Report of Mission Visit to Cambodia (24 – 27 August 2014)
Submitted by Eld. Sim Chee Seng
Ps. Gan and I left Singapore Changi Airport on Sun 24/8, 2.45pm by Flight M1633 and arrived later in Siam Reap Airport around 2:45pm. We were met by Pr. Tann Heng who led us to the Royal Crown Hotel around 4.45pm local time. Bro. William Goh, who had come on a different flight and who was staying in a different hotel met us at the Hotel Lounge. We had dinner together and discussed the program for the rest of the visit. The main aims of this visit to Cambodia were:- (a) to encourage, fellowship and strengthen Pr. Tann Heng & family in the Lord, (b) to understand Pr. Tann Heng’s progress, difficulties and missionary needs, and (c) to meet with Pastor Timothy Thieng for advice on pastoral ministry and collaboration in this mission work.
We met at the house Church (together with Bro. William Goh) over 2 days and we met Ps. Thieng and his wife on Wednesday. In between these meetings, we also interacted with Ps. Prak Vuthi and Mr. Toun Boran. A summary of our discussions & findings are listed below:-
Pr. Tann Heng has started Worship Service since 19 Jan this year and this is held every Sunday at 2-3pm (to suit the locals). Attendance is 4-5 adults. He conducts 2 Sunday School Classes for children. One class starts at 7:30am at the mission station till 8:30 am. Then he leaves for Preahatit Orphanage to teach the second class from 9 – 10am. He uses Flash Cards to teach the Sunday School lessons. There is no Sunday School or Prayer Meeting for adults because of their work commitments.
The registration of the house Church has been submitted and he is awaiting approval from the relevant authorities. Four members have indicated interest in registering as members of New Life BP Church, Siem Reap. Their registration forms were not up at the time of this meeting with him.
On Mondays to Fridays, he gives free English lessons to the children and adults in the evening, 5-6pm. Attendance averaged 7-8 children and 5 adults (including at least 2 persons who attended the Church).
Pr. Tann Heng’s wife, Navy helps in teaching the children, in the Church services and she plays simple hymns on the old keyboard.
The people who attend the house Church are few and they are not well off financially. Although the Sunday offerings and collections are small, those attending have been giving faithfully. We note that Pr. Tann Heng is facing some financial constraint because of the addition of a baby (Daniel) to the family. The electricity tariff has gone up from US$ 16.81 to US$35 due to increased usage. The family expenses for food (milk powder for baby) & water utilities (need to boil water for baby) are up because of increased costs. The average expenditure for the family is approximately US$ 16 per day or US$ 480 per month. There is no increase of charges for transport (travel less), telephone bills, or garbage disposal. The rental of the mission house is expected to increase after its lease runs out end of year; the quantum of change is uncertain.
From our conversation with Pr. Tann Heng (together with input from Ps. Thieng & wife), there is a real need to increase the financial support for Navy and the child. Ps. Thieng and wife have proposed another US$150 for Navy and US$30 for the baby.
Another consideration: Navy’s mother stays with the couple to look after the baby ever since the baby was born. The baby had been unwell before our visit. They did not bring him to see a doctor because of cost. He has improved with medicines bought over the counter. Elder Sim advised them against self medication which may mask symptoms and delay proper diagnosis of the medical condition.
We promised to bring this issue to the attention of the Session and Missions Committee for discussion and further action. During this trip we handed over to Pr. Tann Heng some love gifts from well wishers in New Life. The total amount was properly recorded and signed.
Ps. Gan gave Pr. Tann Heng some articles on biblical doctrines written by Ps. Jack Sin for his reading. Some Bible Study materials, suitable for teenagers in Sunday School were also handed to him by Elder Sim. Both Pr. Tann Heng and Navy were cordially invited to attend our Church Camp next year. We spent some time praying together for his ministry and his family. We brought the couple out for lunch and dinner to show our appreciation for their hard work here.
Meeting with Ps. Timothy Thieng & Wife
We visited Ps. Thieng and wife in their house Church on Wednesday. It was brought to our attention that Pr. Tann Heng had been busy on his own and seldom met with Ps. Thieng for fellowship and prayer.Ps. Thieng hoped that Pr. Tann Heng could join them in regular fellowship & prayer meetings (which are conducted every Friday night). Such meetings are essential for mutual edification and strengthening of one’s faith in the ministry. He would advise Pr. Tann Heng on this issue. Ps. Thieng and wife advised that we should help him financially because of the increased burden on his family. They promised to help Pr. Tann Heng in whatever way they can to enable him to succeed in his ministry. We sought Ps. Thieng’s help to supervise Pr. Tann Heng in his pastoral ministry, and Ps. Thieng was agreeable to our proposal.
