Saturday, May 28, 2005
Friday, May 27, 2005
Saturday, May 21, 2005
There, we were informed by Lilian about something that had happened while we were away. She didn’t want to tell in detail but ask us to be useful and the guys to take the lead. With that news and secrecy, we all felt anxious. Anyway, we continue to do what we are supposed to do. Lunch time, had a nice conversation with Pastor Bala about the next few days’ schedule.
After lunch, I watched the various team taught their syllabus to the students. Then there is games time. Enjoyed playing with the children. I would consider myself as a serious guy but somehow I discarded my seriousness and just want to have fun with the children. Make fun of myself dancing and imitating the children. They enjoyed it and I enjoyed it too. Then we went back to the hotel to wash up. The Agape team has yet to come back. We waited for them at FKC but because of some transport miscommunication, they came back late. So the group that was supposed to go to Pastor Chai’s centre went first. I went to Savaratna.
Niger led a Bible study on “Keeping the Commands of Christ”. The students responded enthusiastically to the Rewards of Keeping Christ’s Commands. Then photo session with the students before we went back to the hotel.
At the hotel we were debriefed of what had happened for the past few days. There are some spiritual attacks on some of the team members. Also some miscommunication problems with Pastor Bala. These events had affected seriously the team effectiveness to minister. However, after sharing out the matters, there was reconciliation and peace among the team members. We realized that God has made special plans for different team members to go through different trials during this trip. Indeed this is a special missions trip for me. New experiences, new trials, new lessons….friendships are strengthened. We rejoiced that God has found us worthy to go through the trials.
Tomorrow we will go and visit the Genocide Museum Toel Sleng.
Friday, May 20, 2005
I was reminded of the difference between Islam and Christianity. Islam forced their believers to conform to the Arab cultures but Christianity redeems the people’s culture. A Cambodian can still look like a Cambodian and still believes in Christ. An Indian can still wear the traditional clothing and still be a Christian. There’s no need to change attire to signify that one is a believer of Christ. There is no legalism in Christianity whereas Muslims are still bound to the “law”. May Christ set them free from the law and into the grace of God.
We passed by a big field before reaching the village. There is already a group of children and adults waiting for us. The church is at the house of the elder. He is the first to believe in Christ in that area and by God’s grace, many more were brought to Christ through him. After a brief introduction by the elder, we went down to minister to the people. The people were very attentive and enjoyed the English action songs that we taught them. I shared on my conversion testimony. Almost shed my tears during sharing as I remembered my mother’s sadness over my faith. Prayed that the testimony would encourage the people to stand firm in their faith. Alvin preached the Word. Though I find that it is a bit too deep/strong teaching for the people, I pray that the Holy Spirit will still minister to the people. We then prayed for the people. Many came to be prayed for, mainly for chest pain. After prayer, the team played games with the children. Jason shared about the Lion’s story.
We then traveled back to the base. We got a chance to visit a “mini” Angkor. They called it Wat Angkor. It is said to be older than Angkor Wat itself. There is still a temple inside where people come and pray. I went inside the place with my cap on. Then one girl came beside me and pointed to my cap. I realized that I need to take off my cap as a sign of respect. I did so but after a while I forgot about it and put my cap on. Again the girl came and asked me to take it off. After that we went back to the town.
We were then brought to the Bamboo bridge. It connects the mainland to an island at the middle of the river. I was informed that the village that we went in the morning is located in the middle of that island. The bamboo bridge is strong enough that a car can go through. We saw a car on the bamboo bridge. It was hot weather at the island. We saw fisherman catching fish using their nets. It was there that Daniel Sim challenged me to eat the small fish caught by the fisherman. The prize is 1 USD. It’s quite a small prize but that’s not a problem. I know it can be done so I accepted it. Most of them think that I’m bluffing so I ate the fish. More like AXN Fear Factor. Doesn’t taste nice. It’s nice to see their facial expressions when I show to them the fish in my mouth. Hopefully, I can get the photos of the fish in my mouth. When we want to walk back to the mainland, we were stopped by a lady who ask for the fee to use the bridge … 500 riel which is about 50cent Malaysian.
