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I believe in Jesus

A testimony from Vichea

Dear Love-A-Village Supporters, 

My name is Vichea Un. On 4 June 2020, I declared to the world, “I believe in Jesus.” I grew up in a family who believes in Buddhism. Life in Cambodia, and in the village, is not easy. When I was a young adult, I had the opportunity to go to Siem Reap town to study and work. I grabbed it and left my village.

I found out that life in town was not easy too! I could not find a job and didn’t have enough money, so I had to stop studying. During this time, I was introduced to Jesus through my friend. At that time, I thought that Jesus was a god, so I prayed to him to bless me as I was going through difficult times.

However, I did not fully believe in Jesus. It took me a long time to learn and fully believe that Jesus is the Son of God and to have the courage to declare, “I believe in Jesus.”

On 4 June 2020, I did it! In front of my villagers, I did it! God gave me the power and courage to share my faith. I could not have done it on my own. 

In my journey to becoming a Christian, I have come to realize – when something bad happens, there is a reason. God is there with me throughout. God loves me and he wants good things for me. I am encouraged by Jesus when I face difficulties.

I know there is much for me to learn about Jesus. I have started to read the Bible daily, learning from a Bible teacher more about Jesus and sharing my faith with my family. Please pray for my family to believe in Jesus and for God to continue to provide for my family. 

(In Vichea’s words, with just a little editing to be more grammatically correct.)

Vichea (right most) with his new family in Christ and Love-A-Village’s partners in Cambodia (Sriesros, Masel and Om Puerth – from left to right)
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Greater Needs Fund touched lives from afar

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A Gift of Light

During our trip in March 2020, we blessed Pastor Villa who lives in Skun village, about 1 hour’s drive away from Siem Reap City. Although he has a solar panel on his roof, he had no electricity in his house as the battery that the solar panel was connected to was not working. So, we bought him a new battery, a solar charge controller, switches and plugs.

Pastor Villa’s solar panel on the roof of the church
Battery, solar charge controller, switches

After a day…

Ta-dah! He has fixed everything up!

Now, his family doesn’t need to live in darkness, and they can have light in the night. 😊

The Love-A-Village supporter who donated the new battery commented that “a small gift makes a huge difference”! We never know the huge impact our small actions make. We hope this encourages you to continue to give – in time, in kind, in cash.

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Fruit of the Spirit

As Christians, we should be producing the fruit of the Spirit in our daily lives. Through this trip, I saw the nine attributes displayed!

How the Fruit of the Spirit was evident this trip:

At Paradise School, Teacher Yoo showered all of us, her students and the parents with the love of God. She reached out to every single one and touched our hearts and lives with the love of God.

 

Every smiling face of a child showed such great joy – whether it was when playing games, receiving gifts or giving a performance. It was a joyful time for all the children! The 3 events we held – Christmas at Paradise School, Christmas at Lovea Primary School and the Friendship Soccer Event – were filled with joyful faces.

For me, it was an afternoon walk in Lovea Village that brought me peace. The quietness and stillness I experienced as I walked along the dusty road is indescribable. My heart filled with the peace of God and I knew that this ministry is blessed by God.

Communication wasn’t easy! The teachers couldn’t understand us and we couldn’t understand them! But we were patient and learnt how to communicate with each other and work together despite the language barrier. Many times, we used hand signs to try to communicate and laughed when we didn’t understand each other!

On 16 December, we had lunch with Mr Sophanny and Claudine, a missionary couple serving in Siem Reap. They have been extremely kind to us throughout the whole trip. They were instrumental in ensuring that the Christmas Party at Paradise and the Friendship Soccer Event ran smoothly. Claudine also acted as our translator many times with Teacher Yoo! Their kindness went a step further as they gifted us with ‘kromas’ (scarfs). THANK YOU for the wonderful gifts!

From the picture, you can see my parents looking at Teacher Yoo. To me, my parents displayed goodness this trip as they embraced and welcomed the volunteers and Cambodians alike. They showed me what it meant to be followers of Christ and be Christ-like. Without my parents’ support in Love A Village, I couldn’t have come this far. Words cannot express how much my parents mean to me. Although I don’t show or say it often, I love you both very much!

During our stay at Bread of Life Bed and Breakfast, I had the opportunity to see God at work in the lives of Chhoy and Cham Nam, two of the staff working there. Every day they would have morning devotion and read their bible without fail. They serve Jesus faithfully and with such dedication!

Cambodians are generally gentle people. Singaporeans, on the other hand, can sometimes be too quick with a harsh word. During this trip, I witnessed how uplifting kind and gentle words can be and how damaging harsh words can be. The tongue is really the hardest part of our body to tame! Let us all remember to be gentle like Jesus is!

How can I balance being and doing? How can I stop myself from doing things too fast? How can I control my tongue? There were many lessons on self-control I have learnt, still am learning and need to learn! With each trip, my worldview opens up and God gives me just that bit more of wisdom.

To God be the Glory!

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My First Encounters in Siem Reap (by Yee Jong)

It was literally a dusty, bumpy and narrow dirt track shared by people, vehicles and cows leading to the destinations where our hearts were. But we never failed to enjoy the wisp of freshness from the infectious smiles of our hosts and the children when we reached there.

The work started in Siem Reap is not without a hitch, but there are always hopes and possibilities, and tangible progress no matter how slow and jerky it is; and of course wisdom and guidance from our Lord.

PCEF headed by the principal Mr Pagna is facing a funding crisis because their main sponsor has withdrawn support. Mr Pagna, though not in the best of health, continues to struggle with administrative and manpower problems.

The visit to Lovea Primary School firmed up the practical help of co-sponsoring the provision of electricity to the school and provided valuable time to explore and prioritise projects that will improve facilities.

We certainly would like to see the effort Ms Yoo, principal of Paradise Mission School, and her team put in to nurture the children and spread the Gospel continue and bear fruits. Paradise Mission School has a well-run programme based on the local curriculum with infusion of Christian teaching.

On this trip we also met up with personnel of 2 social enterprises over meals and learnt about the work they do in Siem Reap, and gathered first-hand knowledge of the life and culture of the Cambodians. Singaporeans Govin and his wife Betty operate Bread of Life (BOL) BnB & Café, which doubles as a training place for Cambodian youths who wish to join the hospitality industry. Govin and Betty believe in Christian discipleship and model the training in that vein. They have had a fulfilling ministry in Siem Reap for about 8 years. Desmond, another Singaporean also manages a hospitality training school with an on-site café, Spoons, under the umbrella of EGBOK. EGBOK is an NGO which reaches out to disadvantaged youths with various programmes. The business from Spoons generates revenue for EGBOK to sustain its mission.

While we need passion in the work we want to do in Siem Reap, we also need patience and understanding. Life is tough for an average Cambodian. Help is always welcome, but we have to be sensitive and respect their space. But still, we want to be able to share the Gospel with them. It is a continuous learning journey in cross-cultural missions. May we find favour with the Lord in the work we do there. I saw this line on a banner in Ms Yoo’s school, “Everything is possible in the Lord (equivalent Mark 10:27).” Truly we rely on the Lord for the work.