Archive for August, 2016

Guest blog by Johnny & Ruth

We arrived for a short visit to Cambodia on Wednesday 17th August where we immediately noticed the hustle and bustle of Phnom Penh, there were people everywhere with street traders, the roads busy with cars, trucks and so many motos and Tuk Tuks. There appeared to be little structure on how and where to drive but the locals have it pretty well sorted and Johnny even had a go.


Passengers aren’t scared at all!

Straight away we felt there was something endearing about the people and Phnom Penh as a city and we definitely weren’t disappointed. The mosquitos were the only thing that didn’t welcome us, especially Ruth!  We attended the church’s Wednesday evening prayer meeting with David, Esther and Emily. We all sat on the floor in a circle which made us feel at ease. The people were so friendly and we played a game to break the ice, everyone guessing our ages, some being more kind that others!!

On Thursday we headed into a local village called Toul K’Dey with some of the church’s village ministry team Sarak, Sophea and Dren. We reached the village, via a boat which was essentially made up of planks of wood joining 2 large canoes. The team held a kids club where they played games, sang songs, shared a story from the Bible and coloured in. In the afternoon they held village church which David shared at. We were also able to distribute some blankets and dresses to some local mums and kids. The blankets had been knitted by Portadown Elim’s Chicks Knit team and the dresses had been very skilfully made out of pillow cases by another team of seamstresses also from Portadown. If you have any spare wool or pillowcases please let me know and we can make great use of this for missions!


Happy Kids Club

We were thrilled to spend time with the girls in the Be Free program and Sokim, Dany & Channak, who along with Esther run Be Free. We were privileged to be able to join them for devotions on Friday morning, sitting in the presence of God, listening to them praise God in their own tongue and pray was a moment that will never leave us, so thank you Be Free for allowing us this precious memory. We also got to attend the graduation of 2 of the girls who have recently finished the program. It was an honour for us to be part of the evening which was to celebrate with the girls and the wider Be Free team and church. It was also the 3 year anniversary of the beginning of Be Free which was also marked on the evening.

We were able to the local markets with the Be Free team, and then we all had lunch together. The markets were a real authentic Cambodian experience including food from frogs to pigs snouts and just about any item of clothing and shoes you could think of, Ruth really enjoyed this and even purchased a mop and bucket (Don’t ask!). Men be warned about sending your wives alone they could do real damage to your wallet, although I was so thankful the girls were bargaining on our behalf.

The Be Free program is invaluable to changing lives and winning souls for the kingdom, credit to Esther for having the vision to step out in faith and Elim Missions and churches for supporting it.

We also had the opportunity to visit the Early Learning Centre where we were greeted and sang to by 25 adorable toddlers, holding up banners to welcome us. It is great to see the care and safe environment being provided for around 60 kids of differing ages, this allows their parents or parent to work to be able to sustain and provide for the family.


Warm welcome in the ELC

It was great to meet and spend the week with Emily who is 6 weeks into a six month placement with David & Esther. Emily is teaching English to the Be Free girls and running English classes in the evening. This adds another dimension to the work in Phnom Penh and when it is up and running will bring people into the church building and, as she said, hopefully transfer into not only people knowing English but knowing Jesus.

We thank David & Esther for welcoming us into their home and looking after us so well during our time in Phnom Penh and also thanks to Emily and the team at Elim Cambodia for being so friendly.

Happy 3rd Anniversary Be Free

Sometimes in life and especially life in a foreign culture you are called upon to do things that you would never in your wildest dreams have imagined you would have to do. That’s the type of weekend I have just had here in Cambodia, two funerals one day after the other; fathers of two of our key leaders in our Elim family. Both men were Christians praise the Lord and the families wanted a Christian funeral service in villages that have barely heard anything other than the Buddhist traditions and teachings. The opportunity was massive and on both occasions I was able to bring the full gospel to both communities, now it’s up to the Holy Spirit to develop the seeds that have been planted. Please pray that the doors that have opened in both communities will lead to many people finding Jesus!

