Studio News

The studio staff have, for a while now, been hard at work on producing the “Bridge of Life” series for the Khmer people. As of yesterday evening, the project was completed; DVDs packaged, and on their way to the Mission in Phnom Penh. We pray that they will be a blessing to the Khmer people and a most useful tool for our brethren to share God’s Word with those around them.

*photos courtesy of Tim and Shannon Maddocks*

A Mountain

We recently welcomed two new volunteers to our ranks – husband and wife team, Dustin and Caitlin. They are lovely and now that we are getting more volunteers, we are excited to see the new ways in which we can begin to reach out to the villages around us. There are two more volunteers coming in the next few weeks, and we are looking forward to meeting them too.

Yesterday most of my co-volunteers and I took an Sabbath afternoon trip to a nearby mountain hill. It’s quite steep, but not very high. There were, according to Laura, 610 steps. We enjoyed beautiful views, mountain fruit with chili, and a small look at the fallen down temple. We closed Sabbath at the top before heading down as the sky began to darken.

For worship, we discussed how important prayer was for Jesus when He was here on earth. He was sinless, and perfect, yet He deeply felt a need for time with God the Father to be able to surrender His will to that of His Father’s. And if He, perfect as He was, placed this importance on prayer, how much more should we, who are weak and sinful follow His example.

The temples are a little bit fascinating for me. Not because of how grand they were. Not because of their architecture. Not even because they are historical wonders. No. Every time I see one of these fallen down, ruined, jungle-reclaimed temples, I am brought to remember that the castles and grand things we build on this earth or in our own lives that is for ourselves, or our glory, will one day fall down, and be replaced or forgotten. Great and powerful nations have arisen and fallen; styles come and go. There is only One who is eternal and that is God. The only things that will stand the test of time is that which we do for the glory of God alone. One day this sin-filled world will be destroyed and remade. What will remain will be the characters that we have allowed God to develop in us, and the precious people whom were won to Christ by our witness for Him.

May God use me to help build His eternal kingdom!

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“O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him.” ~ Psalm 34:8 ~

On this day in 2011, I stepped off the plane onto Cambodian soil for the second time. But this time was different. I wasn’t just coming with friends for one month. This time I was on my own, and planning to stay for 18 months. I had some minor trouble with my VISA, but the officials treated me kindly, especially when I tried to use the few Khmer words that I knew, such as the polite greeting, thank you, and sorry. They helped me sort out the problem and sent me on my way.
I was the last one of my plane out of the airport; in fact another whole planeload of people had gone through ahead of me. I was so happy to be back in Cambodia, a place that had stolen my heart a year before. I was thrilled to have the chance to work for God here, although I was nervous about teaching again. But at this time, the joy I felt at soon seeing the friends I had made on my previous trip were overriding the nervousness.

“Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things. And blessed be His glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with His glory; Amen, and Amen.” ~ Psalm 72:18,19 ~

Sannal, a student and friend, met me at the exit, and soon we were in the old white truck (at the time affectionately dubbed “The Limousine”) headed for Wat Preah Yesu. I remember looking out the window trying to see something I recognized. I remember once again being assaulted by the smells of the city. I remember seeing all the bright pastal coloured houses – The kind of remind me a bit of the buildings in Nannup Town back in Australia. In the middle of all this, while making small talk with Sannal, he reveals to me that he has only been driving this car for two weeks and this was only his second or third trip away from Wat Preah Yesu! Well that news certainly raised the excitement level a bit! But he is a good driver and delivered me safely to Wat Preah Yesu.

“Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me.” ~ Psalm 66:20 ~

It was a Friday when I arrived. I’d planned it that way so that I would have a chance to rest over the weekend and begin teaching the following Monday. It was about 10:00AM and everyone was in school. I walked down to the orphanage to say hello to some of the house parents and waited till the students were out for lunch and had a joyful reunion with them.
I spent the rest of the day getting acquainted with the other teachers whom I would be working with. There was Andrew – whom I had met the year before – but all the others were new to me. They were Amy-Lynn, Petrina, Sarah King, and Liz. They have all moved on now, (Andrew is still around, but lives outside with his wife) but I was very thankful for how welcome they made me feel and how they helped me to settle in. I remember having many good times and conversations with them, and especially Petrina, who was always willing to lend an ear, and counsel.

