Looking Back

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At the start of a new year, it’s always good to revisit the previous year’s highlights and lessons learned. Through highs and lows, challenges and changes, the faithfulness of God is always evident! And for IHSI in 2013, we experienced many challenges and changes indeed. Several staff members went through the loss of loved ones, meanwhile many in Sak Saum brought beautiful new children into the world. Traffic accidents and health scares tried to steal joy and instill fear, but instead we are walking in peace and blessing. Political upheaval in the region has continued for many months, yet through it all God has protected each person in our care.

It’s hard to know where to begin when recapping an entire year, but below are a few of the many things that God has been doing in our church, Father’s House, and international ministry!

Gospel Community Church Saang

  • This has been a fruitful year for the church, with many new believers, a baptism, a baby dedication, a new Sunday School class, and lots of empowering opportunities for young people in the church to develop service and leadership skills. Building families and equipping young people for ministry are an important calling of the church!
  • Our staff organized not only a boys’ soccer team in the spring, but also a young women’s volleyball team at the end of the year. In addition to holding practices and playing games, both our teams have discipleship meetings and are involved in church ministries as part of their team-building activities. It’s a great way to grow each team member individually as well as build camaraderie in the community!
  • We are becoming a hub for helping smaller rural churches that do not have much support. Bibles, devotionals, books and audio Bibles from Messengers International have all been distributed to the Body of Christ in our area. During rainy season we collaborated with several churches to find families and widows in need of emergency relief, preparing and distributing 25 care packages with food and other supplies. We also provided training space for Operation Christmas Child to train  30 churches for their shoebox gift program!
  • Fulfilling one of last year’s church goals, we started a monthly group for married men to fellowship together, pray, and encourage each other.
  • GCCS staff and members of Sak Saum did repair work on several homes of elderly church members this year, as well as coordinating visitation to elderly and sick people in the area. We also donated food staples, clothing, hygiene supplies, and other items to those in need.
  • We held many events this year, including seminars, educational programs, a church barbecue, a free health clinic at three locations with a visiting medical team, educational, youth fellowship gatherings, our yearly Children’s Christmas Program for almost 400 children and a beautiful Christmas service for the congregation.

Father’s House

  • An exciting new partnership with Mission Community Church in Gilbert, AZ has allowed us to enroll Father’s House kids in a private school, a great step up from the school they had been attending and an answer to prayer! They are still adjusting to the newer, more challenging learning environment, but we are confident that this will be of great long-term benefit to each of them.
  • In addition to starting the kids in a new school, we were blessed to be able to trade in the Father’s House car for a van! This is great not only for transporting them back and forth to school, but for bringing the soccer and volleyball teams to games, transporting church members, and doing outreach.
  • In November we welcomed our newest child into Father’s House. Makara is a sweet boy who just this week made the decision to become a Christian. He loves coloring, art projects, singing and dancing, and playing soccer. Although he has some catching up to do academically and socially, we already see growth in leaps and bounds!
  • All Father’s House children are active in the church according to their abilities and personalities: helping with ushering, worship, children’s outreaches, Sunday School, visiting the sick, and being a part of church events. Several of them show great leadership potential, and many of them say their future life plans include wanting to be in ministry and help others like they have been helped! We are thankful for them and can see exciting things ahead for each one.
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International Ministry and Teams

  • In the fall the Hansons completed a whirlwind tour across the U.S., teaching at churches and colleges, meeting ministry partners, sharing the vision of IHSI, and doing fundraising work. This trip was very fruitful in terms of building relationship with new partners, and we believe that there will be more traveling of this nature in the future as God allows! To contact the Hansons for booking information, please email them at erich@ihsionline.org | ginnyh@ihsionline.org.

 

  • In 2013 we hosted many outreach teams, short-term volunteers, and visitors from all over the United States, as well as Russia and Australia. A few highlights of their visits included:
  • Children’s ministry at our Center and at other area churches
  • Dramas/songs/teachings at church services
  • A YWAM medical outreach with free clinics at three locations
  • Prayer ministry/teaching
  • Maintenance/service projects
  •  Visiting the elderly and the sick
  • Games and activities with local children
  • Constructing a playground at our Center
  • Human trafficking awareness seminars
  • Sak Saum English practice and relationship-building
  • Helping teach Center English classes
  • Attending women’s group and overnight stays with Sak Saum
  • Outings/educational activities with Fathers’ House and Loaves and Fish children

 

What has the Lord done in your life in the past year? What prayers has he answered and how did he demonstrate his faithfulness to you personally? Feel free to comment below, and tune in again soon for our next post, to hear about some of the exciting things in store for 2014!

