Hope all is good and that those April showers are now returning some May flowers. The last number of weeks over here have had everything from race cars and river boats to balloons, bubbles, big smiles and a blessed Easter. Siem Reap, one of my amazing English teachers, and I were off on a field trip with the students from his two classes. They successfully completed their first book with him including mid-terms and final exams. So as a treat we went out, or maybe up you could say. We hit the top floor, or sixth floor, of Soriya shopping mall. It’s one of the tallest buildings in Phnom Penh and not only does it have a good view over the city and of the Mekong river, but it’s got a roller-blade rink and game center complete with all kinds of gaming entertainment. We discovered the next Cambodian Kobe at the basketball hoops, we found a Gretsky on the air-hockey, and a Mario Andretti or two behind the wheel at ‘Need for Speed’. With all our tokens spent it was time to fill our plates in the food court. Each of the kids got a little money for a drink or snack, and this was where you could see several real careers blossoming. There was some bartering and bargaining, or creative finance happening as they worked together to figure out how they could each get their desired scoop of this, or plate of that, and even squeeze in a few of these and a few of those. With the wide grins, and belly pats, it seemed they found a way to add a BOOM to the bang for their buck.
How do you follow a bang and a boom? I guess with balloons and bubbles. We had our new Swiss Warm Blankets team here for a week. Warm Blankets is an organization helping us to raise money to care for the kids. So, we wanted to give them a little overview of the ministry and work being done as well as an introduction to Cambodian customs and culture. We traveled north, south, east, and west visiting the kids, pastors and care givers. We took a boat out to Tumnup, our island home, for some singing and dancing and then south to Phsar Char, for a wash and a rinse as the kids there showed off their new car wash enterprise. With our wheels cleaned and polished we travel back a thousand years and visited TaPram, some beautiful Angkor ruins only thirty minutes from Phnom Penh. Each home visit was filled with big smiles, balloons, bubbles and a fun, warm family feeling. The kids are always quick to show off their home, introduce a Cambodian game, and very eager to enjoy any new games visitors might bring along.
You know we have over 100 homes across the country, and each one looks a little different. Some homes have ten kids and others have thirty, some are tucked in the mountains surrounded by lush forests and filled kids that speak multiple hill-tribe dialects. Some raise pigs, fish or ducks, while others craft furniture or wash cars to show off their enterprising talents. But the thing that is the same in all of them is the kids love for one another and their love for the Lord. You can see it in every home. At the moment, we are trying our best to work with the government who seem to have new oversight agencies, forms, checks, and regulations on a daily basis. We are happy to do our best to meet them, and now just praying the target will stay still for a bit.
Speaking of moving, Easter was definitely hopping. We have hosted several Christmas Celebrations, but this was our first Easter Event and everything came together beautifully. There was both a morning and evening piece and each was attended by seven to eight hundred people and more than two hundred came to know the Lord. The morning had singing, dancing, a moving drama, and an engaging message by Pastor Petros. The evening was hosted by our youth and young leaders which carried a dynamic time of teaching, a fun fashion show of traditional clothes, and a time to ‘rock out’. No doubt, the Easter celebration is now on everyones’ calendar for next year.
What’s up with the English and Vocational Training Program?
Okay, you’ve gotta love it when the girls’ new designs don’t even make it to the display case before they are picked up and purchased by guests. The girls are putting together a fun, simple new pouch bag, and a relatively complicated shoulder bag, both of which really look great. And they’ve enjoyed a further boost in confidence as our guests and mission teams regularly complement them on their creativity and the quality of their sewing. I also have some other very exciting news, Nathanial, the son of our sewing room manager, Charvy, just celebrated his first birthday, and year as ‘assistant manager’. You have to see his picture!
Thank you again for you support! Enjoy your Spring!