Archive for January, 2017

Guest blog by Hannah

Well, what to say! These two weeks have gone by so fast, with so many highlights to even mention in one post. First of all I want to thank David and Esther for welcoming me to Cambodia and into their home.

It is so easy back home to think of church as the group of believers you spend time with on a Sunday and to get wrapped up in programs, events and other church goings on and not take time to see the wider picture. But across the world there are groups of believers meeting together in totally different cultures under different circumstances with different needs but all following the same God.

First arriving at the Elim Cambodia centre and seeing the Elim sign outside the building was the first reminder of this and as time went by working alongside the staff at the Early Learning Centre it has been so special to connect with my sisters there. These amazing women care for the children at the centre as their own and I have been blessed to work with them. Everything they do in caring for the children they do with such love, from the way they do the kids hair to the way they laugh and play with them. The kids all so happy and excited to be there, with the cutest smiles you will ever see, full of energy and life and are a central part of the church. They certainly leave an impression on your heart!


with the pre-school children


craft time fun

During my stay I took a couple of visits out to different villages to see the work being done and how they are reaching out to new communities with the gospel. To see how the whole church is behind this and excited for this vision (even prepared to travel long and dusty journeys in the back of the truck to come support the new church plant) was an inspiration. How often do we allow others to have a vision and to get excited and we sit back and just watch from a safe distance? The church planting teams and team who go out to do the kids club work together so well and have such a love for what they are doing and people they are serving.

I have been on several mission trips before all as a part of groups, but this time traveling alone was a totally different experience. As a group you tend to have a set program, goals to achieve and you tend to get put up in some sort of hotel or similar. Coming as an individual (daunting as it was) has actually provided me with more of an insight to the reality of being a missionary in a foreign county.

I have huge respect for David and Esther for all they do out here (the list of roles and jobs they do far too many to list!). For Esther’s dedication to learn the language with a heart to be able to use this to communicate better, for David’s study alongside being a full time missionary overseeing teams of people.

I would like to invite you to take time to stop and consider they wider church, your brothers and sisters across the world and here in Cambodia, how is it you can support all that is going on here. We are so blessed in the UK and I think sometimes we forget this.

In closing I would once again like to thank everyone here, they staff at the Early Learning Centre and at the church, David and Esther, and Ed who is staying with them. I will not forget the people I have met on this trip.


New seed being sown

I would like to start this week’s blog by asking you all to pray for Pastor Chamnap, over the last week he has been suffering with kidney stones and on Thursday he had a 7mm one removed. Since then he has been in a lot of pain and we would appreciate your prayers for this pain to go and for him to have a very speedy recovery.

We have had a very busy but blessed week starting with two churches being planted last weekend. Both of these village churches have been birthed out of the church in Tuol K’day and it was such an honour to speak at both services. There were approximately 24 people in attendance at both churches which was much more than we expected and it was really exciting to see so many people eager to learn about Jesus. I challenged them all to go on a journey with us and if they did they would find the one true God of the universe. Please pray for us, as you read this I will be down in this new village again bringing God’s word and then again on Sunday as well. There is no greater honour or joy than being able to share the good news of Jesus to this wonderful nation.


First church service on Sunday

On Wednesday one of Esther’s girls started a new job in one of the local Christian restaurants.  She has done so well coming through the Be Free program and has now left to take up a job that she has wanted to do for a long time. She came broken, unloved and abused and she leaves loved, full of life and overflowing with joy. Esther and the girls have poured every ounce of Jesus into her and the other girls more through their actions than anything else. We are truly blessed to be able to be part of a project that can lead girls to complete transformation and restoration through the saving power of Jesus.


Praying for A on her final day in Be Free

Over this last week we have had a couple of visitors join us.  The first is Hannah Fishbourne from Hereford Elim, Hannah is here for two weeks and has already been helping teach crafts and other things to the ELC children and has spent some time in Be Free. She has also been out to the village work and sampled some of the Khmer food and Cambodian cultures. The second guest is a young man who was teenager the last time he was here.  His family lived and worked in Phnom Penh four years ago and his parents Duncan and Becci were friends of ours; so we were overjoyed to be reunited with big Ed. Ed is an absolute gentleman and is so well natured, we are so blessed to be able to spend time with  him again.

