Archive for August, 2017

Short Term Missions

Over the last six and a half years we have heard many people’s views on short term mission teams or placements. There are lots of arguments for both sides on who it benefits; the mission or the individuals themselves. I’ve heard the argument about well if the people didn’t come but sent the money for flights that would help much more. Friends when would that ever happen, ‘I’m not going to go to Cambodia this year after all instead I will send the airfare and I will do with out my holiday or mission trip’. It hasn’t happened to us and I have yet to meet someone who has had it happen to their organisation.

My point is that we need people to come.  I  believe it’s only when people experience missions for themselves seeing the depth of the poverty and trafficking with their own eyes that we see life changing decisions being made to become supporters of the work, fundraisers, advocates of justice.

On the back of these thoughts we have just had our very good friends Phil and Ruth McKee with us, they came to deliver their daughter to us as Heather has joined our team here for the next 9 months. Along with the McKee’s we had the privilege of having another dear friend who was visiting China drop in to see us; Sophie Moore is a legend and we loved having her here again.

None of our guests were hard to look after, they just mucked in in all areas of the work, Phil is known for his handyman skills and along with Dren he helped get our new guesthouse almost ready for opening. We are so excited with the progress, it has really came together over the last two weeks and it’s now just needing Esther and her team for the finishing touches. Trust me any teams that come will be blown away, I hope, with all the different things that a hotel cannot offer, the first is a large team chill room with TV where teams can congregate to debrief or have devotions. There is a special prayer room and even a garden area at the front to chill in, some of the rooms have single beds and others have specially made bunk beds all with good mattresses. Honestly it is everything a team of up to 15 needs; and the beauty of it is once the rent is paid all other money will go directly to funding our church planting ministries. How good is that!  You get a top service and quality stay and the money you pay helps lead people to Jesus.

Phil, Ruth, Sophie thank you all so much for the work you did while here to help things develop for the future.  Thanks to Sellyoak Elim, Bangor Elim, Brookebrough Elim, Wellsprings Elim and three private donations for making it possible to renovate the building to the standard we now have it in. We thank our boss Paul Hudson, John Martin, Roy Johnston, Linda Murray and the whole missions team for all their work fundraising and getting the money to us, we couldn’t do this without you.

Friends we will be opening the guesthouse in 3 weeks time and we now need teams to come and visit, couples and individuals can stay too, please consider Cambodia for a missions trip. If you want anymore information please contact Mandy Campbell you can get in touch by emailing her at mandy.campbell@elimhq.net, don’t hesitate to contact us as well if you want to know anymore.

In three weeks time we will have 50 people coming from all over South East Asia and the UK to be part of the first  Elim Global conference in Asia.  We are honoured to have some very special speakers, just a few names are Pastor Dave Campbell, Pastor Paul Hudson and Pastor Mike Griffiths.  Please pray for the whole conference especially for the organisers Mrs Bobbie Tinnion and Mrs Linda Murray and Elim Sound who are leading the worship. We are so excited and honoured to be the host country, we thank God for such a wonderful opportunity!

Guest Blog by Sophie

It is with great joy that I am writing this blog sitting in Davy and Esther’s home in Cambodia.  I have been here for 2 weeks now and I have fallen more in love with this country and it’s beautiful people. After my first visit here last year I knew I would come back to Cambodia and I am so thankful that this summer I have had another opportunity to be here.  As soon as I arrived at the airport I was quickly made to feel at home as I was greeted by Davy and Esther and my dear friends Chamnap and Nita.

I have really enjoyed doing daily life here and being part of the different ministries that Davy and Esther are involved with.

This past week has been full of adventures.  Last Saturday we headed off to Kep to visit Sarak, Sophea and Harry at the new Elim church plant there. Our journey to get to Kep was quite eventful – Esther, Ruth, Heather and I decided we would sit out the back of the truck to enjoy the scenery on the way to Kep.  After 2 1/2 hours of a bumpy, windy and dirty ride we made it – our hair and faces were quite the sight – we all agreed it was the cheapest way we had experienced to get huge volume in our hair and a free face lift.

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When we arrived we were greeted by Sarak, Sophea and Harry. We had a wonderful time that afternoon seeing the new Elim church and catching up with how everything was going there. That evening we tried some of the local dishes and enjoyed our dinner by the beach with a beautiful sunset in the background.  Sunday was a really special day for us all.  We joined the church service in the morning.  The church has beautiful surroundings and some friendly chickens who live on the site.  During the service, Sophea and 2 young ladies led worship with a young boy on drums.  There was also another young girl who was only 11years old and she was using the computer to move the different slides for the worship songs.  These young people have real servant hearts. Davy gave the message at church which was translated by Sarak, he shared about God’s love for each of us and for some of the people there this was their first time hearing about the love of God.   Some of the teachers that Davy coaches football came along to the service and the headmaster of one of the local schools was also there.

