Imagin yourself been born in a village, smack in the middle of a jungle and are one of the tribal groups of Cambodia. You are perfectly normal by birth but at around 1,5 years of age, playing outside with other kids, can be challenging. One of your small friends, throw you with a rock on your head, and from then on, things became really hard. Mum is not doing well herself and food is not always on the table, due to illegal logging of the forest. Staying alive becomes a daily struggle.Found this 2 year old and his mum in the village, last week on an outreach. Such a sad story but so real of things that happens in the village. He is now spastic and has brain damage.
Our latest outreach took us deep into the jungle, or what is left of it. Beautiful place with 3 big lakes around the village. Shame that all the trees are cut down for Rubber and Pepper plantations. Lots of children had Mumps and we could assure them that by taking only drugs for the fever will be ok. Found a lady that can barely walk anymore. She complains about having weakness of her bones. Not sure what is the problem but we see a few of them in every village. Normally they need to go to the local doctor that will charge them U$15 for meds that will not even work.
Pray with us for some wisdom in how to handle situations like these. We need more medical knowledge here.
Samai met a new pastor that is running a small church with 26 families. We could talk to him and found out that he want to build a church. He already cut the wood that he got from the jungle but need some money for a roof. If there are any of you interested in helping making this church, a reality, please write me and we can help this guy. We want to try and keep these guys independent and on their own, rather than being picked out by someone that want to make it dependable on outside help.
Great news. My sister Elizma is pregnant. Pray that her health will be good and that her pregnancy will be a blessed one.
Toinette reports that one of the students mum’s said the other day, that she did not allow her child to be a Christian but now she allow her to be one, as she is well behaved and not angry to her anymore. Praise God. Please pray also for the little church especially for the little outreaches in the Health Talks and house visitations.
Pray for the farmers as this drought is serious. Most of the places do not have water anymore and we hear of more and more wells that are drying up. Most of the days are very hot and very dusty.
Our prayer for Syria:
Psalm 36:9 “For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light.”
Thank You Jesus that in YOU we have the fountain of life. In YOU we see light. Jesus, thank You for Syrians who have come to know You in the previous years… months… days! Thank You that they carry Your living water, and Your light. Jesus, I pray that they would have the boldness to share, the boldness to give what they have received.
In the south of Turkey I worked with two Syrian believers, men who had come to faith 6 and 9 years ago. As muslim families heard that these men followed Jesus, they strait away asked, “How? Why? What DO you believe?" There was no small talk needed on these visits. The fact that these two men were Kurdish but professed faith in Jesus was testimony enough. This led others to receiving the same Hope that they had received.
Jesus, I pray for boldness for these two young men, one now ministering in Syria and one still in Turkey. Father, may they share their faith fearlessly. And may others who have come to faith through them and through this war, may they too proclaim their faith boldly so that more… many… millions may come to faith in You, Lord Jesus.
We are celebrating our 3rd New Year, Khmer New Year.
“Sus’Dei Chnam Thmei” is a 3-day festival starting around the 13th or 14th of April (depending on leap years) to celebrate the New Year. Everyone is out on the streets wishing each other and their families success, peace and happiness. Much earlier, during Angkor times, the New Year was celebrated 4 months earlier on the 1st day of the first lunar month. This was abandoned after Angkor, as a solar calendar was adopted and gained popularity.
The main reason for the change was the end of the dry season, when the peasants finished their work in the fields and the harvest had been put away safely before the start of the rainy season, and people had more time to celebrate. Therefore, one of the kings decided to change the New Year festival to the month of April and to follow a solar calendar.
The first day of the Khmer New Year is called Moha Songkran.
On that day, a new god or angel is appointed to protect the world for the year ahead. To welcome him, people clean and decorate their houses and themselves, to make sure that the New Year does not start with bad luck or unhappiness. Each home “competes” to welcome the new god or angel individually by offering a table full of fruits, a cake with candles, incense sticks decorated with flowers, and flashing light chains to ensure that the house and the family are protected for the rest of the year.
The time around New Year is the only time when young Cambodians are allowed to meet and engage in “mixed” plays. It is also the opportunity for young men to look for potential brides. That’s the tradition!
The second day of the New Year is called Wanabat.
This means “Day of Giving”. Traditionally, on this day one gives gifts to parents, grand-parents, and elderly people. Children receive new clothes, and poor people are given money or clothes. In the evening, the monks in the pagodas are asked to give a blessing.
The third day of the New Year is called Tanai Lieang Saka and means “new beginning”.
After seeking the blessings of the monks in the morning, a joyful farewell celebration is held in the afternoon. In the streets and in public places, people pour water on each other. Children and young people throw baby powder and flour at each other. People that usually work far away from their families in other provinces make it a point to return to their families to celebrate the New Year together.
Cities, specially the capital Phnom Penh, are very quiet during that time, as most people that live and work in Phnom Penh are not born there. They come from other provinces, such as Siem Reap, Battambang, Kampong Cham, Kompong Thom, Svay Rieng, and others of the 24 provinces that make up the country.
At the beginning of the festival, people usually cook food and bring it to the monks in the pagodas. The pagodas are also a good place for Cambodians to meet other people who are also born in their region or who went to school together, but now live and work in other places. The pagoda thus becomes a place of reunion, meeting old friends and exchanging news about their lives. During the festival, many traditional plays are played, such as throwing of “Ongkunhs”, rope pulling contests, and others. After the festival, people return to their places of work and wait for the next festival, Pchum Ben Tag. That will be the next time when the whole family and friends get together again.
Thank you for praying for us all. May this be a wonderful New Year to you all as well.