On Wednesday we had the joy of going to the airport to pick up Johnny and Ruth Haire from Portadown Elim who are visiting for a week. They run the missions team in Portadown and have in a short time became good friends, people who have a real longing to help in whatever way possible. We are very excited about the links that we are building with Portadown and we thank Pastors Ross and Stuart for really getting behind Be Free and the work we are doing in the Early Learning Centre and Church. We already have visited the church plant and kids club in Toul K’day and Johnny spoke on Friday at Staff church. But the highlight so far for them and us was the Be Free graduation last night!


Johnny sharing in staff church

It was a really special night as they always are.  This time we had two girls not only completing their year with us but also celebrating the fact that they are new creations; that through the program they have deeper relationships with Jesus. They have a father that loves them, values them, is proud of them, they are cherished; no more abused and vulnerable. If you knew these two girls’ pasts you would be devastated, the traumatic memories, the fear instilled in their lives yet now they are set free. Set free by the only one that can set any of us free, healed by the only name that can bring healing! As I sat and watched my Esther being the trustworthy Godly example in these girls lives that they desperately craved for, I realise once again that as horrible and nasty the past may have been there is such beauty in the restoration process that Jesus brings to these beautiful yet crushed lives.


Ready for one of our graduates


The junior dance team opened the ceremony

Three years ago this week Esther embarked on a journey with the constant support of Elim Missions UK and especially our International Missions Director Paul Hudson. Paul trusted Esther’s heart for the vulnerable and I know he like myself is blown away by what Esther and her team, Sokim (manager), Dany (counsellor) and Channk (designer) have achieved. Not only have there been many girls placed in employment and are succeeding independently but many of them have found Jesus. During the 3 years twelve girls have made professions of faith and been baptised; and 6 of the girls are in our worship team. Why?  Because Elim has the hunger to see the outcast reached, a hunger to see the least of them fed, clothed, educated and rebuilt. Shattered lives restored, brought to a point where they can truly Be Free from the evils that controlled and dictated their futures.

Of course one of the big on going challenges is funding the program.  When we were back in the UK we spoke in a number of churches, some were happy to be part of what God is doing and others needed to see where they are at and that’s ok but we are still coming up short.  At the minute we need four churches or businesses/business people to invest £250 a month so we can run the program without the worry of finance which is our biggest stress as missionaries. If you can’t give that much don’t feel you can’t help, you can be a big part of changing these girls’ lives even from afar. If you can help give a smaller amount or know of organisations that are in a position to get involved please let us know.  It’s our prayer to have funding in place so we can carry on with the work without the concern of what lies ahead.

Recently I have read the following quotes and they challenged me; what about you?  Thank you for partnering with us whether it is prayerfully or financially or both.

People were created to be loved. Things were created to be used. The reason why the world is in chaos is because things are being loved and people are being used.” – Unknown

You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.” – William Wilberforce

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe

Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” – Albert Einstein

In closing take time to read about the passage in the Bible where Jesus talks about the sheep and the goats.  As you read it, pray asking God if getting involved with us here in Be Free is something that He wants you to do. Thank you for your love, kindness and support as always; we love you all.

Matthew 25:31-46 New International Version (NIV)

The Sheep and the Goats

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.  34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ 44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ 45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ 46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”


Please Pray!

In this week’s blog entry we will give you some specific situations to take on your heart and pray for the individuals involved.

First of all, thank you to everyone who commented on last week’s guest post by Emily; we are very proud of how she is settling in to her new surroundings.  The girls in Be Free are enjoying their daily conversation classes which will enable them to chat with teams and individuals when they visit.  Literacy classes take place in the morning for the trainees and next week the staff in the Early Learning Centre will begin their English lessons.  Yesterday Emily spoke in staff church about forgiveness, sharing from her heart and encouraging us in how we act around our friends and family who don’t yet have a relationship with Jesus.


Staff Church

When Emily finished speaking I encouraged our staff to get involved in the English classes that will be available for them; and not just to study in the classroom but speak a little each day.  We are so grateful for Emily raising the funds to commit to six months here and can already see the difference in the students she is teaching.  All the staff then gathered around Emily to pray for her; then one specifically prayed for Emily that she would have good health during her time here and the energy required for all the classes she is taking; and another girl prayed for her family, friends and work colleagues back in Guernsey.  It was a special moment and I would ask you to remember Emily in your prayers and also pray for all the students, English is not easy to learn as a second language!


