October Roundup

This month has flown by like a whirlwind, with so much going on in many different areas of ministry!

India Trip

10363426_10204848603282951_3708236781187540082_n.jpg

IHSI founders/directors Eric and Ginny recently went for a weeklong trip to Bangalore, India. They were able to spend time with Gopi and Marites Kumar, who will be joining our team of staff early next year! They also got to meet with several Christian organizations, glean helpful ideas from them, and experience some of the culture of the region while they were there.

India has been on Ginny’s heart for many years, and we feel that it is a place where the IHSI/Sak Saum model of ministry could be replicated in the future. This is one of several other countries in the region that IHSI envisions ministering to in the future, in addition to the work that has already been planted and thriving in Cambodia. As God reveals more we look forward to what He has in store for IHSI/Sak Saum in India!

New Staff

We recently welcomed our newest Khmer staff member to the IHSI team! Meet Kiri, a young man who has been a part of the GCCS youth group and soccer team for some time now. We’ve known him since before he was a Christian, and have seen much good fruit in his life as he has grown up over the past couple of years. Kiri has a sister in the Sak Saum program and his half-sister is Aly, our youth pastor/children’s program director.

We’re excited to have Kiri join our ministry family, and he is doing a great job as he shadows other staff and gives general assistance at our Center. We look forward to great things as he learns to use his time and talents to bless his nation!

Teaching Safety

This month we did a fun but informative class for the men and women of Sak Saum. What was the topic? One of extreme relevance here in Cambodia: moto driving safety! Everyone who attended enjoyed seeing the “do’s and don’ts” of driving taught by Eric, with plenty of on-the-spot demonstrations to drive each point home. We love sharing practical life skills with our community!

Visitors

Last week we hosted two visitors from Mission Community Church in Arizona. MCC has been very instrumental in our latest expansions and we are thankful to have them as ministry partners and friends. It was great to meet Sheli and Audrey, have them see the ministry, and learn from them during the time they were here.

Staff Training

This is the third year that our staff have attended the Global Leadership Summit, a great opportunity for them to hear renowned Christian men and women teach on a variety of leadership-related topics, all translated into the Khmer language! This year several Sak Saum leaders were able to attend in addition to IHSI core staff. Everyone felt blessed by what they learned and is excited to apply and share with others!

International Ministry

The Hansons are now in the US for 6 weeks and will be visiting 5 states: speaking, meeting with board members, and raising awareness. Please keep their travels, health, and meetings in your prayers!

Sports in Saang

Last week we hosted a two-day seminar and sports tournament at our Center in conjunction with EFC (the Evangelical Fellowship of Cambodia). Four churches from our area sent multiple soccer and volleyball teams to learn about sports ministry and play a series of games against each other at our Center and the local high school. Some great lessons and discussion times led by GCCS and EFC staff were followed by girls’ volleyball games on Thursday afternoon and a full day of soccer on Friday.

This tournament was the first opportunity for our girls’ volleyball team to compete, so naturally they were nervous and extremely excited! It is fairly unusual to have sports competitions for girls in Cambodia, so it was great to see our girls growing in confidence and holding their own on the field. Despite their lack of experience and some threatening thunder and rain, after several intense playoff games they went on to take first place!

The following day there were a series of soccer games, and our GCCS boys’ team gave their all, playing hard and maintaining good attitudes despite some injuries and facing intense competition. In the end, they scored second place in the tournament, and our goalie won the title of MVP!

We are so thankful to be able to hold these kinds of events, and to have a great group of youth on our teams and great staff to coordinate and facilitate. What a great way to build camaraderie between churches and involve local teens in a positive pastime! We plan to have many more such events in the future, but in the meantime we hope you enjoy the photos below (click the gallery to view more).

- In His Steps

Boxes of Blessings

image.jpg

This morning we held a special children’s program for kids from impoverished families who live in a nearby village. We’ve been looking forward to giving out the Samaritan’s Purse OCC (Operation Christmas Child) shoeboxes we received this year, and after completing a children’s Bible study initiative from OCC with a core group of children, it was time to give out the gifts to a larger group!

The kids were clearly excited about the event, some of them arriving early by an hour or more. There were 85 of them, ranging from age 2-14 years old, with some of the littlest ones accompanied by parents or older siblings. While waiting for the program to being, they ran around outside and played at the playground in a frenzy of anticipation!

image.jpg
image.jpg

After short lesson from Solomon came the main event: giving out the shoeboxes from OCC. It is always fun to see the looks on children’s faces as they open presents and discover everything from toys and school supplies to toothbrushes and new clothes! Many of them carefully surveyed the items in their box one by one with delight, before placing them neatly back inside for safe-keeping. Most of these children have few personal possessions, and even the simplest of gifts is treasured! 

image.jpg

We are thankful for Samaritan’s Purse and their giving to our
community and many others. Please join us in praying that the children who received a shoebox today would feel blessed, would begin to attend church, and that they and their families would come to know Christ as they experience His love.

