This Year

This year has been amazing! In fact, the latter half of last year was pretty amazing too. Meeting the Balasingams, aka my Canadian family, in April 2015, which led to me spending summer in Canada. Where I was blessed, refreshed, and got to meet many wonderful people.

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Balasingam Family + 1

This year, I got to spend Christmas with my wonderful mother. Our first Christmas together in 5 years. My second summer for 2015. As a bonus, I got to visit Tasmania, where she had moved to the year before. I’d never been there before. It is a beautiful state, full of big-hearted, kind people. 2015 was the Year of Two Summers.

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Then I arrived back in Cambodia to a whirlwind of activity as God opened the way for Ely and I to purchase two horses. Then we had a couple of different groups of visitors who arrived bearing gifts of tack and equipment from different donors in their respective countries. Not only that, I’m still teaching full-time so with the horse duties added it makes for a very full schedule. I fall into bed exhausted each night, but constantly amazed at God’s sustaining power, His love, and leading.

I am also blessed to be able to be teaching Righteousness by Faith to my Grade 8 Bible class. It is exciting to see them start to understand and catch the first flickering of hope and love for God that I see in some of them. I’m using Morris Venden’s book 95 Theses on Righteousness by Faith, and I highly recommend it for everyone! Please keep all the students in your prayers, we long to see a Cambodia filled with young people who love Jesus and are actively sharing Him with their fellow countrymen.

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Fruit shakes with 2 Grade 8s

April is the time for Khmer New Year; also the New Year for Thailand, called Songkran there. My Canadian family was headed to the Bamboo School, in Kanchanaburi, Thailand, to build a library for the children there. Would I join them they asked? Oh Yes Please! And so I went. It was so good to be able to spend time with them again. I was very interested to see the Bamboo School, meet the children, and help out with food preparation. I can’t believe I’ve only known the Balasingams for a year, it feels like forever. It was very hard to say goodbye and leave them once again.

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Last Sunday, I put one of our donated saddles on Khzak, and rode him with tack for the first time. Today, we saddled him up again, and this time Ely rode him. Her smile matched mine. As Khzak is not quite 3, we are only riding him for 15 mins on Sundays, and only at a walk. He is proving to be a fast learner though. We are working on turning, halts, and backing-up, and he improved by more than 100% for only his second ride. We are so blessed with the horses that we have. Hopefully both boys will be gelded this month, and God-willing we will be able to purchase some bigger, older horses for the program.

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This year is not quite half way over, and yet I feel so full of blessings. God is amazing, God is awesome. God is love. I hope you can know, this year, how much God loves you.

“How great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You; You have worked for those who trust in You before the sons of men!” ~ Psalms 31:19 ~

A Moment

Here’s one of the most recent pictures of all the volunteers. Although there are some changes… Vanessa and Carly have returned to the US, and Ever has had her baby (that was a night I’ll never forget! 🙂 ). I’ll try to get us altogether for another one sometime.
~ photo credit – Vanessa

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“We then, as workers together with Him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.” ~ 2 Corinthians 6:1 ~

Changes

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” ~ Romans 10:13 ~

New Year’s Greetings to you all. I hope you had a blessed Christmas and a wonderful beginning to the new year!

I spent Christmas here at WPY with Laura and Emily. We attended and participated in the annual Christmas Program at Riviera Hotel in Siem Reap. The children’s choir was absolutely wonderful – a credit to Niet, Wendy, and Claudia’s hard work in preparing them.

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Laura, Emily and I also went with Tim and Wendy to a village nearly two hours from here, where the local Adventist Church was putting on a Christmas Program and meal for the villagers. Tim and Wendy had been invited to speak. We had a lovely time seeing some of our dorm students who live out that way, and some other friends whom we had not seen for some time.

I got to visit the Happy Horse Ranch twice (just to pet the horses :P), once on New Year’s Day with Emily and Laura. It’s true that “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man (or woman!)” ~ Winston Churchill ~  Here are some pics from New Year’s Day – sorry in advance for the horse spam!

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Speaking of horses – here’s some pictures from the HoofTrek project. The house is almost finished and the fencing has started. We praise God and give Him all the glory for His leading. We know this program will help all the students who participate to better know the love that God has for them, and the value He places on them.

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Just before the Christmas Holidays began, the group that had gone to PAFCOE in the Philippines returned. It is so good to have them back with us again. They have had an awesome experience there and learnt so much which they are excited about putting to use here in Cambodia to the furtherance of the Kingdom of God. Soon the group who went to study at LIGHT in the Philippines will return. We look forward to having them among us again.

