HoofTrek in the Newswest

Back in March, Ely and I submitted an article on HoofTrek to the Newswest (an Adventist magazine for the Western Australian Conference) And yesterday, I was contacted by an old friend who told me she’d read it in the latest (May) addition, which came out on the 24th.

Here’s a link to the magazine, and the article is on page 17
HoofTrek in the Newswest

And here’s a link to the HoofTrek website

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A Christmas Song

I know it’s way past Christmas now, but this has just been uploaded to Youtube. I’m having a proud teacher moment, and want to share it…. after all, everyday is a day to celebrate our Savior and the work He has done to save us… and aren’t the children wonderful?

Camp-Meeting

“And Jehovah spoke to Moses, saying, Also, on the tenth of this seventh month, this is a day of atonement. It shall be a holy convocation to you. And you shall afflict your souls and offer a fire offering to Jehovah. And you shall do no work in that same day, for it is a day of atonement, in order to make an atonement for you before Jehovah your God.” ~ Leviticus 23:26-28 ~

As part of my Grade 10 Bible Class, I teach about the Day of Atonement, and one of the things that is taught as something to be done during the Day of Atonement is Holy Convocation. Holy Convocation is the gathering together of God’s people for the purpose of exhorting and encouraging one another. It is to be a time where God’s people recount God’s mercies, tell of His wonderful works, offer praise and thanksgiving and contemplate the sacrifice of Christ. Inspiration tells us that when we God’s people do these things their faith is strengthened.

I’ve been very blessed by the camp-meeting that we’ve been having this week, and I can see how much it has been a blessing to the Khmer people who have attended. I was blessed by the sermons I listened to by Pr. Sindara (from Indonesia), Mr. Griswold (USA), and a sermon about the commandments that I heard from a member of the ASAP team. The theme of the camp was “Grace”.  We were also blessed to have many other missionaries attend. It was good to share outreach ideas and pray for one another. There is so much work to be done – I must say once again; if God is calling you to give your life in service to Him as an overseas missionary, say, “Yes!” You’ll never regret saying yes to God!

An interesting aspect of this camp-meeting was the youth and children’s afternoon activities. They would break into groups of about 20 or so, and go into the town and surrounding villages and participate in different outreach activities. These activities included, picking up rubbish, handing out tracts, and going around trading fruit for cigarettes – along with explaining to them the harmful effects of smoking and the benefits of eating fruit.

It wasn’t all work though. The young people enjoyed a day at Kulen Mountain, including swimming at a beautiful waterfall, and also a trip to Baray (Baray is a large man-made lake near Siem Reap that was part of the ancient water system of the Khmers). The week finished off with a concert on Saturday night, where each province was able to perform an item or two. My favorite was the Vietnamese/Khmer group. They made everyone laugh with their hand cleaning dance and their chicken dance. After the concert they went and made many large bonfires and cooked sweet potato and corn to eat, followed by games and socializing. I left to go sleep at 11PM and they were still going strong at that time.

This morning, they had all left to return home by 8AM or so. It is very quiet here now. School begins again tomorrow and we have a week and a half to exams.

Thank you for keeping Cambodia in your prayers. May God bless you and guide you into a closer, deeper relationship with Him each day as you surrender your life to Him.

P.S see HoofTrek for the latest update on our living situation!

Guitars and Bok Choy

We have one more week before camp-meeting. It’s all rather exciting. Plus we’ve had some new volunteers arrive. Some are here for a couple of months, some are here only a few weeks, but we are grateful for them all. Especially for Petrina, Vanessa and Miranda who have taken on some of the excess classes that we had. Petrina leaves soon and I may pick up her Grade 9 English class. We’ll see how that pans out.

God has been very good to me over the past three weeks. My classes have for the most part gone well. God has taught me new ways of looking at the students and understanding them and why they do what they do. He’s given me more patience and mercy – something I have lacked in the past. I now enjoy teaching more than I ever did before (ok well not the marking side but who really does!?!).

My last class on Friday is Grade 4 guitar. To say that I have control of that class would be a big fat lie. They are so cute… they can barely fit their hands around the guitar neck to make the chords. A couple of them really want to learn, and they try hard each of the two lessons a week that we have. Some need more one on one time – which with 16 or so students and one teacher, I just cannot do. And some really just like seeing how much noise they can make the guitar make – then when they tire of that they take to playing marbles, or kick-boxing, or any other game that is popular that day. Mainly I just try to protect the guitars (I once had a student trying to set a guitar on fire.. just because). I also try to make sure their games don’t get too rough. I also try to spend time with those who do want to learn (disclaimer – I am no expert guitar player!). But they are all great children.
Here’s some pictures of them that I took today (I took pictures to distract them from destroying the cafeteria chairs – it kind of worked :))

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Speaking of patience; we were hoping to be in our new house this Sunday, but it doesn’t look like it will be so. No problem, it will happen in due time. So speaking of houses, here’s some pictures of things of importance in my current house.

This is our shower. It doubles as an arm exercise machine, and the water even comes out warmer than if you had drawn it from a well – a bonus on some of the cold mornings and evenings we’ve been having here (it IS cold!). That said, having a well inside the house has been awesome – especially for privacy, but the floor of the house is almost always in some stage of wetness… which usually leads to tiny dirty footprints from the girls or critters. Our new house has an outside well.

This is my rice cooker. An excellent and well-used device that even has an inbuilt steamer – which I especially like to steam pumpkin in for breakfasts. Also shown is our kitchen. Our pots and pans hang on the wall, and our gas stove sits on our bench. Underneath the bench is all our other supplies.
Also pictured is my coconut oil – so many uses, from food preparation to skin and hair care. (also shows proof that it is cold – as you can see it has solidified 😛 ) Also Bok Choy – I live on the stuff, often eating it raw for breakfast as it is quick and easy to prepare and doesn’t hurt my stomach.

Here is our most recent addition, Juliet;

She’s about as big as my hand and not very pretty. She lives in the toilet room and is allowed to stay there because she eats cockroaches. So long as we can see her it’s all good.

We have two walls in the house that are covered with photographs. One is dedicated to students, the other to family. They are a testament of the last four years of my life here.

That’s it for now, but here’s a few last pictures of important things (not in order of importance) There’s our two dogs, Viathar and Kip. There’s Ely and I in front of our new home, and there’s a picture of me and one of my girls. Her name is Pheak. I don’t have favorites – If you asked me to choose just one girl to take somewhere it would be a very difficult decision; that said, Pheak is very special and I love her very much, and very much enjoy spending time with her.

May you all have a blessed Sabbath.

Thank you for keeping us in your prayers and thoughts. Please pray for the camp-meeting, and for the IMET course that will begin in March or April, and also for the One month medical missionary training in Khmer program that will also be started here at WPY. Once again I must exhort you to listen to God’s voice and if He is calling you to a life of service, to say, “Here am I, Lord, send me!” You’ll never regret it!

“I will answer thee, that God is greater than man!” ~ Job 33:12 ~

 

Making Our Mark

UPDATE

All the fence post holes have been dug, and the builders are cementing in the upright poles as I write. They started that yesterday and have almost finished doing the poles around the house and arena. Rett and his builders are doing a fantastic job.
The front windows of the house are in. We’re just waiting on the bars to get put on the windows. The electricity (lights and receptacles) should be finished today. A big thank you to Paul and Sawyer for all their hard work.

Pictures

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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.

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 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!

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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.
Kathleen

“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 ~