We then were sent to the youth centre where we are to teach computer lesson. But today the class starts late at 4pm until 7 pm. Today the team are more prepared. Daniel Sim has prepared a sample project for the students to do. The team members guided the students as they tried to do the project. Again before the students learn computer class, we taught them Bible lessons. We also presented skits for the students … the water lily, durian tree and bamboo tree. Helped the team by being the strong wind.
After the computer lessons, we prayed for the teachers and then went back for our dinner. After dinner, we did our devotion and debriefing. Then at about 11.30pm, we went out for supper. After supper, we went back and sleep.
Thursday, May 19, 2005
We went to FKC after breakfast. Pastor Joanne met with the Kampong Cham team. She shared about the "clouds of oppression". The Melaka Monday Night prayer group had prayed for the missions team and one of them saw "clouds of oppression" over a village. Pastor Joanne believes that that vision is for Kampong Cham. We prayed for God's protection upon the team. Thereafter the team was joined by Vana and Tay, who will be our translator to Kampung Cham. We was sent to the market and there Vana got for us a van that will take us to Kampung Cham. The journey took about 2 hours 15 minutes.
Upon arriving at Kampung Cham, we realized that we are at a town center. Kampung Cham is the richest province in Cambodia as the Mekong river flows through the province. This enable the farmers to plant throughout the year without the need to depend on the rain. We arrived at Pastor Chai sister's house where we took our lunch. Our accommodation is the house next door where they are still doing construction. We cleaned up the place. Then we went to one of the church elder's house for cell group meeting. The other team members took Pastor Vana's car while Vana, Tay and I took the motorbike. As this is Vana's first time going to the elder's house, we got lost and had to ask for Pastor Vana's contact number. The house is above a workshop. The elder is a school teacher. After ministering to the family, we went to the New Born Church where we are supposed to teach computer classes.
At first we thought that we will only have one group of students for 3 hours. However, upon reaching the place we were informed that there will be 3 different groups of students for 1 hour each. First there will be a Bible study and then only the computer class. We did the same thing with the other two groups of students. A few of us took turns to share the Bible study.
During this time, we were able to gage the level of computer knowledge of the students. Some of them has already learned the basic of Microsoft Word. Daniel Sim was assigned to come up with a syllabus for students. After the evening class we were free. Dinner is at the base. We took our bath at our base house and at Pastor Chai sister's house.
Vana and Tay took us to the longest bridge in Cambodia. It was built with the help of the Japanese government as a token of friendship. We walked to the middle of the bridge (or maybe three quarter). The Lord impressed upon my heart to pray at the bridge and to claim control of the bridge and the river. As the bridge is the "gate" to Kampong Cham and river also will lead to Phnom Penh and the sea, it is a very strategic location to claim for the Lord. We gathered together and after instructing the team as what to pray, the team started praying. As soon as we starts to pray, I felt a strong wind blowing towards us. The other team members felt the strong wind too. I knew then that our prayers has stirred the spiritual realm. The clouds of darkness has been pierced. Only later did we found out the consequences of our prayers. When we finished praying, the strong wind also disappeared. We only felt the normal breeze. We walked back to the house, stopping by at the shop to buy water and food.
Devotion time and debriefing before we went to sleep.
It's Sunday and I'll be preaching at Savaratna Centre. My message is "The Marks of a Mature Person" which is an overview of the book of James. There are 3 services that run concurrently this morning. The other two is at FKC and Pastor Chai's place. We went there early at about 7.10am. We thought that the service will start at 7.30am. However, we were informed that the service will only start at 8.30am. They will have a Bible Study class from 7.30 – 8.30am. Brother Jonathan (our translator) teach about the need to plan.
The students led in worship. It is wonderful to be there in the presence of God, worshipping together with the Cambodian students. They really worship God. The special numbers that they presented are beautiful. One song talks about the problems faced by a student studying in the city. Thereafter Ee Chia chaired the meeting. The team presented a song led by Leona. Michelle then shared her testimony of how God has been good to her during her trials. Then I preached the Word while Pastor Pich translated the message. It's good to be able to preach strong message to the students. I pray that the message will really minister to the students to be mature in person and in Christ.
Lunch is at FKC. The food was good. Managed to speak to Michelle regarding leading the next team to Kampong Cham. Hearing about her leadership background puts me to peace that she is able to led the team. We are still not sure who will be going for the Kampong Cham trip. We heard information that Kampong Cham is worst that the first village. Not sure whether those who wants to go are ready for the village experience.
