Dear Friends and Family,
The old song goes: “99 bottles of beer on the wall; 99 bottles of beer. What should we do if one of them falls? 98 bottles of beer on the wall; 98…..” Mine goes: “1623 weddings to go; 1623 weddings. What do we do when one of them’s hitched? 1622 weddings to go; ….” Why is Pa Thom (Me) smiling? http://www.missionreports.com/
Honeymoons are “In season” and it’s not just for a few orphan kids that found true love. Our cows are in the mooooood! Yes, cow honeymoons are planned to match the best of our local breeds with the US bovine “Power Team” through artificial insemination. Thank you to the Foursquare Foundation for the grant for reaching ethnic groups (they love their cows!) and the Clinton , Iowa Foursquare Church. Like the preparation for the brides of King Ahasuerus (Remember Esther?) our cows are getting ready for their dream boys, sorry girls, they are arriving in plastic tubes packed in dry ice. http://www.missionreports.com/
Easter Sunday was a big deal for us this year. We’ve always put our energy into Christmas and due to the proximity with Cambodian New Year, Easter has been largely ignored. Then Peter (our national church president) got the revelation that the reason Jesus came at Christmas was to restore relationship through Easter. We held hundreds of special Easter services around the country, and two in Phnom Penh . The evening service had to be held outside in order to handle the crowd. Hundreds decided to follow Christ. http://www.missionreports.com/
Cambodian New Year is by far the biggest holiday of the Year. Since, it does interfere with church attendance. We have been frustrated with that aspect. It is a time of honoring and blessing your elders, and also deals with the cleansing of sin, from a Buddhist perspective, by washing with water (This has turned into one huge three day long water fight in the provinces, with thousands of people lining the roads with plastic bags filled with water and pelting all passers by. Happy new Year!), and since cleansing from sin is what Jesus accomplished on the cross, we decided that it was time for the church to be proactive and co-opt the tradition of the ritual washing for a Christian commemoration of what Christ accomplished, along with honoring our elders. I think we have a new tradition? http://www.missionreports.com/
The New Year celebration lasts at least a week and just about destroys any functional purpose for business transactions in the month of April. Prices for travel and goods are double for a week each side of the holiday. Usually, everyone travels to their homes. Phnom Penh is deserted, the shops are all shuttered. You could do 80 km/hour down Monivong ( Main Street ) and never hit your horn. The bad news is, for the orphans, “Home” is their orphan home, which is not too exciting unless something special happens, so, we try to do something at each home to help them. We brought the Cham Chao and Prochentong kids to our house. There were maybe 130 kids and staff so, you would think, 240 large hot dogs, 70 pounds of chicken, with, chips, ice cream, and 384 cans of soda would be excessive. Nothing was left!http://www.missionreports.com/
Happy New Year! A ceiling fell on my head. (Cambodian New Year was April 14th) After a long day celebrating with the kids from Cham Chao, we finished it off by trying to burn the office down. We’re not quite sure how it started in a stack of blankets that we were storing for the cool season. We’ll blame a wall mounted electric fan that was buried under the stack. “There’s nothing more dangerous than a monkey with matches!” That’s what my wife told me years ago when we lived in Laos . Back then they had the big “Farmer matches” you know, the big sticks with the two tone blue tips that lit on anything from your tooth to a brick? Well, monkeys would grab them and go play in the rafters. It was said they burned down more houses than lightning. But, I’m not blaming monkeys for our “New Year’s Surprise”. About 6:30pm Mak Mony started yelling “Run! Fire!” Fortunately, one of the staff cut off the electric supply at the main pole. We were blessed with enough water pressure, and help left from the party, to start dowsing flames, along with some buckets from the pool. We pulled off a section of the roof and soon had the flames extinguished, but as we were pulling the smoldering stock of blankets from the store room the ceiling came crashing down. Now I know why firemen wear those funny helmets. I didn’t get hurt but it made me look like a real fire fighter. http://www.missionreports.com/
We do go through significant amounts of money to keep 3000+ orphans and widows alive, but it is at least 30% less than what we would need if it were not for the food and support items we receive from donors all over the world. From beds in Switzerland to apricots in California , to clothing from Hong Kong, and recorded Bibles from China , there are hundreds of tons of goods from dozens of other donors. Your gifts are appreciated! Distribution is something we take very seriously.http://www.missionreports.com/
The lack of funds this past year has forced us to take training to a local level. It has turned into a blessing. We activated a group of former orphans that had entered ministry, deemed them the “Young Lions” and put them on the road to release churches in the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Of course they often start with introducing new believers to Christ and baptizing them in water. This made the youth jealous, so they said, “We want to do that!” So, they took the name, “Young Tigers”. The Lions and Tigers are “Tearing it up!” http://www.missionreports.com/
The financial squeeze has forced us to take our Annual Convention to the District level. We finished off three more districts this month. http://www.missionreports.com/
We do appreciate teams! Teams came from the US , http://www.missionreports.com/
The rice is planted! http://www.missionreports.com/
Hepatitis “B” has become a more widespread health concern for us than H.I.V. Many of our kids are children of prostitutes and they become infected at birth. Unlike H.I.V victims, they can live for years without showing symptoms, but this liver destroying disease can be extremely deadly, and is a serious blow to their future plans for marriage and family. Usually, “Hep B” is considered an S.T.D. but we know, through medical examination, that these kids (at least the girls) have not been sexually active. Though data is inconclusive, it appears to us, that the disease can also be transferred through unsafe drinking water. The good news is that Dr. Mike Callan, who has been to Cambodia eight times, donated enough money to purchase testing equipment to diagnose the carriers of the disease, and vaccinate the non-positive kids against the deadly virus. This is truly a life saver, and a priceless gift! Treatments can be very expensive and sometimes life can only be prolonged through liver transplant or a miracle from God. We believe for the miracle!
Too much happened this month. Sorry! Thanks to all of you who help and pray!
Ted (Pa Thom), Sou (Mak Sou),
And the people doing all the work!
The Cambodian Team!