Meeting with Mr. Toun Boran (Director of Preahatit Community Development)
Mr. Boran used to run an orphanage which New Lifers had visited and conducted Daily Vacation Bible School (DVBS) in the past years. Presently he is registering his new facility in a new location for community development to help young people learn a useful skill in life. He no longer runs an orphanage. However there are some children staying with Mr. Boran that Pr. Tann Heng is still ministering to, helping them in English and teaching them Bible lessons. A wish for Pr. Tann Heng is that God will provide a Tutu, so that he can ferry these children to the house Church.
Meeting with Ps. Prak Vuthi (Principal of Agape High School)
The hospitable principal who owns the high school showed us around the high school surrounded by a spacious compound on which a hostel for students and a home for himself are currently being built. Ps. Prak mentioned that he has 177 enrolled students and 38 teachers in his school. He welcomes anyone who is keen to contribute to the school in any academic field. Because his funding from his godfather from Australia is running low and much of the buildings on site are incomplete, he intends to sell his house cum Church to finance it. He asks if New Life was interested in his property (Editor’s note: by now, the property has been sold.) He mentioned that Pr. Tann Heng could take care of the 40 worshippers from his Church if we bought the property. We visited his double storey terrace house but found it unsuitable for our purpose as it was located near the main road and a little cramped for use as a Church. Furthermore, the asking price of US$45,000 is too high in our estimation. Ps. Prak is agreeable to our request to conduct a DVBS for his students in November 2014.
Visit to Angkor Wat and Tonle Sap
Ps. Gan and I visited the Angkor Wat and Tonle Sap (floating boat houses of the poor) on Tuesday for sightseeing.
Pr. Tann Heng faces many challenges in his ministry in Cambodia. This new work of growing a Church requires much hard work and faith. His recent marriage and birth of a baby will add to his burden physically, financially and spiritually. We pray that God will supply him and his wife with good health, strength, wisdom and help to cope with the additional burdens. May the Lord moved New Lifers to give generously towards this mission work in Cambodia.
We encourage Pr. Tann Heng to meet up with Ps. Thieng for mutual exhortation, encouragement and strengthening in the Lord. This is especially needful in times of crisis when one can fall back and count on the spiritual support of a brother in Christ.
We hope that he and Navy will join us for the Church camp next year. God willing, some New Lifers will go to Cambodia in November for DVBS and Dental mission.
Mission Report of the Cambodian Mission Team
The team’s visit was from 14 – 18 Nov 2014 and there were 25 team members: Ps. Gan, Dn. & Mrs Ivan Lim, and their two sons: Sean and John Lim, Dr and Mrs Winston Lim, Mr. & Mrs Alex Koh, Sis. Jini Bhai and her granddaughter, Amanda, Bro. Ang Puay Lun and his son, Zhen Jie, Sis.Ng Li Ping and her children, Nicodemus, Nathan and Lydia, Sis. Radha and her daughter, Christina Mohan, Sis. Alissa Goh, Sis. Charlene Tan, Sis. Toh Bee Bee, Sis. Carol Tan, Bro. Koh Kok Whye, and Sis. Lilian Lee.
As the mission team was large, it was decided that on the second day (Saturday), the team would be split into three groups so that everyone would be suitably occupied in serving the Lord. The first group, which included the dental team and a DVBS group, was located at the Mission House in Pr. Tann Heng’s place. The second group would conduct a DVBS at Agape High School and the third at Ps. Timothy Thieng’s First Bible Presbyterian Church. On the third day (Sunday) all three groups would serve at the Mission House with the children who were at the Mission House on Saturday returning for the conclusion of the DVBS programme.
The team then visited Angkor Wat on Monday but Ps. Gan together with Bro. Alex and Sis. Jit Eng had a separate programme of meeting up with Ps. Thieng and his wife as well as Ps. Prak Vuthi to discuss with Pr. Tann Heng how to improve the work. The team then flew home on Tuesday.
