Saturday, January 19, 2013 Dear Friends,
Today has been incredible. Perhaps the most incredible day in the history of incredible days—with 80 children and 21 adults at the water park! It is January and Cambodians think it's ‘way to cold’ to swim. It was only about 85-88 today. So basically, we had the water park to ourselves. All 80 kids ran around and had a great time. We had lunch brought in. It was fried rice with beef or chicken. Styrofoam container. Very good and 75 cents each. For $75.00 we got 100 "bag" lunches.
When it was time to leave, Katherine's kids went back to Children of Hope orphanage. We were taking the state children to Harvest Bible College for the birthday party. Well, God totally orchestrated an entirely different event. There had been a fire and the road to the Bible college was closed, so the kids had to be brought to Water of Life to have the party. Rin Yame, one of the leaders of Water of Life who is also their fine arts & music instructor, "just happened" to be at WOL when the kids got there. So, after fire caused us to change locations, Rin taught the children in this Buddhist country a Christian song! It was unbelievable. The song has hand motions and you have to be physically involved. All the kids learned the song and motions and they had a blast.
Then Rin told them his story of salvation and how he came to know the Lord. They all heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We were all in the back praying as Rin was speaking. Can you even imagine how God set up this whole event??? We couldn't have ever dreamed this!! To watch the Lord work that way was really something. We're sure the kids were blessed by the whole day, but we were the most blessed. We're thinking our last day we may go back to the state orphanage and surprise the kids. We all have a very special bonding with the state children.
Last night was youth group at WOL. We stayed for the worship and then cut out and went to dinner down on the river—a much more touristy area. It was quite different than what we have seen here on this side of town.
This morning we are going to church at WOL, then flying to Siem Reap to be tourists. This will be our sightseeing part of the trip where we will visit Angkor Wat and have some time to relax.
Please continue to pray for God's leading with respect to the state orphanage—how involved and in what capacity Harmony Outreach should be.
This trip is winding down and we can't believe it. [divider] Friday, January 18, 2013
Where do we even begin? Today took us to a state-run orphanage. It was probably one of the better orphanages. It was clean and the kids seem to just be kids. We did not see their beds, but one of our team members did and said it was a bamboo mat over hard wood. When we got there, the children danced for us—a blessing dance and then some tribal dances. Afterward we just interacted with the children for a while. We had several teenage boys that were talking to us. Leon showed them pictures of the two us in the Army. They told us Leon is handsome, Robin is cute and Leon has a long nose. When it was time to leave they hugged us and one young man picked up Leon in a big bear hug and did not want to let go. I was glad I had a pair of sun glasses to put on to cover my tears.
Once on our tuk tuk (our transportation—a motorized rickshaw for 12), our youngest team member began to cry. Every team member would have taken a child home if it were possible. It was obvious that the Holy Spirit was present and we were all very affected by what had just occurred. We discussed over lunch how best to use what we had just experienced. Several ideas were presented with prayer. So my prayer request for you now is this: Harmony is considering a "half-way house" for the kids when they leave the orphanage. They can stay there until they are self supporting or married or just want to leave. The thought right now is that instead of signing a long-term lease on this new house Katherine is getting, it would be a short-term lease. Meanwhile land could be purchased elsewhere where everyone could move: Katherine, Holly, Water of Life, and a place for the graduates. So, since it's time to sign the lease, please be in prayer for God's sovereign and perfect will to be made known.
As a group we visited Children of Hope last evening (That's the name of Katherine's orphanage). Some team members had brought crafts purchased by their church. We traced the kids’ handprints on felt and they put stickers on them. We cut them out and put string on them. It was a great craft and they all participated. The two girls we sponsor are Theavy and Sros. Theavy and Robin are officially joined at the hip. Katherine said she is checking our luggage when we leave. We are all so happy to see each other when we get a chance to see the girls.
Our plans for tomorrow were to take Katherine's kids to the water park. While at the state orphanage today, John offered to sponsor those kids to the water park also. They told us because of other commitments only 10-12 could go. At lunch we got a phone call that 51 children and 2 staff members would be going!!!!! So now about 80 kids will be going to the water park. We will have lunch and then go to Harvest Bible College and have birthday cake. It is the birthday of one of the state children. John bought a boom box for the orphanage and some CDs.
This is all so exciting, and we hope each of you chooses to participate one day. God is moving here and it's much easier to see here than it is in the US. [divider] Thursday, January 17, 2013
Good Morning Everyone,
What a full day we had yesterday! Plans changed at the last minute and we went to Svay Riang Province to a village. We met a group of pastors and their families. We took with us 300 lbs of rice, soy sauce, cooking oil, canned fish, hot sauce and some laundry soap. The pastors can distribute this to their people. We were in their village church. Two American pastors with our group gave short teachings and Lucky, a Cambodian pastor, translated.
This village is in the jungle near the Vietnam border. Leon was supposed to go to Vietnam in 1970 but was diverted on his way and sent to Germany instead. So Leon finally made it to this part of the world in the jungle, but in God's time.
Our time with these beautiful people was thrilling to our souls. As we prayed for the pastors, someone got up and was playing on the keyboard, "They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love." We all burst into song (after Amen, of course) and totally assassinated the lyrics, but we got the chorus strong. When we got to the village, a man climbed the coconut tree and we were served fresh coconut milk. The amazing thing is how blessed they felt by our presence, but we were the ones that were blessed.
Today we are going to a government orphanage. We have arts and crafts supplies to take with us. There are several reasons for this visit. John wants to see what a government orphanage is like and because Water of Life is an NGO, Randy, (Water of Life) wants to us to visit to add credibility to that status. Later we will go back to the Children of Hope orphanage and spend time with the children there.
Now for the exciting news: God answered our prayers and Katherine has a new house!!!!!!! It is a brand new house that isn't quite finished, but it has the space for the children and is also built to be a school. The cost is more, but it will be offset not only by the rent being paid for COH home but also by the rent being paid for the school building. Abundantly and Exceedingly!!!!! Praise to God Almighty Who alone could make something like this happen.
Please continue to pray for us as we build these relationships. God is opening up a whole new frontier in Cambodia and it is exciting.
We love you all and look forward to seeing you. (The attached picture is of our group with one of the village pastors.)