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom He hath chosen for His own inheritance.” ~ Psalm 33:12 ~

The past three years have been the best of my life. I am so thankful to God for wanting to use me, teach me, change me, bless me, and bringing me here. I have learnt so much about Him and His love for myself and all people. I have learnt so much about teaching :P. I have learnt so much about loving other people and relationships. This place has changed so much in the short time I’ve been here. I’ve seen so many great volunteers come and go. I’ve made so many good friends. I’ve made many mistakes and learnt many lessons. I know that I’m not yet what I’m supposed to be, but praise God I am not who I was! There have been some really hard, sad times, but also many wonderful, miraculous events. Truly God is in control, and all things work together for good for those that love God and keep His commandments! We serve a wonderful, merciful, loving, righteous, and just God.

“The LORD liveth; and blessed be my Rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted.” ~ Psalm 18:46 ~


A Random Collection of Photos

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A New Year – An Update

We here at Wat Preah Yesu had almost two weeks of holidays over Christmas and New Years, with school beginning again on the 2nd of January. Students and staff alike were all looking forward to the holidays. Many of my dorm girls were quite homesick and could barely wait for the last day of school to arrive.

By the first official holiday day, I was all alone in the dorm. The girls had all left and even Laura had gone off to Thailand with a few of the other volunteers. But there was no time to be lonely. There was music practices for Christmas Eve to attend, house cleaning to be done, and even some left over grading that I’d been putting off. Soon enough, Christmas Eve arrived and we were off to the hotel. I was very proud of the children and staff who participated in the program. They were a bit shy at the beginning, but did a very good job and were thoroughly enjoyed by the audience. We had 20 items prepared, a mix of the children’s choir, and individuals or small groups. I was very nervous about reading the poem/story that I had to do, but it turned out to be ok. Mostly because when I looked up, I saw some of the audience looking at me with the same expression as most of my grade 7 class when they are trying really hard to understand what I’m saying (the audience was multi-national). Our American visitors later said I read well… despite my accent 😛

Thomas and the BoysOn Christmas Day, the Filipino volunteers left for Thailand as well. I don’t remember much of what I did – relaxed mostly I think. David and Ty were staying in the brown house. David is a great cook and for the next few days till they went on the Pathfinder Camp, cooked wonderful meals and I got to enjoy a few with them. Then, on Friday the 27th, three of my older dorm girls returned. Laura and Emily also returned that day from Thailand where they had had a wonderful time. I was rather shocked by Laura’s appearance; she was wearing at least 4 shirts, leggings under a skirt, and 2 pairs of socks! It had been rather cold in Cambodia (at least for me!) with temperatures getting down to at least 14 C, but Laura hadn’t been much affected by them. Apparently, it was a LOT colder in Thailand. She had been planning to go there for a while, and I’m glad that she was able to, that she got to feel cold for a change, and see some mountains. The reason that the girls and Emily returned was because on Sunday they would be heading off for the yearly Pathfinder Camp at Kulen Mountain. They all left on Sunday and returned on Wednesday, Jan 1st. They had a great, albeit rather cold, camping trip.

Somnang and a German FriendThe Setup Crew

They had quite a bit of truck trouble going to and returning from the mountain. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise though, because it meant that Tim and Caleb where were they needed to be when other emergencies arouse. For Caleb, because he was here and not at the mountain, he was able to quickly organize a helicopter to pick up an injured girl from the mountain, and Tim was able to be with a dying man and give physical and spiritual comfort to him and his family, as well as oversee the funeral that took place a day or so later.

