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 ~

Paradise Progress

Here’s just a couple of photos to show the progress that’s happening on the Butterfly Paradise Project.

 Butterfly Paradise has some shape and form with walls going up and the drainage along the 120 meter road frontage underway.With more than 20 builders/labourers on site, and an excavator, we are excited. Months of work to go. The big challenge now is to get the wire up so we can start building ponds, pathways and waterfalls underneath. Please praise God for the progress and pray for wisdom to make this place one those awesome unique places on the planet where people will want to visit. ~ from the FB page

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This project has been Tim’s dream for quite a while now and it’s very exciting to see it start to take shape. You can follow the progress at it’s Facebook page.

Please keep the project and those working on it in your prayers

God bless

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

Don’t Touch The World!

Teacher Anna has been valiantly trying to teach all the high school students to value and take care of the things we place in their classroom. 20151203_080311

It appears that the message has been received (sort of) by at least one student. Sothearknine from Grade 8, procured this timeline from the Grade 10 classroom and has it proudly displayed behind his desk with the following sign..20151202_130328

I can report that both the world map and this timeline have so far not been touched!

I read these verses from Isaiah this morning.

“I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence…  And give Him no rest, till He establish, and till He make Jerusalem a praise in the earth…. Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people.” ~ Isaiah 62:6-7,10 ~

They spoke volumes to me. As a watchman I have a work given by God to do. Lately there has been some heart breaking moments here (and around the world) and I have been brought to realize once again that I don’t have time to sit on the fence. I don’t have time to be ‘of the world’. There are souls that Jesus died for perishing all around me. There are precious people being led down dark paths to ruin, pain, and eternal loss. What right do I, who have been blessed with this Light, have to play idle games, speak useless words, and waste scarce time on things that do not give glory to God.

I will not keep silence. By God’s grace and power, I will lift up a standard: I will lift up the Savior that all people might see, believe and live.

I will not leave the world untouched!

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 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 ~

Wind and Rain

“For He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways” ~ Psalm 91:11 ~

We’ve had two rain-showers in a week; it’s wonderful. The trees have lost their red, dusty look, and the grass is trying to grow back. It’s the first bit of rain we’ve had in nearly six months, and last year’s wet season wasn’t very wet. I’ve even seen the bottom of a couple of our ponds – a new sight for me.

The thing about rain in this country, is that it is always preceded by a strong wind. These two rainfalls were no exception. And the thing about this strong wind is.. well it tends to break the trees. We’ve had two big broken branches down at our house, one from a while ago, and one from last night. Fortunately, no one has been hurt.

But last night, Ely and I were returning from the studio. It was dark, and the road was muddy and slippery. Our motorbike has no light (no problem – we use a flashlight), but apart from that it works fine. Well this thought came into my head that there could be trees down so I should drive slowly. I was like, no problem God, I got this, slow it is. So we headed back home, dodging all the small branches that had come down and littered the road. We reached a more open path and I tried to increase the speed a little, but for some reason the bike refused to change into 3rd gear. I was in the process of telling Ely how now we have no choice but extra slow because the gears wouldn’t change, when we rounded the corner near the school and this loomed up out of the dark at us…

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I guess God’s idea of slow and mine are a little different, but I am thankful that He kept us safe. We stopped, jumped off and the motorbike just fit under the tree. This morning, hopped on the motorbike and it changes gears no problem…

We did have one tree fall on a house last night, but the young man who lives in there wasn’t hurt, nor did he lose any of his belongings.

“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10 ~

All this talk about wind makes me think of the story of the Holy Spirit being poured out on the disciples on the Day of Pentecost, and all the amazing things that God did through His disciples. I pray that, like the strong winds here, God’s love will sweep over Cambodia and bring refreshing and new life in Him to the Khmer people.

I have some pictures from the Evangelism Team. They seem to be working hard and having a good time. Keep them in your prayers, and may many people see Jesus in them. They’ve been doing house visitation, a children’s program and night meetings I believe.

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In other news; after many years Tim and Wendy are rebuilding their house. The old wooden one they’ve lived in for 20 odd years has served them well, but finally it became evident that the termites were winning the war and the house was no longer stable. There was a concern that it might come down in some of the afore mentioned strong winds that occur a lot during rainy season. So it has gone from looking like this:

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to this

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I was told that as the builders pulled it apart, 5 of the columns simply collapsed – they’d been eaten nearly completely through by the termites. So soon work will begin on their new house, and hopefully it won’t take too long.

God bless, please keep the Khmer people, and WPY in your prayers.

His Mercy Endures Forever

“Oh that men would praise the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! ” ~ Psalm 107:15

Here we are, into our third week of final term. The students and teachers are all starting to get restless for the end of this school year. For me personally, I am struggling to wait patiently for the end of the school year, because at that time I have been blessed with the opportunity to travel to a place I’ve never been and to spend time with people that I love, and also take an opportunity to share with others about mission work. I thank God for this chance and look forward to see what He wants me to do and learn from it. Fortunately, I have a lot of work to do; as I am actually leaving a few weeks before school ends (I know; I have nothing to complain about!) I have to have all my classes and their exams finished before that date.

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Two weeks ago, I attended another wedding of two of my former students, Sokha and Srey Leak. It was a small, but beautiful affair. They are two very intelligent and hard-working people and I wish them God’s richest blessings in their life.

