A Reason to Smile

Meet SreyCouch

Meet SreyCouch

This is SreyCouch, a lovely young woman in our community who has a special place in all our hearts. Since she first started coming to our Center nearly two years ago, she has grown in leaps and bounds as she studied English, became involved with youth group, gained a new circle of friends, and began a personal relationship with Jesus. 

SreyCouch has a difficult family situation and faces persecution both at home and at school. Yet she perseveres in loving those around her and helping the community through volunteering at our Center. SreyCouch serves on our church team ministering to the disabled in our congregation, and is a humble and willing helper with whatever needs to be done!

Despite having a beautiful personality and sweet spirit, it wasn't until recently that you would see SreyCouch with a big happy smile like in the photo at left. Why not? Because until last month, she suffered from severe dental damage, requiring extensive procedures that a family like hers simply couldn't consider providing. She was constantly embarrassed by her appearance, hiding her face whenever she would start to laugh or smile.

But all that's changed now, thanks to a series of procedures that have repaired the damage and restored her smile, allowing SreyCouch to radiate her sweet personality more than ever before! We are so thankful that a donor giving through out Sak Saum ministry was able to cover this cost. Though SreyCouch was always beautiful, she can now smile and laugh with a newfound confidence that is wonderful to see. 

It is so exciting to be a part of this simple yet life-changing blessing for SreyCouch! Please join us in praying for her and her family. And if you're interested in helping us sponsor more medical and dental care for individuals in our community, click here to give


Boxes of Blessings

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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!

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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! 

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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

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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

Maternity Makeover

As a ministry, we teach that every baby born is a precious gift from God. Yet many women in rural areas experience childbirth in terrible conditions that seem to contradict this wonderful truth. Their only choice often lies between having a home birth without medical care or going to a maternity center such as pictured below.

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Obviously, this birthing center was in dire need of a makeover. We started talking with the staff there and learned that the roof and ceiling needed repairs. Dealing with the entire building was beyond their means, but we wanted them to have ownership of the change as well. So we made a deal with them: if they were willing to take initiative to work on their roof, we would come and do the rest. The birthing center director was so happy about this that the roof work was finished in short order!

We began having sheet rock ceilings installed in several rooms and replacing drop-ceiling tiles in others. Then our staff and a visiting team from Colorado worked hard sanding, painting, cleaning, decorating, and collecting trash for two days. The end result? What was once drab and grimy is now a bright and welcoming place. New educational posters, nature photos taken by Eric, fresh paint, and new ceilings have completely transformed the building. 

The clinic staff are blessed by how new and bright the atmosphere of their workplace has become since it’s makeover. We hope that every woman who enters will feel the same, and that their experience giving birth would be a joyful one. Life is a gift worth celebrating!