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


Familiar Faces

Before getting to our normal blog update below, we wanted to acknowledge the loss of Sok, a young husband and father who passed away several days ago due to leukemia. Although we are thankful that Sok is finally free from suffering, this is a difficult time for his family, the Sak Saum community, and the church as a whole. We would appreciate you joining with us in prayers for all those he leaves behind.

Last week we said goodbye to a team from IHSI founders’ home church in upstate New York. Not only were they from a church near and dear to our heart, but the Hanson’s and other staff have known these particular team members personally since their childhood! Needless to say, it was very special to have them here in Cambodia with In His Steps, seeing them in action with us in ministry.

While they were here, the team participated in everything from children’s ministry and English classes to helping sandbag a dock at Sak Saum community housing and hauling gravel to bolster the road at our Center. They taught at church and youth group services, built developmental toys for kids in Sak Saum nurseries, visited the elderly and sick in our community, did a VBS for children, played sports with local youth, and built lots of relationships along the way!

It was wonderful to have friends with us on outreach, and we are looking forward to seeing them again! Having people with a passion to serve is a blessing to Cambodia and to the communities we work in. We hope you’ll enjoy the photos of Gospel Community teams’ outreach in the gallery below.

If your church or organization is thinking about bringing a group to Cambodia to minister with In His Steps, now is the time to apply for 2015 team outreaches! Our calendar is filling up fast, so don’t miss this chance to contact us and learn more now. Simply email us with your team questions at teams@ihsionline.org, and we’ll contact you again soon to discuss outreach possibilities with you!

Looking forward to hearing from you,

In His Steps

Reaching Young Men

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Anyone who has done missions work in Cambodia knows that young men are a difficult demographic to reach. There is a void in the lives of many who have lost fathers to war and sickness, or who have been abandoned by parents and are spiritually orphaned. Without role models and positive mentors, boys grow up without learning what it means to be be husbands and fathers, how to respond to life's challenges, or how to think and plan strategically to care for their families. Discipline, teamwork, grace in the face of failure - these are traits that are not acquired for lack of an environment that values them.

One of the ways that In His Steps is compensating for this problem is by providing an outlet where young men can practice teamwork, grow in discipline, and learn good sportsmanship: our Gospel Community Church Saang soccer team! When paired with our ongoing Boys to Men group, the team is a great way to draw youth towards positive challenges and growth, both on and off the field. It is a venue not only for developing physical ability, but for discipleship and community-building.

Our team attending a sports seminar organized by the Evangelical Fellowship of Cambodia.

Our team attending a sports seminar organized by the Evangelical Fellowship of Cambodia.

Our team is made up of beginners, but already this season they have distinguished themselves with their practice ethic, fitness, and good attitudes, as well as many wins in the games they have played so far. They even placed second in a local tournament last month! We are so proud of each team member, not because of tallying wins and losses but because we see them working together, encouraging others, and doing their best. The lessons they are learning will prove valuable no matter where life leads them!

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Other Updates

  • Please keep founder/director Eric in your prayers as he and Ginny return to Thailand for several days next week for a follow-up check of his heart related to the emergency procedure he had in June.
  • Staff member Rhiannon has returned to Cambodia and is now in the process of readjusting to life and ministry while continuing her recovery. Please continue to keep her in prayer! 
  • Thank you for your continued intercession regarding Cambodia's election last week. There are still many concerns (read an insightful overview of the current situation here), but God is faithful and we are thankful that for the most part things are reasonably calm.

- In His Steps

Building Youth

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Each week at Gospel Community Church Saang, we hold a regular youth group meeting for area teens to come and worship together, pray for their nation, and be taught the Word of God. Many of those who attend have become volunteers at church, helping with nursery, children's programs, and team outreaches! But since we at IHSI feel called not only to build our own church, but also to invest in others, we host several Youth Fellowship meetings throughout the year: ecumenical gatherings joined by youth from many other churches in Kandal Province.

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Each time this large group of teens comes together, it is a beautiful time of worship, learning, prayer, and of course lots of fun! Dramas, music, testimonies, and games almost entirely led by the youth, a great way for talent and leadership abilities to be developed. Last week, we also were able to have a member of a visiting team from YWAM shared on the power of forgiveness. 

Below are some images from last Saturday's festivities, complete with Khmer "pinatas" and more. Please join us in praying for the many youth that join these events, that it would build unity in the local Body, encourage new believers, and motivate all to press in to God and pursue Him in their community!

` In His Steps

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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