Latest updates from our COVP Daphne Lee, in Cambodia.
At the time of writing, it has been exactly one month since I stepped into Cambodia! Time flies, and I have 7 more weeks to go. I’m praying that each day of the 7 weeks will be fruitful, and I would have done something meaningful for the ministry. Since the time of my last update, I have been meeting more people God has given me a burden for, and I’m praying about how to help them. Some of them are children from the streets, some are our bible school students who come from the provinces. You see people with almost nothing material to call their own, yet have so much potential shining in their eyes.
2 weeks back, a team from the Cornerstone Filipino congregation came over, and they were such a blessing in their time here. Some of them had come previously in September, and in their time here, Pastor Jay had connected with a group of University students. In this trip, we started an English class as free tuition for the students. This was a way of outreach to them, as we met the needs they have and bless them. I taught the second class, and let’s pray that they will feel the love of Jesus through us, as we continue the class every Sunday at 2pm!
The English classes will be one of my focuses in my time here, as I plan the curriculum and the long-term goals, as well as pray for a successor to ensure continuity after I return home. My other main focus would be the youth service, which we just launched! I would be the one planning the youth meetings while I’m here, and I never expected to find myself planning, doing games, leading praise & worship, and preaching! This proves that God can use us for anything, when we open ourselves up to Him and make ourselves available. Do continue praying for us, that God will bring the youths from the communities, and they will be the ones to bring revival to Cambodia! Also pray that God will give me creative ideas in planning for the youth service, and that He will raise up a successor to carry on the burden when I return home. We will be watching a Christmas movie for the service tomorrow, with free snacks and soda, and an evangelistic message will be shared. Bring in the souls, Lord!
Another event we had when the team was here was to give out food coupons to the slum in Sen Sok community near our Centre. The community we went to had wooden houses built over a murky river, and it was an experience of my life walking over the rickety shaky planks. I had fears of falling into the river at anytime! Needless to say, the students were more effective than I was at giving out the coupons that day! Never was I happier to step back onto solid ground!
2 days after we gave out the coupons, the families came to our centre to redeem their food packages, which the students had painstakingly packed the day before. Here are the 120 packages we had hoped to give out. Inside were rice, noodles, and other food essentials.
Don’t be fooled by us looking happy here! See our precarious steps! [Also the big dog in front =/]
Although not all the families turned up to redeem their food packages, we had a powerful time reaching out to those who came. We prayed for some of them, and were glad we managed to meet some of the needs of the community nearest to us. Isn’t that what Jesus told us to do, to love our neighbors? 🙂
Good things are happening in the kingdom of Cambodia! As we continue to do God’s work here, be it the youth service, the English classes or the community outreaches, join me to pray for the Lord of the harvest to send forth the laborers, in the fields that are white unto harvest!
Daphne Lee’s first update on her 10-weeks adventure in Cambodia under COVP
So, I’ve been in Cambodia for a week, and it sure doesn’t feel like a week has passed! I feel so settled already, as if I could live here on a long-term basis! It helped that my brother-in-law and my sister were with me for the first 5 days, and I’m sure they were a blessing in their time here. Cameron shared in the Sunday service, and my sister taught the bible school students about running a Sunday School ministry. We also had the chance to see the students in action teaching the Sunday School, and that of course meant we got to interact with the children. Early Sunday morning, the students would take the tuk-tuk and drive to the villages, and the children will just come on to the tuk-tuk to the centre for Sunday School. This was their way of outreach to the villagers. This would mean that the Sunday School might not be as structured as what we are used to, but that doesn’t mean Jesus is not present. After all, He was the One who said, “let the little children come”! And we continue to pray that these little lives will sense God’s love, and be transformed!
Last Sunday after church (and a good lunch), we went down to a railway slum, for a little girl’s birthday party. She was so sweet, all dressed up in a white dress, as you can see from the photo below. From that one visit, we received a lot of things on our heart. The birthday girl Saochea’s (not her real name) mum claims she works at a restaurant, and she had female friends over for the party, who spent the time drinking beer. That’s not a good environment for a little girl to grow up in, though admittedly, her mother’s friends have sad stories too. One of them shared that she now has an overseas husband, though it’s highly likely that this man already has a family in his home country. She also showed us pictures of her son from her previous marriage.
