October Roundup

This month has flown by like a whirlwind, with so much going on in many different areas of ministry!

India Trip

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IHSI founders/directors Eric and Ginny recently went for a weeklong trip to Bangalore, India. They were able to spend time with Gopi and Marites Kumar, who will be joining our team of staff early next year! They also got to meet with several Christian organizations, glean helpful ideas from them, and experience some of the culture of the region while they were there.

India has been on Ginny’s heart for many years, and we feel that it is a place where the IHSI/Sak Saum model of ministry could be replicated in the future. This is one of several other countries in the region that IHSI envisions ministering to in the future, in addition to the work that has already been planted and thriving in Cambodia. As God reveals more we look forward to what He has in store for IHSI/Sak Saum in India!

New Staff

We recently welcomed our newest Khmer staff member to the IHSI team! Meet Kiri, a young man who has been a part of the GCCS youth group and soccer team for some time now. We’ve known him since before he was a Christian, and have seen much good fruit in his life as he has grown up over the past couple of years. Kiri has a sister in the Sak Saum program and his half-sister is Aly, our youth pastor/children’s program director.

We’re excited to have Kiri join our ministry family, and he is doing a great job as he shadows other staff and gives general assistance at our Center. We look forward to great things as he learns to use his time and talents to bless his nation!

Teaching Safety

This month we did a fun but informative class for the men and women of Sak Saum. What was the topic? One of extreme relevance here in Cambodia: moto driving safety! Everyone who attended enjoyed seeing the “do’s and don’ts” of driving taught by Eric, with plenty of on-the-spot demonstrations to drive each point home. We love sharing practical life skills with our community!

Visitors

Last week we hosted two visitors from Mission Community Church in Arizona. MCC has been very instrumental in our latest expansions and we are thankful to have them as ministry partners and friends. It was great to meet Sheli and Audrey, have them see the ministry, and learn from them during the time they were here.

Staff Training

This is the third year that our staff have attended the Global Leadership Summit, a great opportunity for them to hear renowned Christian men and women teach on a variety of leadership-related topics, all translated into the Khmer language! This year several Sak Saum leaders were able to attend in addition to IHSI core staff. Everyone felt blessed by what they learned and is excited to apply and share with others!

International Ministry

The Hansons are now in the US for 6 weeks and will be visiting 5 states: speaking, meeting with board members, and raising awareness. Please keep their travels, health, and meetings in your prayers!

An Answered Prayer And A Blessed Little Girl

 A few months ago we posted about Sokchea, a young girl with cerebral palsy in our area who we have been ministering to for about 7 months now. We shared that we were praying that someone with a background in physical therapy would be able to come and work with Sokchea, and also train our staff how to help her grow strong and more independent. That prayer was answered last week when not one but two lovely ladies from the U.S. came and spent a very busy seven days doing above and beyond what we could have hoped for!

After connecting with a friend of our Sak Saum ministryand hearing about Sokchea’s situation, Jennifer, a physical therapist, and Jen, her co-worker (who is also pursuing her degree in P.T.) took time out of their busy lives to make thejourney over to Cambodia. When Sokchea met them and was told they were to be her “exercise teachers” for a week, her eyes lit up and she smiled in response. Little did she know that not only would she be exercisingshe would experience whole new world of physical motion and stimulation that she could never have imagined.

Touching new textures, feeling the weight of her own bodyagainst her joints, learning more natural ways toaccomplish certain motions, batting at toys and a drum, practicing activating muscles in all areas of her bodySokchea had more variety in a week than she probably hashad in her entire life! Naturally, some aspects of what she was experiencing proved challenging in both physical and psychological ways. Yet there were many moments each day where she responded with interest, excitement, and even joy.

Jennifer and Jen gave a crash course in physical therapy for several of our church and Sak Saum staff, explaining the reasoning behind the many techniques they employed and helping them practice, first on each other and eventually with Sokchea herself. We feel so thankful that not only would Jennifer and Jen take the time to pour into her with love and their God-given abilities, but that they would also invest in our staff by providing a daunting amount ofteaching so well in such a short time!

It was such an incredible blessing for Sokchea to have this time with trained professionals, and even in such a short time we already see her moving differently, responding in new ways, even seemingly trying to vocalize more. In fact, when it was time for goodbyes, she rolled over and supported herself on her elbow for a moment without help.This is amazing progress for her! As we help her practice what she has been learning we are looking forward to many more moments of personal triumph for her.

Please join us in praying:

- That Sokchea will continue to progress as we implement what we have learned, and that having these new opportunities for her body’s development would also awaken more hope and more healing in her heart.

- That Jennifer and Jen would eventually be able to return to Cambodia to work with Sokchea again and provide even more training for staff

That those around her in her home and neighborhood would have their eyes opened more fully to the treasure that Sokchea is and the compassion and faithfulness of God as He expresses them to her in these practical ways.

- In His Steps

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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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

 

May Update

Hansons’ Travel Update

Recently, our founders Eric and Ginny Hanson were in the U.S., completing our NGO annual tax returns and doing some stateside ministry. They always keep very busy when they are “home”, and this trip was no exception! Just a few of the highlights of their time in the U.S. were:

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Ginny sharing at Woodman Valley Chapel, CO

  • Speaking at Boulder Street Church and Woodman Valley Chapel
  • A three-day conference in Rockford Illinois, where Ginny was able to share about human trafficking and showcase products from our Sak Saum ministry
  • Planning outreach opportunities with future volunteers and church groups coming to Cambodia in 2014
  • Meeting with partners in ministry and brainstorming about some exciting new projects

The Hanson's love to share about what God is doing in Cambodia, and are  gifted teachers and deliverance ministers. They are often requested to speak across the U.S.  and parts of Asia. If you are interested in booking the Hansons for a seminar, conference, or other speaking engagement, please email them at erich@ihsionline.org/ginnyh@ihsionline.org.

Other News

  • IHSI loves having visitors and volunteers, and in May alone we have two volunteers (one from the U.S. and one from Russia) and two different American teams! We are excited to share with them our vision for ministry and provide opportunities for them to bless Cambodia. Teaching children and youth, working in Sak Saum, training Cambodians in new skills, and constructing a playground are just a few of the volunteer activities taking place this month! Stay tuned to our Facebook page in the coming weeks to see photos of the new playground and more.

  • Nearly ten people received Jesus as their Savior this past Sunday! God is stirring hearts towards Himself, and we are honored to be a part. Please keep the new believers in your prayers, that they would be rooted deeply in God’s love as they grow in their newfound faith.

Until next week,

In His Steps