GCCS men's group is just that we are a group of men that are wanting fellowship. We work all week and we are looking for a time to talk together and share our lives together. We have just started our group, we are asking the question to each man, what is the desire of the men's group? Each man has had a opportunity to voice what he would like the men's group to be. The men all have a voice in the direction of the outside trips and the teachings that they feel they need to be encouraged and straightened in. I believe this group is learning more about leading themselves through our times spent together. Speaking openly and discussing challenges that life is giving them. I see growth in each man in the group in a short time.
This morning we held a special children’s program for kids from impoverished families who live in a nearby village. We’ve been looking forward to giving out the Samaritan’s Purse OCC (Operation Christmas Child) shoeboxes we received this year, and after completing a children’s Bible study initiative from OCC with a core group of children, it was time to give out the gifts to a larger group!
The kids were clearly excited about the event, some of them arriving early by an hour or more. There were 85 of them, ranging from age 2-14 years old, with some of the littlest ones accompanied by parents or older siblings. While waiting for the program to being, they ran around outside and played at the playground in a frenzy of anticipation!
After short lesson from Solomon came the main event: giving out the shoeboxes from OCC. It is always fun to see the looks on children’s faces as they open presents and discover everything from toys and school supplies to toothbrushes and new clothes! Many of them carefully surveyed the items in their box one by one with delight, before placing them neatly back inside for safe-keeping. Most of these children have few personal possessions, and even the simplest of gifts is treasured!
We are thankful for Samaritan’s Purse and their giving to our
community and many others. Please join us in praying that the children who received a shoebox today would feel blessed, would begin to attend church, and that they and their families would come to know Christ as they experience His love.
- In His Steps
Before getting to our normal blog update below, we wanted to acknowledge the loss of Sok, a young husband and father who passed away several days ago due to leukemia. Although we are thankful that Sok is finally free from suffering, this is a difficult time for his family, the Sak Saum community, and the church as a whole. We would appreciate you joining with us in prayers for all those he leaves behind.
Last week we said goodbye to a team from IHSI founders’ home church in upstate New York. Not only were they from a church near and dear to our heart, but the Hanson’s and other staff have known these particular team members personally since their childhood! Needless to say, it was very special to have them here in Cambodia with In His Steps, seeing them in action with us in ministry.
While they were here, the team participated in everything from children’s ministry and English classes to helping sandbag a dock at Sak Saum community housing and hauling gravel to bolster the road at our Center. They taught at church and youth group services, built developmental toys for kids in Sak Saum nurseries, visited the elderly and sick in our community, did a VBS for children, played sports with local youth, and built lots of relationships along the way!
It was wonderful to have friends with us on outreach, and we are looking forward to seeing them again! Having people with a passion to serve is a blessing to Cambodia and to the communities we work in. We hope you’ll enjoy the photos of Gospel Community teams’ outreach in the gallery below.
If your church or organization is thinking about bringing a group to Cambodia to minister with In His Steps, now is the time to apply for 2015 team outreaches! Our calendar is filling up fast, so don’t miss this chance to contact us and learn more now. Simply email us with your team questions at email@example.com, and we’ll contact you again soon to discuss outreach possibilities with you!
Looking forward to hearing from you,
In His Steps
Our last blog post gave a picture of what God has been doing through IHSI in the past year, and as promised in this entry we want to let you in on some exciting things that have already been happening in the new year and their significance as we look forward. So without further ado, we are very excited to announce that God has provided funding for the purchase of two adjacent plots of land at our Center. All of the official paperwork and rezoning was completed on Saturday, nearly doubling our campus’ size and open up new possibilities for ministry to the community!
This expansion has been made possible through a new partnership between IHSI and Mission Community Church in Gilbert, Arizona. We are excited to have them commit not only to sponsoring this and other projects, but to having them come and do outreach with us on the field regularly!
In His Steps founders Eric and Ginny Hanson believe that this growth is significant not only as an enlarging of physical space, but as a symbol of increasing influence in the community and in the hearts of those we minister to. Just a few of the future plans for this new addition to our Center include:
- Constructing a second on-site Sak Saum facility, adding to the existing Vocational Training Center which is already more than full. This will be a great blessing to the community by allowing Sak Saum to reach even more at-risk/exploited men and women in the area through job creation and holistic ministry.
- Adding more open space to the property for kite flying, games, and outdoor events.
- Setting up flexible-use areas for soccer and volleyball games, allowing us to build relationships with more youth in the area as well as host sports camps and tournaments with other area churches.
- Providing more parking space for students and children who come to play (our current parking area tends to overflow each afternoon)
- Create a picnic area for families, youth, and Sak Saum to gather, share meals, and fellowship together.
Yesterday at our Sunday church service, the entire congregation took time to walk the new land together. As we expressed worship and gratitude to God, declared blessing and peace over the property in Christ, and prayed for God’s presence to be felt by all who come to the campus, there was a palpable sense of joy and excitement in the air! As a church we are all experiencing and learning together how faithful He is.
Now, the boundary posts of our Center are being moved to unite all the land into one piece. Old trees which have been growing without fruit are being cut down to make way for the land to be filled and graded. This is a great picture of what we believe God is doing in ministry! Moving old boundary stones, discarding anything unnecessary or unfruitful, and preparing for new uses and opportunities is exactly what needs to happen in many hearts and many systems of the world as we know it.
IHSI is so thankful for the many new things ahead, the new ways in which God wants to bless Saang, and the expanding of our reach into this area to fulfill the vision that He has given us from the beginning.
In His Steps
If you would like to read a more in-depth review of our 2013 activities, click here.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them
in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit...”
As a church and a ministry, this past weekend was one of much joy and celebration! Staff, volunteers and church members all joined together at a poolside in Phnom Penh for a time of worship, testimonies, and a public declaration of faith through the water baptism of new believers. In our midst were elderly ladies, men and women from the Sak Saum, teenagers from our youth group, and one of the children of Father's House: a gathering that without God would have very little in common but that in Christ has formed a family and community!
It was so encouraging to see Christians young and old embracing the transforming new life they have been given, and sharing with others what God has done in their hearts. From testimonies of a newfound love for other others and being set free from destructive behaviors, to the witness of watching someone who once almost drowned and had held a lifelong fear of water overcoming that fear, the day was a reminder of the Lord’s faithfulness and steadfast commitment to His creation, always with their good in mind.
We hope that as you look at the photos below, you would be encouraged by the
work that only God can do!