We then prepared to play games at COP while one team will be ministering at Agape Centre. After the games at about 4.30pm, we went to Agape, some still wearing shorts. Upon arriving, Audrey has just started preaching. Sat there listening to the message of salvation. During altar call a few of the people responded and were prayed for. Later we were informed that there are 2 new conversions. Praise God for His love.
In the evening, got free time to go to the internet café. Send an email to my wife and wishing her a blessed 4th marriage anniversary. Though it is on the 12 May but I want to wish her first just in case I am not able to email her on that day. Praise God for a supporting wife. I know she is praying for me throughout this trip. Miss her very much.
Night service at Savaratna also. Also showing the movie "The Passion of The Christ". I'm supposed to "summarize" the service but I felt that it is good to have Audrey do the summing up. She did a good job. We also prayed for the students. Pastor Joanne prayed for the students also. One of them prayed the sinner's prayer.
Debriefing time – the main issue is the number of people who wants to go to Kampong Cham. At the end, eight of us decided to go. Michelle, Ee Chia, Yin Fong, Jason Foo, Alvin, Daniel Sim, Chern Liang and myself. Pastor Joanne is supposed to go for this trip but somehow she felt that it is better for her to stay and I follow the team instead. No problem for me as I feel that I'll enjoy it better at the village. Packed my things before went to sleep.
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
By 7.30am, we reached the hotel. The other team members were just about to leave the hotel to their respective centres for that day. We were given until 10.30am to wash up and rest before we were sent to our respective teams. Lunch at FKC and thereafter we went to COP for games. Really enjoyed playing with the children. I purposed in my heart not to be too serious but to enjoy the trip and have fun. And fun I had with the children.
It was during this time that I was informed that God healed a student from a growth in his hand. On the first night at Savaratna, the team prayed for the students during altar call. One of the student had a growth on his hand. He is supposed to see the doctor the next day. Earlier the doctor had advised him to go for an operation to remove the growth. However, when he went to see the doctor the next day, the doctor couldn’t find anything wrong with him. The growth has disappeared. All glory and praise to God for His healing power.
After the games, we went back to the hotel. I managed to go to the internet café and sent email to Michelle and check my emails. It’s good to be able to communicate after so many days in Cambodia. Miss my wife and my two lovely daughters Annabelle and Clarissa.
Saturday night I went to Pastor Chai’s student center. We showed the movie “The Passion of The Christ”. I had brought my LCD projector from Melaka, not really sure whether we will be using it. Praise God that the LCD projector was brought for good use. This time I watched the full length of the movie which is about 2 hours. The first time I watched the movie at Bethel Church, it was only about 1 and a half hour. We then went back to the hotel and had our debriefing. By the time we went back to our rooms it was already past midnight.
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
I forgot to mention that last night, our translator Sach shared with the village policeman and another man at the house. The team were with him when he shared with the two men. The policeman asked him about sin and the penalty of sin. From that question, he shared with them the Good News. While he was sharing with them, the team members prayed silently for God to minister to the two men. Praise God that the two men wanted to receive Jesus as their personal Saviour. We heard the two men says the sinner’s prayer.
We woke up at about 6.30am. By that time, it was already so bright. Washed up and then took our breakfast – porridge. It tasted nice. This morning the team went to another village. We went to a school where we are to teach the kindergarten. Upon arriving at the school, we saw that the school is run by Buddhist monks except for the kindergarten. Beside the school buildings is a Buddhist pagoda with the sculpture of 5 face snakes guarding the entrance.
As we started to sing songs to the kindergarten children, other school children gathered at the classroom to watch us. We took the opportunity to play games with the other children. As it was their recess time, they are allowed to play with us. Rachel, Niger and Narong ministered to the kindergarten children while Wee Liem, Audrey, Sach and I ministered to the other children. Altogether there are about 80 children playing games with us. They really enjoyed the games. Of course they want to get the free gifts especially the balloons. Audrey almost got stampeded by the children when she threw the few remaining balloons and the children rushed towards her. When the bell rang, all the children went back to their respectives classes. All of us then ministered to the kindergarten children. By 10.30am the kindergarten was over and we went to the teacher’s house which is near the school.
