Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas - December Update

Here is our most recent update. We hope that you have a very Merry Christmas and a new year filled with much joy!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Encourage our staff for Christmas!

The staff at Rahab's House School is a wonderful group of committed young people, eager to serve the Lord and love the children of Svay Pak! Each day the teachers come with a smile, ready to dig in, be stretched, learn, and grow as teachers and as disciples of Christ. They work tirelessly and faithfully.

This coming Friday the 21st, we're going to have a small Christmas celebration at the end of the day. We invite you to comment on this post and leave a word of encouragement, a prayer, some scripture or anything else to let our teachers know you support them and are holding them up. We will compile all the comments and bless the teachers with your words on Friday. 

You can find some posts about individual teachers on the Pray For Svay Pak blog if you want to learn more about our staff. 

Let the staff know their brothers and sisters around the world are standing with them!

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Shenanigans

This year we have so much to be thankful for. God continues to be faithful and our friends and family are such a blessing in our lives. Last night we had the opportunity to enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving dinner at Hagar Restaurant here in Phnom Penh with some dear friends. Here are a collection of snapshots from this dinner:

 Attempting to wish you all a happy Thanksgiving!

 Our "Gang of Five" - good friends who walk through life here in Cambodia with us.

 We tried to eat the turkey made of styrofoam.

And only in Cambodia does a turkey lay Easter eggs!


Friday, October 12, 2012

Exchanging One Darkness for Another

A few weeks ago we ventured down to a beach town on the coast of Cambodia for some rest. We anticipated some time to read, reflect and enjoy some space away from the darkness that we work in each day in Svay Pak. But we were also aware that this particular beach town is notorious for prostitution. It is a haven for foreign men to visit for all the wrong reasons. With all of this mind, we set off.

On our first evening there, we wandered to a small restaurant that a friend had recommended, a nice little place located in the heart of the tourist district. When we sat down, we immediately saw a Western man with a Cambodian girl at the next table, about 5 feet from us. We could tell by her dress and mannerisms that the young girl worked in prostitution and the 20-something-year old man was clearly in town for a good time. They spent the entirety of our meal flirting and kissing and petting. As we prepared to depart, Kim began to engage the young lady in some simple conversation in Khmer. She told us that she was twenty years old and had been working in this area for two months. A few minutes later the man paid for the meal, kissed the girl goodbye and left. The girl went in the opposite direction.

Next door to our restaurant, two elderly white men were carousing with young Khmer women while we ate. Across the street, the same thing. Rinse and repeat.

It was impossible to go anywhere in this town without seeing something that made us want to either vomit or hit somebody.

As we walked away, our hearts broke for her and her situation. We have no idea what prompted her to take this path. We do not know if she is indeed 20. She looked no older than 16. And we do not know what her future holds.

We left Phnom Penh to get away from the daily darkness only to be confronted with the story of one young lady that is in a terribly difficult situation. She has been in our thoughts and prayers each day since our return and still we have no answers. We have asked friends and teachers about what can be done and they sadly shake their heads and seem to resign themselves to this reality. We continue to pray. We continue in our work with children and our teachers in Svay Pak. We continue to try and spread grace and peace wherever we go. And we keep praying. Rinse and repeat.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

September update "Religion in Cambodia"

Check out our latest update about our house warming party and the impact of Cambodia's state religion, Buddhism, by clicking here.

Friday, August 24, 2012

August update "Corruption"

Here is our August update entitled "Corruption."  Click here to read all about our recent move and how bribery is linked to human trafficking in Cambodia.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

July Update - "Poverty Plus"

Check out our July Update - "Poverty Plus" to catch a glimpse of what we have been up to and the role poverty plays in human trafficking. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

June visitors

This summer is quite busy for us -- report cards and teacher training is this week, summer school is starting next week, we are getting ready to move houses (July 28th!) so we can be closer to our work, and we have lots of visitors coming to serve with us and other organizations here in Phnom Penh.  The first set of visitors comes from the school in Tianjin where Becki, Kimberly and Rachel met.  You can read all about the team's adventures here.    

