|March was a consistently busy but wonderful month. My days were full of meetings, teaching, studying Thai, and sending sponsor updates. My evenings often included a student Bible study, practicing Thai at a Thai church service, youth group, or a team dinner. I have been blessed with the ability to spend quality time with good friends, some of whom I haven’t seen in over a year. Every day I am reminded of how fortunate I am to be able to spend time with these people who I consider family. I am often reminded of Psalm 68:8 “God sets the lonely in families.” Over the last 5 years, God has given me a family in Thailand and every day that I get to spend with them is a gift, especially after so much time apart.|
At the end of March, I made another trip to immigration to get my student visa and attended my first 2 Thai classes. This week I will be joining the Thai level 2 class. It makes me both nervous and excited to be able to skip level 1 because of previous tutoring. Being a student again is going to be an adjustment, but I am excited to start learning in a community. My prayer is that I will be able to hold normal conversations with Thai people by the end of the year.
March marks the end of a long process for seniors at the international school where I used to teach. They complete a Capstone Project, which includes 40+ hours of community service that they design themselves. This year we had 8 students work with Construction of Hope for their Capstone project (7 shown above). They worked hard to serve our community with everything from teaching swimming lessons to designing math curriculum to hosting a multi-school fundraising event. I’m so proud of these students and all of their hard work.
This month in Thailand, our students have been learning English through Bible stories. The oldest students have full Bible lessons with Matt, one of our weekly volunteers. His wife and I teach English together twice each week. This month we used Bible stories from a children’s Bible in our English lessons. The kids love the familiar stories and had a lot of fun acting out and drawing pictures of the stories with each other.
Construction of Hope has also started to have weekly giveaways. Every Monday, students and leaders have something they give away to people in the community. Usually, they give a free meal to those passing by, and the neighbors are coming to know the ministry better as a result. Every time something is given away, our students and leaders share the Gospel message with tracts or in conversations. It’s a wonderful way to engage with the community consistently and to teach our kids the power of generosity.
We are also making amazing progress on our new buildings. The building for bathrooms are almost done, and the basic structure for the two dorms and the kitchen are nearly complete. This month we should be able to finish the roof and walls of each structure!
|The first week of March we had several baptisms in Takeo as the result of our team’s consistent outreach and weekly discipleship. We praise God for transformed lives and the chance to continue reaching people for Christ.|
We also praise God for the ability to purchase new land for House of Hope at an extremely discounted rate. The new land (shown in the top-most photo of this newsletter) will be used for a playground/football field for our kids. They are very excited to have a consistent space to play and exercise!
Cambodia is once again on lockdown due to an increase in the number of Covid cases. There is no ability to travel between provinces, so our university students are currently separated from their families and from their friends at House of Hope. We are grateful they have the chance to stay together and that their university courses are continuing online instead of being completely canceled like they were last year. Our younger students at House of Hope are no longer able to go to school, and are once again being taught by our Khmer leaders. Please pray for continued health and wisdom during the new lockdown as we continue to navigate outreach to the community and protecting our children.
The kids in Phnom Penh are still doing online learning. Travel restrictions are very tight, but Pastor Somnang is trying his best to respond to the needs around him. The imposed restrictions on movement and business are making things even more difficult for impoverished families. Through special donations from the Lifesong community, Pastor Somnang is providing food and resources to children and families in the surrounding community.
|– Praise God for baptisms in Takeo!|
– Praise God for new land for House of Hope!
– Praise God for partnership with local international schools, and the amazing students who use their skills with COH
– Praise God for continued health for all of our students and their families.
– Pray for my Thai language learning as I transition into being a student again.
– Pray for health for our students and their families as Covid cases continue to increase in both Thailand and Cambodia.
– Pray for wisdom and strength for our leaders in Cambodia.
– Pray for relationships to continue to develop with our staff, missionaries, and our kids.