Archive for November, 2017

 One Yes just naturally leads to another

Let me explain, but first I’ll start by saying, ‘saying YES to God was the best decision I ever made’!  Accepting and embracing God’s adventure for my life is the best choice and it’s a choice I’m still making.   I’m hoping in the years to come I can look back and say, ‘wow that was an adventure’ NOT ‘wow that was safe’.

YES. No matter how much I tried to prepare myself for culture shock before arrival, it still hit me like a ton of bricks! 1 road, 50 motorcycles carrying 4 people and a dog all on one bike (WHAT!!!) I was still taking this in as the tukt-tuk driver turned the corner, I didn’t quite expect I would see a little boy no older than 4, little clothed, sitting on a rusty metal bar banging a metal hammer around his bare feet. Trying not to gasp to loud I watched with one eye open in the hope that his toes wouldn’t be the next thing the hammer hit.

YES. Never would I have imagined that I would be sitting here 6000 miles away from home, yet still feel like I’m at home, writing a few words for a blog about my time serving here in Cambodia. I have almost been here for 2 months and I am blessed beyond words by 2 amazing people who have took me under their wing, challenged me, encouraged me, had confidence in me and loved me (if you haven’t guessed already it’s David and Esther)!

YES. These past weeks I have been challenged and stretched in so many ways, recently I had the privilege of being asked to run a Friday afternoon bible study with the girls in BE FREE where I have spent the afternoons of this past month. Some of these girls have previously experienced dreadful things and have not been shown genuine care, respect, given dignity or gratitude. Yet in coming to BE FREE, it hasn’t taken me long to notice that in every aspect of their day whether it be making crafts, learning English or practicing their Khmer reading, the girls put their heart and soul into everything they do. Just being with the girls and watching how they care, love and are so gracious towards one another and people that visit has taught me so much! So, needless to say, when I was asked to start the bible study I was totally shocked but humbled that I have the opportunity to allow God to minister through me to the girls I get to spend time with and learn from every single day.

YES. Living here definitely isn’t easy Some days if not all you just want to cry to God and ask him why? Why does this person have to live this way? Or why do they have to face this awful situation and I guess I won’t ever fully understand this. My relationships with the girls and some of their families are deepening and so it hurts all the more when I see them struggle. I have no doubt though that God is at work in Cambodia and I am so thankful to be 1 small part of it. So one thing I have learnt is to continually say YES to Gods plan fro my life…One YES naturally leads to another!


Back to School

Last Sunday night the butterflies kicked in for me as I packed my new bag with the supplies and books ready for school in the morning.  I was feeling nervous about starting a new level in language school but relieved to have a friend in the classroom with me.  Before I left the house on Monday morning David prayed for me and I held back the tears caused by fear of the challenge ahead of me.  I’m studying 5 mornings a week for five weeks, focusing on improving vocabulary to enhance conversations along with reading and writing khmer.  I’ve joked with our staff that one of the reasons I want to read Khmer is to be able to read what they write on facebook!  But I really want to one day be able to read the Khmer Bible that is in my office and to be able to sing in Khmer during times of worship.  I’ve found studying Khmer to be an experience similar to a rollercoaster, I experience highs and lows, good days and hard days, tears and joy!  But its totally worth it to be able to communicate with the people God has called us to serve!

I couldn’t do this intense course which (for me and my mature brain) requires several hours of practicing what I’ve learnt in the classroom and homework without the support and encouragement from David and our staff.  I’m so grateful to the staff in Be Free who are so capable with the day to day running of the program that they have released me, once again, to study; and are patient with me when I practice what I’ve learnt and read or listen to me when I complete my homework.  Over the next five weeks David will support them with any issues that will crop up.  We have a new girl who just started in Be Free last week and we are thankful that she is settling in well and enjoying all the aspects of the training program.   On Tuesday afternoon we had arranged to meet the manager of a training cafe that is doing similar work to ourselves to discuss partnering with them.  Sokim, Channak, Sreychan (our new English & Khmer teacher) and I went by Tuk Tuk to the cafe.  While Sokim and Channak shared about Be Free and also learnt more information about the training cafe and how they could provide full time jobs to our trainees, Sreychan stayed with me in the cafe where I reviewed everything I learnt in class in the morning and completed my homework.  We then chatted about her life, and how she is settling in in her new role and about family life.  I’m so grateful to those God has blessed us with, I learn so much from them and I’m inspired by their bravery, strength and tenacity.  Single mums who are working hard to provide a safe and loving environment for their children, life is not easy for them yet they are faithful and committed to God and trust in Him for everything!

God is so good and we are amazed at what He is doing through Elim Cambodia but the enemy doesn’t like it and is trying his best to attack our team.  But we praise God, that the enemy never has the final word over our lives.  We need to press on, the battle belongs to the Lord and He has the final victory!  We appreciate your prayers so much for all the staff, church family, ministries and my language learning!!

In closing, we want to thank Ruth and the missions team in Bangor Elim as they prepare to hold their annual Christmas Craft Fair today.  If you’re in the area go along and if you haven’t started your Christmas shopping here is the place to do it.  Make sure you visit the Be Free stall and purchase the beautiful handmade Christmas decorations and cards made by the girls.  If you’re on Instagram or facebook take a photo of your purchases and add #befreecambodia and I will show the girls on Monday.  Your support in attending this event really does change lives, thank you for the part you play!

