“ Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” Matthew 25:45
Life here in Cambodia continues to be very different than what most of the world is going through with the Covid-19 pandemic. Presently, there is no self-isolation in place but there is definitely a reduction of people in public places. Aside from the ban on interprovincial travel from April 9-16, not much has changed here in Cambodia since our last update. Today the government announced that schools will continue to be closed until further notice. Many people had hoped that schools would be opened again later this month but that will likely not happen now. Churches are still prohibited from meeting for Sunday worship as well as any other type of group meetings such as Bible studies.
Our team is continuing to look for opportunities to stay connected to all the students, adults and families that are a part of our education and church ministries. We are still visiting the different communities to hand out activity sheets and bible stories so that the students will have something productive to do during this school closure. These visitations give us good opportunities to talk to parents and hear about the different hardships that they are facing due to this Covid-19 pandemic. It also gives us an opportunity to share about trusting in God and to pray with them.
Most of the families in our ministry work jobs in the recycling industry, which means they spend their days buying/collecting recyclable material (metal, plastic, paper) in order to sell to recycling centres in the area. This type of job was already difficult and unsteady prior to Covid-19 but recently, due to the decrease in tourism and the closing of many shops, there is much less recyclable material to be found. In addition, the closure of international borders with Vietnam and Thailand have driven down the prices of recyclables. The end result is that many families now find themselves out of work or earning only a small portion of their previous income. As the pandemic continues to stretch on, many are also finding it a stretch to be able to provide for their families.
Our team has recently turned our attention towards emergency aid in order to help these families that are in need. This past week we were able to hand out food aid packages (rice and noodles) to 37 families connected to our ministry. We also were able to pick over 200 mangoes from our yard and share them with these families. Our team will continue to evaluate the needs of our community over the next few weeks and will look for ways to continue to care for the families in tangible ways as resources allow us to.
We recently started hosting Sunday worship online using Zoom. Everyone, including our team, is figuring out how it all works and getting used to this new way of connecting. We are excited to be able to still connect this way but also saddened because not everyone in our community has access to technology to join us in our Zoom worship or follow along with devotionals that we post online. Others in our community do not have the literacy capabilities to be able to study the Bible on their own. Please pray for us as we work on some plans this week to provide them with some further tools to hear God’s word and study the Bible on their own.
Please continue to pray for us in the coming weeks:
- Pray for our team as we continue to visit and care for the many families in our ministry. Pray that we are able to share the hope found in Jesus to those we visit.
- Pray that our online worship will be able to reach even more people than our previous church services.
- 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.
- Pray for the shortages in the Global Advance Fund as many individual and churches are facing financial hardships during this time.
Thanks again for journeying with us!
Dave, Joyce, Jadon, Elisabeth & Josiah.
Youth picking over 200 mangoes in order to hand out to the community