesson to S, who can speak Khmer but is unable to read or write. Such a simple action that in itself will be life changing!

Linda is so impressed with the cards and crafts that the girls have made and will be taking as many as she can in her luggage when she leaves at the end of January. The cards and crafts will be sold in the UK with the proceeds going straight back into ‘Be Free’ which enables the training programme to run and lives to be transformed. This year over a staggered period of time 4 more trainees will join ‘Be Free Cambodia’ each completing a 12 month training and rehabilitation program. You CAN have a part to play in the transformation of S, C and the young ladies who have yet to enter the program by buying one of the cards or crafts that will be available in the UK from the middle of February. Linda will be involved in the distribution of cards and crafts so if you are a church, ladies ministry, house group etc. and would be interested in selling items on our behalf please get in touch with Linda via email: lindamurray246@gmail.com

I wish you all could see the joy on the faces of these young ladies who were once trapped and abused but are now FREE and loved!

wedding cards

wedding cards

Creating Mother's Day cards

Creating Mother’s Day cards

S using cricut machine

S using cricut machine

C putting filling in heart

C putting filling in heart

heart keyrings

heart keyrings

completed keyrings

completed keyrings

Happy New Year

Last Sunday we had open mic time in church, I love hearing about the things God has done over the past 12 months in our church family. We heard from 4 ladies, all with different stories but one common denominator being loved and loving God. A fantastic way to finish the year hearing testimonies about God’s blessings in people’s lives.

We had our New Year party on Tuesday night which commenced at 9 pm, there was just over 50 people at it and it was really good fun. We started with pass the parcel, then we played musical chairs everybody had a great time and there was no cheating like last year (Esther was strategically put in charge of the music). Once we had a winner everybody went downstairs and had deep fried chicken and rice, in true Khmer style everything was eaten in no time!

The madness of musical chairs about to commence

The madness of musical chairs about to commence

Musical chairs

Musical chairs

After the food we returned to play one more game before Sarak led us in a time of worship before I brought a few thoughts at the end of another amazingly blessed year. We looked back and remembered the little room we used to meet in and what we have been given now is unbelievable. More importantly we have seen depth and maturity within a large number of people in the church and that really excites us. We then prayed together asking God to use us and to blow our minds next year, it was so special to see everybody join hands and really pray for each other.

We had reached that time where we get ready to countdown the new year, the funny thing was we had downloaded a countdown to put on the screens which was meant to last 3 minutes so we started it at 11.57 pm but by 11.58 we were counting down 10,9,8 etc. etc. and the next thing everybody is celebrating. So we decided to call it a trial run and we did it again, everybody thought it was so funny, so we did the whole countdown again and this time we brought the New Year in properly. Afterwards it was so funny watching 50 Khmer people join hands and trying to sing Auld Lang Sang. It was an amazing party spent in the presence of an even more amazing God; we thank God in anticipation of the lives He is going to change in 2014.

The worship team

The worship team

Doubly celebrated the New Year!

Doubly celebrated the New Year!

At this point on behalf of everyone in Phnom Penh Elim, the Early Learning Centre and Be Free Cambodia we want to wish you all a very happy, blessed and prosperous new year for you and your whole family!

New Year’s don’t get any better for me, although recently I have had to put up with some big disappointments, my football team started the year off going to Old Trafford and beating Manchester United 2-1. I will enjoy this moment for many months; Pastor Chamnap on the other hand needs to change his team!

Over the last week we have had Andy and Laura Bleakley and their children Asher aged 4 and Hadassah aged 2 visit us. They are Elim missionaries in Nepal and it has been really a lot of fun getting to know them. They are an amazing couple and family, easy to get on with, willing to do whatever, and similarly passionate about Khmer individuals leading and reaching the Khmer people. It is a real blessing getting to know them and we are now honoured to have new friends for life. Please pray for them as a family as over the next six months they have a lot of changes going on and they need clear guidance from God on what that direction is.

Andrew enjoying his first deep fried spider, the children also tried and liked it!

Andrew enjoying his first deep fried spider, the children also tried and liked it!

In closing we thank you for reading our blogs and for your lovely comments and your constant prayers, we love and appreciate you all so much. In the last year we have had 50 comments out of 52 from Ann Moore from our home church and we want to say to Ann and all the others your comments encourage us every week thank you and bless you.