At the teacher’s house, Sach started a conversation with the teacher’s husband. He is still not a believer. Sach asked me to share to the husband. Finding difficulties in communicating with the husband, I asked a few questions first to lead the conversation towards the Good News. Then I asked Sach to share the Gospel to the husband. The husband is not ready due to community pressures. We then prayed for him and the whole family. Thereafter we went back to Narong’s place for lunch. After lunch we rested for a while. Some of the children arrived at 1.00pm to study English. They have to wait for the teacher to come. While waiting, I tried to do some revision with the students using the English book. Some of them are very good and can remember well. When the teacher came at 2.00pm, he took over for a while before handing it over to the team to teach. We sang songs and Wee Liem taught them about faces and actions. The children really enjoyed the songs. By then the adults also had gathered at the house to see us teach the students. They too enjoyed the songs very much.
After the English class, we took the motorbike and went to another village. This time, I sat at a motorbike that does not have cushion at the pillion seat. It was really a torturous experience for my butt. Furthermore, we got lost along the way and had to asked for directions. By the time we reached the kindergarten, the other team members are already waiting for us and wondering what happened to us.
The team then ministered to the children. There for the first time, I saw a green patch of the paddy field. For the past two days, all I saw of the villages is dry field, dusty road and dried up ponds. But here at this kindergarten I saw a small patch of young paddy growing. Went there to have a look. Then I went back to the kindergarten and the team have already begin to introduce themselves to the children. We then teach them English actions songs which they enjoyed singing. We also played games with them. Over all we really had fun ministering to them. They also showed to us their traditional “Noi Noi” dance. Before we went back to Narong’s place, we prayed for the teacher and another old lady.
Upon reaching Narong’s house, we had to do children ministry. Using balloons and the poky ball, we play with the children. While we were playing, there’s a commotion at the bathroom. Somebody saw a snake in the bathroom. After a while, Niger, Wee Liem and I went to have a look. We wanted to kill the snake but the villagers stopped us. They caught the snake and then released it at the drain. We took our dinner and thereafter took our “under the starlight bath”. At night we did our devotion and debriefing.
Monday, May 16, 2005
Woke up at 6.30am. Breakfast at 7.00am at the hotel. Today I broke my daily routine of not eating breakfast. I took breakfast – beef noodles. After breakfast, I told Pastor Joanne of my dream. We went to FKC which we call our base. Upon arriving there, Pastor Joanne asked me to share my dream with the group. Shared with them my dream and thereafter the team prayed. Then the village team went to the market together with 2 students who will act as our interpreter – Salvot and Narong. We will be going to Narong’s village. Upon arriving at the market, a group of taximen swarm around us. Salvot made the arrangement for our taxi to the village. It will take us 1 and half hour to reach the village.
At last, Salvot managed to find one taxi who is willing to bring us there. The taxi is a Toyota Camry car. I thought that there will be two taxis but was told that all of us will be going into that one car. The total of 9 people in one car. 5 at the back seat, 2 at the front passenger seat and 2 at the driver seat. Sat at the front passenger seat with Wee Liem. It is not comfortable at all. Half way the journey, had to ask Wee Liem to sit on my lap… though heavy but it is more comfortable.
We reached the village and went for a short walk touring the village. Upon arriving at the kindergarten, we were asked to handle the children. The team was quite unprepared but praise God, everything went on smoothly. We played games and sang action songs. And we also shared Bible stories with the children – David & Goliath. I acted to be Goliath and really scares the boy who is supposed to be David. What to do,… he is really scared of my face and my voice.
Thereafter, we went to the chief’s house and waited until 12.00noon where we are supposed to teach English class to a group of children. The team taught them numbers and faces. The children are quite advanced so we can’t use the lessons that we prepared for them. We taught them songs – simple English action songs.
Thereafter we took motorbikes ride to Narong’s village. It’s about 15 minutes ride from the first village. Took our lunch there. There’s only 2 main dishes. Soup and vegetables. Though simple yet I really enjoy the food. After lunch, we rested for a while. There’s an English class at Narong’s house at 3.00pm. We watch the teacher taught the children first before the team starts teaching English songs. Thereafter, the team began teaching English lessons to the children. Some of the children are good in their understanding of the words use. The class ends at 5.00pm. We rested for a while before we went to a house for visitation. Talked to the family for about 1 hour and by then it is already dark. Went back to Narong’s house. Another student Sach arrived by motorbike and Salvot went back to Phnom Penh.
