It is wedding season right now in Cambodia. The rice harvest is over, and the rainy months are not yet upon us. What does that mean? Lots of weddings! Many girls come to Sokha to get their makeup applied. And I have had the opportunity to help with this ministry. Last week we had seven girls come for makeup! Weddings are an opportunity to dress up and literally get “dolled up” when it comes to the makeup. The weddings last for one to two days and most guests come in the evening to the reception. There is always an abundance of food and pictures, but a lack of conversation, as the music is so loud. I have had the opportunity to attend three weddings here in the village, and I hear there will be more to come!
Child Health Teaching in Prey Thom
Prey Thom is a village in the Kampong Speu province about 125km from the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh. This village was established four years ago, so it is quite young. Its inhabitants came from various locations and settled in Prey Thom. The exact background of the villagers is unknown. One of the church plants in Phnom Penh, recently planted a church in Prey Thom.
For the last two weeks I had the opportunity to visit Prey Thom with a team to teach child health education classes. This is in an effort to train the villagers to become
village health workers. People who can then teach those in their village health related classes, and be resources for those who are concerned about their sick children. The teaching and this outreach come alongside the church plant in support. Along with teaching, we also spent some time collecting surveys of the villagers. We went to their homes and interviewed the mother if she was there. These surveys are done to establish a better idea of the overall health of the children in the village, and mortality/morbidity rates. To determine needs and identify factors that might be hindering the growth and development of the children.
The people of Prey Thom were beyond grateful for the classes. There were always quite a few children surrounding the classroom as well. Some were completely naked, boys wore shirts meant for girls (as that is probably all they have), and their faces were full of dirt and dust. During a lunch break I started drawing on the board (I have realized I can kind of draw! Who knew…) And then I started writing the alphabet, and the kids were soon saying words like “apple”, “ball”, “cat”. They all came around with a chair and surrounded the white board. They were so curious and eager to learn.
I also had the opportunity to get to know several University students who came to help with translation among other things. I so enjoyed getting to know them and practice my Khmer. And it gave them the opportunity to practice their English. Two of them even gave me a flower on Valentine’s Day. So sweet. The story is quite comical. Pictures of me teaching, pictures of the University students, pictures
HBB- Helping Babies Breathe
Karen McClure, Dale Knutson, and I had the opportunity to teach Helping Babies Breathe to seven midwives at Sonja Kill Memorial Hospital in the Kampot Province. They just recently opened their maternity ward so it is a very applicable class for the employees. It focuses on neonatal resuscitation and is used all over the world, in an effort to decrease neonatal mortality. Around one million babies die a year because they cannot breathe at birth. Often they only need to be stimulated or suctioned to help them start breathing, and sometimes may require resuscitation. This class seeks to teach these skills and increase their knowledge base. The students were eager to learn and performed all the skills well! It was a pleasure to assist with the class.
Home Base: Angkjeay
My home right now is still in Angkjeay village with Luke, Sokha, and Hannah. I traveled a lot in the past two weeks but Angkjeay remains my home. And I continue to love it. My relationship with each student grows each day. I can tell they are becoming more attached and I am definitely attached to them. We have a volleyball net now so I have been able to play with the boys and they are teaching me so many things. Evidently I need to learn how to ‘set’ the ball. I get told that quite often…
Teaching English is going really well. Confidence is definitely growing. And I completely love it. I use my newly realized drawing skills almost every class. In other news, I understand more Khmer each day. However, speaking it is a daily struggle.
The Church in Angkjeay
Most of the members of the church in Angkjeay are children. There are a few adults and last week there were a couple of new faces. 95% of Cambodia is Buddhist. Tradition is highly valued. If one converts to Christianity they are forsaking the traditional Cambodian religion, Buddhism, and will be persecuted by their family and friends. The persecution is not usually violent, but more verbal. Along with this you no longer can participate in the Buddhist holidays so you are ostracized as well. Most of the children who attend have parents who are Buddhist and are not pleased with their children going to a Christian church. It continues to be an encouragement to me to see them continue to come of their own volition. I talked with one of the students about it and she said, “one week I could not come to church because of my chore, and I cry…”. It is the highlight of the week for many of them! We continue to pray that the hearts of their parents would be moved/changed by the Gospel.
Clinics held in Prey Thom and Angkjeay
We recently held two small mobile clinics, one in Prey Thom and one in Angkjeay. The villagers were eager to see a doctor about various health concerns, both for themselves and their children. In Prey Thom we had a team of University students, and some of them are in nursing school. So they took part in the clinic as well. I was able to delegate/coordinate/assist while Dale and Karen saw patients. The clinic was offered to the villagers who attended the health
education classes. The most common ailments seemed to be chronic pain, skin conditions, and GI problems.
~Desiring to humbly trust God while I am here, and continue to serve both in word and deed~