Equipping Youth for Success

Cambodia has a youth-skewed population and a fast-growing generation of teens and young adults who are looking to develop marketable skill sets. In rural areas like Saang they are often painfully aware of the flimsiness of their public school education, and are always trying to “catch up”. Although we are limited by some factors in how we can help them, we at IHSI do our best to provide opportunities for learning, character development, and skills training, through discipleship, community involvement, English classes, our Reading Room, cultural arts opportunities, and more. We are always looking for ways to sow into young people so that wherever they find themselves in the future, they will be equipped to do well.

That’s why this month we are very excited about our newly expanded free computer classes! Computers are such an integral part of so many different parts of modern life, and having basic proficiency in technology skills is a key to accessing a greater world of learning as well as a major plus for young people looking for jobs. We’ve been offering limited computer classes to some extent for a while now, but are now adding new classes so that twenty-four individuals can receive this training daily in our four-computer classroom. They will have five days per week of classes during each semester, something that most of them would never be able to afford if studying elsewhere.

Cambodia’s young people need parents, mentors, and churches taking active interest in their development both spiritually and academically. Whether or not this happens at home or in the larger community, IHSI is blessed to play a part in equipping this generation for success! God has good plans for each one, and we are excited to see where He leads them.

-IHSI

Saang Fire Safety Day

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Stop. Drop. Roll! These words have been familiar to many of us since kindergarten. Fire safety, hand-washing, stranger danger: childhood lessons that Westerners take for granted are completely foreign concepts to Cambodian children. Those children grow up to be adults, who still have never learned these basic concepts.

Helping to fill in life-skills gaps is one of the many functions that we serve in the community here. Earlier this week, IHSI staff had an educational morning with over 45 men and women of Sak Saum/Brother’s House. There were lots of laughs as they practiced their new fire-safety skills! And this week our English teachers will be teaching the same to students ranging in age from 9 to 25. Simple lessons such as these are just one of a variety of practical ways that IHSI is trying to educate the community! We hope you enjoy the photos below of Saang Fire Safety Day. 

How Far Does Love Go?

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As you may have seen last week in a prayer point on our Prayer Room page, for nearly six months IHSI/Sak Saum staff have been visiting a 9 year-old special needs girl in a nearby village. Though her name, Sokchea, means “healthy”, she has already survived so much: an attempted abortion, possible fetal alcohol syndrome, a botched medical procedure, flat head syndrome, and years of neglect and rejection. She has what appears to be cerebral palsy, and due to her family’s lack of education and fear she has lived her whole life being told she must lie still and not try to move. She never received therapy, adequate nutrition, or even kind words; in fact she would often hear her mother tell others just how much of a burden to the family she was.

Now, Sokchea has a new caregiver, and a new outlook on life thanks to daily visits by people who come to encourage her and help care for her. Simple things like bathing, sitting or drinking water pose difficulty for Sokchea. Despite the challenges, it has been so exciting to see her smiling with a sense of accomplishment after completing basic acts like moving her arms or legs to exercise. And even though she is currently non-verbal, she definitely is an opinionated and feisty little girl!

The years of neglect and rejection have taken their toll on Sokchea, but we believe that there is much more hope for her than her birth parents ever imagined. None of IHSI staff have any formal training in caring for special needs children, but as best we can have been trying to teach Sokchea simple stretches and exercises to improve her range of motion and strength. Despite our own limitations, we see a lot of positive growth in her ability to do basic motions that months ago she had little control over. Now she can even sit on someone’s lap and look around for a few minutes holding her own head up, which she had never done before.

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Our team of church volunteers has brought Sokchea to Sunday services several times, much to her excitement.  Even the short ride from her house to our campus seems to make her so happy. We envision someday being able to bring Sokchea to attend a soccer game, join Sunday School, or watch our annual kite flying contests! Surely it is God’s heart for her that she would become part of a community where she will be valued and included.

Small steps of progress and simple acts of love can add up to a big difference for someone like Sokchea. But she also has real physical needs that would be benefitted best by receiving professional care from a physical therapist or someone experienced in working with individuals who have cerebral palsy. We also are hoping to get her a retro-fitted wheelchair or one we can modify ourselves, because although Sokchea shows great interest in going outdoors and seeing new places, that is something which is difficult to facilitate currently.

We are hoping that as you read this blog post, you would start to dream with us on Sokchea’s behalf. Are you or someone you know a qualified physical therapist? Would you or they be able to spend some time, even just a few weeks, here with us in Cambodia as a volunteer working with Sokchea and training our staff in how to approach long-term therapy for her?

If that does not sound like you, what about helping to raise money for a wheelchair and/or exercise equipment? Your youth group, business, or circle of friends could find creative ways to help us broaden Sokchea’s horizons and give her a chance to experience more mobility and freedom than she has ever had.

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 How far does your love go? If this post has sparked something in you and you feel you could help Sokchea in any of the ways mentioned above, please go to http://ihsionline.org/connect/ and send us a message with the subject “Sokchea”. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

-IHSI

An Exciting Announcement!

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Dear friends,

As this blog post is being released, a brand new feature on our website is going live: the In His Steps Prayer Room!

What is our Prayer Room? It's a virtual place where anyone with a passion for prayer can receive live updates on prayer points in Cambodia and our ministry base. By simply going to ihsionline.org/prayer-room, you can see firsthand updates from the IHSI team on challenges we are  facing or issues we need prayer for. You will also be able to see the  results of your intercession, since whenever appropriate we will be posting updates on answered prayers too! Additionally, you can subscribe to have these updates delivered to your inbox! Just look for the subscribe box on the Prayer Room page.
 
Since long before IHSI was birthed, founders Eric and Ginny Hanson have believed in the importance of intercession as a key to unlocking doors in ministry. God loves to link believers around the world through prayer, and it is often the easiest and most readily applicable way of partnering with what He is doing on the mission field. The internet is a powerful tool for connecting people, and we are looking forward to seeing how God uses this new prayer page for the advancement of His kingdom here in Cambodia.

In addition to live updated prayer points, there are also some great links to background info on Cambodia, strategies for prayer, and a calendar where you can view upcoming events, holidays, and times of year where Cambodia needs an extra covering of prayer. So please, take a moment to visit the Prayer Room today, and share with your friends. Thank you in advance for partnering with us in prayer!

God bless, the IHSI

Need to Know

Dear friends, family, and supporters,
 

We would like to take a moment to let you all know that as a ministry we place a high value on trusting God, walking in integrity, and communicating honestly with those that give to support our programs and projects. Our policy for everyone in our circle of ministry is that we do not as individuals approach visitors, teams, or anyone else asking for personal gifts, loans, or money. When we do fundraising, it is done in an above-board manner with financial accountability to our board of directors, the state of Colorado, and the Cambodian government.

If you are ever approached via social networks or email by any person claiming to be connected with or a part of IHSI ministry, asking for personal gifts, loans, money, or any other kind of favor, we strongly suggest that you do not comply without first contacting IHSI (ihsionline.org/connect/). Our organization does not condone this practice and would not want to see anyone misled or deceived in any way about our intentions.

Thank you all for your prayers, support, and encouragement of IHSI as a ministry. God is good!

-        In His Steps