Not just Another Monday

 

I’ve just finished school for the day – said goodbye to my students, waited for a rather reluctant student to finish his cleaning duties, locked my classroom, walked the short distance back to the dorm, unpacked my backpack. I have a little marking to do, but decided I would put it away until later. In most respects it seems like any other Monday; the start of another week of school. Some students have Mondayitis, others are raring to study after two days break (they’re rare but they exist). I taught my Bible class this morning, two periods of English, a piano class and another English this afternoon. But it’s not just another Monday. Many little things happened that made it different from other Mondays I’ve had. Like the beautiful smile a formerly difficult student flashed me at flag raising this morning. Like the students jogging around the pond to get warm before beginning Bible class. Like 2 minute noodle seasoning spilled around the classroom and on one girl’s skirt in English class. Like the delighted look on a boy’s face when he played his scales flawlessly. Like a tiny girl straining her English skills to say “Cher beautiful”. Like eating mango and exercising in the dark; like peering into a friend’s backpack and seeing it full of ants; like buying baking soda and stalking a truck loaded with chicken wire. No day is the same and reflecting on all of these small occurrences makes me thankful. I’m thankful for eyes to see smiles, ears to hear words and music, a mouth to eat and speak, a body that moves, friends that are family and students who are like your own kids.

Since Christmas I have started reading a compilation called “Heaven” by Ellen White. I can’t help but imagine what each day will hold for us once we reach the kingdom. If so called “ordinary” days here on earth are filled by God with so many lessons, joys and surprises, imagine what they will be like as we explore our heavenly home, the planets and universe, and the new earth! “The kingdom of God’s grace is now being established as day by day hearts that have been full of sin and rebellion yield to the sovreignty of His love.” Although “…the full establishment of the kingdom of His glory will not take place until the second coming of Christ to this world…” we may still live each day with heaven in our hearts. (Heaven page 22)

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To everything there is a Season

“To everything there is a season, and time to every purpose under heaven…

A time to be born, and a time to die…

A time to weep, and a time to laugh…

A time to mourn, and a time to dance…

A time to get, and a time to lose…

A time to keep, and a time to cast away…

A time to keep silence, and a time to speak…

He has made everything beautiful in His time: also He has set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God makes from the beginning to the end.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-11

The verses above pretty much sum up the last few weeks. There has been joy and tears, loss and gain, mistakes and successes, steps backward and steps forward. Through it all I just thank God that He will finish the work He has started. I have realised more fully His work of refining in my life. There have been moments when I’ve questioned and struggled, but He has been patient with me. He has revealed to me many of the sharp corners that need shaping and rough places that need smoothing over and polishing. I’m seeing more and more every day how trials are allowed by God because He loves me and wants to help shape my character. I truly believe the promise in verse 11 and look forward to seeing more and more of the handiwork of our great Master Artist.

View from Phnom Boak

View from Phnom Boak

On another note, Kat and I are very excited about the progress coming along at HoofTrek. Tim is home from Australia now and has talked with the orphanage house fathers about building a house for us. The two of us took a walk down to the site on Thursday and were pleasantly surprised and extremely excited to find that the two old houses had been completely dismantled. The site where our house will be was flattened and the cement stumps in place. Tim says the house fathers want to work on the house and finish it as soon as possible – which we hope and pray means it may be finished by Christmas! Here are some before and after photos…

I just want to ask if you could especially pray for my grade 6A class. Pray that their desire will be first and foremost to know Jesus and that God will use me to represent Him to them as the loving, faithful Father that He is. Also please remember the whole student body in your prayers as the devil is never happy to see young people learning about Jesus and giving their lives to Him.

Impossible to Possible

A stunning Cambodian sunrise

A stunning Cambodian sunrise

Its been a month now since I arrived back in Cambodia and I know for me the time has gone both fast and slow. I’d completely forgotten about renewing my 1 month visa to another 6 month visa until Monday – the day it was due! oops!