Praying for Emily

Two weeks ago we introduced you to the newest member of our Khmer family, Eden, a beautiful baby boy who arrived 2 months premature to proud and happy parents Sokhom and Rith.  Sokhom called in to the centre on Tuesday with Eden and she told David that the hospital have said he has some problems.  We arranged for Sokhom to come in the next day so that Colleen, our friend and nurse, who takes the medical class with the girls in Be Free each Wednesday could have a look at him.  Colleen loves babies and was in her element as she examined Eden who was just so content through it all.  Rith brought the paperwork from the recent hospital test which has diagnosed Eden with an enzyme deficiency; Colleen is going to look into it more and give Sokhom and Rith the information they need; and she also will check Eden on how he is progressing.  For being two months premature he is doing really well and Sokhom and Rith are doting parents and are doing such a good job!  Please pray for Eden, he is a little miracle; and pray for Sokhom and Rith, it’s hard for them not to worry but pray that they will have peace in this situation.


Happy Mum


Happy Auntie!

Sokchea is part of our village team ministry and married to Sunny, who works in our Early Learning Centre.  Sokchea’s father passed away yesterday, he had been ill for approximately 9 years but at the start of this week Sokchea was called to the family home in the province.  He kept in touch with David and Chamnap through the week and on Thursday evening Sokchea rang asking for them to come to the home.  Along with the Elders they travelled for almost two hours and spent time ministering with the family; Sokchea’s parents are Christians and at the bedside they read the Bible, sang Amazing Grace and prayed with them.  At 10:35 on Friday morning Sokchea’s father passed away peacefully; David, Chamnap, Sarak and Dren travelled to the province to be with Sokchea.  Shortly after they arrived and had paid their respects to the family Sokchea asked David and Chamnap to take a Christian funeral ceremony.  This is what his parents wanted; and to respect the Buddhist family members another ceremony would be performed afterwards.  The Christian ceremony involved some worship, Chamnap led the service and prayed; and David brought a message of comfort to the family.  We would ask you to remember Sokchea and his family in your prayers at this time.

Finally, as I was writing this blog entry, we received news that Dren’s father has just passed away.  On the way back from the funeral of Sokchea’s father yesterday Dren received a phone call from his mum asking him to come as his father was really weak.  His father came to faith a few months ago through Dren and his wife Chantha; and his mum is also a Christian.  Please remember Dren, his mum and the family; we mourn with them at their loss but rejoice with them as with Sokchea that they will be united again, one day, in heaven!

Guest blog by Emily

Hi everyone, 

I’m Emily, and I’m in my third week of six months in the beautiful country of Cambodia; a country which I visited two years ago and never quite managed to shake out of my system.

 For people who know me, they will know that anywhere I travel to I will need a few boxes of tissues over having to come home. I fall in love with places, with the people, the cultures, the lessons I learn and experiences that I will remember for the rest of my life. Being from a small island (Guernsey!) yet having citizenship also in Switzerland, I have been used to travelling from the ripe old age of 2 months old. I hate that final night before the flight home from anywhere in the world, it may be because it means that a piece of my heart is left behind. Switzerland was the first country that stole my heart; the Philippines at 11 years old was the second country to have given me the experience of heartbreak at leaving the people I had met, and Cambodia, two years ago, was the third. 


View from the classroom in Be Free

No other country has affected me as much as Cambodia did when I came in 2014. Having finished university and not knowing what the next step was, the opportunity to go on a mission trip was something I instantly jumped at. This would be the first mission trip since I was 11 years old so I was intrigued how different it would be as an adult. I was with a team that consisted of a few of my best friends, and people I had grown up with in Delancey Elim and a few others. It was an exciting time preparing for the week that we would be there, but I never expected the impact that it would have on my life. I would never have guessed back then, that in two years, I would be back for six months to teach English. I never imagined that my 11 year old heart that broke for the Philippines would then break in half in Cambodia at 22 years old and reignite the passion for mission that I once had as a young girl.


