“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12
In our tourist dependent city of Siem Reap, the streets have been quiet with more than a 90% drop in foreign tourists. It’s eerie to see so many hotels, restaurants and businesses close-down temporarily or permanently. We have not had any new cases of Covid-19 for over 2 weeks so most people are starting to regain confidence in going to public places. Cambodia is not under mandatory lock-down restrictions apart from large gatherings and school closures. Praise be to God, our family is healthy and “fit”. We have established new routines of homeschooling the kids, dancercising, cooking new recipes, and us parents are taking a Khmer Christian Studies course online.
Emotionally, we have been learning how to mourn, lament and release what we cannot control to God. We are learning how to be patient and kind to one another, especially now that we spend much more time at home together. We realize everyone is feeling a sense of loss and anxiousness, not knowing what will be the new normal. We are thankful we have been able to join weekly online prayer meetings and worship services with people in Cambodia and others around the globe to stay spiritually connected and uplifted during this unprecedented time.
Things we are Lamenting:
- Marcus misses seeing his friends at school and eating at his favorite Italian restaurant.
- Mackenzie misses her friends and going to her favorite indoor playground. It had shutdown completely due to lack of customers during Covid-19. We walked by the venue last week and Mackenzie cried for an hour when she saw the empty concrete space where colorful slides and ballpits use to reside.
- Carol misses socializing with friends and also feels like she lost a sense of control.
- Kevin misses attending classes in-person, and doesn’t like people staring at him wondering if he has Covid-19 in public places. (Kevin stands out as a foreigner with his beard and shaved head.)
We also continue to visit with some Vietnamese and Cambodian families in the ministry. Schools have been closed for 8 weeks now and some school systems have been posting resources online or broadcasting on cable tv. Unfortunately, online learning for the Vietnamese and Cambodian students is especially difficult when they have limited access to smart devices, live in crowded homes and cannot afford large data plans. Some of the scholarship students in our ministry have decided to drop-out of school due to the difficulties of adapting to Covid-19. There are 3 scholarship students left that are still diligently trying their best to keep up with the school curriculum.
During the month of April, we were able to provide food assistance to about 40 Vietnamese families and 30 Cambodian families connected to our church ministries who were experiencing income loss. We will need much wisdom and discernment in continuing this food relief program and identifying the families most in need in the future. Thank you to all our supporters who continue to pray for our ministry and provide financial support.
- Please pray that our family can show patience and kindness to one another everyday.
- Please pray for our ministry team to have wisdom and discernment in running the food relief program.
- Please pray for the local students struggling to study from home.