News from Kep

It’s been another busy week with two trips to Kep and a lot of planning meetings for the festive season which has crept up on us, as it does every year. Am I the only one who feels it was only March yesterday! With the different churches and village work we now have we are having Christmas services and parties nearly for the full month, thankfully we don’t need to worry too much about the rain or snow to put a damper on proceedings.

Today I want to share some of the highlights from the last few days. The best news is that a month or so ago we started our second church in the Kep area, it’s actually in a guesthouse/ training school and it is for all the staff ranging from 18 -30 years of age. Sarak has been pastoring the church and last week 4 people gave their lives to the Lord, and on Tuesday another one also made the same decision to follow Jesus. It is super exciting to see young adults make the bold step to turn away from their families religion and follow Jesus, please pray for them; they really need God’s strength and courage as they start to tell their families. We are having our Christmas celebration in Kep on the 17th December and at the minute we have around 8-10 wanting to get baptised. We are so thankful to God for blessing us abundantly as we strive to share the story of Jesus!


On Tuesday Esther, Chamnap, Dren and myself went to meet the Minister of Education for the Province of Kep.  He is a really nice man who shares a real love for football and for the welfare of his students especially the young girls, who in their teenage years change and develop so much. Esther was able to bring more proposals and information about the Dignity Day that Be Free and Elim Cambodia are hosting with Elim missions new partners ‘One by One’.  This is an amazing opportunity to bring greater awareness to all the young women of Kep teaching them about the signs and dangers of being trafficked.

I had the chance to talk more about the football programs that have been running so far and we also discussed ways to deepen our relationship going forward. Something quite funny happened and if it had have happened in the UK there would have been much uproar I’m sure. The Minister of Education told us the news that the Provincial U18 team had just won the national trophy and they were now the country’s champions at their age. To which Chamnap and I reacted by saying that the manager is a hero and would go down in folklore, we carried on talking about this and other teams and then out of the blue I was asked to replace the manager who had just won the National cup. My reaction was ‘why, he’s a hero?’ but he insisted he wanted me to do it and that the manager would be my assistant. So I decided to do it because it seems to be opening a lot of doors for us and these relationships are ones that hopefully will lead to senior people coming to know Jesus.

Today was very encouraging and exciting, we did more planning with Heather who is about to start teaching dance lessons to a number of groups around the centre. Hannah started taking the Bible study in Be Free and she did a fantastic job, she really has a teaching call upon her life. It is so encouraging to see these young ladies both Elim through and through with big potential and using their God given talents to bless and encourage those around them.

Please know we value your prayer and support, we thank you so much for remembering us in the way you do. We ask you to continue to pray for the work in Kep and for Heather and Hannah, also for health, strength and energy for us, it can be so tiring working in the heat even in the lead up to Christmas.

A Life Changing Opportunity

Many of you are on Facebook and will know that it was Esther’s birthday this week, we had our usual Elim birthday celebration at 5pm on Wednesday and then we went out with friends that night for dinner and to celebrate her turning 47. So a big happy birthday to the most wonderful, beautiful person I know; you are a complete blessing to Meg, Ruby and me.  We send best wishes to Esther’s brother Jonny and sister Rhoda who also celebrated their birthdays this week.

Recently we decided to take our first two 9 month interns and we have been seriously blown away by the impact they are making in our church community. Hannah Newton and Heather McKee have given up or put on hold their dreams and aspirations. They packed their bags and left their families, friends, their normal (whatever that was) and without even thinking twice said ‘God take me and use me in whatever way you want’. At the ages of 19 and 18 these young ladies put God before self and they have came with an attitude of wanting to give, to help, to love the broken and the needy, but it doesn’t stop there.  They want to learn too and since they came here they have learnt how to cook, wash and iron their clothes, keep our guesthouse, where they are living, clean. Even more importantly they are growing in their faith, they can see how God can use them and it is pretty exciting to see them flourish.

So what about you or someone you know?

The person needs to be a Christian, as all the work we do is centred on bringing people to Jesus. There are many different areas that we need help in from teaching English to taking kids clubs to mentoring young people to doing technical stuff. We also can use musical skills, we have a growing football ministry so if you could coach a bit of football, we have the Be Free program and Early Learning Centre for female interns and the church planting ministry for both male and female volunteers.  Also if you have a medical background we could use your abilities and skills in all the villages we operate in.

I’m sure right now if this has caught your imagination you have many questions, please do not hesitate to contact us directly by email   If you’re a pastor or youth leader we will have a flyer within the next two weeks that we can send to you so you can put it on your notice board.

In closing we have been blown away by how much Hannah and Heather have fitted in and taken their roles seriously. We have just relaunched our youth group last Sunday night and 53 young people aged from 15-25 came, of which about only 15 belong to our church.  We are so excited about this opportunity that God has given us.  In the past our youth fellowship has failed because no one in the church took ownership of it, they were too young, but already Hannah and Heather have built really good relationships with our core youth from the church.  They have the opportunity to mentor these young Khmer Christians into the leaders of tomorrow. How amazing is that?  You could be in that next group of interns starting September 2018, please drop us an email so we can talk more.