Thursday, December 12, 2013

Baby Christna

We are happy to announce the birth of baby Christna.  He was born into the Sek family on Tuesday afternoon, December 3rd at 1.10pm weighing almost 6 pounds/2.7 kilograms.  He joins big sister Sanya, his mom, Chanthou, and his dad, Saroeun, Rahab's House School's enrollment manager.  Although he was born four weeks early, he is healthy and oh so cute.  Please pray for the whole family as they adjust to one another. We are very proud aunties!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

November Newsletter

We are so thankful for God's provision in our lives!

Please click here to read our latest newsletter.

Just to give you a visual of the healthcare needs, here are some pictures of our staff receiving their typhoid vaccines.

Friday, October 18, 2013

October Fun

It’s hard to believe that we are in the middle of October already! The last few weeks have been both busy and fun. In late September, Rachel’s parents made the long trip to Cambodia. They spent eight days with us exploring the country, meeting our friends, visiting Svay Pak and seeing Angkor Wat.

We also had the opportunity to celebrate Rachel’s 30th birthday and Becki and Kimberly's 10 year anniversary in Asia while her parents were here. We had a big bash with tons of delicious Khmer food, games and lots of friends. It was so wonderful to have all of our favorite friends in one place for the evening!

Last weekend we went on an AIM (Agape International Missions) staff retreat in the mountains of Cambodia. It was beautiful and a great time to connect with other members on our team.

The roads in Cambodia, especially the roads leading to the mountains, leave a lot to be desired!  We made sure to get our car serviced before this trip so we didn't get stranded in the middle of nowhere.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Election Time in Cambodia

On July 28th, 2013, Cambodians went to the polls for only the fifth time in recent history.  In the months leading up to this important election, political analysts predicted that the current ruling party - the Cambodian People's Party (CPP), led by a man many consider to be a corrupt dictator - would retain power and little would change in Cambodia. But two weeks before the election, the exiled opposition leader returned to the country and the opposition party gained a burst of momentum.

On the evening of the 28th, as the results were trickling in, it seemed that the opposition party was ahead in most provinces. Cambodians were both elated and scared. Elated because perhaps their country would finally have the change many longed for, but scared because the CPP promised war if they lost. It was a tense evening with our phones ringing off the hook. Concerned friends asked us to stay inside, the city was surrounded by the military, and roads were closed. In the end, most of it was wild speculation and rumors by a population still wounded by a terrible civil war four decades ago.

Finally, on the morning of the 29th, it was announced that the ruling party had won the election. But the opposition party maintained that, in fact, they had won and that millions of votes had not been counted or had been stolen by the CPP. These unacceptable voting irregularities are now the rallying cry of the opposition.

Over the last two months the dissatisfaction of those who feel like their votes were not counted has increased.  The opposition has staged protests and mass demonstrations. The most recent occurred this last weekend. Tens of thousands of people swarmed Phnom Penh, gathered in a local park for a three day demonstration.  On Sunday the 15th, protesters and riot police clashed. The center part of the city was shut down with barricades and barbed wire. We followed twitter most of the day, seeing increasing reports of violence, culminating in a tragic death Sunday night.  Here is an excellent look at what happened in Phnom Penh last weekend as it unfolded.

If you don't have time to read all of the above link, this video is also an excellent summary and good glimpse into what the streets of Phnom Penh were like on Sunday. Sometimes it is hard for us to believe this actually happened.

All has been quiet the past few days. Both sides of the dispute came together at the request of the king of Cambodia to negotiate a peaceful resolution. Nothing has come of it so far. Pray for us as we talk with our Cambodian staff about what is happening in their country. The local news (controlled by the CPP) has not covered the protests, and many people did not even know what happened this past weekend. We are trying to encourage our staff to be aware and to pray for their own country as they learn more. More protests are planned for the coming week. Please continue to pray for Cambodia.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Our Daily Bread

Last Tuesday I sat in the doctor’s office with a Rahab's House School student and his mother. He has been having chest pain and we wanted the doctor to examine him. As I sat in the office during his examine, I could not help but notice how small this ten-year-old looked. When the doctor finished, he explained the next course of action and asked if we had any questions. I was still pondering the height and weight of this little one, so I asked the doctor if the boy was at the right height and weight for his age. The doctor consulted a chart, looked at the boy's hands and feet and came to the conclusion that Mao’s* height was comparable to a six-year-old and his weight was comparable to a seven-year-old. The doctor also mentioned that he had missed some key growth spurts because of poor nutrition. Therefore he would always be rather small, but have bigger hands and feet. His brain has been affected by lack of nutrition. The doctor unequivocally stated that Mao would never be as clever as he would have been had he had a good diet. My heart just about broke! This young boy is only ten-years-old, but in many ways his life's course has already been set for him. 

