Looking Back

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At the start of a new year, it’s always good to revisit the previous year’s highlights and lessons learned. Through highs and lows, challenges and changes, the faithfulness of God is always evident! And for IHSI in 2013, we experienced many challenges and changes indeed. Several staff members went through the loss of loved ones, meanwhile many in Sak Saum brought beautiful new children into the world. Traffic accidents and health scares tried to steal joy and instill fear, but instead we are walking in peace and blessing. Political upheaval in the region has continued for many months, yet through it all God has protected each person in our care.

It’s hard to know where to begin when recapping an entire year, but below are a few of the many things that God has been doing in our church, Father’s House, and international ministry!

Gospel Community Church Saang

  • This has been a fruitful year for the church, with many new believers, a baptism, a baby dedication, a new Sunday School class, and lots of empowering opportunities for young people in the church to develop service and leadership skills. Building families and equipping young people for ministry are an important calling of the church!
  • Our staff organized not only a boys’ soccer team in the spring, but also a young women’s volleyball team at the end of the year. In addition to holding practices and playing games, both our teams have discipleship meetings and are involved in church ministries as part of their team-building activities. It’s a great way to grow each team member individually as well as build camaraderie in the community!
  • We are becoming a hub for helping smaller rural churches that do not have much support. Bibles, devotionals, books and audio Bibles from Messengers International have all been distributed to the Body of Christ in our area. During rainy season we collaborated with several churches to find families and widows in need of emergency relief, preparing and distributing 25 care packages with food and other supplies. We also provided training space for Operation Christmas Child to train  30 churches for their shoebox gift program!
  • Fulfilling one of last year’s church goals, we started a monthly group for married men to fellowship together, pray, and encourage each other.
  • GCCS staff and members of Sak Saum did repair work on several homes of elderly church members this year, as well as coordinating visitation to elderly and sick people in the area. We also donated food staples, clothing, hygiene supplies, and other items to those in need.
  • We held many events this year, including seminars, educational programs, a church barbecue, a free health clinic at three locations with a visiting medical team, educational, youth fellowship gatherings, our yearly Children’s Christmas Program for almost 400 children and a beautiful Christmas service for the congregation.

Father’s House

  • An exciting new partnership with Mission Community Church in Gilbert, AZ has allowed us to enroll Father’s House kids in a private school, a great step up from the school they had been attending and an answer to prayer! They are still adjusting to the newer, more challenging learning environment, but we are confident that this will be of great long-term benefit to each of them.
  • In addition to starting the kids in a new school, we were blessed to be able to trade in the Father’s House car for a van! This is great not only for transporting them back and forth to school, but for bringing the soccer and volleyball teams to games, transporting church members, and doing outreach.
  • In November we welcomed our newest child into Father’s House. Makara is a sweet boy who just this week made the decision to become a Christian. He loves coloring, art projects, singing and dancing, and playing soccer. Although he has some catching up to do academically and socially, we already see growth in leaps and bounds!
  • All Father’s House children are active in the church according to their abilities and personalities: helping with ushering, worship, children’s outreaches, Sunday School, visiting the sick, and being a part of church events. Several of them show great leadership potential, and many of them say their future life plans include wanting to be in ministry and help others like they have been helped! We are thankful for them and can see exciting things ahead for each one.
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International Ministry and Teams

  • In the fall the Hansons completed a whirlwind tour across the U.S., teaching at churches and colleges, meeting ministry partners, sharing the vision of IHSI, and doing fundraising work. This trip was very fruitful in terms of building relationship with new partners, and we believe that there will be more traveling of this nature in the future as God allows! To contact the Hansons for booking information, please email them at erich@ihsionline.org | ginnyh@ihsionline.org.

 

  • In 2013 we hosted many outreach teams, short-term volunteers, and visitors from all over the United States, as well as Russia and Australia. A few highlights of their visits included:
  • Children’s ministry at our Center and at other area churches
  • Dramas/songs/teachings at church services
  • A YWAM medical outreach with free clinics at three locations
  • Prayer ministry/teaching
  • Maintenance/service projects
  •  Visiting the elderly and the sick
  • Games and activities with local children
  • Constructing a playground at our Center
  • Human trafficking awareness seminars
  • Sak Saum English practice and relationship-building
  • Helping teach Center English classes
  • Attending women’s group and overnight stays with Sak Saum
  • Outings/educational activities with Fathers’ House and Loaves and Fish children

 

What has the Lord done in your life in the past year? What prayers has he answered and how did he demonstrate his faithfulness to you personally? Feel free to comment below, and tune in again soon for our next post, to hear about some of the exciting things in store for 2014!

