Sunday, September 7, 2008

Summer Program

Since I've been back in Sydney, things have continued to progress along very well at the Centre, thanks to Esther's brave directorship! The kids did special projects during their summer vacation including painting a mural and recording songs written by one of the staff. See photos. Also, we had our first batch of Grade 6 graduates! They had a celebration party and now 8 of them hope to continue onto to secondary school. One of the girls will do vocational training, perhaps beautician's school. Please contact me if you would like to help sponsor this group of graduates.

Another exciting development is that 6 of our oldest boys will undergo training to become soccer coaches with ISF, the ngo which arranges coaching and matches for underprivileged kids. If they are successful, they can earn good pocket money by coaching their own teams.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Final Countdown!

This is my final week at the SC! I praise God that so many things are coming together and I feel at peace to be leaving at this time. Esther and the local management team have taken over the general day-to-day operations. The SC board has recently approved some important policies and things such as the internal regulations and sponsorship programme are progressing well. My dream that things might be able to slip in “maintenance mode” while I am gone may remain a dream; life is never mundane at the SC and things are constantly cropping up. Even yesterday we received a job application from a promising applicant, but work needs to be done to develop a full-time position for him. Grade Sixers had a major exam today and later next month will have a graduation party. Most of them are keen to continue with secondary education, only one or two will have to consider what kind of vocational training they might do. A visiting team from the US came to do a short programme with the kids this afternoon. And hopefully the 2007/08 audit will get done this Friday!

Remember Thary who is learning what it means follow Jesus. Thary’s household includes a brother-in-law whom she hates! (for good reason it seems) so is being challenged on how to respond in a Christ ian way.She copes by ignoring him but knows that an act of kindness can change hard hearts – she has seen this happen when her family helped out neighbours they were feuding with.

Another area of minor concern is our relationships with neighbours. Our second site across the road, contains the office where we used to hold staff devotions, however, neighbours complained about our singing (I think using the table tops as drums was the problem, rather than the singing!) so we’ve moved back to the main centre just for the devotions.

As I wind-up this week, it’s a great blessing to know that the Lord’s work will continue in good hands. When in Sydney, we'll be busy visiting supporters, talking about our lives here, in particular our ministries at the bible school and the SC. We look forward to catching up with some of you then! (we arrive in Sydney on 8th July and will return 17th January 09)

BTW, my email for sunshine matters will change to

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Water Park outing

On Friday, 30th May, the Sunshine kids had their annual outing, and like last year, we took them to a water park on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. Anticipation was high because they remembered what great fun they had had last year. We loaded them onto two large open trucks, a very common way to transport groups of people here, and made the short journey to the countryside. About 80 children had a fabulous time and many of them asked me to go down on the slides with them or play "crocodile". I even taught a couple of teachers how to float on their backs! Another bonus was that the water was quite clean and there weren't any other groups so we had the place to ourselves! Praise God that we had a safe and fun time.

June is my last month here before heading back to Sydney for 6 1/2 mths furlough, so there are many things to tie up and/or handover. The individual meetings with staff were very beneficial and I started doing a discipleship course with the preschool teacher who really wants to learn what it means to be a Christian. Another staff member came along to my house last week, so she will continue the lessons - praise God for that too!

My children, Jasmine and Samuel, are now on summer vacation, so it's going to be tricky having them at home (or taking them to places) when I still have a full workload!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Welcome! Thanks for popping in! I've hardly read any blogs, let alone create one, so it's all a bit new for me.

Life at the SC powers on after being closed all last week. This was because there was a public holiday for the King's birthday (the current king, we also get to celebrate the birthday of his father, Sihanouk, later in the year) which covered Tuesday - Thursday. So I suggested that the staff take Mon & Fri off as well, and they were happy to use their annual leave like that. The idea of having a few weeks of annual leave is still new to them and last year none of them used all their leave!

As we normally provide breakfast and lunch, I always feel a bit guilty when we close, yet the parents do need to take a bit of responsibility every now and then! Most of the kids did get to eat at home, but a significant handful said they didn't get lunch (parents were out working) or were always hungry. Many kids were also sad that there was no safe place to play for a whole week, but no one missed their school lessons!

Last week was still a busy one for me, with meetings and admin, and this week is much of the same. I also had my performance reviewed by the board and a specific time to reflect on what had happened and how I've been coping with it. These sessions have been really helpful for me, especially if I feel I haven't done things well or that everything is getting on top of me! My friend, Margaret, always helps me see things more positively!

From tomorrow I'll be having personal interviews with the staff, pray this will be an opportunity to build them up.

That's it for now. Is anyone going to read this? let me know if you do!