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 ~

God is SO Good!

On the 5th of February, Ely and I took a trip down to Kompong Thom to buy our first horses. You can read that story here. It was a marvelous, faith building experience. God is so good!

Since then we have been so busy!. Owning a horse here is a lot more work than owning one in Australia. Our days are full with teaching and horse care. There’s grass to be cut, banana tree to be cut, paddocks to be watered and many other things to do.

Still, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I love having horses again. I love teaching the children how to behave and handle the horses. I would like some time to write my exams for all my classes, so please pray that we find some rice hay to buy, so that we don’t have to cut grass quite so often, which will free up some time to devote to exam writing.

It’s quite exciting to finally see HoofTrek become a reality, and we can’t wait to see where God will lead the program.

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On our trip to Kompong Thom, we stayed with Gemma and her husband Hym, who along with her parents have started a ministry in that area. They have been there for about a year now. They’ve built a house, planted gardens and are now trying to expand their gardens so they can be self-sufficient. It’s a lot of work clearing the land and setting up a working irrigation system, all down by hand or with a hand-operated tractor.

Nevertheless, they have been a bright light in that area for Jesus. Their property is located away from the village, and this has led the locals to wander over for a visit and ask them why they aren’t afraid to live alone out here. The locals are also curious about many other things, such as, “Why is the bathroom and kitchen inside?” and “Why is the baby wearing clothes?” All these encounters have given them a chance to witness for Jesus to their neighbours and to Hym’s family.

When I visited I felt God’s presence there. It was a joy to be there, away from the city, where I could actually see the stars and hear only the sounds of nature. The motto they have is taken from Philippians 4:6, and they summarize it thus:
‘Worry about nothing; Pray about everything.

And I think that is great advice for everyone. After all, can worrying change anything? Not at all! But prayer to the One who loves you the most connects you with the power of the Infinite, and nothing is impossible for Him. It is also a lesson that God has been teaching to me. That of trusting Him completely with everything I have and am. It is a totally amazing experience that has to be experienced to be fully understood, and I encourage everyone to live by faith – just give it a go. You will be overwhelmed with how good God is!

Please keep Gemma, Hym, their son Hyden and Gemma’s parents, Lesley and Dana and their ministry in your prayers. God is doing great things in the world right now, believe it!

God bless

We Can’t Humble Ourselves

“Now thanks be unto God, which always causes us to triumph in Christ, and makes manifest the fragrance of His knowledge by us in every place.” ~ 2 Corinthians 2:14 ~

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Yesterday I went with my host family to the Bordoville Seventh Day Adventist Church at Enosburg Falls. It was their 151st anniversary, and their pastor was being ordained in the afternoon. The Bordoville Church is one of the oldest Seventh Day Adventist Church built by Adventists in North America. I enjoyed the day very much, especially the preaching by Professor Philip Samaan from Southern Adventist University in TN. I want to share part of it with you, for it spoke to me, and I pray it will speak to you too.

“He must increase, but I must decrease” ~ John 3:30 ~

How many times have we thought that we must be humble, that we need to humble ourselves so that Christ can live and grow in us? But can we truly humble ourselves? Is this what the verse says – I must decrease so that Christ can increase? No the verse shows us that Jesus must FIRST increase in us, and He will cause self to decrease in us. What is increasing in my life, in your life? Is it Jesus? We want to be good, to be like Him, but the truth is we can’t be good on our own. We can’t be humble in our own strength. And the wonderful thing is that Jesus doesn’t need to, nor want to wait for us to be good before He can be increased in our lives. He wants to be increased in us now, and He will take care of all our faults and shortcomings. He wants to be a sweet fragrance in us that attracts others to a knowledge of Him.

I want Jesus to be increased in me.

There is a story told of a little boy. He was a good little boy who enjoyed going to Sabbath School, saying his prayers, and memorizing his memory verses. When he prayed, he had been taught to ask Jesus to come and live inside of him. As he contemplated this he began to wonder how the great big Jesus could fit inside his small, young body. So he asked his father how big Jesus was. Father said that Jesus was bigger than he was. Thinking about this, the little boy replied saying, “If Jesus is living inside of me, because He is so big, He must always be sticking out of me.

