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“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:9

Hello To Our Prayer Warriors!!! 

We continue to be encouraged each and every week as we get messages from our friends, family and all our prayer warriors who have been asking how we are doing here in Cambodia.  Especially in these days as the world is experiencing the impact of COVID-19, we have appreciated the prayers of the saints for us. 

To cut to the chase, we are doing well.  Believe it or not, life here in Cambodia for the time being is much calmer than life in many other parts of the world.  As we read the news, follow Facebook feeds and talk to people in Canada, we remember all of you in our prayers as well. We have come to be grateful for the simple things, such as grocery stores that still have stocked shelves (and yes, we still do have plenty of toilet paper in stores here too). As we look to the future of what may happen here in Cambodia, we recognize that every day or two things start to become more tense in the country as more and more cases of COVID-19 are confirmed.

It was just over two weeks ago that we were at a prayer retreat in Phnom Penh and our leaders were discussing how COVID-19 would impact our ministries.  At that time, there were only 5 confirmed cases in Cambodia and the WHO had yet to declare it a pandemic.  Fast forward to today, Cambodia has 98 confirmed cases with many believing that there are many more people in the countryside who are infected but have not been tested. While the number is far less than many other countries, it is concerning for a developing nation like Cambodia. Facts/statistics are difficult to know for sure as Cambodia is a country that loves Facebook like no other and the amount of false information on Facebook is more rampant than ever these days. However, for our family, we are not trusting in official numbers for our peace but rather in God.  We left the prayer retreat two weeks ago, encouraged by the words of Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  We have full confidence that the Lord is with us wherever we go. This is the hope that we hold on to as we continue to seek God to see how He wants to use us here in this country during this particular time.

So, what does life look like for us here today?  Officially, there is no social distancing mandated but people are beginning to be wary of going out in public.  The government has recently been driving around with loudspeakers reminding people to wash their hands and giving them more information about COVID-19.  Khmer New Year celebrations in April have been cancelled. Many shops have closed either temporarily or permanently as a result of COVID-19.  Many restaurants are moving to a delivery only model which is a newer thing for Cambodia, especially here in Siem Reap.  Many people are out of jobs and for those already living in poverty, this is ever moreso worrisome. Schools have been shut down for three weeks now and many people have moved back to the countryside, so the streets are emptier. 

Our children are all “enjoying” the new world of homeschooling and we as parents are learning everyday how God needs to help us grow in our patience. We are very grateful that Hope International School had a plan already in place in case schools had to close.  Through the use of technology, our children are able to continue with their curriculum and “meet-up” with their classmates online. It is definitely a new experience for us all. 

Recently, I (Dave) was saying to another missionary, “When I felt God calling me into missions, I never ever thought in a million years that I would be trying to figure out how to do missions in the midst of a pandemic.” And perhaps that best describes how our team feels these last few weeks as had to revisit all our plans and programs.  When the government shut down the schools, it also meant that we had to shut down our tutoring centre.  Then, when churches were told to close, we also had to close our church doors. This has certainly pushed us to think of new ways that we can stay connected to the children, teens and adults in our ministry. We are challenged to find ways that God can be glorified and how we can be agents of peace for the Vietnamese communities that we work with. 
Pray for our team as we visit the homes and communities around our church these next few weeks.  We bring coloring pages and other resource materials for the kids so that they will have some things to do during the school closures.  We also come to pass along correct information in Vietnamese about COVID-19 because there is so much false information spread throughout the communities. This has also forced us to be up-to-date on COVID-19 and learn some new Vietnamese words.  We never thought we would need to learn the word for “quarantine” in Vietnamese. We have been able to have good conversations with many families these last two weeks and pray that God will continue to open doors to allow them to see God’s love through us.  
As you pray for us here in Cambodia, know that we are also praying for you: that during this time of fear for many people, you can be a witness to the hope found in Jesus Christ.
Here’s how you can pray for us in the coming weeks:
  • Pray for our team to have clear steps forward as we revisit our ministry plans in light of COVID-19.
  • Pray for fruitful conversations as we visit families in their homes.
  • Pray that our team will come up with some creative ways to continue connecting with our church members in lieu of gatherings at church.
  • Pray for the Cambodian government as they respond to the growing number of COVID-19 infections in Cambodia.
  • Pray for the health of our team in Cambodia as well as all international workers across the world.

Thanks again for journeying with us!

Dave, Joyce, Jadon, Elisabeth, and Josiah.

At first these boys didn’t want coloring sheets but then they started “fighting” over 1, so we gave them all sheets which made them happy.

Worshiping online with Ottawa Chinese Alliance Church