That afternoon we enjoyed seeing the beautiful views around Kep. Phil and Davy were kept busy by doing some jobs at the new centre with Sarak.  That evening we joined the youth at the church and had a fun night.  Heather, Ruth and Esther led some games which had us all laughing as the boys attempted to beat each other in a game of fluffy bunnies.  Sophea and her team led us again in a few songs and then I had the pleasure of sharing a short message about Jesus’ love.  Afterwards Sophea had prepared dinner for all the youth and it was a joy to spend some time in fellowship with these young people.

On Monday morning we got to see the famous crab market which was interesting to see ladies in the water pulling in the baskets filled with crabs.  Then a very special event took place in the afternoon.  We had all been told about a fantastic football coach who is fairly new to the area and has really been impacting one local football team – I am sure you can guess who this very special coach is.  Mr Allen’s team played against another team of teachers and I am glad to say they won 5-2. All the team played so well even though it was so hot outside in the afternoon sun. The team also had a guest player all the way from Northern Ireland and he really did help their game – Phil Mckee was the man of the match in our eyes.  That night we headed back to Phnom Penh after a fantastic few days in Kep.  I really enjoyed being with Sarak, Sophea and Harry in their new home. They are doing a fantastic job in Kep and appreciate everyone’s support and prayers as they continue God’s work in this community.

The rest of this week has been busy mostly spent continuing to work on the guesthouse. Everyone involved in helping with the guesthouse is working really hard to get it finished. The beds, tables and wardrobes have all arrived and today the curtains were put in. The house is taking shape and it is clear to see this will be a fantastic place for future teams and individuals to stay in whilst visiting Cambodia.

For me one of my favourite things to be apart of again in Cambodia is BeFree. This ministry is fantastic and nothing compares to meeting the beautiful girls in person that BeFree helps.  It has been fun to help with making some Christmas decorations and the girls are so patient to teach and show you how to make each of the items.  These girls are so talented and are really great teachers. It is amazing to see how much hard work and time each girl puts into making every individual item.

On Wednesday night at the prayer meeting Phil, Ruth and Heather shared about all the work they do to raise funds to support the work here in Cambodia.  It was such a lovely moment when everyone that was there joined in praying for them and thanking them for everything that they do. Please pray for this wonderful family especially this weekend as Phil and Ruth will leave Phnom Penh and Heather will stay here for the next 9 months and continue to work alongside Davy and Esther.

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In this beautiful place there is daily a reminder of the tragic past and current events that darken certain parts of this city, but what is amazing to witness is how God can and has restored broken situations and provided such joy and hope.  I love the people of Cambodia – always greeting you with a smile and asking how you are.  I love all that God is doing here.  I love the church here.  And I love Davy and Esther.  Please keep supporting and praying for them.  It’s impossible to put into words all that they do for others here.  Daily they are giving over and above to the people that they love and serve in this community.  They also open up their home to people to come and stay with them like me and really look after you while you are here. They are very special people and I am glad to call them my friends.

 

Friends Reunited!

There have been many events in Cambodia that we look back on and thank God for allowing us to  witness; and last Sunday’s baptism service in Saang province is now one of them.  To join with 6 ladies and their community; along with some folk from our neighboring church supporting them as they declared their decision to follow Jesus was a day we will cherish forever.  The church leader had built a room onto his home to hold services in, all he asked was if could we bring a couple of fans to be used.  Dren led the service and as we sang together there was pure joy in the room.  David brought a message and said how pleased God was with the community of people; the presence of the Holy Spirit was tangible.  The room was not fancy by any stretch of the imagination but the hearts of God’s people as they worshipped Him brought tears of joy to those of us who were honored to join with them.  It wouldn’t be Cambodia if there wasn’t a moment to make you laugh as during the message the lady next to me drew the attention of her friends sitting further down our row to my white skin, not only looking at my arms but pointing at my lily white legs too.  I gave an apologetic look to David for being a distraction to the preacher!

It was getting dark as we went outside where the swimming pool was set up and it was such a joyous occasion as each candidate was baptised.  They were given a promise from the Bible and prayed for before being baptised by the two church leaders.   As each person rose from the water we started singing the chorus ‘Hallelujah’ and cheering!  When the last person was baptised the children were given permission to swim and that brought even more cheers from the excited and patient boys and girls.  We made our journey home buzzing from what we had just experienced.  Please continue to pray for those who were baptised and that many more from this community will follow their example.

