Blessed to be a blessing

It was a privilege for us to revisit Cambodia and served together with Youth Alive Ministry. Every time we visited Cambodia, we are able to witness the God’s goodness upon Cambodia and Kingdom of God is expanded in this land. We are encouraged by Bro. Virak’s faith and commitment in Youth Alive Ministry. We met Bro. Virak in a Youth Camp during our mission trip in 2012. That time, he just a regular visitor whom learned English in Youth Alive ministry. Praise the lord, Brother Virak desired to become a English teacher in his village. Bro. Virak and his father built a education shed as a place to reach out to the youth by giving them English lessons in his village.

This time, we also organized a Youth camp in Virak’s shed and invited all his students to join us. In the camp, we played some team building games such as tower of babel, ball catching and minesweeper. At the end of the camp, we requested some students to share with us about what is their dream for their future; they mentioned that they hope to have happiness in the family, hope to become police, doctor, teacher, fashion designer and etc. We are touched after heard about their dreams as we understand that they were hard to receive higher education due to tight financial and less exposure of learning but they are very clear with their dreams and said they will be success in future.

Meanwhile, we are blessed to assign to assist Kids Alive Ministry to do decoration and set-up education infrastructure in Boeung Tom English Centre which located in Bek Chan rural areas. As we doing decoration together with brother and sister at centre, we felt strongly that we are one family of god. There are no different in nationality, background and status but we are brother and sister in Christ as well as we are sharing a same vision in building the Kingdom of God. We never knew our present in English Centre is able to give assurance and encouragement to the teachers in English Centre. We believed that our small efforts in English Centre are able to bring seed of hope and blessing to the rural community. We are praying that this centre will be the tower of lighthouse where the villages will know God through this centre.

As a conclusion, in Matthew 9:35-38 (NIV) “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” So we shall continue to reach out to the people out there who are yet to know Christ by proclaiming God’s goodness to give them a new hope in Christ.

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The Rojak Experience – Connecting Beyond Language and Culture

By David Chan (team leader)
My recent trip to Cambodia organised by Gen-ACTS Club International was an enriching and eye-opening experience.

Thank you so much for bringing us through the sights, smells and sounds as well as the rather heart-wrenching tour of the torture cells in Tuol Sleng. It was there we were faced with the history of the nation and painful secrets as well as inspiring stories of survivors and the desire of the youth to rebuild a nation that enjoyed a glorious era.

There was ample sampling of Khmer (pronounced Ker-mai) food and local fare, and a good dose of their ‘Kampung’ life. As part of our participation in the programme by Gen ACTS, we ran several programs for the youth (primary school children and high school teens) at a village about half an hour off Takhmao. There, we were treated to a different culture and children eager to learn and understand the English language. We did all this in an education shed built by a previous team from Singapore and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We know for sure that the children loved the Rojak we dished out to them (especially the apples we put in) as the children handed back very clean plates after they sampled the rojak! We highly recommend others to go on this overseas adventure. I hope your hearts and minds would be opened to the needs of the people in the Kingdom of Cambodia. Chum-rip-lear! (It means good-bye in Khmer).

 

By Jia Dai
One of the memorable experiences in the trip is to interact with the children and conduct activities for them in a village at Takhmao. I have never had so many children surrounding me and apart from the excitement, the first thought in my mind was “How am I going to teach them how to make rojak and sing the rojak song when there is no common language?” I became a bit anxious but their excited chattering and bright sparkling eyes spur me to give my best shot at teaching them with my body language, facial expressions and very limited Khmer! Thankfully my translator came and rescued me!:) And from this I learnt that language was not the most important thing to have in communication but love and sincerity that can connect people. It was heavenly listening to them sing the Rojak song together with their hands making the preparation movements and their faces making the cute expressions!

The other experience was in interacting with the youths there. I was amazed that after a whole day of lessons, they were still eager to want to come and learn English. Whatever that we taught and shared, they learnt and tried to follow… there was this example of us using role play to teach them on transport, a group of youths picked up the idea fast and it was a joy seeing them applied what they have learnt with understanding, joy and laughter to presenting on their country’s transportation! 🙂

Once again, I learnt that I have gained from this trip more than what I have given to the people there. They taught me the joy of teaching and influencing, the joy of learning, the joy of simple living, the joy of people, the joy of loving beyond language/cultural barriers!

