June 2017 Update

The 2016-2017 school year draws rapidly to a close. Only one month left. This has been quite an amazing year!

  • It’s been the first year HoofTrek classes have been run. We’ve learned so much – mostly about what not to do! We are continually jotting down new/different ideas for next year. It has been very educational and I have enjoyed watching the students learn to interact safely with the horses. I have been told by some of them that they have learned patience and how to be confident learning new things.
  • It’s been a wetter year we’ve had rain nearly all year – even during April. This has kept the grass alive for which our horses are thankful.
  • Living by faith – may times this year we have come to the end of our financial resources. But we serve the God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills and He has never let us or the horses go without. And God has not only provided for HoofTrek, but also for Wat Preah Yesu. He is ever teaching us to come to Him on our knees and proving over and over again that this is His work. His grace towards me is amazing, I don’t deserve any of it. I have and am having some real relational challenges this year, soem have been overcome, some still to be overcome, but God is faithful and if I can get out of the way He will do what He needs to do in me
  • Ely, Matthew and I have been learning to read and write Khmer on Wednesday afternoons with Rathom, one of our Gr. 10 students. She is a good teacher and I am amazed at how much I have learned and that I can actually read a bit (not perfectly, but better than before 🙂 )

Rathom is at the front

We have had some truly wonderful volunteers this school year. Matthew, from the USA, has been here since last September and Christel, from Denmark, has been here for a bit over 4 months. They have been great friends and teachers. Matthew will leave at the end of July and Christel leaves next week 😦 I appreciate them and all they have done for us here at WPY; I’m sure the students will miss them too.


For the last month we’ve had 4 ladies from California. They arrived just when we were short of teachers. Their love for God and for the students was very evident in their behavior and we made many good memories before they left yesterday. One of them, Rebecca, led us through a 10 days of prayer for Revival and Reformation. I learned a lot and am glad we had this opportunity. God is so good, and there is ALWAYS something to learn.

Students
Just after the April holidays we had a mini exodus of a few students who decided to go study elsewhere or work. This happens every year, and we pray that they will remember the things they learned here.
My Grade 7B English class I picked up after Anna left early February. I have enjoyed teaching them. They are energetic and friendly and have been doing really well.Over this last month they have been getting restless and noisy. This too tends to happen as exams get closer. God has been teaching me patience and love as sometimes the students have staged mini rebellions (trying to convince me of something and refusing to do what I wanted until I would give them what they wanted etc)

Gr 7B – pc Matthew

Tim has held a few staff meetings this year mostly discussing how we can implement True Education here at KAS. Please pray for Tim and all of us staff here as we look at making some big changes.

Thank you for all your prayers and support. May God bless you and continue to guide you into His perfect will..

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

2016 Update

This school year, (started – Sep 2015) has been quite enjoyable for me. Admittedly, I did miss September as I was in Canada. I also missed most of January because I was visiting my Mum for Christmas for the first time in 5 years. It was a wonderful time. I got to visit a part of Australia that I’ve never been to before, attend a thought-provoking Camp-meeting and make many wonderful new friends.

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This school year I am not teaching any English language classes. We have two Khmer teachers who graduated from the University in Thailand with ESL degrees; they are covering the high school English classes. I am teaching Grade 8 Bible, Geography 7, 8, 9 & 10, and am also joint Librarian to cover half of the library classes.

We do not have as many volunteers for the school this year, and the main English volunteers are Ely, Anna, Rose Jean and myself. We are blessed that some of the IMET volunteers are willing to take some of the classes which we cannot cover. This keeps us all rather busy, but we thank God for the opportunity to serve, and the strength with which He sustains us. I must put out a call. If anyone would like to have an unforgettable experience, then please come and spend some time here in Cambodia with us as a volunteer!

We very much miss Emily and Laura, who both have returned to the US for various, legitimate reasons. It is nice to know however that there are people back in the Western world that have the same care and understanding of WPY, the children, and the work here.

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In our hearts and on our shelf!!

The little house that Ely, Anna and I live in has had a bit of a renovation and now has proper inside walls which have been painted a rather bright yellow color. It took a bit of getting used to, but it has started to grow on me. I thinking we need a happy name for our house. Tim also had a bathroom built onto the back of the house so that we could have a bit more privacy when bathing, and no longer have to make the trek down to the communal bathroom.
While I was away, Ely planted some papaya and banana trees. We hope to plant as many fruit trees there as we can fit in our small yard. We’re also trying to start a herb garden.

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At the moment, besides school, every spare moment is almost completely taken up with HoofTrek. We are in the process of finishing our fences and getting our water pump installed so that we can be ready to welcome the horses and begin training them. We hope to start the program after April holidays at the latest.

HoofTrek was at a point where we were thinking that we were wrong and that it wouldn’t go ahead, but just as we surrendered it all, God provided abundant blessings that have enabled us to move forward a lot quicker than we ever expected. Please keep the program in your prayers. It has the potential to minister to many children and youth in this area.

We have a new addition to our family – meet Hadassah. The smartest little pup I have ever met.

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There are always the normal challenges that come with teaching and with children in general. I continue to ask you to hold the students and staff here up in prayer. Satan gets very angry when his kingdom is threatened with the loss of members to the Kingdom of God.

The KMET (Khmer Medical Evangelistic Training) team have been working on a Khmer Vegetarian cookbook. It’s in the final stages of production and just in time because ADRA is bringing the CHIP program to Cambodia. Not only is the book full of great recipes in Khmer it also comes with a DVD that has all the recipes covered in a series of cooking shows done here at the SALTCAM TV Studio.

The first IMET class is in full swing. They are nearly half-way through the course and have learned many new useful skills that will equip them for sharing Jesus wherever they go. The next IMET course will start in August or September of this year. There are spots available for anyone interested in becoming a medical evangelist missionary.

Once again I give God glory for all He has done for, in and through me these last couple of months. I am daily being reminded of how much He loves me, and I hope that you too will today realize once again just how valuable you are to the King of the Universe.

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”
~ Ephesians 2:4-8 ~

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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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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Before there were two…

…. houses, but now there are none!

Before

Before…

After Tim returned from Australia a couple of weeks ago, we were finally able to meet with him and discuss the house plans. We had two small wooden houses to work with, and Tim said we could join them together to make one.

After tossing around some different ideas, we finally found something that worked. And earlier this week Tim met with the workmen (the house father’s that work for Tim on various on-site projects) and gave them the plans.

When we took a walk up there early Thursday morning we found that both houses had been dismantled, and the cement stumps that the houses sit on, moved to the new site where they have now been arranged, ready for putting it all back together.

‘Tis all quite exciting for us as you can imagine. They plan to work full-time on our house until it is done, so we are hopeful that it will be finished in about 3 or so weeks (these little houses don’t take much to put together).

After!

After!

Another view of the new house site with our well in the foreground

Another view of the new house site with our well in the foreground