Group 1 at the Mission House
Submitted by Sis. Lilian Lee
Ps. Gan was the overall team advisor. This group had two departments: the Dental department was made up ofDn. & Mrs Ivan Lim, and their two sons: Sean and John Lim, Dr and Mrs Winston Lim; and the DVBS department: Mr. & Mrs Alex Koh, Sis. Toh Bee Bee and Sis. Lilian Lee.
Before we headed out to Cambodia, everyone who had been there before us told us that there would be very few children at the Mission House. Often, we heard: “At the most, you will find 20 children.” Hence Group 1 had only four members teaching the DVBS at the Mission House while all the young energetic teachers were assigned to the other groups which were expecting a lot more children, with the last group expecting 100! God has many surprises for us and it was good that the team learnt in one of our early mission meetings – Dn. Ivan said, “We must learn to be flexible because what you plan may not turn out!” Hence when we arrived at the Mission House, instead of being overwhelmed, we laughed when we saw that there were already a lot of children waiting for us! In fact on that day, we had 70 children in the DVBS – the largest number of children of the three groups!
We followed through with the programme that Sis. Alissa Goh had planned for the DVBS, beginning with icebreakers and singing. It was a challenge that we did not speak Khmer but thank God there were a number of youths who were there to interpret for us. Later we found out that these youths came from Agape High School. The children although crowded into the small room sat quietly and patiently as we told the story of Noah and how he obeyed God to build an ark. I wish I could speak Khmer and ask them what they thought of Noah and the universal flood. They were very good in learning the Memory verse John 3:16. As I listened to them recite the verse, it seems to me that they were using a lot of long Khmer words and it sounded very complicated but I pray that the salvation message is simple enough for them to understand. May the Lord save many!
The high point of excitement came during the final art and craft session. The children were very happy with their Polaroid photos which we took of every child and they then stick it onto a foam photo frame which would remind them that “God keeps promises”. I believe that these children seldom have a chance to have their photos taken and they were delighted with this special gift. They fondly decorated the photo frame with stickers of animals that went into the Ark with Noah. They were also very happy to be given as prizes balloon sculptures of giraffes and dogs that Sis. Bee Bee and Sis. Carol had taught the team members to make.
At the end of the day, the team was very tired. We were especially proud that we had Bro. Alex and Sis. Jit Eng in our team. They served as an example for us that at their age, they served the Lord with all their might! – and this was their second trip! (Ps. Thieng also noted Sis. Jini’s participation at his church).
The dental team was stretched too – they had attended to 79 patients altogether. The teachers could not do much to help them except to give a balloon flower or giraffe to a crying frightened child. We were sorry that poor Dr Winston Lim was not even able to catch his afternoon power nap because our DVBS children were many and noisy – especially on the second day, the number of children exceeded 100! As some would surmise – this was a happy problem.
Thank God for the privilege of serving Him. There is still more to do to support Pr. Tann Heng. We were glad to leave much of our teaching materials with him. We hope that more in New Life would come to experience the faithfulness of God in the mission field.
Group 2 at Agape High School
Submitted by Bro. Koh Kok Whye
Team Members were: Sis.Ng Li Ping and her children, Nicodemus, Nathan and Lydia, Sis. Radha, Sis. Carol Tan, and Bro. Koh Kok Whye
By the grace of God, many from New Life BP Church volunteered their time for the mission trip to Cambodia, Siem Reap happening from 14 – 18 November 2014. With the resources at hand, the group was able to form three teams, targeting different areas. each with distinct responsibilities. The team consisting of Sis. Li Ping, Sis Radha, Sis Carol, Sis Lydia, Bro Nicodemus, Bro Nathan and Bro Kok Whye were assigned to Siem Reap Angkor Agape School (“Agape High School”).
Agape Christian School is looked after by Ps. Prak Vuthi, with a student strength of 200. Given our team size, 50 children were arranged for our Saturday Vacation Bible School. Of the 50 children, 20 stayed at the school, while 30 travelled from the immediate areas around the school. A number of teachers who understood English were asked to be with the team, to assist in translation.
We had only a day at the School, and the team intended to make full use of the time we were given. 50 children aged 4 to 17 were with us, and certainly, no one is too young to receive the word of God (Matt 19:14).
In the morning, the teaching team led by Sis. Li Ping taught the lesson on Noah’s Ark. Through sharing and other activities, Sis. Li Ping was able to not just share about Noah and his faithfulness, the importance of obeying God and God’s love but also impress upon the children that believing in the Lord Jesus Christ is the only way to be saved. The morning session culminated in the singing of the theme song, based on the memory verse in John 3:16.