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Another project that will begin here at WPY this year is a 10-month International Missionary Training school. It is a co-operation between SALTMinistries, LIGHT, and Sebastien Braxton’s ministry. The aim is to have the course run every year for local and foreign participants. The co-ordinators will soon arrive to begin set-up, with the course hopefully commencing in March or April. Please pray for God’s leading in this new program.

Campmeeting begins on the 2nd of February, and will last one week. There is lots of preparation still to do. Please pray for the Holy Spirit to guide and be with us and lead all who come into a closer relationship with God.

Thank you all once again for your prayers, encouragement and support this past year. May God bless you all greatly in this new year, and may every aspect of our lives bring glory and honor to Him.

When God says, “Go!”

I was very blessed by Tim’s sermon yesterday. Here are three thoughts that I wish to share from it.

What is God Thinking When He Asks You to, “Go!”?

1. Jeremiah 29:11  “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD,       thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
When God asks you to, “Go!”  He is thinking of what is good for you and your future

2. Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
When God asks you to, “Go!” He is thinking about what is good for His kingdom. What makes this more amazing is that God is thinking that YOU can, by His power, do something good for His Kingdom.

3. Revelation 21:3 “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.”
When God asks you to, “Go!” He is thinking about what is good for Him. And in His mind, You are good for Him – What Love!

For some extra deep thoughts, think about the great stories in the Bible… Noah, Abraham, Moses – and many more, and imagine what this world would be like today if they had said, “No!” When God asked them to, “Go!”

“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.” ~ Isaiah 6:8 ~

His Jewels

“And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels;” ~ Malachi 3:17 ~

Earlier this month we held a dinner for our girls. We had two motives; We wanted to have a sort of goodbye dinner (seeing as we’ll be moving out of the dorm soon), with photos and gifts, and we also wanted to take the time to remind them that they are princesses, daughters of The King.

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For worship we spoke about the process of taking a raw gemstone from the ground and transforming it into the beautiful jewels that we usually see. We then applied this story to them and their lives, and hope and pray that they remember how precious they are to God, and to continue to let Him cut and polish them into His beautiful image.

Laura and Emily, along with 3 new volunteers also joined us. The girls enjoyed the night. We only had one mishap. The room in which we were to have dinner, didn’t have any lights – a small, but needed detail I had overlooked. Luckily I had some candles, and when they were spread out all over the room it created quite a nicer atmosphere than I could have hoped for. There was also musical items. Some of the dorm girls had written their own songs especially for the event.

Here’s some pictures from the evening.

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We currently blessed to have 5 short-term volunteers – Claudia, Morgan, and Chorkin from the US; Jess from Australia; and Petrina has returned for a little bit. It’s good to see her again. They have been helping to cover classes, with the Christmas program preparation, music lessons, and reading with the students in Library class – all of which has been much appreciated.

After Christmas holidays (just three weeks to go till then!!) we will lose 4 of our volunteers as they move on to new missions. One couple will go to the Philippines to do the LIGHT course, and the other couple, Gemma’s parents, will go with Gemma and Hym to Hym’s hometown to start their mission down there. It will leave us short a Science teacher (any takers 🙂 ), but we wish them well as they continue to follow God’s leading.

Please keep us in your prayers, especially for the annual Christmas program that we hold at one of the hotels in town; that the message of the program will be clear, and that God will be glorified.
God’s blessings and grace be with you all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 2014

This year we have thirty-eight girls in the dorm. Myself and my co-dean Ely (also from Australia – whom Laura kindly allowed to have a chance to experience life as dean) have our hands and time full with the dorm and teaching. This will most likely be our last year as dean (for now), as Ely and I hope to be able to focus on developing HoofTrek, and hopefully there will be some new deans arriving this year. I really do love being the dean. I have had two of the most awesome co-deans I could ever have asked for – Laura and Ely – both of whom have taught me so much in all areas of my life. I will admit, I am rather tired and will welcome a break from the rigorous routine of trying to juggle teaching and the dorm, but I will also miss the close communion with the girls that I have been blessed to have for the last two and a bit years. But not to get melancholy about that yet, nothing is set in stone and I’m still in here for now 🙂

Laura with some of her students whom she tirelessly labors for - I admire her dedication and endurance

Laura with some of her students whom she tirelessly labors for – I admire her dedication, patience, and love she has for her work

Laura and I in Australia last April - I was so glad she was able to travel with me :)

Laura and I in Australia last April – I was so glad she was able to travel with me 🙂

This year I am teaching English grades 7 and 8, Bible grade 10, and Outdoor Activities grade 10, and Guitar grade 4. My guitar class are so cute… their hands are so small they can barely fit around the neck of the guitar. They are also quite young, between 9 – 13 years of age or so, and only two are big enough to really get their arms around a guitar. Only one understands a little English, and I am finding that I have to teach mostly in Khmer, which is an interesting experience.