-       In His Steps

Dedication Day

Baby Dedication

Throughout Scripture, the family unit is described as a sacred institution, to be honored, supported, and defended. Though we see much brokenness and decay in the world around us, the Body of Christ should be a place where family is not only welcomed, but built up and strengthened.

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Recently, parents at Gospel Community Church Saang took an important step in building their families on a strong foundation: dedicating a total of 9 infants and children to the Lord. Mothers, fathers, guardians and the congregation committed to help raise them according to Biblical principles, and to provide encouragement and support for each one on their journey to a personal relationship with God.

We feel so privileged to be a part of the work God is doing in each of families that dedicated children to Him, and look forward to ushering many more into the Kingdom in due time. What He begins, He is faithful to bring to completion!

Other News

As those of you who follow our Facebook page already know, staff member Rhiannon was injured in a moto accident last week and is now recovering from a broken scapula and brain contussion at a hospital in Bangkok. God has been very faithful in many ways throughout this situation. Please continue to keep Rhiannon in your prayers!

-In His Steps

Health Check Surprise

When our founders Eric and Ginny Hanson realized they needed to leave Cambodia this month in order to renew their visas, it seemed like a perfect time to visit neighboring Thailand for some health tests for Ginny. Little did they know that this trip was to become significant in ways they could not imagine! 

When the Hansons arrived and began scheduling appointments for Ginny, she suggested that Eric take this opportunity to do a full health check. Although he was feeling fine, he agreed, and soon a full day of tests was underway. All was going smoothly until a doctor came in and stopped the cardiac stress test, stating that there were abnormalities that needed to be checked by a cardiologist.

Naturally, the Hansons were beginning to feel concerned as they were led in to meet with the cardiologist. He informed them that a CT-scan was needed to look into Eric's heart further and determine the cause of the abnormalities. 

What the test results revealed was both shocking and frightening: a nearly blocked artery, which could without warning lead to a heart attack. This was not news that anyone expected. In fact, the week before Eric had been conducting business as usual in Cambodia, even helping lift heavy wooden beams for playground construction with a visiting team!

The following day, the procedures began: angioplasty to break up the blockage in Eric's artery and a stent inserted to keep the artery open. After several hours, two failed stent attempts before a third successful one, and many prayers from friends and loved ones, Eric emerged from the operating room. The problem that had been caught by "coincidence" (or rather, God's plan all along) had been corrected.

Please keep Eric in your prayers, that there would be no further complications and that the Hansons' insurance provider would cooperate with them in order to help cover the costs of his treatment and two remaining follow-up checkups. We at In His Steps are all so thankful that this potentially life-threatening problem was discovered, and in a place where it could be dealt with as quickly and safely as possible. The God we serve is faithful.

 - In His Steps

 

2012–A Year in Review

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In His Steps was busier than ever this past year. We would like to invite you to take a glimpse into our review of 2012.

A few highlights include:

  • Registering IHSI's church plant with the Ministry of Cults and Religion
  • 12 young women successfully transitioned through the Sak Saum program
  • The opening of the KTC (Kairos Training Center)
  • Welcomed several visitors and teams from around the world

Please click here to download our full review. It's packed full of wonderful things that have transpired this past year.

The Gift of Children

Transient

Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Psalm 127:3

These last few months have been exciting times for Gospel Community Church Saang! We’ve been seeing a lot of new faces in our services, had several salvations, were able to do some outreaches with other local pastors, and are seeing great growth in our youth-aged members as they help with different areas of church ministry. Since we also recently had two more births among church member’s families, we have even more reasons to celebrate!

Last year, we held our first baby dedication where families and guardians publicly committed to raise their children in God’s ways. Considering the recent additions to our church body, it seemed right to have another dedication service this past week! Before beginning our dedication, we shared with our congregation the significance of this event, and for those who have only recently begun attending we know that this was a message they had never heard before.

Here in Cambodia, children are often seen either as a burden or a source of income. Consequently, family structure has been molded by patterns of dysfunction and exploitation. As Christians we agree with God that children are gifts to be treasured, loved, and raised according to biblical principles. Baby dedications give us a chance to reaffirm this.

As each parent publicly committed to raise their children to love and know God, church members stood and promised they would do their part to help bring this goal to fruition. It was a special time, and we hope to have many more such dedications as Gospel Community Church Saang continues to grow! 

Transient