Shedding Light on the Education Shed

A team of 7 went on a trip to decorate a shed in a Cambodia Village to make it conducive for learning, and to prepare a fun lesson for the Cambodian kids. What they perhaps did not anticipate is to learn even more from the Cambodians. Below are their reflections from the trip:

Adelphe:

Felt that some people are still living in spiritual and mental bondages due to what happened, and that it takes a touch from God to change the whole situation around.

It took faith for Virak to step out of the boat to invest in a portion of his house for the shed, in the eyes of the villagers, which does not generate income for the family. On a side note, on the second day, found out at 8.30pm that my dad got into a car accident in the morning at about 9am. I wanted to fly back the first thing the next morning, but i decided to trust God as there weren’t major injuries.

Learnings with regards to the objective of the stm (short-term mission):

  1. When you step out of the boat for God, you will not regret. God will lay out paths straight for you. Even when plans fail, things happen for a reason. It may not be a lesson for you, but for others.
  2. Learnt to appreciate the things i have and not demand for more, the kids there wear soiled and spoiled clothes.
  3. Without Virak stepping out of the boat, we wouldn’t be here doing this project.
  4. I learnt to be selfless, though i perspire like mad with the sand on my skin, i still prioritise the children first because it was all temporary.

When i came back, i had diarrhoea and had high fever and puked. After a few days, I recovered quite quickly. Thank God for the whole episode.

Abi

Through the stm, I actually grew a burden from mission from the experiences and sharing from the missionaries there. It kinda open a wider perspective. It’s common to hear people telling us how going for stm have helped them realise the joy of simplicity of life through the children. But being there and experiencing it real life, understanding the culture, interacting with the locals, have actually made me realised how blessed we are to live in a nation that was so flourished. That majority of the citizens here in sg grew up having an opportunity to attend school, to have a comfortable job. It made me realise that sg have really many equipped manpower and resources, blessed to be a blessing. And as such, it humbled me to really wanna go out to serve the less served if given the availability and opportunities to do so.

Er yu

Through this trip, something that impacted me is heart attitude of the children I came across with from the village. Although they have nothing much in their environment, they don’t seems to mind and enjoy everything they’re given. They get excited over little things and even taking care of one another though some might not very their siblings. It makes me be thankful with what I have and to also always love the people around me.

Meiyi

Yvonne, huijun, TH & guo qiang are good hosts to us and took care of us well. Many 1st time experiences, 1st time interact with Cambodian kids, they were all so eager to help out anything and learn. Our job (deco, kids programme preparation) manage to complete faster with them around. I was amazed at the shed when I first saw it. It was in a better condition than the photo and really got the “study mood”. I felt quite amazed for Virak’s family in how they helped him with the building of shed and also came to see what we were doing. The parents & grandparents of the kids knew what we want to do and helped to instruct e kids in khmer from outside e shed. Overall is good experience!

David

Something Virak said also inspired me a lot. He said that he wanted to teach the kids because he was taught and still taught by yvonne and the team. I begin to be amazed at how impactful it is to invest in God’s people, that as we invest in discipling God’s ppl, we never know which one will eventually go back to his village/home/campus/workplace to spread the word of God to his people. This has taught me to value everyone around me and to bless each one of them such that they will eventually be filled and go back to bless many many others.

Meirong

This stm trip had taught me to be more sensitive to God’s voice in terms of planning and executing out the plans. I learnt to enjoy the process of carrying out the tasks like decorating the educational shed and preparing for the kids lesson crafts as the local kids began to be involved in what my team was doing at the village place. Though there were challenges of language and cultural barriers but my team learn to overcome all those and could relate with the locals in Cambodia well. Overall experience was great as I discovered more things about myself when I worked along with my team whereby personal preferences sometimes might need to be put aside so to create a better bigger picture. Through this trip, I gained a lot in my world perspectives about life and learn not to complain in the midst of going through tough situations.=)

Santono

This trip is my third time going to Cambodia, and it reminded me of the needs of the people there. Our itinerary and activities gave us the opportunity to mingle with the locals as well as their children, who are so active and willing to learn from us. Throughout the three days that we are at the shed, they came early to attend the sessions and even helped out with our decoration work and played games with us! So happy and joyful that we are able to play a part in their future learning and education in the shed. I also had the chance to have a deeper conversation with one of the church planters, TH during dinner. He shared about his personal struggles, his mission experience and the need to trust God despite our inclinations for logical thinking as we are challenged to do missions. Really learnt a lot from him and felt impacted by his sharing, which encourages me to trust God for His provision in times of seemingly challenging situations.

