Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Japanese Team planted a memorial garden over one of the burial grounds during Khmer Rouge Regime 30 years ago

Gateway family photo
Standing L to R: Srey Ruah, Srey Leak, Janna, Taka, Srey Lin, Christina, Phanet and Sy Nay
Sitting L to R: Janny, Lynda, Srey Lih, Sy Naet, Srey Nij and Wanna


From Dec to Jan, we received a series of visitors from overseas. Christina’s parents came and stayed with us for a month over Christmas. We enjoyed fellowship with them and they helped to encourage us as well as add some practical help to our ministry; from interacting with our kids to helping us dig a new well. Towards the end of their visit, we received a short term mission team from Japan, who not only brought gift bags for our children and the children attending our English classes, but also brought Taka’s parents all the way! It was so wonderful to have Taka’s parents with us for the week that they were here and for them to see just what it is that we do and have a better understanding of our lives here.

Growing and Expanding:
Our children have grown in number by 2. Just before Christmas we received a girl and her brother. Since then, the brother has returned to live with his Grandmother, but Wannaa is more than happy to stay here. The other addition is Srey Lin. She’s the 19 month old girl we talked about in our last newsletter. She has been tested positive for HIV and so now we are preparing to transfer her medical care to a hospital in Phnom Penh. In the meantime, we are trying every means possible to help her gain weight. Though she’s 19 months old, she still only weighs 7.2kgs (16lbs).
As for what is going on with Gateway, we are currently building a new house in order to accommodate more children. For those who haven’t heard the story, we received very generous financial blessings in January. They blessed us without knowing anything about our need to build a new house. We had been praying about our next step as Gateway and knew we needed extra space for children. At the time, we still did not know how much it would cost to build a new house, but when we met with a builder, we found that the cost would be almost exactly the same amount as the funding we had just received a little earlier.

We have been amazed by the way God has blessed us, and our children have been astonished by this story. They have blessed us not only with their generous funding, but more so by being part of His promise of providing all our needs according to His plan, not ours. In this economically disadvantaged country, people’s eyes and devastated hearts are more focused on their physical and earthly wealth. Our children are no exception. However, a testimony such as this, along with other answered prayers, so powerfully convinces them with clear evidence of the movement of the Holy Spirit. We want to experience this as a daily occurrence in our life here at Gateway.
Growing Pains:

We constantly receive lessons as we continue in this ministry. Two of our girls have just returned from a month at home. They were sent home because they were caught gambling, which is something we have taught against since receiving them. Intentionally disobeying our rules is inevitably followed by punishment, which has been very heavy on our hearts. Helping them develop the ability to make right decisions in their daily life has been an ongoing challenge for us.
Another lesson that we experienced was the loss of our cook. There were many issues which we had with her regarding her attitude and work ethic which was constantly undermining Gateway’s leadership and core values of our ministry. While we were praying about the situation, she decided to leave of her own volition. It was rather sudden notice (she left the same day she told Christina) and we were without a staffed cook for 3 weeks. Now we have a cook, Srey Rueh, who has been doing a wonderful job cooking delicious meals and being a positive influence for our kids.
New Spiritual Growth:

Praise the LORD! Recently three of our children have received Jesus into their life. As our oldest boy had decided to follow the Lord earlier, four children have been saved in total. There have been a lot of very positive changes in their everyday lives. Now we have morning devotions before breakfast everyday, and Bible study with a short message every evening except Mondays. We wondered how many of them would show up, especially for the morning devotion at 5:30am and how long they will continue coming. We don’t force them to join but we make sure that we are there and available anyway.

To our surprise, they even show up before the time and shower us with questions. They are so excited to learn His word! Our evening teaching sessions have become more and more interactive and usually go overtime. Now we are planning on making a 3 nights-4 day-trip to Sihanoukville (a beach town 7 hours’ drive from Gateway) before the Khmer New Year holiday, and have a baptism service in the ocean.

Concern for Future Growth:

We continue to pray for guidance in terms of giving to our community. While we used our English teaching as a means for bringing not only a service to the area, but also to build relationships, we saw, through the attitudes of our students, that our time would be much better employed in spending time with our own children. It is refreshing for us as a family to spend this quality time together, which can have many faces: from guitar lessons, to playing games to having impromptu Bible lessons. This being said, we still desire to be a part of the community and are praying for guidance and discernment to know what shape that “part” will be.
Prayer Requests:

1- That God will bless Sy Nay, Srey Leak, Srey Nij and Sy Naet in their spiritual growth as they learn to walk in their new faith in Jesus

2- That Srey Lin would continue to grow healthily and that we would find the best hospital and doctor for her care

3- That our family vacation will be blessed as we incorporate the very special baptism service

4- God will send volunteer(s) to serve alongside with us

“[We] pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ's sake.”
Philemon 1:6

Many blessings,

Taka & Christina