I want Jesus to stick out of me, what about you?

Here’s some other pictures from that wonderful Sabbath

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June 2015 Update

“Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, His work is perfect: for all His ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He.” ~ Deuteronomy 32:3-4 ~

So, time for an update

Soon it will be holidays again. Sooner for me in fact, because I leave for Canada next week. This week I am giving my exams to my English classes. We’ve been reviewing and I hope they all do well. It’s hard to believe that it’s been another year of school already. At the beginning of the year I remember thinking, “Well this will take a while.” And now here we are, at the end already. I thank God, and give Him all the glory for His wonderful watch-care and love to us. Here’s some pictures of the students from this year.

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Next year will be different. We are saying goodbye to two of our long-term volunteers, Laura, who has served here for 4 years, and Emily, who has served here for 2 years. I love these two, and they are some of my closest friends. I am going to miss them a lot, and so will the students who have received the love and attention from these two dedicated missionaries.

Emily front left, Laura, 3rd from the left

Emily front left, Laura, 3rd from the left

On the note of teachers – next school year, beginning in September, we have openings for volunteer teachers. Is God calling you? Being a volunteer missionary is something neither I nor my fellow volunteers regret. It has profoundly opened our eyes, changed our lives and brought us closer to God. The Bible says we are ALL called to go – Have you responded to God’s call in your life?

Here’s some things that have happened recently:
The Grade 11 and 12 Evangelism project in Svay Sor finished. Every day they had one-hundred or so children attending, many of whom at the end of the program expressed an interest in learning more about the Bible and the God of the Bible. There was also four elders from the village who also desired to learn more. Please keep them and the Bible workers who remain there in your prayers.

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The KMET (Khmer Medical Evangelistic Training) Team left today to start a four week medical evangelism program in Kralanh Town about 50kms away from Siem Reap City. The participants of the 5 week KMET course graduated a couple of weeks ago, and now are getting the chance to put their skills to use assisting the Church Planter there to do some serious evangelism in his area. Please pray for them and pray that the Holy Spirit will prepare the hearts of those who will hear them to receive the message of life they have gone to share.

A couple of Sabbaths ago we had a baptism here. Sixty-eight people were baptized. Most of whom were students at our school, but there were a few from outside of WPY. We had to hold the baptism in the dormitory pond, instead of the church pond because of the lack of rain which meant the church pond was completely dried up. Please pray for those who were baptized, that they will understand the commitment that they made, and continue to grow up into Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

A wonderful thing that happened was the engagement of Shannon, Tim’s son, and Sreiya a couple of weeks ago. Now both of Tim and Wendy’s sons are engaged, and prayerfully hoping to travel to Australia in August – visa approval pending – to get married.

 

 

In other news, IMET (International Medical Evangelism Training) is ready to start. Deadline to apply for the July 20th 9-month Medical Evangelism program class is almost upon us, apply now and get certified for FREE — and remember the last month’s practical is planned to be held in China!! Learn more about IMET here!

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IMET Staff

Looking around at current world events, I really believe that time is short. May your house be built upon the Rock, where it will withstand all of Satan’s fury and be found ready in that Great Day when our Lord returns to take us to be with Him forever.

 

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 ~

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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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.

Prayer and Praise

 “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” ~ Matthew 6:21 ~

Exams begin on Wednesday this week, and go through till Friday, then on Monday, the new school term begins. Half-way through this year already! It seems to have gone so quick, although the weeks often seem to drag.

Yan, Khen and Laihun - Gr 12 - photo from fb

Yan, Khen and Laihun – Gr 12 – photo from fb

Many things have been happening, such as birthdays (Francis’ and Emily’s), wasp-stings, exam revision, and wedding plannings. Gemma and Hym’s wedding is next Sunday, and Jive and Pisei will tie the knot two weeks after that. We are all eagerly helping them prepare for their big days. Pray for them as they begin a new chapter in their lives.

