Entries in Cambodia (24)
Looking for some new letter writing topics? Kate, who works in One Child Matters' communications department and writes most of the stories on this blog, shares this interesting angle after receiving yet another letter where one of the girls she sponsored thanked her for her help and sponsorship.
Take a look at that drawing above -- Sovanna drew the famous Ankor Wat temple in Siem Reap and included it with one of her letters. I am so thankful I hung it just over my computer monitor at work, because when the day grows long, it's always within my sight. That intricate pen-and-ink drawing reminds me to pray for Sovanna and Munni, the other girl I sponsor in Bangladesh.
I've sponsored them for almost three years now, and sometimes it's hard to figure out what to say in my letters to them. So when I received Sovanna's letter, her sweet "thank you for all you continue to do for me" at the end inspired me.
Why not write a thank you note back to her and to Munni? There are so many reasons I am grateful for them, why not tell them directly?
Munni and Sovanna have opened my eyes to a different part of the world, and not just through their fantastic drawings. With each letter or prayer for them, I discover more of God's heart for justice and mercy. His redemption knows no bounds, and it is exciting to be a part of that.
As my heart for them grows, I want them to see themselves as God does: beloved daughters of the King. Yet in trying to emphasize that, my self-perception has changed. They are as fearfully and wonderfully made as I am, but do I live out of that identity?
Since sponsoring my girls, my habits have changed. I love to shop, but I increasingly find myself wondering, "Do I need that? Could this money be put to better use?" (And almost always, the answer is yes.) I am more conscious of each dollar I spend and what I am supporting by those choices. In the end, the money isn't mine -- it's God's -- and my choices either glorify Him or glorify myself.
I'm thankful that my sponsorship gives my girls access to a solid education, a nutritious meal, and interaction with adults who will love and encourage them. My girls are so worthwhile.
I am thankful that although sponsorship started as something sacrificial, it has become joyful. What I hoped was life-giving for them has brought me life, as well.
So my tip is to think about how or if sponsorship has changed your heart. And if it has, write that down. Send it to your sponsored child. One of our goals at One Child Matters is that a sponsored child will learn that he or she can change the world. Wouldn't it be cool for them to know -- to know -- that the first person they changed was you?
Yesterday provided a brief sketch of an influential time in Cambodia’s history. Today we get a glimpse of a very special area One Child Matters serves in Cambodia – the Mechrey Floating School on the Tonle Sap Lake.
The largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, the flow of the Tonle Sap changes directions twice a year, and expands to six times its size during the rainy season, creating great breeding grounds for fish. Families live in floating homes on the Tonle Sap – simple, single-roomed dwellings that follow the flow and the fish.
To ensure the children of these fishing villages receive an education, we helped build a floating school. Hundreds of students have learned and grown in this floating schoolhouse, and now some have the opportunity for secondary education at our Dream Center in Siem Reap.
We’ve written about the Floating School before, and perhaps, like us, you’ve wondered what it’s like to live in a home and attend a school that’s never in the same place twice.
Well, here’s your chance – Kaliyan welcomed us into her boat to follow her on her journey home.
There’s no other way to say it: some of the countries we serve have horrific pasts. Prolonged civil war, famines and droughts, natural disasters. Poverty knows no political boundary, and it is often aided by man-made conflicts and power struggles.
All of these above is true of the next country we’ll highlight this week: Cambodia. And yet, as we share some snapshots of the country this week, always keep the girl in the image above in mind. Look in her eyes, and perhaps you’ll see what our staff see every day – hope.
When he visited Cambodia in 2010, Jack Eans (our Vice President of International Child Ministries) wrote this reflection:
The real story of any country, including Cambodia, is her children. Over 50% of Cambodia’s population is under 15. Many of today’s poor countries share that statistic, but Cambodia’s children groan under the weight and responsibility of being this country’s hope.
Here, the cliché is reality. With many of their parents lost in the horrors of the Killing Fields, this country’s hope for a new soul truly does depend on how her children will be raised. Where Buddhism and a very real belief in evil spirits grips the nation, only the children with the Holy Spirit can make a way through the darkness. Where fear, death, and hatred is the legacy, only the children can lead them out. This is not overstating the case. Our partners who work with the children are staking it all on turning the hearts of the children.