On Monday night there was great excitement from us as we collected our closest friends Phil, Ruth and Heather McKee from the airport!  As we shared recently Heather will be with us for 10 months and we are are excited for the adventure she is just beginning to take.  We are thankful that Phil and Ruth have entrusted her into our care, and count it a privilege to be her second parents!  The last couple of years when we are on furlough the McKees let us stay in their home so it is a treat for us to be able to have Phil and Ruth with us for 2 weeks.  As I write this (Friday evening), the rice is cooking, and we are having Phil’s legendary chicken curry for dinner.  Ruth will also be making her speciality strawberry cheesecake next week.  We love all our guests to feel so much at home that they cook or bake their signature dish!

This week Phil has been a great help working away in the guesthouse, it really is taking shape and the stress levels have dropped dramatically.  Two of our staff have worked so hard cleaning up after the workmen and are really worth their weight in gold.  The entire house is painted, furniture has started to be delivered and the curtains are ready to be fitted next week.  Ruth, Heather, Sophie and I have spent most of our time in Be Free, and visiting markets sourcing ‘the finishing touches’ for the guesthouse.  It has been wonderful to have my best friend here and of course, we have consumed many coffees!

Tomorrow we are heading to Kep to visit Sarak, Sophea and Harry; we will be attending church on Sunday and helping with the youth party on Sunday evening.  Phil will assist with the football training on Monday as well as carrying out a few jobs that Sarak has in and around the centre.  It will be great to spend time with Sarak and Sophea and to encourage them in the wonderful work they are pioneering.  It isn’t easy being away from family and friends so please pray for them as they serve God in Kep.

In closing I want to send a special message to my niece Claire who celebrates her 21st birthday on Monday and to her younger brother Connor who will be 19 on Friday.  We love you both and are so proud to be your Auntie & Uncle.

Chamnap & Nita

Another week has passed and I have had to divide my time between the normal work of pastoring and developing leaders with overseeing the guesthouse renovation and negotiating for an Early Learning Centre Refurb. We also went to collect our friend Sophie Moore who has called in after her trip to China.

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On the normal church updates we have seen 8 new converts in the Phnom Penh church in the past 6 weeks, numbers had decreased steadily for a while but seem to be growing again. In Kep Sarak and Sophea have led 13 to Jesus so far and we are excited to see the youth group really grow under their guidance. In Be Free although there is always challenges the five girls in the program are settled and that is a big thing. The ELC is in a real exciting transition period where we have a whole new curriculum being taught to the staff and children. On Sunday we go to Saang province to baptise 5 people which is really exciting, please pray that as I bring a word that it will be in season and will challenge others to believe as well.

The guesthouse needs to be finished by the end of the first week in September and up until last week things were not running smoothly.  Just typical delays and problems so I made the decision of giving Dren the role of project manager with Chamnap taking his place in the church planting team and this week has been fantastic, not without its challenges but now we are back on track. Our wonderful friends Phil, Ruth and Heather arrive on Monday night and Phil as many of you know will be such a big help with the finishing touches. The ELC Refurb is in the early stages but we now have the perfect painters and builders to get all we need done, so in a few weeks time that will start.  We don’t like to do anything in half measures! Can I just thank everyone of you as churches or individuals for helping fund these things, without you and your trust we could never get the things done. We pray God blesses you all.

All the above has had its challenges and I have to say I would be in a straight jacket by now if I hadn’t had my brother and closest friend here in Cambodia Pastor Chamnap by my side. I cannot express enough how he eases the pressure and helps make the things happen that need to happen on a daily basis, he simply is Elim Cambodia, along with his wife Nita. We are honoured to serve with them but also to have a couple who love us for who we are, they always have our backs and in the hardest moments that is so important and we thank God for them everyday.

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I know many of you have honoured us by telling us that we are doing a great job and we appreciate that encouragement, we will always reply that isn’t us but God who is doing the amazing things and we truly mean that. But as you honour us we feel we must honour Chamnap and Nita for the amount they pour into others, they are so special.  Many of you met Nita 2 years ago and it was so special but until you meet Chamnap and Nita together you won’t really get the full picture of how amazing they are.

Today is as good a day as any to tell you that we are wanting to bring Nita and Chamnap to the UK next May and June.  We will speak in churches in England and Northern Ireland as well as attend conferences. This will be something you will not want to miss I promise, they are inspiring and wonderful.  But as usual we need your help to make this happen, it’s a big ask but I’m appealing to all those that already know them or that Cambodia has impacted your life to get involved. We need to raise around £3000 for their return flights to Cambodia and internal UK flights. It seems a lot but if we could ask 30 people to donate £100 or if we could get six coffee mornings raising £500 each etc etc.  I know this is a bit different to supporting the work but these guys are Elim Cambodia so it is the next step to getting people to build relationships with them because it’s not possible for everyone to come and see first hand. I know that we ask a lot but please can you think seriously about helping us, nothing is too small or too big. If you can help us please email me on davyandesther@gmail.com  thank you so much for your heart to help!

We pray that God blesses each of you in your every day pursuit of showing Jesus to your world, your community, God bless you all!