The afternoon session was designed to help the children recap the morning lessons, through art and craft. All hands were on deck as everyone focused on specific tasks to ensure that the activities run like clockwork. Sis. Li Ping and Sis. Carol were the main teachers to guide the groups. Sis. Radha, Bro. Nathan and Sis. Lydia prepared balloon sculptures and origami. Bro. Nicodemus took charge of instant photography and Bro. Kok Whye became the event photographer. When the art & craft were done, all the children had a book of Noah’s Ark, and a picture of themselves.
We ended the day with the distribution of the goodie bags to the children, and the school staff. The bags included stationery, sweets, toothbrush and toothpaste. Before the children were dismissed, Bro. Kok Whye stressed on the importance of oral hygiene to the children, and conducted a short brushing workshop. Time passed quickly and it was soon time to say goodbye to the children, the teachers and Ps. Vuthi.
While it was only for a day, the team prayed that the seeds sown, had fallen on good ground (Matt 13:8).
Age is certainly no barrier to serving our Mighty God, as our Lord used each and every single member of the team. Tired as we were, the team felt the guiding presence of the Lord throughout, especially when there were multiple hiccups along the day. May we continue to pray for the ongoing work in Cambodia.
Group 3 at Ps. Timothy Thieng’s First Bible Presbyterian Church
Submitted by Bro. Ang Puay Lun
Team Members were: Sis. Alissa Goh, Sis. Charlene Tan, Sis. Christina Mohan, Sis. Jini Bhai and her granddaughter, Sis. Amanda, Bro. Ang Puay Lun and his son, Bro. Zhen Jie
This trip was rather special as many of us including me were on our very first mission trip. Every day God revealed to us that He is in control and how His amazing grace used us again and again to touch lives and bring Him glory.
On Saturday, our group conducted a VBS Children’s program at First Bible Presbyterian Church in Siem Reap. We praise God that we had close to 60 children who turned up. We had expected 100 children and had spent tremendous amount of time preparing the materials. The children were first led with some ice- breaker games, a time of singing, and then the Bible story on Noah’s Ark, before engaging them in the Art & Craft session. Judging from their eagerness to learn and their excitement to the entire program, we know the children were really enjoying themselves. We concluded the program by giving out goodie bags to the children, and deep down in our heart, we prayed that God would use whatever we have done to make a difference in their lives and that the children will come to receive the salvation offered by our Lord Jesus.
The next day, we had more Children’s program and two Sunday worship services at the Mission House. Rev Gabriel Gan concluded by sharing his testimony and preaching from the memory verse from our DVBS John 3: 16. We were encouraged to see over 100 of children at the Sunday Children’s program and all the seats were filled up during both services as well. We just fell in love with the culture, the people and the children that have so much life in them.
I am compelled to recite one of God’s five purposes for our life (taken from The Purpose Driven Life book by Rick Warren) on Evangelism: We were made for a mission. While we wait for Jesus to come back and take us, we are accountable for the time on earth God give us. James 2:26 says that “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so FAITH without WORKS is dead also”. We are making an extra effort getting out of our comfort zone. It’s indeed very encouraging to see many humbly stepped up to serve in the Cambodia Mission Outreach.
This trip was also an eye-opening experience to see how blessed we are in all aspects of our comfortable lifestyle here in Singapore, and for the most part, we often forget to count our blessings. The list is endless; we take things for granted where we live in with abundant resources such as food, shelter and clothing; having the opportunities to work, study and play. We really praise God that He allows us to truly understand what the Psalmist meant by “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his BENEFITS.” (Psalm 103:2)
We thank God for the wonderful opportunity and having the privilege of serving Him in the mission field. To God be the Glory!
Testimonies of Team Members:
Sis. Dolly Lian (for the Dental Team)
Thank God Winston and I were able to particiapte in this Mission trip! We thank God especially for keeping most of us in good health. We had our reservations about the hygiene level, drinking water, dust and mosquito problem etc.
During the 1½ days (the whole of Saturday and the morning of Sunday), Dn Ivan and Winston saw almost 80 patients. They were mainly extractions and unexpectantly a lot of fillings; they had to work fast especially in the afternoon and on the second day when the queue started to build up. Sean and I were kept busy washing and sterilizing the instruments.
