Starting Small

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This month we are excited about the newest teacher from our Center: SreyOuen, one of our Father’s House kids! For many months now, staff member Aly has been visiting local children and teaching them Khmer literacy and basic English. Aly has been doing such a great job transitioning these children from completely unschooled to functionally literate! And sometimes she brings along some of our Father’s House children (including SreyOuen) to help.

Recently, SreyOuen noticed that there were several new children hanging around who seemed interested in learning but were not ready for the level of study that the children who had been attending for months were at.  She asked Aly if she could start her own little class teaching basic Khmer reading and writing to them. We were of course thrilled to say yes to this endeavor!

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One of our biggest desires for Father’s House and Loaves and Fish children is that as they grow up and see how God has brought them out of brokenness into lives of blessing and abundance, that they would begin to sow back into the communities where they were once considered outcasts: that they would bring hope to those around them just as God has brought hope to them.

We are so thankful for faithful and encouraging staff like Aly, who are modeling service and helping our children find their callings. And we are excited to see the many ways that the kids in our programs are blossoming, maturing, and sharing what they have with others! Please join us in praying for SreyEun’s little literacy class, that as she teaches these young children, both she and they would be blessed!

- IHSI

The Three Little Pigs

Once upon a time in Saang, we decided to throw a party for staff, the Sak Saum community, Father's House, Loaves and Fish, and some of our elderly church members.  But this was not just any party, it was a Khmer-style barbecue, with three hefty porkers roasted on spits since the wee hours of morning! 

Several hours prior to the break of dawn, staff and youth from our Father's House and Loaves and Fish programs were up, pounding long wooden sticks through the pigs and lighting fires in the coal pits they had dug the day before. By midday the smell of smoke and barbecue sauce had taken over the neighborhood, as Sak Saum began making a huge vat of rice and salads, pickles, and drinks were being assembled by others.

Chairs and tables were set up, music began to play, and soon the partygoers started to arrive! It wasn't long before the GCCS sanctuary was filled with hungry, happy people, joining together for a delicious feast as one big family.

When everyone had eaten, it was clear there were too many leftovers... which is why we decided to go on a little mini-outreach in our neighborhood! With "doggy bags" of mouthwatering pork and rice in hand, we were able to bring an impromptu dinner to 20 families that evening, telling them they are loved and inviting them to attend church and sign up for our educational programs. Some of those who received a meal told us that they had been lacking money to buy food, and that this was their first meal of the day. What a privilege to be a part of God's provision!

We love our ministry family, and are excited to see the many ways that love knits people together and strengthens the Body of Christ. We look forward to many more barbecues, but more importantly, the continued growth of the wonderful work that God is doing in Saang.

-IHSI

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Father's House Field Trip

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Last week was an eye-opening one for the children of Father’s House! In the Western world, experiences like visiting historical monuments or going on field trips are often an integral part of one’s childhood education. But for the children in our care, brief mentions in dry textbooks were as close as they had ever gotten to their own rich and unique cultural heritage. That’s why we decided to take them to Siem Reap province to witness firsthand one of the wonders of the ancient world: Angkor Wat.

Cambodia was once known as “the Pearl of Asia”, a place of beauty where great architectural and artistic achievements were a prominent part of the cultural landscape. The 1970’s Khmer Rouge genocide, though purportedly a return to the agrarian glory of bygone days, in effect stripped Cambodia down to poverty and survivalism, a far cry from what it had once been. In out-of-the-way places lie preserved only remnants of what was once a thriving civilization.

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Angkor Wat and the other ancient ruins in the surrounding region were all originally part of a bustling city where a system of aquifers enabled year-round crop cycles, impossible anywhere else in the region. Ceaseless building projects were meant to demonstrate the wealth and power of neo-Hindu “god-kings”. But as Christians, we see the incredible ingenuity of our Creator reflected in these stony structures and ancient art. Though the craftsman and laborers who built these places may not have known it, their creativity and problem-solving stands as a testament to the One in whose image they themselves were made. 