Where to start – I can now, in a way, understand what its like to be a Mum. Our 38 girls in the dormitory are beautiful and I love each one but there is still 38 of them! I am so thankful to be co-deaning with Kathleen. She has many more years of experience under her belt and has been so patient with me as I’ve been learning the ‘ropes’. I love her so much and am so blessed to have her as a friend and co-dean. She has taught me so much!
Outside of teaching, our days are occupied working with the girls in the afternoons, having worships, tending to scrapes, headaches and other minor illnesses, study hall in the evening, and pretty much answering the many “cher”s (teacher) that come echoing down our hallway. And then there is our five cats, 3 fish and two dogs.
This month Kat and I are planning a special dinner for the girls. Its an opportunity for us to show them how much we love them and God loves them, and just enjoy time together apart from everyday school/work/life.

Some of the dorm girls and I

Some girls from dorm douit (small dorm) and I

This year each class now has a period for Outdoor Activities. Every grade has a section of the property to make beautiful which includes anything from picking up rubbish, planting grass, making gardens and filling in potholes. My 6A’s are currently working on making garden beds around trees and are hoping to develop gardens of some kind.

A surprise gift from one of my previous student presented itself as a tiny bundle of fuzz and has grown into my mischievous, energetic, food machine new puppy Kip. He is adorable and a joy to have around, and makes himself a constant nuisance to the feline species of our household. The dorm girls dote over him to the extent that I sometimes have to rescue him from their ‘love’! Toilet training is proving a bit trying but I believe he’ll get there. I’m so thankful to God for bringing along this little addition to my home away from home.

Kip and Bruoy

Kip and Bruoy

Plans for the horse program are moving forward inch by inch. Our paddock is in the process of being ploughed and we’ve begun to plant grass out there with some of the dorm girls. Even if the wet weather holds up progress on fence building, plans for the stables are being made and we hope and pray to start building this month if it is God’s will.

I cannot say thank you enough for continuing to pray for me, the school, the horse program and God’s work here in Cambodia. Some days when time seems nonexistent and the to do list never ending; when a class has been challenging and sleep is rarer than preferred, it is prayer that gets me through. God’s strength is sustaining, I can testify to the fact, and I want to encourage you all to rely on Jesus’ strength because it can make the impossible possible.

I would like to request prayer for the mother of a close friend of mine. She has a mental condition which leaves her dependent on her daughter and others to do everything for her from bathing, dressing, toileting etc. My friend is still in school and with the added burden of caring for her mum on top of study, she is struggling. Her dream is that her mum will one day recognise her and know her again. Please pray for Somnang and her mum, that if it is God’s will, Somnang’s mum will one day be able to know her daughter and choose God for herself.

Thank you so much for your support through finances. Every bit makes a difference!

Kip and Viatar chill out in front of the dorm

Kip and Viatar chill out in front of the dorm

You are Wanted

“God wanted them (His people), else He would not have sent His Son on such an expensive errand to redeem them. He has a use for them, and He is well pleased when they make the very highest demands upon Him, that they may glorify His name. They may expect large things if they have faith in His promises.” Desire of Ages, pg 668.

You are wanted. You are wanted by the God of the universe who created the very ground you stand on; the expansive millions of stars, planets and solar systems above you.

Many often doubt that they can do great things for God. They feel they don’t have the capabilities, the talents, the resources to do the things they dream of doing. God’s answer to such people is this – “Ask. And you will receive. Seek. And you will find. Knock. And the door will be opened to you.”

Reach out.

Step out.

God is extending multitudes of gifts and blessings within your reach. Within the reach of faith.

Magic Moments

I took the following picture during a period break on Friday morning. At first glance it appears to be a typical scene of school children making the most of 5 minutes out of class, but as I looked closer I had to smile as I discovered a cluster of individual images captured in one. Three boys prepare to take each other on for a good tousle while a girl looks on with interest. Another little boy has his playmate pinned to the ground. One little girl stands seemingly caught in her own world regardless of the rolling classmates at her feet. In the background one student sets off at a run and two girlfriends stroll the grounds together.DSCN3615

A second and third photo produced more priceless scenes.