I am so proud of my wee wife Esther, she has gone back to school to get even better at the language.  I have heard recently again of people who have been here many years who feel that the language isn’t needed. Nothing shows more respect or more love to these wonderful people than when you put the effort into communicating with them in their mother tongue. Please pray for Esther, it is not easy going back into a classroom set up, but with God’s strength she is doing it and she is really good even though she will deny that.

As I am writing this blog America is swearing in their new president, it is a new day and a new dawn.  A dawn that nobody is sure of what it will bring. Tomorrow I will waken God willing and I can say with great assurance that my future is secure, it is not dictated by a new president or anything else.  My future is secure because my present is spent putting my complete trust in Jesus. What about you today, in these days of uncertainty where is your hope found, who do you trust?  For me it’s easy, I put my trust in the one whose name is above all others the name that is so sweet and so perfect, that name is Jesus. Why don’t you do the same today, He is waiting for you with open arms!


Final blog from Emily

It’s hard to believe that six months has passed already; that the time between July and January flew by so quickly that I’m already writing the final blog entry in a jet lagged haze and adjusting from tropical heat to minus temperatures. 

It’s difficult to write a blog post on the last six months without it turning into a book. It still doesn’t feel real to me that I’ve left; that I’m not waking up in the morning and going into Be Free, or planning evening classes. Time is such a funny thing; six months sounds like long time; and in reality it’s technically half a year: so much can happen and yet now it felt like no time at all. The goodbyes felt surreal; almost as though it wasn’t really happening. Sokim and Channak were both saying it isn’t goodbye because I’ll be back soon. I’m terrible with leaving; I really struggle with removing myself from places and people that have become home, a family.

If I can say anything about six months; it’s that it can impact you for life. The time I spent with the girls, the days in the village, the evenings with students: all were filled with moments that taught me so much. I may have been there to teach; but they also taught me lessons that I hope will translate into my life as I move back home. The ways that they live; what is considered basic and simple for us is beautiful in the way that the love and community they have and hold dear is one thing I wish that every country could adopt. Even just on arriving in England, catching the coach between Heathrow and Gatwick I felt like a moment of reverse culture shock. On arriving at Gatwick I stood to take down the rucksacks, struggling with the weight when everybody behind pushed past the narrow walkway to get off. I was stood in a limbo; with one rucksack halfway down as I pressed into the seat while everyone seemed to have blinkers on; obviously not capable of waiting or even lending a helping hand. My mum and I had the last laugh as our suitcases were unloaded first and we made our way into the terminal way ahead of everyone who was still waiting for their luggage. A wonderful welcome back to western culture. 

When you spend a length of time in a different country that’s longer than a two week trip; it becomes your new normal. The new routines, the new people, the new modes of transport, the new food, the new everything. It becomes your adopted way of life – some weeks ago as I was in a tuktuk on my way to meet a friend, it struck me how it felt so familiar now; that seeing chickens or decapitated pigs on the backs of motos just is normal. Walking down the street and having tuktuk drivers constantly yelling at you if you need a ride is normal. Often you wouldn’t even need to arrange transport – just leave your house and within minutes you’ll be well on your way on a tuktuk. It already feels weird to walk through a town centre that is so quiet. I’m a little bit kamikaze crossing the street; the rule of thumb in Cambodia being ‘walk slowly and the traffic will move around you.’ Being in a new culture is guaranteed to teach you life lessons; and I am so thankful to have had my eyes and heart opened to another part of the world. 

On a personal level; these last six months have been a time that I am so grateful for. The people that I have crossed paths with; the experiences I have had; the lessons I have learnt – all of it has been a rollercoaster for which I am glad. To have faced within me anxieties I never knew existed and faced fear in the face and refuse to succumb to it: it’s been a battle of proportions I never expected. It says in the Bible that we do not struggle against flesh and blood but against the powers and principalities (Eph. 6:12) and it suddenly became so abundantly clear to me just how real that suddenly felt. But even during the times of struggle, to have the hope and promise that Jesus overcomes immediately gives a renewed strength that we could not carry on without. We need only be still while he fights on our behalf. My faith was strengthened during the times it felt weak. I’ve discovered gifts I didn’t know I had while striving to fit myself into a niche where I did not belong. My confidence grew each time I made it home in one piece navigating around the rabbit warren streets, (SatNav apps are wonderful) and each time I stood in front of a class. The adventurous spirit within me grew each time I was on the back of a moto. The fear started to vanquish each time I pushed through and did what I felt was difficult and daunting. It’s hard to pinpoint what the highlights were; so many moments collectively make the experience incredible – from making new friends, to tasting snake (and accidentally eating pig blood), to wading through floods to get to class, to Sokim’s wedding, to spending time with the precious girls in Be Free: it’s all been an adventure and a time which I have loved.

