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.

Transient

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!

Meet Gabby

In May we welcomed two young women to our team here in Cambodia: Gabby (volunteering her help for almost two months) and Rhiannon (here for a one-year internship).  Since they arrived, we’ve been keeping them busy helping with English classes, Sak Saum leadership training, children’s programs, and more!

Teaching at staff devos

Next week, Gabby will be returning home to Colorado. She will be missed by many; in the short time that she has been here Gabby has built relationships with staff, Sak Saum women, and many of the children in our care, helping them to know they are valuable by loving them, teaching them, and simply spending time together.

In Sak Saum, Gabby’s learned how to do some of the ministry’s more practical tasks, as well as spending time teaching and hanging out with women in the program. At Father’s House, all the children’s English has been improving by leaps and bounds thanks in part to their frequent lessons with these two young women. Those in our daily English classes and Saturday children’s program are enjoying seeing some new faces as well.

Staff members Aly and SreyMom have been having a blast getting to know her and Rhiannon more, through teaching English together, translating their lessons to Sak Saum women, and hanging out during their free time.

We are blessed to have had Gabby for the time that she has spent with us, and wish her all the best as she returns to Colorado and prepares for her upcoming wedding!

-In His Steps

Clipping nails at a children's program about hygiene

Teaching English to Sak Saum women

Meet Gabby: a volunteer who has spent nearly two months with us this summer (shown here with one of our Father's House children).

Light in Dark Places

PonLu with his caretaker, before the burn accident

Since beginning this ministry over ten years ago, we have felt called to reach those who are desperate: orphans, widows, the poor, the expoited, and the outcast. It has been amazing to see the practical ways in which God shows his compassion. 

In January, one of the orphans in our care suffered a serious burn accident in the home of his caretaker. PonLu, a six year-old boy, was reaching for something near a pot of boiling water and knocked it over, burning a large percentage of his body. Our staff rushed him to a children's hospital, where we learned he would need to spend some time recovering to reduce the chance of infection and let his skin heal.

Cambodian hospitals are often dark, miserable places, with few amenities and incompetent care. Doctors often withhold treatments unless they are bribed, and simple things like a glass of water or a clean bed can be very hard to find. We feared that it would be a difficult time for PonLu, especially since hospital staff made it difficult for us to visit him often.

Although the odds were against PonLu recovering easily, God used his situation to reach out to others. It was encouraging to see the influence that even a six year-old orphan could have on those around him: doctors, nurses, other patients and their families were all asking about him and talking to him, amazed at how he would practice the alphabet, sing songs, and interact with others so joyfully in spite of his pain.

Soon, "VIPs" such as government officials and wealthy businessmen began stopping by to visit PonLu, bringing him gifts and checking on his progress. This is unheard of in a society where orphans are considered second-class citizens, hardly worthy of notice. PonLu turned that way of thinking on its head by being one of the most friendly, intelligent, and cheerful patients that the hospital has ever encountered! 

PonLu recently was able to return to his caretaker's home, and his burns are almost healed. We are so thankful for his recovery! His name means "light", and it is clear that God wants to use him as a light to others. Please keep PonLu in your prayers, that he would have complete physical healing and that he would continue to be a bright light in dark places!