Last week, one of the dormitory girls became very sick, and nothing that was done for her was helping her to recover. She got worse and worse, and so Tim took her to a clinic in town. They didn’t want to treat her at their clinic, and suggested the hospital – which in code means, they thought there was a possibility that she might die. So off to the hospital they went. After blood tests, the doctors said that she was suffering from septic shock caused by two different infections in her body – neither of these infections had manifested themselves in a way that our medics here could tell that she had them. The hospital put her on strong antibiotics, and at first she continued to get worse, even needing to be put on oxygen. The doctor said that at best we could hope for some improvement in 4 or 5 days, and at worse, 5 – 6 months for a full recovery. Her family, especially her older brother, were very worried, as were the rest of us back here, and much prayer was raised on her behalf. Prayers that God heard! By the third day of her stay in hospital, a Sabbath in fact, she was up out of bed and brought back to us here at WPY. We praise God for this miracle, for her healing, and the way He has shown this family that He cares for them. I hope that this experience will give them hope and encouragement whenever they are facing hard times in their lives.

Our Two Diamonds in the dorm

Our two Diamonds in the dorm

Our grade 11 and 12s, led by the former graduates who completed the LIGHT or PAFCOE courses headed out on May 1st, to a village named Swai Sohr, to hold an evangelistic campaign – similar to the one held last year in a different village. We haven’t heard much from them yet, but ask that you will join us in keeping them in your prayers. That the students, will be blessed by sharing, and drawn closer to God; and that God will prepare the hearts of those who will hear the message and draw them to Himself.

Former Graduates

Former Graduates

 “Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the LORD.” ~ Psalm 107:43 ~

Semester 2

“I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” ~ Psalms 37:25 ~

Exams are finished, and all marking is done. Semester Two has officially begun, and I’m going to do things better this semester. I’ve set up my teaching system better and have been doing actual recorded-in-a-findable-place class planning (as opposed to a jot-down-some-ideas-on-a-random-piece-of-paper class planning style). I’m liking it, and I know it will make exam time much easier… but finding I’m giving more worksheets than before (not a bad thing, but I’m also marking them.. and I have over 90 students so it takes forever!).

Today I had the opportunity to talk with one of my Gr. 8 students about the process of sanctification. It’s these moments that I teach for.

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We have had a few students from Gr. 7 and Gr. 9 leave us. Some changed schools, and others returned to their homeland. We miss them, and pray that God blesses them and continues to guide them. We also said goodbye to Claudia, who headed back to the US after spending a few months here teaching. We miss her and know that God will continue to use her to bless others wherever she goes.

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I did pick up Grade 9 English, and I am finding them a slightly distracted, but enjoyable class. I only teach them in the afternoons, when it is hot and they are tired. I am having to use all my limited creativity skills in keeping them interested and interactive. But it’s great to have a chance to teach a higher level of English, and be able to do some more critical thinking activities.

KMET (Khmer Medical Evangelism Training) began on the 2nd of March, it will last for 3 or so weeks. There are ten or so students of varying ages from all over Cambodia. We pray that the program will be a blessing to them, and they in turn will use the skills they learn to be a blessing back in their homes. The Khmer students who returned from PAFCOE and LIGHT are teaching the course. It is a big step for them, and they are doing a wonderful job. The other new project, IMET (International Medical Evangelism Training), will begin on May 1st (I think). It is a 10 month course, and we are eager to see it begin.

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Ely and I have been working on the paddocks for HoofTrek, clearing them of sticks and debris and working on getting the ground flat and grass growing – a challenge in dry season! We very much enjoy living in our little house, and I am thrilled that we’ve managed to block up all escape routes and our dogs now stay inside the fence. But being that we’re quite busy with teaching that is all going rather slowly for now, although we do praise and thank God for a recent donation from Australia towards the HoofTrek program.

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Ely will be visiting Australia in April, and will be at Easter Camp 2015 held in Perth this April. Hopefully she will be able to share with our fellow church members there about mission work in Cambodia, and hopefully encourage others to get involved.

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Here are two small, not overly huge things, that God has done in my life… (well they mean a lot to me)

Firstly, just after we moved into our new place, at school one day, I lost my keys. I looked everywhere for them: in my bags, my classrooms, the staffroom. I couldn’t find them anywhere, and I was so disappointed with myself for losing my keys. We’d have to buy all new locks for the house and gates and so on. Well Ely and I prayed about it and went to look one more time. We entered the staffroom again, and I was rummaging through the key box hoping someone had put them in there, when something prompted me to ‘look down’. So I did and there, right under the desk, hanging on the edge of an empty box was my keys. I have no idea how they got there, as if I had dropped them or they had fallen off the desk they would have hit the floor not gotten stuck on the box which was pushed under a ways. I know keys are just little things, but I am so glad that the angels put the keys there and helped me to find them.

Secondly, three or so years ago, I ‘lent’ some money to a struggling Khmer family. I say ‘lent’, but I didn’t expect to ever receive it back, and honestly I forgot completely about the event. Well, just yesterday, I was reviewing my financial situation, and stressing a little bit. I was wondering how God was going to provide when I couldn’t see a way. But that afternoon, the family approached me and started talking to me, at first I thought they wanted to borrow money, but after a bit I was made to understand that they were returning the money I had lent them. I was shocked, and ashamed of doubting God. It was like He was saying, “O ye of little faith!” to me. I remembered the quote from EGW, “Our heavenly Father has a thousand ways to provide for us of which we know nothing. Those who accept the one principle of making the service of God supreme, will find perplexities vanish, and a plain path before their feet.” –The Ministry of Healing, p. 481. (1905) 
I immediately confessed my doubt and lack of faith to God and I give thanks and praise Him for being so gentle and merciful to me. I only hope that I can show the same grace, gentleness and mercy to my students in the different situations I face with them.