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

June News

Visitors and Volunteers

During the spring and summer months we often host short-term teams and volunteers that come with a desire to serve Cambodia and bless the community here. In His Steps has been blessed with many friends from around the world, and have had visitors from places near and far: the U.S., Canada, Germany, Norway, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, and more!

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Last month, a friend of a friend came to Cambodia for two weeks, a volunteer from Russia. While visiting us Yulia got to experience ministry in Saang and help with our literacy program, English classes, visit our Sak Saum ministry, children’s programs, and youth group. She also spent time with the children in Father’s House, was a part of our church services, and built relationship with staff member Aly by “shadowing” her throughout each day. It was great for staff and those in our programs to meet this new friend, and judging from a recent email we think she enjoyed her time here as well:

“...I came back to Russia 2 weeks ago, [and] today I was able to share with my church about Cambodia and your beautiful ministry…I would like one more time to thank you for accepting me, for giving me chance to feel like a part of your family!!! I really felt this [and] I will be praying for you... your ministry, your people and Cambodia. Thank you very much.”
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Yulia is by no means the first visitor to mention feeling like part of the In His Steps family. Family is one of our highest values as a ministry, and each person working with us is loved and valued for who they are, no matter how long or short their time with us is. And sometimes, those who have come to visit find that God begins to stir a calling to ministry (whether in Cambodia or elsewhere). That’s what happened to Rhiannon, a former intern who has just come back from a visit home, this time as a full-fledged staff member. Read her most recent blog post here.

If you or your church/organization is interested volunteering with In His Steps in Cambodia, learn more on our outreach page!

Other News

  • Although Father’s Day is not a particularly recognized holiday in Cambodia, just like on Mothers’ Day our church chose to celebrate parents through songs, dramas, and a message of encouragement and exhortation. It was a sweet and meaningful service, with a fun children’s dance, a drama about forgiveness between generations, a great lesson from Ginny on the value and calling of fathers, and an original song written by boys in our Loaves and Fish/Father’s House programs (video below).
  • Since forming our very first Gospel Community Church Saang soccer team, we have been enjoying seeing young men in the church working hard to hone their skills and growing in team unity and sportsmanship. So far the GCCS team has won 3 out of 4 games this season!
  • Cambodia has a major election coming up next month. Please keep the nation in your prayers, that wisdom, truth, and justice would be the hallmarks of the entire election process.

- In His Steps

 

Playground Update

If you were to turn onto the little dirt road in Saang that leads to our Center, it wouldn’t be long before you’d begin to hear loud shrieks of laughter and excited shouting filling the air. Past the wooden stilt houses of our neighbors and a group of boys playing volleyball nearby, you’d turn to find ten, twenty, or even more children running and climbing all over our brand-new playground!  

This new playspace has been a dream of ours for several years: a safe place for children in the neighborhood  to enjoy and a great way for us to engage and connect with them. This dream became a reality through partnering with Compassion Acts and Blood-n-Fire ministries in the U.S., who raised funds and sent a team over this past month to construct the new playspace.

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As home to the only reading room, the only free literacy and English classes, and now the only playground in the area, we are so excited to offer these opportunities for both fun and education. Safe play is a gift to this region, which for years has been known for trafficking people and producing criminals. Who knows how much danger, temptation, and abuse these children are avoiding simply by coming to our Center rather than staying at home unsupervised or wandering in the streets?

It is a joy to observe the happiness of each child who swings on a swing, rides a slide, climbs the monkey bars, or simply plays in the sand. Along the way, they will be learning important skills like teamwork, sharing, following directions, and taking care of community resources. We believe that this playground is going to be a great blessing to families in Saang for many years to come!

-In His Steps

Hot Dogs for Jesus

It’s been a busy month for In His Steps: opening the Kairos Training Center, children in our programs starting the new school year, visitors passing through, and much more. With all the busyness, we thought it would be fun to have a party for local kids and share some hot dogs with them!

After sending word to the neighborhood that all children were invited for lunch on Wednesday, we wondered whether the recent holiday of Pchum Ben might negatively affect attendance. We needn’t have worried: an hour before the program started, our Center was already inundated with kids flocking in from the surrounding area!

Our staff and a great team of volunteers and Father’s House kids pitched in to prepare trays full of food and pass everything out. Over 220 children came, and after a short lesson from staff, received hot dogs, drinks, and snacks. The air was filled with a happy commotion as they and their friends enjoyed their hot dogs, a first for many!

We love kids: they are the future of Cambodia and a blessing from God. Please join us in praying for the children of Saang district, that they would grow to know Him through the small and seemingly simple acts of love that He has called us to.

- In His Steps

Gifts for Father's House

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Have you ever met a child that didn’t like getting a present? We certainly haven’t! Amid the day-to-day work of caring for the many individuals in our programs, we’re thankful for the generosity of believers worldwide who lend a hand by sending gifts, donating to our community-building projects, or even coming to visit in person through outreach teams. (Learn more ways to get involved by clicking here.)

A creative donor from the U.S. recently sent handmade blankets for Father’s House children, and each one was special and unique, just like our children. It was fun to watch their expressions as the children caught sight of the lively patterns and bold colors of their new blankets. We hope that their smiles will help brighten your day!

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