Then the ones who pleased the Lord will ask, "When did we give you something to eat or drink? When did we welcome you as a stranger or give you clothes to wear or visit you while you were sick or in jail?"
The King will answer, "Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me." .......Matthew 25

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Follow up at the schools......

By God's grace we have had 5 good years and completed 5 schools - Chhom Trach, Ta Peuv, O Ta Saeng, Phum Lieu and Phum Ley. Some villages have done better than others.

We have followed up at Chhom Trach a lot more than the others because it is the poorest of the villages, and have been very heartened by the progress it has made. Recently the poly students repainted the exterior and it really made a difference. We are always impressed by the show of their flag lowering ceremony at the end of the day. To imagine the lids were at one time running around naked and filthy, and now being able to line up in a discipline fashion to do the flag lowering ceremony. Just brought a lump to the throat.

The main reason we visit the villages this time round was to continue to impress upon the schools and the students/teachers that we haven't forgotten about them and that remained concerned about their progress. In particular we wanted to encourage the students to be diligent in their studies and to work hard. To this ends we created a scheme to give out prizes to the top 5 students from each grade. We actually started this last year, so this would be second time we are doing this in the school. I think it is making an impact on the kids and teachers.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Images of Boeung Rial

Ee Sin and Chi Seng

Piang Ngok doing his thing


Penny and Chee Khiang

Me and Ps Kia

Ps Boon Leong, Jhon and Chi Seng

Ping and Swee Oon - How deep??

District Officer, Ps Kia, Esther, Ps Boon Leong and me at back

Veron, Wai Ling and Chew



Light of Life School@Boeung Rial

You can see the floating school at back

We prayed for rain...and boy, did it rain!! We thought we'd have to slosh through muddy fields all the way to Boeung Rial, but God spared us that ordeal and gave us rain in abundance. So much rain that we had to brave in hour long journey in open boats. These ponchos came in handy.....but only to a limited extent because we still ended up drenched.But it was indeed a joyous meeting at the floating classroom.
The villagers gamely braved the elements just to be at the commissioning. Even the District Officer made it.

Me with Ps Samreth.... Poster says Light of Life School with a verse from John 8:12.

Ps Boon Leong preaching openly with Ps Samreth translating. The District officer is at the back.

What can I say....? It was just such a wonderful moment to see the school in stark physical reality. Despite the rain, the villagers were in high spirits. The government was to have appointed teachers, but because the school was so inaccessible, they could not get anyone to take up the job. As a result, we continue to use the part time teachers from Somrong Church to take the classes. Currently 2 teachers ran classes 3 days a week, but thanks the the generous support from a well wisher, we can now pay the teachers to run classes 5 days a week.

Monday, October 4, 2010

You are there......!

It's so blessed to be able to watch a child at prayer. Their innocence and earnestness as they approach the Father, just puts us to shame.

I watched these girls praying in Andaut. And what really moved me was apart from their piety, the suddenly realization of where we were. This wasn't in some fancy modern church in the city. Or a youth fellowship in some Christian school. But we were in the middle of the jungle, miles from anywhere remotely urbanized. Even with the GPS I would be hard put to point out our location on a map. A villager had remarked that he could not imagine that foreigners would come all the way into the jungle to help them. But yet there we were, watching, as these young girls clasped their hands and prayed as if there was no one else there other than they, and God.

And it struck me that even though the world may not know of the existence of this tiny village, our Heavenly Father certainly knew. He was already there in Andaut. And He certainly knew these girls by name.

The Psalmist wrote:

"You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.

You hem me in--behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast."

If our Heavenly Father is in Andaut, there is no reason why we should not also be.

Singing and praying in Church@Andaut

Socka praying in Andaut


It was still not an easy road to Andaut....especially as it had gotten wetter from the rains. It took 45mins in our faithful yellow bus just to get to this ditch. (It did finally get pass the obstacle, but eventually succumbed to a lube leak when we were at O Ta Saeng.