 

It’s a Machine, It’s a Cow!

In December 2010, our team embarked on an experience we’ll never get in Singapore – farming for a good cause. Yes, you heard us right – farming. We were given the task to create a vegetable farm out of a plot of waste land in the education center that Genacts is developing, with an objective to create future sustenance for the center and a project that children in the center can work on during their discovery time. So there we are, a group of Singaporean who knew nuts about farming going into an agricultural nation to create a vegetable farm out of a plot of land covered with weeds as tall as some of the little children. A daunting task indeed, but we took it on with great enthusiasm and faith.

We read up as much as we could as we prepared for our project, and discovered the wealth of Science behind farming. With so much information to digest, we did everything possible up to the last night prior departure, and everything that came after that was a leap of faith.

On Day 1, we started cutting the weeds and ended the day with little encouragement. We could only work a few hours before we got subdued by the sun, the ground was hard as cement and tough to work on, and we’d only removed patches of weed at the end of the day. However, we decided it was just way too early to give up, hence we went earlier the next day to avoid the sun.  Surprisingly, it hard drizzled the night before, and the ground was softer this time! The gardener of the center, who is a Cambodian, had started work and was progressing with great speed – and that was a AHA! moment for us when we realized that there’s a particular way to removing weeds – cutting from one end to another and rolling them up like carpet as we cut. That was when we realized that the smart aleck we were the day before when we plunged into work thinking we knew best, only to realize that we’d messed things up! From then onwards, we understood the need to work with the locals and learn from them, work through the communication challenges and achieve a real cross-cultural collaboration towards a common goal, and that was when things began to work out well in our project.

So on Day 2, we had successfully removed the weeds. The next step will be to plough the ground. After some discussion with the locals, we learned that there’s a machine to plough the ground, and that allowed us to rest well for that night. The next day, we arrived early again, only to realize that the “machine” is a cow with the plough! We had a good laugh, and went on to prepare the beds and sowed the seeds. By Day 4, we have about 10 beds of chilli, tomato, papaya and brinjal seeds planted, and the final step was to put up a fencing to prevent children or cows from destroying the plot.

Besides farming, we ran a children’s program as well in the afternoon when it was just too hot to do any outdoor work. We collected and brought a lot of educational toys to introduce to the children in preparation for the future education center that will implement the play and learn methodology, and the children indeed enjoyed themselves tremendously. The number of children just kept growing everyday as word goes around, and we ended on a high with a party for the children. The children left really excited with their goodie bags, and we had a great time of sharing with the local teachers after that as we celebrate a successful collaboration that crosses different culture and language.

A Surreal Playground Experience – Achieving Much With Little

As we decide to embark on this Actspedition trip, out of the comforts of Singapore, to help the needy in Cambodia, we were tasked to conduct a kids’ programme and build a playground for the village education center. Being undergraduates, we were very limited in resources and experience, but we learned to raise funds and even picked up relevant skills for our project. More importantly, we learned to appreciate cultural differences, a new language and forged new friendships there.

Being there to experience joy and contentment despite the little present there, the experience was indeed one that was fulfilling for the team. It taught us to not be myopic in how we live our lives but to live our lives for a cause that is greater than ourselves.

We would like to share our experiences with you through the video.

Brains, Brawn & Heart – A Chicken Coop Project

By Liu Wan Phing

A group of 5 girls from Raffles Girls Secondary School (RGS) set out on 4 Dec 2010 to build a chicken coop for a teacher of a small village in order to help him become self-sustaining as he uses his home to provide after-school lessons to the neighbouring children.

Genesis of the project back in Singapore, a month before setting off

How the chicken coop was built in 4 days

The children were not forgotten

Needs beyond boundaries

ACTSpeditions, another experience for the team to go beyond their comfort zone…instead of a luxury tour, they decided to focus on the needs of others beyond Singapore.

There are so much more needs out there. In doing their part in meeting them, the team discovered that helping beyond boundaries have served to expand their perspective of life. They discovered that heart is all that was needed.

Equipping and organizing themselves as best they could, they planned and prepared for their journey to Cambodia. For the short time from 27th Nov to 2nd Dec 2010, they ran a kids camp in an orphanage and other kids programs in various villages there.

Hope Kids Actspeditions Team