Reaching Young Men

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Anyone who has done missions work in Cambodia knows that young men are a difficult demographic to reach. There is a void in the lives of many who have lost fathers to war and sickness, or who have been abandoned by parents and are spiritually orphaned. Without role models and positive mentors, boys grow up without learning what it means to be be husbands and fathers, how to respond to life's challenges, or how to think and plan strategically to care for their families. Discipline, teamwork, grace in the face of failure - these are traits that are not acquired for lack of an environment that values them.

One of the ways that In His Steps is compensating for this problem is by providing an outlet where young men can practice teamwork, grow in discipline, and learn good sportsmanship: our Gospel Community Church Saang soccer team! When paired with our ongoing Boys to Men group, the team is a great way to draw youth towards positive challenges and growth, both on and off the field. It is a venue not only for developing physical ability, but for discipleship and community-building.

Our team attending a sports seminar organized by the Evangelical Fellowship of Cambodia.

Our team attending a sports seminar organized by the Evangelical Fellowship of Cambodia.

Our team is made up of beginners, but already this season they have distinguished themselves with their practice ethic, fitness, and good attitudes, as well as many wins in the games they have played so far. They even placed second in a local tournament last month! We are so proud of each team member, not because of tallying wins and losses but because we see them working together, encouraging others, and doing their best. The lessons they are learning will prove valuable no matter where life leads them!

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Other Updates

  • Please keep founder/director Eric in your prayers as he and Ginny return to Thailand for several days next week for a follow-up check of his heart related to the emergency procedure he had in June.
  • Staff member Rhiannon has returned to Cambodia and is now in the process of readjusting to life and ministry while continuing her recovery. Please continue to keep her in prayer! 
  • Thank you for your continued intercession regarding Cambodia's election last week. There are still many concerns (read an insightful overview of the current situation here), but God is faithful and we are thankful that for the most part things are reasonably calm.

- In His Steps

Discipline: A Lifelong Practice

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Hebrews 12:11

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Discipline isn't easy or fun, but Scripture tells us that the results often yield wonderful fruit. It’s a practice that is applied in our work, studies, personal development and our pursuit of God. Often, though, it can be difficult to apply and maintain. The battle that happens in our minds can lead us down a path of defeat and repetitive negative cycles or it can help us choose paths that lead to victory!

There are thirteen young men in Saang that are learning to be victorious together. The idea is to start cultivating discipline through physical training. Cambodians are often not used to physical exercise. They live arduously – rural life in Cambodia is full of challenges. However, they don't usually run, lift weights or do squats – it's hot here! This committed group is learning what it means to push their bodies beyond preconceived limits and go further then what they possibly imagined. Applying discipline in small doses builds a strong, realistic foundation with attainable goals. Whether it’s doing 5 pull-ups one day and pushing out 7 the next – it’s about training their minds and bodies to persevere. Why? Because we want to see young Cambodian men finish well the most important race they will ever do – their walk with God. 

That's why the group is also responsible for memorizing and following several key principles. Together, they hold each other accountable for knowing and practicing the following:

  1. Love God, Love Others
  2. Be Honest and Have Integrity
  3. Read Your Bible Every Day
  4. Respect Each Other and Your Teachers
  5. Be On Time
  6. Be Safe
  7. Try Your Hardest
  8. Don't Speak While Someone Else Is Speaking
  9. Don't Put Down Your Brothers

There is plenty of grunting, sweating, and solemn faces but the results are satisfying and fruitful. And, at the end of each session, a sense of accomplishment settles on everyone’s faces. 

This summer we plan to add some additional teaching to strengthen body and spirit. Look for more updates to come!

Small circles!

Jumping Jack time.

Benjamin using all his strength to keep that chair up!
Benjamin using all his strength to keep that chair up!

Keep those chairs high! Don't bend your arms!

Always end with prayer.

Always end with prayer.

Stepping Up

One of IHSI's ministries is a discipleship group to the boys of Father's House and Loaves and Fish. It's a time to grow, learn, challenge each other and have fun too. In a country where virtually everyone is engrossed in Buddhism and other various beliefs, it's crucial to disciple new Christians.  

From learning Biblical values to important life skills, the Boy's Discipleship group strives to help shape the lives of young men so their foundation is strong.

Every year, we have the boys complete a project during the summer months. This summer, the project theme was kindness. One part of their project was to put together a drama and teaching for Youth Aflame (the church youth group). Each team had a leader and was responsible for ensuring their team was on board, show up for practice and make sure everyone participated. It was great seeing them rise to the occasion and communicate important lessons from the Bible using drama and teaching from the Word. Here are a few photos.

Beggar along the road

Transient

Sarak sharing the Word.

The Second Group

Getting ready for the big production

Getting ready for the big production

Jesus waiting for his entrance.

Jesus waiting for his entrance.

I'd say, what Jesus did for us on the cross if the ultimate act of kindness.

I'd say, what Jesus did for us on the cross if the ultimate act of kindness.

John sharing the lesson.