We finally decided to walk the remaining few hundreds to the church at Andaut.

They had been waiting since early morning for us. And it was such joy to see them with Bibles and songbooks. Not all could read though; many were still illiterate. Socka started them going, Josephine led them through some chorus, and Ps Peter shared with them from Psalm 73.

From left to right: Saran, Ps Peter, Esther, Socka, Khiem, Josephine, Samuel, Lily. The new church building in the background.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


What a fine young man he has become! It cost so little to have made such a big difference. Au kuhn Preah Ong!

Boeung Rial - Light of Life School

The rains haven't been particularly impressive this year apparently, and the flood plains haven't flooded as well as it should. Boeung Rial hasn't been able to relocate to their usual deployment site this time of year.

The access to the village has also been tricky. Too marshy to go by car, but too dry to go by boat. So we made the journey by motorbike, through mostly reasonably dry dirt tracks, but negotiating through some tricky stretches of 0.3m-deep muddy pools. From Boeung Rial we were able to take the usual long boats to the floating school.

Light of Life School @ Boeung Rial
Clockwise from left: Esther, Ps Kea, Ps Samreth, caretaker Juhan's daughter, Ps Peter, Chern Chern

Forget the F1.... this is way better!

Note the bike coming through the muddy pools at the back? That's Chern Chern bringing up the rear of the convoy. In front from left is Ps Samreth, Ps Peter and my rider Kimsour (also the pastoral assistant for BoeungRial). He travels this same challenging route every week to minister to the village.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

On the TonleSap flood plains...

Mystery person spotted on the TonleSap flood plains.

With Saran (David) plus a glorious Cambodian sunset over the flood plains.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Can we put a student hostel in Baray?

Schools in Cambodia, for obvious reasons, are sited in urban centres or along major roads. For this reason, many of the rural communities that are distanced from the main roads have very limited access to the school system. That is why we have been trying to plant small lower primary schools in remote villages, so that young children can have a chance to develop some literacy and numeracy skills. As they grow older, we hope they can then travel slightly longer distances to upper primary level schools or even secondary schools.

Recently we have been thinking of how to support older children from these remote villages who have been able to make it academically to high school, but now face the problem of having to commute the great distances between their homes and the high school in Baray.

One solution we might be able to offer is to provide a small hostel in Baray that could house about 10-15 boys. A 2 storey 12 x 6m structure with toilet and kitchen facilities would provide adequate dormitary types facilities, and would cost about US$25,000 to erect. We have already identified a young Christian man who can be an "older brother/mentor" for the kids staying at the hostel.

In addition, we will need about US$720 per year to support each student at the hostel.

We are thinking and praying about this badly need resource for the students. If you have any ideas, or think you can help, please contact me. If the concept works, we can consider having a separate hostel for young girls. Also badly needed.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

So excited about the floating classroom.....

The rains have filled up the Tonle Sap flood plains. The above photo is of Boeung Rial at the moment and you can see the poverty and the poor state of their dwellings.

The floating classroom is however almost complete. This is a picture of the structure as they are putting in the finishing touches. Not quite ready to float yet....and we are praying that it will indeed float. But there's no reason why it should not float. The classroom looks fantastic and I am actually quite pleased to see it brought to this stage of completion. What a joyous occasion for the villagers! Praise God!! I can't wait to go and see it for myself.

I will be there in end of September with Ps Peter. This will primarily be to review the Andaut situation. We will take the opportunity to see the floating classroom before we go and commission it in October.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Baray Santuk Referral Hospital

We were also able to meet with one of the doctors at the Baray Santuk Referral Hospital. The Oerational District Chief Dr Meas Chem was away that day.

Meeting with the Baray Administrator (District Officer)

We had the privilege during this last trip to meet with Mr Hak Movseng, the Administrator of Baray District. It was a good meeting and we were able to discuss with him some of our ongoing projects in Boeung Rial (Fishing Village) and Andaut, as well as the proposed cataract surgery project in 2011.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority Receive the Stockholm Water Supply Award

An amazing achievement given the very low base they started off from because of the Khmer Rouge and civil wars. The bigger challenge will be how to route the water supply to the rural regions.