Outdoor Activities is a new class started with the intention of giving the teachers and students a chance to work, experience, and grow together in the grounds of Wat Preah Yesu, whilst also helping to improve the look of the grounds. We are hoping to get more native trees and bushes growing and increase the native wildlife, of which there is less and less. There is a lot of development happening in Siem Reap right now, especially around our little sanctuary. All the farming land around us is being transformed into a new suburb. It is a blessing to live in a place that has trees and shade, ponds, and open areas to spend time in.

A new project on the horizon is the Butterfly Paradise. This is an exciting project that would have many functions; some of which would be, helping to make WPY more self-supporting, and more importantly, using nature as a witness to all visitors of our Creator God.

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So far this new school year, I have had to lean more on God than ever before. This is a good thing… kind of like a never-ending falling, as I learn to trust God and let go even more of self. Some days it’s like I feel like I’m getting somewhere spiritually – then God comes and shows me a whole bunch of new things in my life that He wants to take out. Sometimes it’s overwhelming, but I don’t want it to stop! I have such a long way to go! Daily I am so amazed and overwhelmed by God’s love for us, for me, and what He wants to do in all of our lives. I hope and pray that daily you are also amazed by the love of Our Wonderful Heavenly Father.

Ely and I

Ely and I

We Have A Name

“… I will bless thee… and thou shalt be a blessing.”
~ Genesis 12:2 ~

Remember this?

Well, now it has a name – HoofTrek

We wanted a name that would let people know it was about horses, and yet encompass our goals – those of being made complete in God, and fitted as citizens of God’s eternal kingdom.

Ely, being creative, made up an acronym for hoof – Hope OOngoing Future. Originally we were going with HoofTracks. We wanted the last part to encompass a journey of some kind, but the word trek never entered our minds, until we were discussing it and I said ‘trek’ accidentally instead of ‘tracks’.

HoofTrek also has its own blog, and a facebook page to help you keep up to date with what is happening.

We are hoping to start preparing the field, and putting up the fencing soon. Our next goal after that will be building the stables (we don’t have the funds for that yet). It is a faith adventure. We are praying that God will continue to work and guide and that His will may be done.

A big thank you to those who have encouraged and supported us, counselled and prayed with us. Thank you for being a part of God’s work here in Cambodia.

Visitors!

“That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.” ~ 1 John 1:3 ~

It’s been a delight to have the Avondale teachers here for the past 3 weeks. This year we were required to sit in on our classes and observe the new teachers. I had a whole new perspective on being a teacher after just a couple of sit-ins. I remembered many of my earlier struggles and mistakes when first teaching. I have also learned many new things about teaching and have many new ideas to implement when I go back to teaching once Avondale leaves. I been able to have some wonderful spiritual discussions with a couple of the teachers, as well as hear some of their testimonies. It is always inspiring to see God working in other’s lives.

Gr 10 has been studying about the Second Coming - This is Sombeach and his awesome drawing of Jesus' Second Coming

Gr 10 has been studying about the Second Coming – This is Sombeach and his awesome drawing of Jesus’ Second Coming

Not only them, but we also had Dustin’s father (Pastor Dan), and brother (Jacob) here. Pastor Dan lead out in our Week of Prayer. A couple of our students, Sombeach (gr 10) and Phearom (gr 8) were able to take a part playing guitar for the songs. Those two students in particular have only really been learning guitar this year and have a wonderful gift from God for playing it that I hope and pray they will use to glorify Him.

Jacob, Pr Dan, Caitlin and Dustin - photo source fb

Jacob, Pr Dan, Caitlin and Dustin – photo source fb

I was blessed by the presentations during the Week of Prayer, and I know many students were also blessed. Emily told me that some students reported that when Pastor Dan spoke, they could feel God speaking to them through his words. We praise God for their visit and hope that the seeds they planted and the love of God they shared with us will continue to grow and produce a great harvest among the Khmer people.

Actually, because of a story that Pastor Dan told, Laura and I made some changes to the way we run our worships here in the girls dorm. Normally we would pray, sing and share a portion of Scripture. Now there’s nothing wrong with any of that, but we had noticed that most of the girls were not very engaged in it… in fact they seemed thoroughly bored and distracted. I’ve heard it said before that the key to raising young people that stay in the faith, is family worships. So we decided to take on board what he said and attempt to make dorm worship a time that the girls enjoy. The girls are divided into groups and a different one leads out at worship each morning and evening. Now Laura and I told them that they have some freedom to do different things in worship, so long as there is still time for prayer, and a reading from the Bible.