Proper nutrition has been on my mind over the last several months as we have walked with our staff through a variety of health crises. Many people in Svay Pak are severely underweight and they simply do not have the resources to change this. We are making small steps with our staff - providing a good salary, giving training on health and hygiene, distributing healthy snacks each day and making frequent trips to the doctor to treat aliments. I cannot help but wonder: what are the long term implications of poor nutrition on our staff and the children of Svay Pak? I also wonder what could have been. Could there have been fewer trips to the doctor, more energy in teaching, less fatigue? Could the students learn English or any of their subjects more quickly? Could families have fewer medical bills?  Could the next generation of Cambodian leaders come from this village? 

But we press on towards making incremental changes and trust that the Lord is up to something even in this difficult situation. 

“Give us today, our daily bread...” Matt 6:11

Friday, May 17, 2013

Summer update

Dear Friends,
As we mentioned in our last newsletter, the next several months involve a great deal of travel for the three of us. In order to balance our work in Cambodia and also take time to care for ourselves, we are going to pause our newsletter updates. We plan to resume our newsletters in September. 
We will continue to send out short prayer requests to our prayer team. If you would like to join that list, please email us or leave a comment.
We value your prayers and encouragement during this time. We ask that you would put a reminder on your calendar to lift us up to the Father over the next few months. 
Thank you in advance for understanding.
Grace and peace,
Becki, Kimberly and Rachel

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Long Defeat

Over the last several weeks, I have been sitting in what has felt like a long defeat. I take one staff member to the doctor and get answers only to have another fall ill. I am amazed by God’s faithfulness in the life of one family, only to hear of the heartbreak and spiritual oppression that continues in another. I see children happily attending Rahab’s House School and learning so much, only to hear of other students who cannot come because they must sell fish on the riverside for their family. I wish that I had a collection of victories to report. I wish that I could say that so many children are being rescued and that our entire staff is healthy and there are no family issues, but the battle continues and I live in the “long defeat that falling set in motion.”

Each day on my way to and from Svay Pak I pray to our Father and plead for inspiration, for help, for redemption. I pray that the situations around me would be healed and that the very broken places would be restored. And it is just hard. And I cry and complain to the Lord. And I know that just as God heard David’s cries, He also hears mine.

Again and again I have come back to the Sara Groves song “The Long Defeat”. It resonates with me as I walk with staff and friends through difficult circumstances and unanswered questions.  The lyrics are below. 

- Becki 

I have joined the long defeat
that falling set in motion
and all my strength and energy
are raindrops in the ocean

so conditioned for the win
to share in victor's stories
but in the place of ambition's din
I have heard of other glories

and I pray for an idea
and a way i cannot see
it's too heavy to carry
and impossible to leave

I can't just fight when I think I'll win
that's the end of all belief
and nothing has provoked it more
than a possible defeat

we walk a while we sit and rest
we lay it on the altar
I won't pretend to know what's next
but what I have I've offered

and I pray for inspiration
and a way I cannot see
it's too heavy to carry
and impossible to leave
it's too heavy to carry
and I will never leave
      - Sara Groves

Friday, February 15, 2013

February 2013 Update

Please check out our February Update - Lament - Prayer - Power!

Grace and Peace,

Becki, Rachel and Kimberly

Friday, January 18, 2013

Christmas around Cambodia

Recently two of our dear friends from China, Jessi and Molly, came to visit.  While they were here, we travelled around the country by car.  Below are some pictures of our trip together!

First, we spent Christmas Day at the beach.  Here's Becki at sunset
Then we traveled back to Phnom Penh...but first we met this van full of brooms on the highway
Here's something you don't see in the States...this little piggy is off to market
Our hotel had the world's largest treadmill.  We were all able to run on it at the same time!

We enjoyed a day of exploring the temples of Angkor Wat

School girls enjoying a bike ride through the peaceful countryside

Riding a bamboo train in Battambang...train is a very loose word for this form of transportation.  Read about the history of this train here

Disessemblying our cart as we meet another group