Firstly, we would like to thank you all for your continued support in prayer and finances in order for us to make Christ known in Cambodia. This past month has been a whirlwind as new Covid-19 updates were released; each day came with new challenges requiring us to change our routine and ministry plans. Here is a summary of our family happenings over the past month:
In late February, we had the immense blessing of Kevin’s sister Christine coming to visit and help watch the kids as we went to Indonesia for Grip Birkman training. This was an amazing time of learning, affirmation and encouragement for Kevin & Carol as we connected with other IWs from the Asian Spice region. The kids have a vault of new memories with Christine as they excitedly introduced her to their new home; this included a tour of a facility that trains rats to find active landmines in Cambodia. She also brought a special care package from Scarborough Community Alliance Church full of cards and Canadian products we longed for. Thank you church family! We are overwhelmed by your generosity and thoughtfulness.
In early March, Kevin, David and one of our Vietnamese congregants traveled 3 hours to Battambang to attend a Khmer Evangelical Church (KEC) Regional Meeting for all churches in the NW region (our Vietnamese ministry is partnered with the KEC). Over 100 local pastors and leaders met together; it was moving to hear stories of how God has been faithful in the various churches and to understand their current ministry struggles. It’s similar to a C&MA district meeting in Ontario that Kevin use to help organize. Kevin was also encouraged to visit a new small Bible college in Battambang and meet the 12 dedicated students that are currently studying Scripture and learning practical life skills in agriculture and fishing.
In mid-March, the Cambodian government suddenly decided to close schools in the city of Siem Reap for 2 weeks because there was one new Covid-19 case in Siem Reap. A few days later, we travelled to Phnom Penh to attend a 2 day prayer retreat with all C&MA workers from the US, Canada and other countries. There, we also had a special celebration to say farewell to a Canadian worker, Kim Bui, before she returned to Canada to retire. When we returned to Siem Reap, we thought we could keep our regular ministry routine, but new government mandates brought many institutions to a halt. All schools in the whole country had to be closed, large religious gatherings were banned, and soon after many public venues like movie cinemas were also ordered to close down. Although, small gatherings under 10 people are permitted, we can no longer keep our Ministry Centre open for educational programs or Sunday worship services. Praise God we have had 4 weeks of pre-marital classes but, unfortunately, we will temporarily stop hosting small group studies in order to try to follow the WHO advice of physical distancing. All of the short-term teams we had planned to visit this summer have also been cancelled.
This week, we can relate to all the families globally that are exhausted with homeschooling and still working from home. We are thankful that the international school our kids attend were prepared for the school closure so the teachers are still instructing online and prepping resources/assignments for students to take home each week. We feel spiritually strengthened as we have been able to join online worship services, prayer meetings, and fasting circles with other Christians globally who are faithfully seeking God’s purposes and petitioning for God’s mercy during this sobering time. As some of you may have figured, we have cancelled our planned trip to Canada. We hope to have more online connection times with churches, family and friends just like the rest of you. Our church, Scarborough Community Alliance Church has invited us to give an update and share God’s word online on Sunday, April 5th.
Our team is trying to think of creative ways to minister to people and encourage the congregants to keep worshiping God from home. Not everyone here can afford data plans or owns smart devices. Our team is also handing out pictorial flyers to inform the Vietnamese community of hygienic practices and facts about Covid-19 (most seem to get their unreliable news through the rumour mill or on Facebook). Social distancing has not yet been encouraged country-wide in Cambodia. There are less than 100 confirmed cases of Covid-19 here but if the cases rise exponentially or if a lockdown is enforced, this will have a detrimental affect on the vulnerable people that live hand-to-mouth each day.
- Can you tell us how can we pray for you today? Please feel free to connect and share with us.
- Pray that our team will gain wisdom and discernment to continue to ministry to the vulnerable people here.
- Pray for our family’s physical safety and health, especially for Carol who is taking immuno-suppressants for her lupus condition.
The following is a message from our C&MA leadership team:
As a global team, our confidence during these unsettled times is in God, our Rock and Refuge. We are committed to mutual care and support for one another as we span the miles. Thank you for bearing witness to the hope we have in Jesus. It is our collective desire to make Him famous and may we all continue to bring access to Jesus through our loving words and actions. We deeply appreciate your ongoing prayers and financial support as together we live each day by faith.