Alicia and Keli, the fearless team leaders

Michaila, Christy and Brianna, the awesome students

The newly renovated back lot in Svay Pak (contrast it with the picture in this post)

The team painted our teacher workroom (and got a bit messy in the process :)

Many of the students at our school come from families whose housing is a boat on the river 

Sunday School fun at a countryside church

The children showing off their crafts

The beautiful Cambodian land (a rice field that will be planted once the rains come)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Check out our May update here!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Wedding pictures

Last month, one of the staff members of the church in Svay Pak got married.  Weddings are a boisterous event with a big tent, loud music, and everyone dressed in fancy gowns! Here are a few fun pictures from the wedding.

Rachel, Pheara (one of the kindergarten teachers), and Becki
Becki, Rachel, Kimsan, our school manager, and Kim
Monea and Kanitha, both kindergarten teachers

The Khmer equivalent of cutting cake (the pile of fruit for this is obscured by the wedding party)

Hopefully the video gives you an idea of the scope of Khmer weddings--big, loud and full of entertainment!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

April Newsletter

Follow this link to see our latest newsletter.

April newsletter


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Tianjin visitors

Last month we had three of our dear friends visit us from Tianjin, China (where Kim, Becki and Rachel all met many years ago).  They brought suitcases full of goodies and hearts eager to serve.  Here are a few pictures of our time together.  

Kim and Rachel with all the wonderful donations for the school.

Rachel navigating her moto through Phnom Penh traffic.

Kim and Barb in a tuktuk.

Four people, three shelves, two baskets and one dog=one very full tuktuk!

Keli and Jenny outside the gate to our house.

The road to the countryside.

Delivering the children to church in the village.

A beautiful Cambodian grandmother.

A street view of Phnom Penh.

Our goodbye dinner.

Friday, March 2, 2012

In the Brokenness

I met Patty* nearly a year ago. She was one of the handful of children that frequented Kid’s Club, a play and teaching time at a local park for at-risk children.  She didn’t come every day and even when she did come, her grandmother often made her to leave early so that they could continue their rounds of begging for money in the park. She was an adorable six-year old with a hint of mischief in her eyes. She had two little brothers who would trail after her everywhere she went. This little girl quickly stole a piece of my heart and not a day of Kid’s Club would go by without me intentionally seeking her out.

At that time my spoken Khmer was very basic so our communication was limited.  Whenever she saw me at the park, she would race up to me and we would have the same conversation:
        Becki: Hello Patty! How are you?
        Patty: Hello bong (older sister) Becki!  I’m good. How are you? 
        Becki: Good! Happy to see you!  Becki loves Patty!
        Then I would say, “God loves Patty!”  

This conversation would give her so much delight that she would grab my hand and say,
            “Patty loves bong Becki!”

It was our little ritual.

Something so simple yet so powerful. I know that this little girl was daily in harm’s way, perhaps it was only a matter of time before she was abused or sold or both. I wanted so much to protect her and love her well. 

Three weeks ago a former colleague called me out of the blue and told me that Patty had been at Kid’s Club that afternoon and she insistently asked where Becki was. It had been nearly six months since I had last seen her because of a change in my job. The call reminded me of this precious child and I told my friend that I would visit soon.  I wanted to see her and have our ritual conversation and remind her that she was dearly loved!

But before I could get back to the park, some really terrible things happened to her. Much more than I can bare to think about...things that shouldn’t happen to a six-year-old full of so much life and wonder. When these events were discovered, she was quickly removed from her situation and taken to the safety of an aftercare shelter. 

And now I sit and cry in the brokenness that is all around me.  I wonder where God was and why He didn’t save this little one. I know that she is now in good hands - a place that will provide for all her needs and begin the hard work of restoring her.  While this is good, I am still broken-hearted for the darkness that is all around me.

"Lord, come quickly!"

--*name has been changed

Friday, February 17, 2012

February Newsletter

Follow this link to see our latest newsletter.

February Newsletter


Friday, January 27, 2012

Christmas Party!

We want to share a few pictures with you from last month. The last Friday before Christmas break, the church and school at Rahab's House Svay Pak hosted a Christmas party for all the children who attend these ministries. The best estimate was that 350 children attended!  The party took the entire month to plan, but was worth every minute of shopping and preparation. 

The teachers presenting a song

Praying before eating birthday cake

Singing Christmas carols together

Presents for the students

One of the leaders giving a message

A group of students performing a dance

*For the protection of the students, their faces aren't shown*