ColdThe truck trouble also caused a funny incident with one of my girls. One of the trucks got a flat tire. So while most of the students managed to return on time, a few, including one of my dorm girls was missing. Thamai, wishing to make sure that we were not alarmed by the fact that Rathom was not back yet, said to us, “Rathom, she’s coming with the second coming!” Personally I’m glad that she actually came back later that night – with the second truck!


Pich, Rathom, Thamai

Srey Pich, Rathom, and Thamai

Our American visitors left for Thailand and India, to continue their mission trip. I know they will be as a big a blessing to those to whom they go as they have been to us here. They accomplished so much. They did electrical and maintenance work, and also managed to run a Vacation Bible School type program for the orphanage children during the holidays. Currently we have a group of high-school students here from Germany who are helping to prepare the building site for our water-treatment house. It is an exciting project and I can’t wait to see it up and running.

Some of the year 11 and 12 students from the orphanage have wanted to put into practice the health principles they have been learning. With many of them wanting to give a vegetarian diet a go. This has not been possible for them to do in their orphanage home, so with this new year we are giving a new housing arrangement for them a try. The girls will move in with Jive, the boys with Tony, and hopefully they will learn a lot about a Christian home, from chores, rules, and healthy living, to worship, and service.

Some Grade 12 studentsSchool has been pretty busy since we began again. It was a bit disrupted, because we began on a Thursday, and then had a holiday the very next Tuesday (the 7th). Then, the next 10 days of prayer began last Wednesday (the 8th). Last night I was able to attend the prayer meeting. Some of our dorm girls came along as well, which I was pleased about. During the prayer meeting, we begin with some songs, and a short message, before we break into small groups for prayer. Although we break into small groups we are led through the various steps of prayer that we do here by the leader of the meeting. First we have a time of adoration, followed by a time of confession, after which comes a time of thanksgiving and supplication, then we end with a song.

My GirlsI was in a group with 4 of my younger dorm girls, and they didn’t really understand the outline of the prayers and were all prayed out within the first time of adoration. As we began the time of confession, one asked me, “What do we pray now?”
So I tried to explain to them that it was time to confess our sins to God. So she dutifully prayed, “Dear Father in heaven please forgive me for all my sins, and every wrong thing I’ve done to anyone, in Jesus name, Amen.” (a rough translation)
Then she asked me again what she should pray. Quietly I tried to explain in my limited Khmer that we were confessing a little bit more specifically. She didn’t understand, so I tried to give an example. “Like if I do something mean to Soeum (another girl in the dorm), I need to ask God to forgive me for being mean to her.” I explained to her.
So once again she bows her little head, and begins to pray. “Dear Father in heaven,” she said, “Please forgive Teacher Kathleen for doing something mean to Soeum. In Jesus name, Amen.”   I could barely keep from laughing! Precious souls, they were really trying to do the right thing!

We are living in exciting times and I can’t wait to see what 2014 will bring. This world seems more and more corrupt, and yet God is still in control, and He is still faithful and still has a work for us to do. A big thank you to all those who have supported me during the past year. I hope you all will join me for this year. I thank God that we will see many ways that God is working in Cambodia and the world at large.

May God richly bless you to know Him more.

“The trials of life are God’s workmen, to remove the
impurities and roughness fromour character. Their hewing,
squaring, and chiseling, their burnishing and polishing,
is a painful process; it is hard to be pressed down to
the grinding wheel. But the stone is brought forth prepared
to fill its place in the heavenly temple. Upon no
useless material does the Master bestow such careful,
thorough work. Only His precious stones are polished
after the similitude of a palace.” ~ MoB p10 ~

2013 Christmas Eve Program

Now as the Christmas Eve Program that we did this year at the Riviera Hotel in Siem Reap has been put together, I can share it with you! It was a lot of fun. The children did a wonderful job and everyone really enjoyed themselves. Much thanks to all who participated and especially to Wendy, for spending many hours with the children teaching them the songs.