-    In His Steps

image.jpg

 

image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg

Familiar Faces

Before getting to our normal blog update below, we wanted to acknowledge the loss of Sok, a young husband and father who passed away several days ago due to leukemia. Although we are thankful that Sok is finally free from suffering, this is a difficult time for his family, the Sak Saum community, and the church as a whole. We would appreciate you joining with us in prayers for all those he leaves behind.

Last week we said goodbye to a team from IHSI founders’ home church in upstate New York. Not only were they from a church near and dear to our heart, but the Hanson’s and other staff have known these particular team members personally since their childhood! Needless to say, it was very special to have them here in Cambodia with In His Steps, seeing them in action with us in ministry.

While they were here, the team participated in everything from children’s ministry and English classes to helping sandbag a dock at Sak Saum community housing and hauling gravel to bolster the road at our Center. They taught at church and youth group services, built developmental toys for kids in Sak Saum nurseries, visited the elderly and sick in our community, did a VBS for children, played sports with local youth, and built lots of relationships along the way!

It was wonderful to have friends with us on outreach, and we are looking forward to seeing them again! Having people with a passion to serve is a blessing to Cambodia and to the communities we work in. We hope you’ll enjoy the photos of Gospel Community teams’ outreach in the gallery below.

If your church or organization is thinking about bringing a group to Cambodia to minister with In His Steps, now is the time to apply for 2015 team outreaches! Our calendar is filling up fast, so don’t miss this chance to contact us and learn more now. Simply email us with your team questions at teams@ihsionline.org, and we’ll contact you again soon to discuss outreach possibilities with you!

Looking forward to hearing from you,

In His Steps

An Answered Prayer And A Blessed Little Girl

 A few months ago we posted about Sokchea, a young girl with cerebral palsy in our area who we have been ministering to for about 7 months now. We shared that we were praying that someone with a background in physical therapy would be able to come and work with Sokchea, and also train our staff how to help her grow strong and more independent. That prayer was answered last week when not one but two lovely ladies from the U.S. came and spent a very busy seven days doing above and beyond what we could have hoped for!

After connecting with a friend of our Sak Saum ministryand hearing about Sokchea’s situation, Jennifer, a physical therapist, and Jen, her co-worker (who is also pursuing her degree in P.T.) took time out of their busy lives to make thejourney over to Cambodia. When Sokchea met them and was told they were to be her “exercise teachers” for a week, her eyes lit up and she smiled in response. Little did she know that not only would she be exercisingshe would experience whole new world of physical motion and stimulation that she could never have imagined.

Touching new textures, feeling the weight of her own bodyagainst her joints, learning more natural ways toaccomplish certain motions, batting at toys and a drum, practicing activating muscles in all areas of her bodySokchea had more variety in a week than she probably hashad in her entire life! Naturally, some aspects of what she was experiencing proved challenging in both physical and psychological ways. Yet there were many moments each day where she responded with interest, excitement, and even joy.

Jennifer and Jen gave a crash course in physical therapy for several of our church and Sak Saum staff, explaining the reasoning behind the many techniques they employed and helping them practice, first on each other and eventually with Sokchea herself. We feel so thankful that not only would Jennifer and Jen take the time to pour into her with love and their God-given abilities, but that they would also invest in our staff by providing a daunting amount ofteaching so well in such a short time!

It was such an incredible blessing for Sokchea to have this time with trained professionals, and even in such a short time we already see her moving differently, responding in new ways, even seemingly trying to vocalize more. In fact, when it was time for goodbyes, she rolled over and supported herself on her elbow for a moment without help.This is amazing progress for her! As we help her practice what she has been learning we are looking forward to many more moments of personal triumph for her.

Please join us in praying:

- That Sokchea will continue to progress as we implement what we have learned, and that having these new opportunities for her body’s development would also awaken more hope and more healing in her heart.

- That Jennifer and Jen would eventually be able to return to Cambodia to work with Sokchea again and provide even more training for staff

That those around her in her home and neighborhood would have their eyes opened more fully to the treasure that Sokchea is and the compassion and faithfulness of God as He expresses them to her in these practical ways.

- In His Steps