Jack rightly mentions the context of the Killing Fields – a term used to describe sites around Cambodia where more than one fourth of the country’s population were systematically killed and buried by the Khmer Rouge, a Communist movement that sought to take Cambodia back to its agrarian beginnings in the 1970s.
Understanding the impact of the Khmer Rouge is crucial to understanding life in Cambodia today. One of their mottos, “to keep you is no benefit, to destroy you is no loss,” is a reminder of how little life was valued during this formative time in Cambodia’s history.
We seek to prove the opposite and support children as they pursue a brighter future. Cambodia was the second country we began to serve beyond our birthplace in India – now we serve almost 2700 children. We will share more about this amazing country and all that God is doing there this week.
Do you sponsor a child in Cambodia? Have they shared any interesting facts about their country with you?
Each week, we set aside time as a staff to pray through prayer requests we’ve received from you and our partners overseas. It is so important to support those who work directly with your sponsored child.
Here are some of the requests we've been praying for this week and into the next:
ETHIOPIA: The cost of living in Ethiopia continues to rise, putting strain on the parents of children registered in our programs as well as project staff. Our Ethiopian staff has such a huge heart for the children, but they are burdened by their own needs as well. Please pray with us for provision and that our staff can find favor at home, in the marketplace, and in their communities to help them make the most of their resources.
Also, a mission trip with radio listeners from The House FM in Oklahoma and WCLN in North Carolina will leave for Ethiopia on September 13. They will help build a restroom and shower facility at one of the projects to address pressing public sanitation and health issues. They’re also going to do Vacation Bible School with the kids. It’s going to be a powerful trip, please pray with us that God will do much in them and through them.
KENYA: A Women’s Circle of Caring team is also leaving on September 13th for their final trip to the Emarti Maasai people. They have many projects and programs for the children and their mothers. A special message will be given – please pray for open ears and hearts.
CAMBODIA: A serious and mysterious illness is striking children in Cambodia; several children have died but the cause of this sickness has yet to be determined. We praise God that none of the children in our programs have fallen ill, but we must continue to pray protection over them and for the staff as they stay vigilant. Please also pray that the government and health care workers can find the cause of this to address it before more children are sickened or lost to this disease.
HAITI: Our staff asks for prayers for the parents to stay involved in the development of their children. As parents come to understand the benefit and value of the program, the children attend more consistently.
ZIMBABWE: So many communities need help. Please pray for discernment for the country staff and that God continues to raise up sponsors who can help them minister in powerful ways.
HONDURAS: Gangs are very active in several of the communities we serve. Please pray for the safety of our staff and that children in our programs find sanctuary at the centers. Siblings and parents can also use prayer that they stay out of reach of the gangs and provide positive, stable role models for the kids.
Thank you, as always, for joining us in prayer for the sake of the kids.
Mission of Mercy has several mission trips still waiting for your application. If you're wondering if you can make a difference -- if the work that a team takes on can change the heart of a child -- please read this post.
The writer, Lois, just returned from the women's Cambodia trip. She will be the first to tell you that she's a photographer, not a painter, and that she was not excited for the service portion of the trip.
So how did God change her mind about the power of paint?
We continue to receive updates from the women's mission trip in Cambodia (some of which you can read in the post below this one).
But instead of relaying what they are experiencing, we thought it best to show you the children they are meeting. Perhaps you'll be as captivated as we are.
Click on the photo below to go to the photo gallery. These amazing photos were provided by a trip participant, Lois Solet. Thank you, Lois!
Over the weekend, a group of women with full hearts (and very full suitcases) landed in Cambodia. This week they will serve two very different projects with a shared mission. The Mechrey Floating School and the Dream Center are instrumental in giving children the chance to break out of poverty.
So what are they learning about God and the ways He is changing the country of Cambodia?
So much is happening all over the world -- here's how you can join us in prayer for our projects and the areas we serve.
PRAISE: Confounding all storm path projects, Tropical Cyclone Irina HAS TURNED AND HEADED OUT TO SEA! We had asked for prayer late last week as initially Irina looked to hit our projects in Swaziland and Mozambique.
