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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Meet Chanteoun

Before surgery

Before surgery

After surgery

This week we’d like to introduce you to Chanteoun, a young woman who is the sister of Aly, one of our Khmer staff members. Chanteoun (pronounced “chan-too-en”) has been attending our church for some time and is employed by Sak Saum at one of our Freedom Facilities.

Though you probably wouldn’t know it looking at her now, until recently Chanteoun suffered from cleft palate, a birth defect that can lead to other numerous health issues. In Cambodia, it is believed that birth defects and handicaps are sign of a curse, or are the punishment for sin in a past life. For individuals like Chanteoun, this belief can be a factor placing them at high risk for abuse and trafficking.

After building relationship with Chanteoun through Sak Saum, we approached her with a question: would she be willing to undergo cleft palate corrective surgery? Her response was a shy but thankful “yes!” Soon our national director Theavy accompanied her to a preliminary doctor’s appointment.

Sewing at the Sak Saum Facility

On the day of her surgery, Chanteoun arrived at our office with a look of both nervousness and expectation. A night in the hospital and a short recovery period soon revealed the restoration of what had already been a beautiful smile. But over time, something else that was not there before has emerged: a lightness in Chanteoun’s step and a newfound confidence.

Please join us in praying for Chanteoun, that she would grow in her walk with God and in the confidence that comes not from self but from Him.

Safehouse Update Part 2 - Meet With MOSA

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Yesterday was an important day for In His Steps: ministry leaders met with officials from the Cambodian Ministry of Social Affairs (MOSA) to discuss the building project and the future of our safehouse. Although our plans have already been approved, it's required to have the actual site and progress observed by MOSA workers. It's great to see the local government holding organizations to accountability! Corruption is a big problem even among many NGO's, and we want the community to know that we keep our word.

Meeting with MOSA allowed us to share with them our vision for the safehouse in greater clarity and explain the heart behind what we are doing in Saang. You could tell that many of those who attended the meeting were surprised by our views on how to break the cycle of trafficking. A common approach to dealing with at-risk children is to segregate them from the community in orphanages, but at In His Steps we believe it is important to work with whole families whenever possible. 

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The safehouse will not just be a home for orphans, but a place of refuge for any at-risk child. While nurturing and caring for each one, we will also work to break the cycle of abuse within the home through building relationships with their families and modeling ways to change. Education alone is not enough: hearts and minds need healing to bring this about. Advocating for healthy families is both intervention and prevention!

As we explained more about our vision for the safehouse, the MOSA workers shared that what we were saying closely mirrors many of the underlying goals of the Ministry of Social Affairs! It's encouraging to hear that we are on the right track and have the blessing of local authorities. By collaborating with MOSA, we have an excellent opportunity to model change and raise standards within Cambodia.

Children are the key to influencing culture, and we are so blessed to have the opportunity to reach this and future generations with the love of God. Please pray with us that the safehouse would be place where his presence is felt and healing can begin.