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7 Days in Siem Reap (3-9 March 2020)

Day 1: Visit to Bible Society Cambodia

We met Mr Sony from Bible Society Cambodia to find out more about their Khmer Literacy programme. We want to explore the possibility of using this programme to share the gospel. 

Day 2: Visit to Lovea Primary School and Peam Primary School

The kindergarten children in Lovea Primary School are getting ready for dismissal. They line up in twos and recite what they have learnt in school, and they do so in a sing-song manner.
A group of Grade 4 students at Peam Primary School crowded around Sreisros, their English teacher. This shows how much she is liked by the students!

Day 3: Visit to Thansure School and Baray Village

We had a discussion with Teacher Yoo, the principal of Thansure School, about her school. She has purchased a new piece of land for the school and is currently raising funds for it. We are awed by her strong faith in God.
Samuel, dressed in orange, had an outreach at Baray Village to 10 high school students. Janice shared the gospel with them and encouraged them to believe in Jesus.

Day 4: Visit to Pastor Villa

We visited Pastor Villa (dressed in blue shirt) at his home in Skun Village. He pastors a church of around 20 adults and does outreach to 10 village homes in the villages around his church. Although he is only 28 years old, he has committed his life to serving God and has chosen the path least travelled for young men like himself – a life in village ministry instead of in the city. 

Day 5: Visit to New Living Hope Center

Pearl, Janice and Michael relaxing outside New Living Hope Center, before meeting with Pastor Chhay. There are 3 generations in this photo. Thanks be to God that we can serve Him together and enable Love-A-Village’s ministry to continue in the long term with leadership renewal.

Day 6: Visit to Light of the Nations Church and Lovea’s Sunday School

We attended Sunday worship at Light of the Nations Church. The worship was led by youths who were full of energy and enthusiastically singing praises to God. Some youths took turns to read scripture and pray. May these youths continue to grow in wisdom, knowledge and stature. 
It was our first time visiting Lovea’s Sunday School ministry. 27 children attended today’s session. Two youths from New Living Hope Center led them in worship, bible study and music fundamentals. In the foreground, the students read the story about the 10 plagues God sent before the Pharaoh let the Israelites go. In the background, the students learnt A minor chord on the guitar and do-re-mis.

Day 7: Siem Reap International Airport

Siem Reap International Airport was empty! The COVID-19 has taken a toll on tourism – fewer tourists mean many businesses in Siem Reap are suffering. Please pray for the Cambodians during this economic downturn. 
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Who is Your Favourite Bible Character?

This trip, I had dinner with four high school students who live in a Christian student dormitory in Siem Reap city. As I interacted with these young Christians, I found them to be hungry for God’s word. They are eager to learn more about God. They are trying their best to live out the Christian faith and serve God faithfully in a country that is known to be Buddhist.

During dinner, I asked them this question – Who is your favourite Bible character? 

I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of their answers.

Answer 1: Ruth – she was loyal to her husband’s family even though he had passed away. She loved her mother-in-law and followed her.

Answer 2: Abraham – he had great faith in God. He demonstrated this faith with the sacrifice of his only son.

Answer 3: Moses – he was a great leader who led the Israelites out of Egypt.

Answer 4: I don’t know who my favourite Bible character is. There are too many to remember! 

I had expected this last answer from all four of them actually! And to be honest, I think many Singaporean youths might also have given this answer too, should they be asked.

For me, one of my favourite Bible characters is King David. Why? Like all of us, King David was imperfect and sinned multiple times. Yet, each time he sinned, King David repented and came before the Lord. This knowledge gives me encouragement that I don’t need to be perfect, but I need to ask God for forgiveness and repent each time I sin. God himself said that King David was a man after his own heart. 

So, who is your favourite Bible character and why? 😊

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Being Faithful Stewards of God’s Grace

It seems like it was only yesterday that we, an eclectic mix of travellers from diverse backgrounds and age groups, left the chilly December weather in Singapore for the sunny skies of Siem Reap and warm welcome of Cambodians. We are thankful that we had a lovely shared experience during which we enjoyed spending time together and contributing in our unique ways.

Read on for our thoughts on the trip!

Anastasia Lee:
What a heartwarming and joyful trip this was for me – to be able to spend time with the locals, eat delicious food that was prepared for us, and to play with these energetic children!
Gabriel Wong:
One of the highlights of the trip for me has to be the visit to Lovea Primary School. Even though the time there was relatively short, it filled my heart to be able to interact and share with the students the meaning of Christmas!
Debbie Chan:
It was very heartwarming to see how much hard work the church members dedicated to making the Christmas celebration a success. The members started preparing for the event a month ahead, painstakingly making these decorations by hand!
Deborah Wan: 
Very thankful for the chance to share with the teachers of Lovea about using Circles to build connections between teachers and students. I had the privilege of hearing teachers share the reason why they joined teaching and also seeing their creativity come alive when they had the chance to create a meaningful talking piece to use when they try having Circle Time with their students! The teachers really showed genuineness, curiosity, interest and courage during our very short training, all that is needed for a ‘circle keeper’.
 