Travelling to the province

 The time we spent with Davy and Esther, seeing the work that they do, learning about the horrific past and the effects that have carried through the generations, the reality of human trafficking, affected us all and opened our eyes to so much that happens in the world that is sometimes brushed under the carpet in mainstream media. I had no idea who Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge were, so reading books before the trip and then seeing the Killing Fields was a harrowing experience to think that this was reality only a few decades ago. I knew of human trafficking, but I had no idea of the global scale of it or the huge issue that it is in this country. I either didn’t know, or want to believe, that men would travel here solely for the purpose of seeking out women and children for their own gain, but it happens. Every day. Every night. Women are taught they have no worth or value, and for me, who had the privilege of being born in a place and to a family that taught me I had worth and value, that I could be anything I wanted to be, this hit me hard. So experiencing all of this, and learning so much within a short space of time, coming back to the island I was so comfortable in was more difficult than usual. I struggled with going ‘back to normal’ and sought out the next step I could take in this area. So I went to the Philippines last year, and not long after that came the opportunity to come back to Cambodia for a longer stretch of time. 


In the province

Two years ago I wondered if there was something I could do to help people in any capacity I could. I love English, I have a degree in it, but while I was at university the thought of using those three years of study in a country across the world was far from my mind. Cambodia was just a country on a map to me back then. I was (and still am) an introvert. I’m quiet, shy, and thought that meant I couldn’t stretch myself beyond my comfort zone. I left university believing that introversion wasn’t a great quality to have, but thankfully, in the Philippines last year, on the last day, one of the team leaders (looking at you, Julie!) said to me that what I thought was my greatest weakness can be seen as a strength. Having that spoken over me released so much that I had held on to for so long and propelled me forward in accepting the opportunity to come back to Cambodia, and already I’m seeing that being introverted actually helps me to relate that much more to people. 

So, fast-forward two years later and I’m sat in Cambodia with three fans blowing air to keep me cool (because the heat is most definitely different to Guernsey temperatures) and resisting the urge to itch the mosquito bites that have peppered my feet and legs. Some days I can’t quite believe I’m back, and others it seems as though the last two years haven’t really happened. Time is a funny thing, and I am praying that these six months don’t fly so fast that it’s over before I know it. Cambodia is a beautiful, crazy, heartbreaking, colourful country that needs love, compassion, and hope. Being here for longer than a week has given me more insight to the work that is done to give rescued girls opportunities to support themselves without selling their bodies, opportunities for children to learn in a safe environment away from the risk of being taken or sold, or made to sell things on the streets at night. Having seen the streets where women walk at night in hopes of earning money, where men sat and preyed broke my heart all over again. Seeing the children worshipping in the village made my heart smile like it did two years ago. Davy and Esther are an incredible couple with huge hearts for the people of Cambodia, and I’m looking forward to being a part of what is happening here in Phnom Penh, with teaching the girls in Be Free so that they have better opportunities through knowing English, and starting up free classes in the church so that people who wouldn’t usually have the chance will now have the opportunity to not only learn English, but come to know Jesus and be a light in their families and communities. These past weeks have been a time to settle, scope out, meeting people and gauging levels to best meet their needs in regards to learning English, having meetings to see how to move towards setting up an effective way to teach to those who want to learn, so I’m excited for what will unfold in the future, and for it to flourish past the six months I am here for. 

I am so incredibly thankful to have been given this opportunity; so THANK YOU, from the bottom of my heart, to Nicole (for first mentioning the possibility and encouragement along the way), Paul Hudson (for the coffees in Dix Neuf and for the offer to come back), John and Angie and everyone at Delancey Elim, for all of your love, support, prayers and generosity, to my mum (and family) for kicking my butt whenever I doubted myself, my best friends for your encouragement, abundance of patience, prayers and adventures, everyone who has given towards the work being done here, in whatever way from financial to encouragement, prayers and kind words shared. Above all, thank you to Davy and Esther for allowing me to come back and invade your home, share your puppies, and spend these upcoming six months doing life and mission with you. I couldn’t ask for better surrogate parents. If I have missed anyone out I sincerely apologise; but please know you have blessed me beyond measure, more than you could possibly know.