"Phnom Penh is located at the intersection of four rivers arms that serve as an endless water source. But because the country had suffered from chronic civil war for decades, the water supply system became obsolete, and the supply of water did not start to improve before the 1990ies.

“In 1993, Mr. Ek Sonn Chan was appointed by the government as the General Director of the Phnom Penh Water Supply Department, and his team led officials and employees to do some basic work, like to totally repair the water supply system. He also initiated the creation of a new highly effective administrative system to issue invoices and receipts for payments. He also initiated international standard procedures to supply clean water to all residents of Phnom Penh. The Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority is successful in fighting corruption and has shown the world that the fight against corruption can be successful in a developing country through the use of simple but effective leadership, based on policies and commercial strategies that are recognized worldwide. At present, as an autonomous unit, the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority is supplying water 24 hours a day to 90% of Phnom Penh, which has about 1.3 million citizens, and effectively controls its revenue and expenses. In the meantime, the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority continues to further develop the clean water supply system and to strengthens the internal control of the unit.

“Since 1998, the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority has set up a totally new supply system. The quantity of water lost as the result of broken and leaking pipes dropped from 72% in 1993 to only 6% in 2008, which is a very small quantity compared to that of other modern countries in the world. Nowadays, the collection of water bills recovers over 98% of the invoiced charges, which allows the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority to get the necessary money back to cover its operational costs. The Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority reaches world standards due to its leading water supply system.
" Reported in The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 668

The following videos produced by the ADB is worth watching:

Friday, June 11, 2010


Since November 2009, when Saran's father passed away, he and his siblings had to be separated because of their financial situation. We have been supporting him with a small allowance while he stayed with Esther and helped out at the SOLAR ministry. See here.

I have been keeping track of his progress and thank God for how he has been transformed in this short span of time, from an bereaved adolescent without any hope, to a confident, responsible and outgoing young man.

We are trying to find support for his younger brother Saron, to go for technical training. If you know of anyone able to 'adopt' Saron for his educational needs, please let me know. Total expected cost of US$835.... but partial support is also welcome because we can try and top up the shortfall.

Andaut (An Dot)

Approximately 30kms due East of Kampong Thmor, at the junction of Highway 6 and 31, is a pair of large villages called Upper and Lower Andaut respectively. Lower Andaut, where we are focusing on consists about 400 huts with 700 families (go figure the maths... ). The picture above show the approximate position of the village relative to Kpg Thmor and Baray (circled extreme left). But if you Google Earth 'An Dot + Baray', you can see the pair of villages in a bit more detail. The red marker is placed a bit southeast of the 2 villages.

Socka and her husband are moving into Andaut as local missionaries. They are from Somrong (a local CMS church led by Ps Kia) Church, but salaried by Esther's SOLAR Ministry. A church is being started in Lower Andaut through some seed money (USD5000) from the US based Cornerstone Church. Through Socka's pioneering work, the village has already 29 believers who meet regularly in a wooden hut (see above).

Socka's testimony, which we were fortunate to make an unplanned recording can be found here:

The village is quite inaccessible except through poorly maintained dirt tracks, and the children have no school. The nearest school is in Upper Andaut, a few kilometers away.

I feel the burden very much to place a school here. I believe this will complement the developing church activities in this village, especially since Socka and her husband are already moving in as missionaries. It will also be very opportune time for a church to step in and 'adopt' this fledgling missionary work.

Milk supplements

Factory worker and single mum Sreilod was abandoned by her lover in Phnom Penh. Already in late pregnancy, she felt so hopeless, she contemplated taking her own life. She was rescued by her brother who brought her back to Baray.

She eventually had her baby Sreimau, but was so malnourished she could not produce any milk. We are providing milk support for her.