Little girl Saochea also had another friend and neighbor with her, Natapsa (not her real name), and we found out more about her story as well. It turns out that Natapsa’s mum was always drunk, and her father has another wife so he doesn’t stay with the family. Natapsa also has 5 brothers, 3 of whom live with her. After that first visit, we were worried that her safety might be at risk, so we went back on Wednesday afternoon to pay her another visit and talk to her. In the midst of the conversation, she assured us that she was safe and not at risk, but Sister Liney was suspicious that this wasn’t the whole truth. She felt that Natapsa might have been afraid to tell us her story, so do pray with us that after a few more visits, she will open up, and we can see how to help her if need be.
Natapsa’s story is similar to the process of how the ministry found the other 4 girls currently living at Selah House, a safe house that Sister Liney founded to rescue little girls who have been abused. I have had the chance to hear some of their stories, and it really breaks my heart to see their sweet faces and have to think about the horrible things that were done to these little ones. It makes you wonder how people can bring themselves to commit such bad things! Do join with us in prayer as we continue to look for little girls to rescue, and bring them through a process of inner healing through God’s love. We are in the midst of getting a license for the safe house so that we can rescue more of the girls at risk, so pray that would come through! It’s so sad to think that we have just seen the tip of the iceberg, and child abuse is such a common trend in Cambodian society. We need to pray against the spirits that come against the kingdom of God in Cambodia, yet know that Christ has won the victory!
So, I have 10 more weeks to go, and I already know that I will be so unwilling to leave this mission field when the time comes! In the meantime, thank you for praying with me, and I hope to have a fruitful time in the rest of my time here. Till the next update!
Pastor Cameron and his wife, Delia, spent five days in Cambodia with Global Renewal Ministries.
The sisters are ready to go
Delia and I went to Cambodia for five days, and had a very fruitful trip. Our trip had a few different objectives: first, we were accompanying my wife’s sister, Daphne, who is serving in Cambodia as part of the COVP for three months. We wanted to help her settle in. Second, we wanted to see Global Renewal Ministries, the ministry led by Pastors David and Liney Chacko. We had briefly met them in Singapore and had heard much about their ministry but wanted to see it firsthand. Third, Cambodia is a country that has long interested us, and we know that God is connecting this nation to Cornerstone – I had been there once several years ago but Delia had not. We wanted to see if there were any ways we could be involved in what God is doing in that nation.
Cambodia is a nation that has suffered much. During the 1970’s, the evil Khmer Rouge government conducted a genocide where they killed almost two million of their own countrymen. Many of those killed were among the leaders of society – teachers, government workers, and intellectuals of every sort, so the country was left with a huge leadership vacuum. While the genocide is long over, the country is still rife with social problems, with prostitution chief among these. At night time, you can drive down almost any road in the capital city and see ladies lined up, waiting to be hired. Many of these ladies are there against their will, having been sold into the trade many years before. Child prostitution and sexual abuse is also rampant. The country has been broken and the people have suffered incredibly.
Visiting the Railway Slums
Yet, in the midst of this darkness the church in Cambodia is growing, and God is beginning to transform the nation. During the course of our visit, we were so impressed by the impact Global Renewal is making. Pastors David and Liney have a real love for the people, and are busy with many projects that are helping this nation. They have a ministry center that houses their Bible school and church, and also a safe house where they rescue children who have been sexually abused or are at high-risk of abuse. Delia and I both taught at the Bible school, and I preached in their Sunday service as Delia helped with the children’s church. Three people were born again after the message, and we thank God for this eternal fruit!
Teaching in the Bible School
Pst Liney Sharing
We also spent one evening at the safe house. The children loved our visit, and after playing with them, we had a time of singing, worship, and prayer. We had such love for the children and felt the love of God for each of these precious little ones.
When the tuk gets stucked, get out and push the tuk tuk!
As previously mentioned, my sister-in-law Daphne came with us, and is staying with Global Renewal for the next three months. You can read of her continuing adventures here on the missions blog, and she settled nicely during her first few days. She is surely going to be a great blessing to the ministry, and she will surely be greatly blessed through her interaction with the people of Cambodia. She also will have a chance to learn much working alongside the Chackos and their fellow missionary, Anthany. Anthany is a young woman from Panama who lived in the United States for several years before moving to Cambodia last year to work alongside the Chackos. She was a great blessing to us as well.
