June 2014 – an Update

“You shall not fight in this battle. Set yourselves and stand, and see the salvation of Jehovah with you…. Do not fear nor be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, for Jehovah will be with you.” ~ 2 Chronicles 20:17 ~

Well, what’s been happening lately?

We had a really good rainstorm with lots of thunder and lightning last week. It started during workline, which pleased my girls immensely. In fact, long before it rained heavily, while it was just spitting, the girls were already trying to stop work. These kids don’t work in the rain! The girls’ work is to collect sacks of leaves to put on the garden, and the leaves are heavy when wet.

Although they can’t work, they can PLAY in the rain. It poured down for a good 2 hours and they had all their soap and shampoo out and were running around in the rain having a grand old time. I joined them for the first hour, but then the lightning started getting closer. I was at the school with Francis and Donna, when lightning struck a tree beside the boys’ dorm, about 50m away from where I was. Thunder and lightning don’t normally scare me, but even I ducked when this one happened. The air was filled with a blue light and felt different. Fortunately no one was hurt.

Khmer are quite afraid of lightning, as many people have been killed by it – usually while working in the rice fields. As soon as it starts up they head indoors and turn off all electronic devices. If they are outside and thunder crashes overhead, you will see most of them hit the ground. Even indoors some of the students will drop to the ground and scream.

Whenever I see lightning I am reminded of the text that says, “For as the lightning comes out of the east and shines even to the west, so also will be the coming of the Son of Man.” ~ Matthew 24:27 ~

Lightning - by Francis

Lightning – photo credit – Francis

I went with the Pathfinder group to the Happy Horse Ranch one Sunday afternoon. We walked there, cutting across the rice fields. It was very hot, but oh so good to see and touch horses again. I have been to that place once before, when I went riding with Gemma a year or more ago. Well then some of our visitors decided that they wanted to go riding and invited the volunteers along. I was going to go, but at the last moment I decided that it would be good for Laura to go instead of me. So she, Thomas and Ely went with the visitors and had a wonderful time. Thomas, earlier had said to me that he wasn’t sure if he felt up to going, and I said he should because in my experience, no matter how bad I feel, I always feel better as soon as I am up on a horse. He reported back later to me that it was indeed as I said.

“There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.” ~ Winston S. Churchill ~

Happy Horse Ranch and some of their horses - photo credit fb

Happy Horse Ranch and some of their horses – photo credit fb

Cambodian Horses

Cambodian Horses – photo credit fb

Storm - fb

Storm – photo credit fb

I do believe that God provided animals for us to take care of and that relationships with animals can help people in every situation that they may find themselves. I have been reading up a bit on Equine Therapy programs, along with other forms of animal therapy, and it is amazing that God has given us many natural things to help us with all problems that we may face. I know He gave my wonderful horse, Ace, to me, right at the time when I needed him the most.

I also hope that where it speaks in Revelation about Christ returning on a white horse, and all the host of heaven on white horses… that it is literal, not just figurative of victory  🙂  I’m sure God loves horses too!

I had an interesting experience in my Bible class (grade 10) the other week. I was trying to review my class and wanted them to tell me a word that we’d studied the day before that started with i (intercession) and they couldn’t think of it. One of my students, Huy, a very smart, but a bit arrogant student, was sputtering, “I… I… I…” and all of a sudden he blurted out, “I love you!” The other students laughed and laughed and teased him mercilessly. I embarrassed him a bit further by saying, “It’s ok Huy, I love you too.” and then got them back on track. (Just a note, I say that to most my classes or noisy students when they are being difficult/noisy or distracting or telling me that they hate studying or cursing me in Khmer)
Well a couple of days later they were in class and Huy was picking on one of the other boys, teasing him about a certain girl. I couldn’t get Huy to stop, and the other boy was beginning to feel a bit discouraged. So I said loudly, “It’s ok, we all know who Huy loves..” It worked and Huy stopped teasing and everyone settled down to study.

Then there are the many highs – when students start to understand something that they’ve been struggling with for a few days, or when a student decides they actually want to learn and do well in class. Or when they encourage and help each other. Sometimes the smart, but rowdy grade 7 boys surprise me and settle down to help each other understand the subject I’m teaching. Sometimes they surprise me with an unusually deep spiritual understanding of something that I’m trying to teach them. Oh and I’m always pleased when I’m able to bring God into my English and Geography classes in an unmistakeably clear way.
Then there’s all the snakes they bring to class to frighten the girls. Unfortunately many of the students are very cruel to animals… all animals. I am forever rescuing snakes, big geckos, frogs, toads… from my students and setting them free. I can’t stand seeing them tortured to death. The children aren’t intentionally cruel – I think – they just don’t know any better. Animals are often only valued as a potential food source here.
My grade 8 Geography class is always a challenge to keep them interested. They are very easily distracted, sometimes by the smallest things. Here is a picture of a ball that had the misfortune of being in the grade 8 class, where it sadly perished.
Chan Saen and the expired ball

Chan Saen and the expired ball

My students teach me so much, and I know I still have so much to learn. When I stop and look at my life, where I am today and what I’m doing, I am very humbled. I am so glad that God wants to use me in this way, to serve these precious people.
This Sunday, the Avondale student teachers arrive. They will teach at our school here, taking most of our classes for the next 2 or so weeks. This year we will have the opportunity to sit in and watch them teach. I am sure I will learn something from them.

As this school year draws to a close, I can look back on the many different challenges that I have faced, some failed, some I overcame by the grace and power of God; the different situations where God has used me to help or encourage someone else. God always amazes me with what He can do if we just let Him.

It is usually at this time of year that we begin to think of new programs and expansions that we could implement to better serve the people of Cambodia in ways that will lead them to the Savior. Please join us in praying for God’s will to be done here, and that He will not only show us what He wants us to do, but will provide all the things needed to bring them to pass. Please also pray for new volunteers for this place, and if God is calling you to go somewhere as a missionary – say YES! You’ll never regret obeying!!!


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