To our amazement and, frankly, God’s glory, the storm is no longer a major threat. This is fantastic news because it is harvest season in this region, and the heavy wind and rains from this type of storm could devastate a much-needed maize harvest.
Current forecasts show that Irina is weakening as it spins over the colder waters of the south Indian Ocean. We are praying that Irina continues to weaken and stays far, far away from our children and projects in southern Africa.
TRIP PRAYER: A women’s mission trip to Cambodia leaves on Thursday, March 8. This diverse team of 40 women will serve Mission of Mercy’s Mechrey Floating School as well as the projects in the Siem Reap area. We are praying for safe travels, and that all of their supplies arrive safely in country!
PROVISION PRAYER: We’re also praying for our projects in Lebanon, as more and more refugees flee the violence in Syria. One of our projects is especially close to the Syrian border, but many of our programs serve the refugee population in other areas of Lebanon.
As the influx of exiles grows, so too does the strain on infrastructure, increasing the chances that refugees will face discrimination from established families already struggling to get by. In addition to praying for a quick resolution to the violence in Syria, we are praying that the fleeing families are finding sanctuary, and that those receiving them are able to provide help to them.
When you want to truly show love to someone, how do you overcome the barriers formed by years of war and brutal indoctrination?
One woman shares how God reminded her of His mission in the world as she prepares for a mission trip to Cambodia.
Do you attend a special Christmas concert or play each year? Christmas provides a unique opportunity for our programs in countries where the story of Jesus' birth is not as well known. Read on for insight into these special Christmas performances and what they mean in different countries.
In the coming weeks you should receive a Christmas card from your sponsored child, and on it will be Christmas wishes in their own hand. We love this time of year because you can see the anticipation of Christmas in the children's heartfelt wishes.
But very few of the children in our programs speak English -- so what do their Christmas wishes look like?
In most of the countries in which we work, the language spoken does not use a Latin or Roman alphabet such as what we use in English or what many of the countries in Africa or Central America use above.
Yet the result is just as beautiful. Several countries, such as the Philippines and India, have regions that use different languages or dialects, which are represented below.
And then there's the Middle East, where Christ and the Christmas season was born. What wonderful wishes!
It's a bit early to wish you a Merry Christmas, but we can't help getting in the spirit!
This may not make a typical Thanksgiving list, but that's no reason not to be grateful for the way you've helped us improve the lives of children!
For four terrifying years, a brutal regime called the Khmer Rouge murdered one third of the Cambodian people. Caught up in their ruthless actions was a young boy who would have never guessed that these horrifying experiences would eventually help him share the hope of Christ.
As he approached the floating school, Dareth noticed the children getting into boats to go home. One small boy in particular caught his attention. While the other children paddled away, the boy found a place in the shadows, reached into his shirt, and pulled out a small baggie of rice and a dried minnow. Relieved that he was now alone, the child quickly began to eat.
It was unclear what startled Dareth more – the boy’s hunger or his furtive glances to be sure no one saw him eat. Dareth knew that feeling, the weakness hunger brings and the fear that the food you so carefully squirreled away would be taken from you. A small bag of rice, a dried fish – that would have been a feast compared with the grasses and snails and roots Dareth once ate to survive.
Dareth knew that terrible hunger because when he was that young boy’s age, he was fighting for his life in the killing fields of Cambodia. Now he was back and still fighting for life – for the lives of children and the people of Cambodia. For Dareth, the killing fields were now harvest fields.
Dareth oversees several of One Child Matters' projects in Cambodia. Come back tomorrow for more of Dareth's incredible story and how he is uniquely equipped to speak truth and hope to a people who have suffered so much.
It is said that we may not know the fruitfulness of our work for God's kingdom until we get to Heaven. But sometimes we get a glimpse of the lives that have changed on this side of eternity.Such is the story of Srey Em...
Water affects so much of your child's life -- is there enough to wash up before school? Is it safe to drink? Can I go out and play? What season is your sponsored child experiencing right now, and what does that mean for daily life?
Our sponsored children are creative beings, inventing games or tweaking rules of established sports to accomodate their resources. From simple to high-flying, these games sure look like fun!
Children love games – this is no secret. Often in letters from your sponsored child, you’ll hear that your child loves to play a particular game or sport. But what do those games look like?