-       In His Steps

Blessing Children

"It is more blessed to give than to receive."

Acts 20:35

Last week a huge shipment arrived on our doorstep – over 600 book bags, t-shirts, hats, and water bottles! A Singaporean friend from a recent team had contacted us and asked if she could send some gifts for children in Saang, and of course we said yes. It was exciting to open the boxes and see so many colorful items to share in the community.

At our Saturday children’s program alone, we were able to bless nearly 200 children! This donation was perfect timing since many in Saang are gearing up for the new school year, which starts in October. Father’s House children enjoyed receiving their new gifts as well, and began using them right away!

We love when God connects us to people that want to sow into Cambodia, whether it be through prayer, service on outreach, financial support, or donations such as the one we received last week. If you’d like to get involved in how God is using In His Steps in Cambodia, click here to learn more!

New Wheels

Driving a motorcycle isn’t just for thrill-seekers or daredevils: here in Cambodia it’s an important life skill! Cars are growing in popularity, but for most Cambodians a moto is their main form of transportation. We require all our interns to learn how to drive a moto, not only for convenience but also as a way to acclimate into the culture and lifestyle of those around them.

Rhiannon, our intern from Canada, just got her own moto after daily practice with staff members SreyMom and Aly. This is an important step of independence for her as she goes about daily ministry teaching English, spending time in Fathers’ House, helping in Sak Saum, and doing children’s ministry. Check out Rhiannon’s new wheels below! 

Transient

Meet Gabby

In May we welcomed two young women to our team here in Cambodia: Gabby (volunteering her help for almost two months) and Rhiannon (here for a one-year internship).  Since they arrived, we’ve been keeping them busy helping with English classes, Sak Saum leadership training, children’s programs, and more!

Teaching at staff devos

Next week, Gabby will be returning home to Colorado. She will be missed by many; in the short time that she has been here Gabby has built relationships with staff, Sak Saum women, and many of the children in our care, helping them to know they are valuable by loving them, teaching them, and simply spending time together.

In Sak Saum, Gabby’s learned how to do some of the ministry’s more practical tasks, as well as spending time teaching and hanging out with women in the program. At Father’s House, all the children’s English has been improving by leaps and bounds thanks in part to their frequent lessons with these two young women. Those in our daily English classes and Saturday children’s program are enjoying seeing some new faces as well.

Staff members Aly and SreyMom have been having a blast getting to know her and Rhiannon more, through teaching English together, translating their lessons to Sak Saum women, and hanging out during their free time.

We are blessed to have had Gabby for the time that she has spent with us, and wish her all the best as she returns to Colorado and prepares for her upcoming wedding!

-In His Steps

Clipping nails at a children's program about hygiene

Teaching English to Sak Saum women

Meet Gabby: a volunteer who has spent nearly two months with us this summer (shown here with one of our Father's House children).

Highlighting Health

Recently we had a small team visit, including one of our dear friends and some new friends as well. While they were here, they taught at Gospel Community Church, youth group, staff meetings, and our Pastors’ Fellowship, as well as providing valuable medical expertise and teaching.

Transient

Martha, a GP from upstate New York, taught several women’s health seminars at our Center and with other local churches, reaching over 120 women and girls. Superstition and ignorance surround the topic of women’s health in Cambodia, so it was wonderful to have many from Sak Saum and the Saang community receive this teaching!

At each seminar, simple lessons were given and many questions and concerns were answered. All those who attended received hygiene products and undergarments, and more importantly, were empowered to understand their bodies and make better health decisions for themselves! In addition to teaching seminars, Martha also did examinations and consultations with women in our programs, again answering questions and addressing individual concerns.

We loved having the opportunity to work with Martha in providing health education to women on this important topic! Individuals with specialized skill sets (medical or otherwise) can be a great blessing to the communities we work in. If you are interested in applying your skills through ministry with In His Steps, we hope you’ll click here to learn more!