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I love to watch the children play. The school ground is a place of magic moments. The expressions on the children’s faces and interactions between them are a joy to observe. The sound of laughter and happy voices gives you the same feeling you get when you listen to a cheerful bouncing jig.

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As I watched the students play on the grass last Friday thoughts played in my mind.

We are often taught to keenly examine and critic exteriors but to leave the cutting knife in its sheaf. We forget to look closely and appreciate deeply the smaller, less observable things in life. We recognise and thank God for the big blessings He sends, like providence for our physical needs, close friends, loving family members. But what about that kind word, or drop of rain? Perhaps God is saying, “I prepared that smile just for you.” Or “I helped you remember that answer on your exam.”

Look deep.

Search for the little blessings, the magic moments. Rediscover unnoticed gifts.

An Opportunity

HoofTrek

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11 ~

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Over the past couple of weeks, my friend and I have been praying about an idea for a project that has recently come up. We have met with Tim (our Director) to discuss and brainstorm about it

The good news is that we have the go ahead! Tim has asked Ely and I to put together a horsemanship program for Wat Preah Yesu! It will be especially targeting at-risk young people, both from WPY, and from the surrounding villages. We believe that by working with horses, children can learn more about God, themselves, building healthy relationships, boundaries, body language, and gain some self-awareness, and self-confidence.

Studies have shown the therapeutic benefits of the horse to the human. They have assisted significantly…

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When Dreams Come True

Dreams often remain dreams. They come; they stay for awhile; they fill us with a fanciful hope; they fade away. Most dreams are of our own fabricating. But what about when God shares His dream with you? 

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Over the past couple of weeks, my friend Kat and I have been praying about an idea for a project that has recently come to us. We have met with Tim (our Director) to discuss and brainstorm about it. The possibility has seemed almost too crazy and too much of a dream to ever become reality. BUT-
The good news is that we have the go ahead! Tim has asked Kat and I to put together a horsemanship program for Wat Preah Yesu! It will be especially targeting at-risk young people, both from WPY, and from the surrounding villages. We believe that by working with horses, children can learn more about God, themselves, building healthy relationships, boundaries, body language, and gain some self-awareness, and self-confidence.
Studies have shown the therapeutical benefits of the horse to the human. They have assisted significantly in improving the lives of many: whether emotionally hurt, physically and mentally disabled, or someone who is stressed out and in need of a break. Horses are especially impacting the lives of thousands of troubled children and youth around the world.
We already have here at WPY, a number of different programs that we involve the young people in to aid them in their spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical growth. But we believe that this horsemanship program will also be beneficial in helping them grow into healthy, useful, whole citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Using horses to help heal troubled young people has been a dream of mine for a long time. I never imagined that God might make it become a reality – this soon and in this way!
We have put together three, 12 week courses that will run during the school terms, and during the holidays we will have horsemanship/riding camps. We hopefully will be able to work with at least 50 young people each year. We want this program to bring glory to God and lead more people into a growing relationship with Him. We have a small piece of the property in which to set up a couple of paddocks, riding areas, and a small stable. It is exiting to contemplate the possibilities of this program and all the people that will benefit from it.
Thank you so much to all of you who already support us through prayer. Here is a specific prayer list that we are bringing before God and also ask that you lift up to Him:
– New teachers for the new school year
– New boys and girls dormitory deans for the new school year
– That God will continue to provide for the needs of the orphanage and school here at WPY
– Guidance, horses, supplies and equipment for the horsemanship program
– That God’s will be done in all of this, and not our own
– That God will be glorified in our lives, here at WPY, and by this new project
– Please remember to pray for all the persecuted people around the world – This week I’m thinking especially of the many struggles christian youth face in their schools and peer groups in regards to their religious beliefs.
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11
I will keep you all updated as God continues to guide and lead,
Thank you for your prayers,
May God keep you all,
Ely
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