We were also able to meet Brenda Chua, a long-time member of Cornerstone who has been ministering in Cambodia for over a year with the Girls Brigade. Brenda was enthusiastic about her ministry, and her dedication to the people was obvious. Please keep her in prayers as she is serving the Cambodian people.
Lunch with Cornerstone member and Girls Brigade Missionary Brenda Chua
I would like to finish this article with something God showed me throughout the trip. On the first night we arrived, we were talking with Pastors David and Liney when Pastor David shared what brought them to live in Cambodia. He told us that God had shown them that Cambodia was a “gateway” nation to the region. While most of the Indochina region is closed to Christianity and especially missionaries, Cambodia is wide open. Missions organizations and other foreign groups are welcome, and in the middle of her struggles God is beginning to establish a strong Christian witness in this nation.
God further confirmed this to me when we visited the S21 Genocide Museum, where tens of thousands of people were tortured by the Khmer Rouge. While driving there, we heard the worship song “Beautiful Things”, with the lyrics “You make beautiful things out of dust, You make beautiful thing out of us.” That song was in my spirit the whole time we saw the prison, with all the evidence of torture that took place there.
S21 Genocide Museum
S21 Genocide Museum Barb Wire
Cambodia has suffered terribly and seen horrors most of us can never imagine, and while the genocide is long over it still struggles greatly today. Yet I know that God is bringing and is still going to bring beautiful things out of these tragedies. I don’t know how He can turn such tragedy into something beautiful, but I know that He will. God is going to use Cambodia as a powerful example of His redemptive purposes, and the church in this nation is going to be a shining light to the world! Let the church in Cambodia arise, and God’s enemies be scattered.
Daphne Lee, our latest COVP volunteer sharing her thoughts on why she’s going to Cambodia to serve. Against many odds, she’s taking 11 weeks no-pay leave from her work, leaving on 23th Nov 2012, this Friday, and returning on Jan 2013. All for His greater purpose over her life.
When people found out that I will be going to Cambodia for 11 weeks, they would ask me the question – “Why Cambodia?” (As an aside, another question is, “are you going to be building houses?”) I hope to share a little more of the background to my decision as you read on. The truth is that Cambodia is not new on my mind – my first visit there was 4 years back, on a 4-day trip with my cousin and 2 pastors. The trip was short, but God somehow knit my heart to the country, and I’ve always wanted to go back since.
This photo below was one that I had taken randomly in my previous trip, and I captioned it “roads of Cambodia.”. Somehow, this image had stayed in my mind, and I’m excited to be seeing Phnom Penh’s roads again!
Though Cambodia had been on my mind since 4 years back, I had never really seen another chance to return. Then, 2 months ago in a special meeting, Pastor Yang prayed for Cambodia, and shared with the church that he felt to build a partnership there. This, when the country had never really been mentioned much previously. It also came at a time when the Cornerstone Overseas Volunteer Programme was put in place recently, that set the platform for longer-term mission trips. At that meeting, my heart just leaped when I heard Pastor Yang mentioning Cambodia, and I knew right away that I wanted to go and serve there. When the meeting ended, I sent a text message to my sister, the wife of Cornerstone’s missions pastor (who was himself away in Uganda on a trip then), telling her my intentions. [You can read about her own experience here.]
At the same time, some things had happened in my personal life and at work that were motivating factors for this trip as well, and helped to make it a reality. I truly saw God as a God of convergence, who makes everything come together in His time. The point of convergence is when you know He has ordained the event in His will. Remember too that His timing is impeccable, and the right things will come together at the right time!
So the preparations for making this trip happen began 2-3 months back, and now I’m finally getting to go on the 23rd of November. I will be working with the children and youths at Global Renewal, and honestly I faced fears and apprehension. If you read from my last blog post on my trip to Surabaya, I don’t see myself as someone who has a particular calling to children, and I questioned whether I could be a blessing whilst I was there, and what I could contribute with my skills. However, my cell members, friends and family who prayed for me were very reassuring, and encouraged me that I could be a blessing as long as I avail myself and let God work through me. So, I’m just going with an open heart!
I would like to encourage you to hold on to the dreams that God has given to you, whether they are the desire to be in nations, or to have a particular job – He will make everything come together in His time, because He’s a God of convergence!