Note: Circle Time is a method teachers and counsellors can use to facilitate discussions. Students are gathered in a circle to participate in a discussion with the teacher as the facilitator, i.e. ‘keeper’.
Janice Cheong:
It was a heartening experience to share with the teachers in Lovea School about Circle Time. They were very open-minded and keen to learn another way to build relationships with their students because they have a heart for their students and they treasure their relationships with them. I also had a chance to learn more about why they chose to be teachers and what it’s like to be teachers in Cambodia.
Janice Tay:
One new thing I did this trip was to preach a sermon at New Living Hope Centre during a Youth Christmas Outreach event. It was something I dreaded doing but I am glad that I was able to use the preaching skills I learned in seminary to serve God.
Ng San San:
I’ve always been averse to children. Cambodian children, however, are strangely endearing. Always thankful and respectful, they deserve the multitude of life choices that we often take for granted. During this trip, I found myself wondering what lies ahead for these children after a few years of mandatory schooling.
Park Tarn:
The most memorable thing for me wasn’t the beauty of Cambodia. It wasn’t the sunrises or the sunsets. It wasn’t the scenery or the grandeur of Angkor Wat. Breathtaking as all these may be, what touched me was the little conversations we, the trippers, had. The way everyone took care of each other. The smiles on the children. In the photo, all it took was a little yellow balloon to reach across that doorway and connect with the children there. I am glad I was there to witness it all. 
Sarah Chan:
There is always a warm sense of unity when we meet fellow brothers and sisters in Christ – even if we are from different countries and speak different languages. I am thankful for the joy of serving the Lord alongside some very encouraging local Christians to share the simple but powerful Christmas story! 
Sherlyn Ong:
Having met such a caring, fun and cohesive team truly reflects just how gracious the Lord is! I am so thankful that we were all able to work well together, despite our differences, to serve God and bless the people in Lovea and Peam. Kudos to Janice and Park for planning this trip so well and San San for capturing all our moments.
Tom and Matthew Chan:
How beautiful the feet that bring good news! Truly blessed to have Matthew and I join in the mission trip to see firsthand the sowing of love and life into Lovea Village. #loveofChrist# #GodlovesCambodia#

Thank you for reading our blog. We hope to have you come on board next year!

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God Has Been Good to Love-A-Village

As I was swiping through the photos from this trip, it suddenly came to my mind that God has been good to Love-A-Village. We have much to be thankful for.

Let me share with you some snapshots of our year.

We enlarged the size of 3 classrooms in Thansure School as the children became bigger. Can you see the difference in the tiles?

We repaired the roof at Thansure School as there were holes in the roof.

We tiled the last kindergarten classroom for Lovea Primary School. The students now have a conducive place to study in!

We bought 4 new blackboards for Lovea Primary School as their old blackboards were so old that any writing could not be seen.

We renovated the toilets at Lovea Primary School.

We have our very first scholarship student – Sithorn!

We found a supporter for Sriesros to teach English to 73 Grade 4 students in Peam Primary School.

Om E has stopped drinking – once again! 🙂

All glory be to God. And a huge THANK YOU to all our supporters who have made it possible. Many of you responded to our last-minute requests with big hearts. YOU have made a difference in the lives of these people.

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Back to Where It All Started

7 years ago, Eugene and Li Ting got to know each other while on a community service-learning project organized by their school. They started dating after the trip and have stayed together since.

In July 2019, Eugene found Love A Village online by googling Lovea Village (surprising right! I never thought our website would be effective in reaching out to the general public!). He contacted me through WhatsApp, we met up and came together to plan for the proposal.

Take a look at the photos below which tell the complete story!

Eugene sourced all the decorations from Singapore. He kept it simple so it would be easy for Mr Vichea and myself to set it up.

We got 80 students from the school to welcome the couple and join the festivities. One of the students was a boy who Li Ting remembered from 7 years back!

After Li Ting said “yes”, the couple cut a cake and shared it with the students and teachers of Lovea Primary School. Interesting fact: This kitchen was built by Eugene and Li Ting 7 years ago!

Back to the old school way of driving off in style! Eugene and Li Ting boarded the motorized ox cart as they left the school engaged!

The students sending them off!

Both Eugene and Li Ting have a big heart and wanted to give back to the school. Along with the proposal, Eugene also asked if they could contribute anything. The school requested for the old toilets to be repaired, thus, Eugene and Li Ting sponsored a new roof, doors and a fresh coat of paint! A big thank you from Lovea Primary School!