Ministered to the children there with balloon sculpturing and songs. At about 7.30pm we took our dinner… again a simple dinner and plain water. The drinking water is really muddy. Its pond water which the host took from a pond nearby. The water was used for cooking and bathing. They boiled the water and gave us to drink. At first we are quite unsure of whether we should drink the water. After drinking a bit, the rest of the team tried it. Then for the rest of our stay there, we drank the boiled pond water without any hesitation.
After dinner, the girls bathed at the bathroom while Niger, Wee Liem and I bathed at the water pump well just next door. It’s very cooling to bathe there… dark as there’s no electricity in the village. During the night we prayed together and debriefed before we went to sleep. Slept inside the room with Niger, while the rest slept outside.
Day One - Wednesday 4-5-2005
What can I say about this trip (4-14 May 2005) except that it has been a wonderful trip. I’ll write as much about the trip as I do not want to forget about it later in the future.
Wednesday 4 -5-2005. Arriving at Phnom Penh International Airport is quite a torture. The flight’s descent at the airport caused painful pressure to my ears. This is what I don’t like about taking flight. Some flights… there are no pressure at all but sometimes the pressure is very painful to the ears. The airport reminded me of Sibu Airport and Medan Airport, not as big as KLIA. There’s no problem getting through the customs and we were greeted by Pastor Bala from FirstKids Kindergarten Cambodia. He is from Grace Assembly Klang and has been a missionary in Cambodia for about 6 years already. Still single.
Pastor Bala has arranged for two vans, Mercedes Benz vans to ferry us to the budget hotel “Beng Mealea Guest Hotel”. Throughout the trip, we used these two vans as our transport from the hotel to the various centres and places that we have to go. Such a luxurious transport compared to the local transport in Phnom Penh.
Upon arriving at the hotel, we checked in and I was assigned a room with Daniel Ee and Jason Foo. Thereafter, we went to FirstKids Combodia (FKC) for a briefing. We were informed of our first few days schedule. It is a very pack schedule. We will be teaching and ministering to various places, among them are Center of Hope (COP), Agape Centre, Vocational Training School (VTC), and two more student centres pastured by Pastor Chai and Pastor Pich.
After dinner, the group was divided into two groups to minister at the student centres. I went to Pastor Pich’s student centers call Savaratna Centre. The students shared testimonies and Michelle Ding preached the Word. We prayed for the students who came up for prayer. Then we went back to the hotel and had our debriefing. I was told that I’ll be leading a team to the village for the next 2 nights 3 days. The team consists of Niger Lim (leader), Wee Liem, Rachel Tong and Audrey.
That night I had a spiritual attack in the form of a dream. And this is what I saw. I was walking with another person (whom I can’t remember who) towards a flat plain which is about 1.5 meters higher from the place I was standing. Then I saw a white snake sliding past me to the right. There in front of me were dried branches gathered together. Then I saw a long black snake measuring 10 to 15 meters long. It was lying among the branches. I then wanted to kill the snake, looking for a stick to hit the snake. As I was climbing the higher plain to get to the snake, suddenly the snake arose and stood up. There on the high plain were a few buffalos and cows, which is about 50 meters away from me. Then the snake moved past me as though it is flying. I thought that the snake wants to bit me but it went directly to one of the cows. As it was flying towards the cow, it opened its mouth wide; the size of the mouth is big enough to swallow the whole cow. It attacked the cow and swallowed it without much difficulty.
At this time, I became fearful. This is not the normal snakes that I had seen. I know instantly that this snake is beyond my ability to kill. I walked down to the lower land and as I was walking away from that place, I saw the black snake came towards me wanting to attack me. As it came near me, I rebuke it in the name of Jesus. I know that this is the only way that I can protect myself, the power of the Name of Jesus. After I rebuked the snake, it stopped and couldn’t attack me. However, the snake transformed into an image of a man. I could see the man’s face. He was smiling at me. It was a sinister smile. The smile that wants to put fear in me. Though he can’t attack me, he is trying to tell me that I can’t win over him either. With that I woke up.