“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:5)
You know that feeling you get when you sit at the front of a rollercoaster and you’re just coming over the first big peak and you’re leaning over and wondering, “Why am I on this ride? Will I survive this? It’s too late to change my mind!” That’s how we are feeling with August wrapping up. We have settled into Siem Reap and have been working at the Vietnamese ministry for almost 2 months now. Even though we had planned on only observing initially, there were times when we had to jump in and take on many roles at the ministry. In the last month, Carol has been a first-aid responder, worship leader, translator, soccer playmate, career counselor, book keeper etc. Kevin has been a math tutor, community networker, repairman, preacher, game master, team leader etc. Our roles here are complex and still evolving.
August was full of NEW things. Prayers have been answered as Marcus and Mackenzie made new friends at their new Christian school. We as parents have made new friendships with other parents too! We also bought a used moto for the convenience of quick rides through traffic and easier parking. Kevin is able to drive our entire family around town and the kids love riding.
Next week, a young Vietnamese man who grew up attending this ministry and has been a key leader for the last few years will be leaving for Bible College in Phnom Penh (5 hours away) and living in the dorms away from his family. Praise God for giving this young man the desire to serve God full-time and to have more Biblical training. The Siem Reap Vietnamese Ministry fund will be partially funding a scholarship for his tuition. We will miss him dearly but after he completes this 2 year Biblical studies program, he hopes to return to Siem Reap to serve.
The ministry centre we are leading currently focuses on providing tutoring programs and financial aid to help the stateless and impoverished Vietnamese kids enroll and stay in school here in Cambodia. This ministry has helped over 50 kids enroll in school over the years. We also run kid’s Bible classes, adult small groups and Sunday worship service. On a typical Sunday, there are about 60-70 kids but only 5-10 adults that come to worship. Our team didn’t want to make any major changes to the current programs when we first arrived until we met and talked to the majority of kids and parents in order to understand the needs in the community. After observing the programs for almost 2 months and meeting families, we have decided to shut down the weekday education programs for the month of September in order to re-evaluate, revamp and revitalize all the educational and discipleship programs as well as the facility. We will share more about the future plans for this ministry in the next update and if you are interested in financially supporting this ministry directly, you can select the “Siem Reap Vietnamese Ministry” fund on our donation page.
We constantly need to remind ourselves that amidst all this change, we are not in control and we serve to glorify God. There is a temptation in our hearts to grab control and solve problems we see right away, as if we know all the answers. We strive right now to listen to God’s leading. We have high hopes and big dreams but we know we should also be Prayer Warriors and Humble Servants.
- In late July, the short-term teams vising from Canada brought so much joy to our students when they lead English-Khmer Language Exchange camps and helped us clean up the ministry centre.
- There have been times we run on empty or near empty in all the busyness. Pray for our spiritual health and for God to fill us.
- Pray for the new Bible College student, that he will transition well to student life and persevere in his studies.
- Pray that our kids can integrate well with the Vietnamese and Khmer kids and that we can find good extracurricular activities for them.
- Pray for God’s leading and wisdom as we make changes to the programs at the ministry centre.