Celebrating Children

In case you didn’t know, June 1st was International Children’s Day. To celebrate, In His Steps held a two-hour Children’s Day program at our Center in Saang and invited all the neighborhood kids to come and join us in a time of fun and learning. Teacher Solomon did a great job preparing children from our Saturday children’s classes for various roles as MCs, dancers, and actors. They were all very dedicated, faithfully attending practices and helping to decorate the grounds and “stage” beforehand! The whole event was truly a group effort, with church members and In His Steps staff pitching in as well.

Over 400 people attended, and for some it was standing room only! We were glad to see not only children but also some parents and local government leaders come and watch the performances. At In His Steps, we believe that building relationships with leaders and families is a key to community transformation.

During the program, Loaves and Fish director Vouen gave a short presentation on children’s rights. For some, the idea that they have to right to be protected from child labor and abuse is a foreign concept that runs contrary to what they see at home every day. Hopefully, hearts and behavior will start to change as people recognize the worth of children as blessings from God.

Despite some backstage jitters, the kids all did a wonderful job in every aspect of the program. Many in the audience stared wide-eyed and open-mouthed as their peers performed fun dances, a comedic drama, and more. What a great opportunity to showcase the talent and enthusiasm of children in Saang! Most importantly, the message that children are valuable and have rights was communicated in a fun and memorable way. Please pray with us that God confirms in each child's heart how much he values and cares about them. 

Merry Christmas 2009!

Transient

Merry Christmas! We hope you have a great holiday with family and loved ones. Here in Cambodia, we celebrate a little differently than in the West, since most Cambodians do not even know the meaning of Christmas. We feel that this time of year is a great opportunity to bless the communities we are in and teach the true significance of Christmas: the birth of Jesus Christ.

Transient

This past Sunday, we held a Christmas program at our Saang Foundation Center. The program began in prayer by Pastor Pheaktra, and was MC’d by Solomon (one of our staff teachers) and a young woman from our youth group. It was an almost 4-hour program, including dance, worship, drama, and the message of Christmas.

  • Sak Saum, our program for at-risk and trafficked women, performed a beautiful skit, song, and dance telling of how God has brought them out of dark and difficult situations into a place of hope and new life.
  • Our intern Daniel and some of the young men in his breakdance class debuted their new dance group, “Souljuz Crew”. It was exciting for their friends and family to see them use their talent and new skills to glorify God. Interest in his class is growing and now many more youth in the area are signing up!

  • Solomon and a group of youth led a time of worship, and the youth also performed a dance.
  • Children sponsored by our Loaves and Fish program danced, and some also participated with other youth in a drama telling the story of Jesus’ birth.
  • Following the drama, Eric and Pastor Pheaktra spoke, sharing the significance of Jesus’ birth and the meaning of Christmas.
  • Through a free prize draw, we gave away 2 bicycles, 5 moto helmets, 22 cases of noodles, 2 electric fans, 3 small gas stoves, 5 water filters, 2 rice pots, 50 tee shirts, 20 sarongs, Sak Saum bags, and more! This was a great blessing to the community. Many of the prizes went to children, which very exciting!
Transient
Transient

Although we have done other Christmas events in the past, this year’s outreach was by far the largest event In His Steps has ever hosted. We invited 2,000 people, and over 1,800 attended! People in Saang have never seen such a large event, and are still talking about all that happened. We invited local government leaders, and were excited that many of them came. They seemed very impressed with the program and what we are doing in the community.

Our staff and volunteers all did a great job making sure that things ran smoothly. Many members of our youth group volunteered as ushers, parking attendants, and security guards. We know that our efforts were blessed: throughout the day there were no disturbances, thefts, or injuries! This is incredible, considering the number of people who attended. We were amazed by the success of the program and God’s faithfulness to the people of Cambodia as he uses us to minister to them. Please pray that the message of hope they heard will touch their hearts and lead to more salvations and transformed lives in the community!

Happy Holidays,

In His Steps

Without Walls

In this update we want to tell you about something we are building in Saang: not a building of concrete and wood and nails, but rather of faith and obedience to what God is speaking. In fact, our hope is that it will actually be “a building without walls!”

For some time now, we have seen that our Foundation Center in Saang will become a church. But this is the year that seems right to begin the church-planting process. No pun intended, this is a big step for In His Steps!

Since early spring, we have been working on the necessary applications with the government and a local Christian network (the Evangelical Fellowship of Cambodia) to officially establish the church. Although we have been told that it may take some time for our government application to be accepted, we believe that in the right time God will make a way.

Meanwhile, we have begun holding weekly Sunday services at the Foundation Center. Local Christians have shown great interest: attendance has been good and the foundation that is being laid is strong. We will continue to teach and disciple those who will be church leaders, raising them up in their giftings so they can minister effectively.

When we say we want our church to be without walls, we mean that it should be much more than a “Christian club”. Our prayer is for a church made from and ministering to the community: an established group of local believers that reaches out to everyone they meet with the love of Christ. That’s why it will be named “Gospel Community Church.

Why is it not enough for NGO’s (non-governmental organizations) such as In His Steps to minister in Saang? Why is it necessary for a church to be planted? We believe God’s heart is to raise up the Cambodian Church, not just in Saang but across the nation. There may be a time when God calls IHSI to a different village, province, or even country, but with a strong church already in place, ministry to the community doesn’t have to stop. God is faithful and he wants to be faithful to the hurting and those in need through his global Church, including the church in Saang. 

We’d appreciate your prayers for the planting of Gospel Community Church of Saang, that it would truly be a light to the community that is rooted and grounded in Christ!

God bless,

IHSI