Francis' Birthday

Francis’ Birthday

On Sabbath afternoons, a group of us volunteers, along with Teacher Wendy, and some of the students, go to the nearby village to visit with a couple of the patients that Wendy and the evangelism class have been treating. Wendy and some of the others do the treatment, while the rest of us help as needed and also sing. One of them is a man who has had a terrible, large abscess on his upper thigh for the past ten years. Wendy began treating him a while ago, and Donna and Francis joined in, bringing with them some more ideas on how to promote it’s healing. The wound is showing much improvement. It still has a way to go, and the current hot humid weather is not helping it much. We hope and pray that not only will his leg heal, but that he and his family will come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Currently, when he feels able, the man comes along to church. He has been having a few Bible studies and also watching the Bridges to Life series that was recently completed by our studio. He wants his family to come along to church too, but his two children attend a government school, which includes Saturday studies, and his wife is the sole bread-winner of the family and has no wish to lose her new job. Please join us in praying for the physical and spiritual healing of this family, and that it may be a witness to their extended family and neighbours.

Village Evangelism - Bible study - Photo from FB

Village Evangelism – Bible study – Photo from FB

One of our former students, Tob, currently lives in Germany with her husband. She has been studying the German language for a time and it is nearly time for her exam. Unfortunately her exam is on Sabbath, and as she did not want to break the Sabbath, she opted to take a different exam which was not held on Sabbath. The only catch is that this exam is for a higher language class than hers. If she fails, she will have to pay to repeat the class and continue the language studies (which I believe is part of what she needs to do to become a German citizen). It would be very expensive for them. She was rather distressed by this, but believes that honouring God is the right thing to do and that He will honour her, and see her through this dilemma. Please keep Tob and Nico in your prayers. Pray that God will give her wisdom and diligence in her studies, and that He will help her pass her exam, that He may be glorified in her life to those around her.

Tob

Tob

Some of the girls that Laura and I care for come from very poor families. They often do not have some of the most basic necessities for school, such as pens, books, or uniform. So when Laura and I have funds, we try to provide these for them. A blessing I received today at the market was this. I was buying some school skirts for some of my girls who need them. I have my favourite seller that I like to buy from, so as I was buying from her, once again, she starts talking to me about why I am buying these for the students. Her mother was also there, they run the stall together. She began to thank me for helping the children, and then she pulled out three school shirts that hadn’t sold due to tiny little colour spots on them, and gave them, free of charge, to me for the students. I was very surprised that she would do that. I then went to another stall to buy toothbrushes for my girls, and the young ladies who run that stall unexpectedly promised to give to my students, their old school uniforms from when they studied. I am very blessed. My students are blessed. God always provides and sometimes from very unexpected sources.

“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” ~ Malachi 3:10 ~

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 ~

Christmas Holidays

“Every one that is called by My name: for I have created him for My glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.” ~ Isaiah 43:7 ~

Today was the last day of school before the Christmas holidays begin. It has taken a lot of effort to keep my class focused on learning. They tend to get in ‘holiday mode’ at least a week in advance of any actual holidays. I felt a bit mean, I actually gave my Grade 7 English class a test today during the second last period of the day – but I did let them play after.

As soon as school got out it was chaotic and before I knew it, half of my girls had gone home. The other half will leave tomorrow. Not only they, but Laura, Sarah, Emily, and Thomas all left for Thailand. Gemma and Hym leave for Phnom Penh tonight, and after Christmas Day, The Filipino teachers, Jive, Donna, Anne, and Francis, will also go to Thailand. I miss them all, especially Laura, already. I hope they have heaps of fun, and stay safe.

I have plenty of work to keep me busy. I’ll be helping prepare for the Christmas program that we hold at one of the hotels in Siem Reap, I have plenty of marking to do, children’s programs to prepare, and hopefully some language study and class preparation.

We held our second village children’s program last Sabbath. It went well. There were less children, but we were better prepared, and everyone had a lot of fun. Our next children’s program will be in four weeks after all my girls return from their holidays.

Here are some last day of school photos. Enjoy!