David and Esther have been incredible hosts and I am so grateful for their huge hearts and capacity to love openly and without fear. I’ve learnt so much from them and the way they do life and mission in such a different culture to back home. It could be easier to ignore God’s call and settle for a comfortable life but they have embraced the crazy adventure that is the commission. They impact lives every day and the best is yet to come. I am so excited for the work that is happening and growing – Cambodia is a country that is incredibly beautiful; with a sad history but an even more hopeful and promising future; because God is moving in a powerful way and it will be a country that is won for Christ – please keep covering them in prayer as I know and have seen just how much that has an impact; and watch this space for the exciting things ahead in this wonderful country. 








2017 – Bring it on!

Happy New Year to you all.  We hope each of you has a really blessed and spirit filled year in 2017, we serve an awesome God!

We have had an amazing start to 2017.  It all started with the church heading to the coast to celebrate the New Year together, over 50 people went and had a great feast and party on Saturday night. Esther, Emily and I didn’t get down to Kep until Sunday morning, we left at 5.45am and arrived shortly after 8am.  We got prepared and started church about 9am. I was preaching and brought just a thought of which soil was each of our church members in from the parable of the sower.

I said there was surely people there who had heard many times but the truth had been taken away from them by Satan; they were like the seed on the path.  The second seeds fell on the rocky ground, those seeds/people are mostly Christians with no depth.  In fact they blow with the wind, one minute they are strong in their faith and the next they’re not even at church, no depth no roots, church as a whole is full of these types of people. The third seeds fell in the thorns and they were choked before they ever had the chance, giving in to temptations etc., they never really got or understood the relevance of God or the Holy Spirit in their life. Finally there was the seed that landed on the good soil, deeply rooted in the father completely trusting God in everything, a servant willing to sacrifice and walk in the ways of the spirit in all areas of their life.

At that point I challenged our church members about what soil they were in if any, and about 20 people said they wanted to rededicate their lives to God.  That 2017 is a year they want to learn more and more about Jesus, to have a living, vibrant relationship with the Holy Spirit. The morning was finished with the most exciting start to the New Year with 3 people deciding to follow Jesus; two young men and Visal’s mum. Friends what soil are you putting your roots in today, if you have never given your life to Jesus it is time you did. If you have been playing around at being a Christian it’s time to stop fooling around. If you are being choked by addiction, depression or allowing outside influences to pull you away from God it’s time to fight back. If you are deep in the good soil are you enjoying too much of the soil for yourself?  You can be the best Christian going but if you’re not sharing that faith then you are not fulfilling the calling on your life.  We are all called to go into the world and make disciples in our workplaces, our schools, our neighbourhoods. Let’s decide together today to be even deeper rooted in Jesus this year.


Happy New Year from Elim Phnom Penh!

The church planting is really starting to take off!  We have three new churches starting in the next month, the first one will start on Saturday 14th January, the next day Sunday 15th we will launch another and then we are starting the third in early February. This means we will have 7 churches by April time and we are so blown away by the doors that are opening, there are people of peace in all the areas we are ministering in and it has us so expectant of amazing Spirit filled moments this year.

We have a few challenges ahead with the work we are doing, none bigger than the weakness of the pound and because of this we are needing to get Be Free funded in a new way. We need 12 churches/businesses to get involved by giving £250 a month by direct debit via Missions at Head Quarters in Malvern. If you are interested in helping please contact Naomi, the finance officer, her email is –  If you can’t give the full £250 but would like to help no gift is too small.  Please don’t leave it to someone else!  There are girls being rescued and restored from the most depraved situations and Esther and the team are doing a phenomenal job, please partner with us and help restore young girls one at a time!

Finally it would be wrong of me not to publicly thank Emily Jacques for her work over the last 6 months, on Tuesday she will be heading home and we want to thank her for the time she has spent here.  Everyone at Elim Cambodia wishes you every blessing in whatever and wherever God leads you next. We pray God’s richest blessing into your life, keep your eyes fixed on the cross trusting God in all areas of your life. Don’t forget Meg and Ruby will miss your hugs!