Though the drive to Siem Reap was over 8 hours long, it was well worth it to see the amazement on the children’s faces as they walked through palaces and roads hewn from gigantic boulders and stood beside life-sized carvings of their ancestors (see more photos here). Exploring, climbing, and wandering through acres of ruins..... It was an experience that our Father’s House family will never forget!

-In His Steps

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June News

Visitors and Volunteers

During the spring and summer months we often host short-term teams and volunteers that come with a desire to serve Cambodia and bless the community here. In His Steps has been blessed with many friends from around the world, and have had visitors from places near and far: the U.S., Canada, Germany, Norway, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, and more!

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Last month, a friend of a friend came to Cambodia for two weeks, a volunteer from Russia. While visiting us Yulia got to experience ministry in Saang and help with our literacy program, English classes, visit our Sak Saum ministry, children’s programs, and youth group. She also spent time with the children in Father’s House, was a part of our church services, and built relationship with staff member Aly by “shadowing” her throughout each day. It was great for staff and those in our programs to meet this new friend, and judging from a recent email we think she enjoyed her time here as well:

“...I came back to Russia 2 weeks ago, [and] today I was able to share with my church about Cambodia and your beautiful ministry…I would like one more time to thank you for accepting me, for giving me chance to feel like a part of your family!!! I really felt this [and] I will be praying for you... your ministry, your people and Cambodia. Thank you very much.”
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Yulia is by no means the first visitor to mention feeling like part of the In His Steps family. Family is one of our highest values as a ministry, and each person working with us is loved and valued for who they are, no matter how long or short their time with us is. And sometimes, those who have come to visit find that God begins to stir a calling to ministry (whether in Cambodia or elsewhere). That’s what happened to Rhiannon, a former intern who has just come back from a visit home, this time as a full-fledged staff member. Read her most recent blog post here.

If you or your church/organization is interested volunteering with In His Steps in Cambodia, learn more on our outreach page!

Other News

  • Although Father’s Day is not a particularly recognized holiday in Cambodia, just like on Mothers’ Day our church chose to celebrate parents through songs, dramas, and a message of encouragement and exhortation. It was a sweet and meaningful service, with a fun children’s dance, a drama about forgiveness between generations, a great lesson from Ginny on the value and calling of fathers, and an original song written by boys in our Loaves and Fish/Father’s House programs (video below).
  • Since forming our very first Gospel Community Church Saang soccer team, we have been enjoying seeing young men in the church working hard to hone their skills and growing in team unity and sportsmanship. So far the GCCS team has won 3 out of 4 games this season!
  • Cambodia has a major election coming up next month. Please keep the nation in your prayers, that wisdom, truth, and justice would be the hallmarks of the entire election process.

- In His Steps

 

Unlocking Potential, One Person at a Time

In our Father's House ministry to at-risk children, each child in our care is a unique individual. We teach them that every person has a future wide open with possibility. Whatever they have experienced in their past, and no matter what society may say about them, our kids can choose to live their lives with purpose. 

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Like any big family, we have a range of personalities, talents, and interests represented at Fathers' House. Some are quiet and shy, others are fun-loving and feisty. They want to be teachers, actors, doctors, artists, accountants, and more. Some find great enjoyment spending time in our reading room or practicing their instruments, while others prefer more concrete tasks like cooking, building, or hunting. 

John, our oldest boy, is a hands-on learner who has many gifts and shows great potential. Recently, we began having John attend one-on-one cooking classes at the Hanson' home, practicing his English with Ryan while honing his cooking skills with a friendly woman named Singuon. (Team members from 2012 may remember her from many a delicious dinner!)

This is an incredible opportunity for John, who has a natural knack and love for cooking. Marketable skills are so important for young people to develop, and in a safe, positive environment he is developing his God-given abilities in a practical and useful way. His confidence is growing, and he also gets to pass on the new recipes he is learning to others! In fact, this past Sunday John taught a group of friends how to make delicious fried spring rolls at a youth gathering after church!

We are encouraged to see John learning and growing, for the goal of Father's House is not to institutionalize children but rather to raise them God's way and release them into adulthood empowered and equipped for their future. Please keep John and all of our children in your prayers. And stay tuned tomorrow for an update on our new Sunday School program for children!

- In His Steps

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