I wasn’t sure how it would go, but the girls raised themselves up to the challenge. We have had a lot of Bible Verse memorization, we’ve had drawing pictures. One girl read out the passage where Adam and Eve hid from God. She told us that we shouldn’t hide from God, and then lead us out to play a short game of hide-and-seek. As each person was found they had to recite a memory verse. My favourite one so far however was Srey Moun’s. She is a very creative girl who is also very good with the younger children and has told me that she wants to be a missionary. She divided us up into 3 groups and gave each group a Bible passage, which we then had a few minutes to prepare a short skit from. After which, each group chose a spokesperson to talk about their passage.

Our worships have gone from a short 10 minutes with girls begging us to say prayer so that it can be over, to sometimes up to 40 minutes with most of our girls engaged and enjoying God’s word. I am very thankful to God for sending Pr Dan and Jacob here to WPY.

Gr 7 students teaching Gr 2

Gr 7 students teaching Gr 2

On the Horsemanship Program that Ely and I are putting together (read about it here). We have met with Tim again and finalized the projected cost of it all. We are thrilled to have this opportunity and pray that God will continue to lead and show us His will in it all. If you have any specific questions about the program, or would like to be involved, please get in contact and let us know. We’re also trying to come up with a name for it, so if you have any ideas, share away! Our goal for the name is to have something to do with completeness in God, or our hope of an eternal future – and yet so it still sounds like it has something to do with horses.

May God be glorified in your life and mine!

 

 

An Opportunity

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11 ~

Big News!

Over the past couple of weeks, my friend and I have been praying about an idea for a project that has recently come up. We have met with Tim (our Director) to discuss and brainstorm about it

The good news is that we have the go ahead! Tim has asked Ely and I to put together a horsemanship program for Wat Preah Yesu! It will be especially targeting at-risk young people, both from WPY, and from the surrounding villages. We believe that by working with horses, children can learn more about God, themselves, building healthy relationships, boundaries, body language, and gain some self-awareness, and self-confidence.

Studies have shown the therapeutic benefits of the horse to the human. They have assisted significantly in improving the lives of many: whether emotionally hurt, physically and mentally disabled, or someone who is stressed out and in need of a break. Horses are especially impacting the lives of thousands of troubled young people around the world today.

We already have here at WPY, a number of different programs that we involve the young people in to aid them in their spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical growth, but believe that this horsemanship program will also be beneficial in helping them grow into healthy, useful, whole citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven.

We have put together three, 12 week courses that will run during the school terms, and during the holidays we will have horsemanship/riding camps. We hopefully will be able to work with at least 50 young people each year. We want this program to bring glory to God and lead more people into a growing relationship with Him. We have a small piece of the property in which to set up a couple of paddocks, riding areas, and a small stable. It is exiting to contemplate the possibilities of this program and all the people that will benefit from it.

So we have come up with a list of needs that we ask you to pray with us for…

  • New teachers for the new school year
  • New boys and girls dormitory deans for the new school year
  • That God will continue to provide for the needs of the orphanage and school here at WPY
  • Guidance, supplies and equipment for the horsemanship program
  • That God’s will be done in all of this, and not our own
  • That God will be glorified in our lives, here at WPY, and by this new project
  • Also please remember to pray for all the persecuted people around the world – This week I’m thinking especially of Christians in Kenya and minority ethnic Muslims in Burma.

We will meet again with Tim next week after we have done a bit more research and gathered a bit more information that we need. I will keep you updated with the progress. I must confess that I am a little bit overjoyed, because when I came to serve in Cambodia, God asked me to give up my horse for Him. It was a difficult, but worthwhile choice to make, and I was sure that I would not, on this earth, have a chance to work with horses again, let alone use them to help other people! God is so good!

Thank you for your prayers.
May God’s blessings be upon you.

Grey Filly

A Thousand Words

Image

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” ~ 2 Corinthians 3:18 ~

Today is the first day of our mid-term exams, which will continue through to Friday. Many of the students have been studying hard for the past week… some not quite so diligent. Here’s to hoping they will be motivated to study more in the new semester.
Late last week, Olga came to visit. It was absolutely wonderful to see her again. Not only that, but she took many photos, some of which I’d like to share with you, along with some from others here. These are photographs of the students, staff, and grounds of Wat Preah Yesu. Enjoy 🙂

A Picture Paints a Thousand Words

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