Thank God for Amy’s experience in the registration of the patients. She worked together with Pr. Tan Heng’s brother (who was the interpreter), and they were careful in screening the patients and highlighted patients with medical history such as high blood pressure and diabetes and they also identified the pregnant women patients.
John, though young was tasked with the tough pharmacist’s job of dispensing the medicine where communication was difficult, if not for the interpreters.
The Khmers were very appreciative and thanked the dentists profusely. We invited them to our church service and pray that the Spirit will work in their hearts and in His timing save them. We thank God the whole dental work went on smoothly without any complications.
Sis. Ng Li Ping
I have benefitted a lot from the Cambodia mission trip –working with fellow churchmates & getting to know one another better, opportunity to share God’s word with others and seeing God at work in many ways. Prior to the trip, I was unsure of what to expect (teaching kids who have limited English and I’m totally hopeless in Khmer, unknowns wrt profile of kids/ etc) and God proves once again His faithfulness never fails. May the seeds sown bear fruits for the Lord and the bond we have built in the team be strengthened and multiplied.
Bro. Nicodemus Ng
I’m really thankful to have been part of this team of 25 awesome people to go share the word in Cambodia. This trip has really made me appreciate the life I have back here in Singapore and how privileged we actually are. I would love to go back again and would like to encourage anyone who is able to go, to go.
Bro. Nathan Ng
I thank God that I was able to attend this mission trip to help in sharing the gospel with the children in Cambodia.
Sis. Lydia Ng
I thank God that I could go to Cambodia for the mission trip. I hope the kids we went to teach had learnt about God. The kids there do not have similar things like us, for example ipads, iphones, computers and TV. I am very blessed to be a Singaporean!
Sis. Carol Tan
A short-term mission trip is almost guaranteed to impact our spiritual condition and change our life in a way unlike any other adventure or personal holiday trips. We become an extension of God’s hands and a heart to the people in other cultures. It was a joy to be able to develop new and lasting relationships with people locally and with our own church members – people with whom I had thought I would not get a chance to speak to when I see them in church on Sundays.
The mission team was divided into 3 groups and we were sent to 3 different locations for the first day. On the second day, all of us were stationed in the Mission House. Not only was I assigned to 2 very lovely roommates, I was very blessed and fortunate also to be tagged to the Agape team which has very experienced mission trip members!
On Saturday the Agape team was driven to a village – a drive that took more than an hour from the main city. I learnt much from each of my team members on sharing the gospel through storytelling, object lessons and craft work – in spite of the language barrier. It was a blessing to see that the children/ orphans may be poor financially but they are rich in their spirit of learning.
What I loved most in the trip was the fellowship of the mission team. There was a very strong team spirit and everyone was constantly looking out and helping each other throughout the trip. I experienced the love, generosity, kindness and new friendships from this very special team. I enjoyed the devotions, personal testimonies and sharing experiences during the evening review and reflection sessions, I came to know our own church members better. I miss the children/ teens very much – Lydia, Nathan, Nico, Zhen Jie and Amanda. What I liked least are the mosquitoes. It was our usual practice to use our mozzie sprays and patches (before we leave the hotel) which turned out to be part of our daily routine.
I strongly encourage everyone to sign up for a mission trip and join the church to share the gospel and encourage those out in the field. During the trip, you will get to use your skills, gifts and talents to reach out to a world in need. Most importantly, I think you will benefit more than the people you are trying to reach out to. Go beyond your comfort zone and gain a world view that will change your prayer life. Give of your time and the resources that you’ve received. You will never be the same again!
Sis. Toh Bee Bee
This Cambodia mission trip is my first mission trip. Up to the day of travel itself, I wasn’t really sure of my role as I was neither a Sunday school teacher nor a dentist. Thus I arrived at Siem Reap worried and nervous, and feeling totally inadequate to do God’s work.
I was assigned to Group 1 at the Mission House to assist Sis. Lilian. Our group was not expecting many children, but in the end, it turned out that we had the most children, 4 times the expected number! I was tasked to lead the children in the ice breakers and the songs. This was something I had not done before and never thought I would ever do. I thank God that He brought me out of my comfort zone. The children were very enthusiastic and that motivated me to sing, play and mingle with them. As the team worked on limited resources to bring as much learning and cheer to the children, it made me understand what God says about how the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. It doesn’t matter if one has experience or not; God will lead us to do His work as long as we avail ourselves.
The church has a morning service at 6am, which some of us attended. It was touching to see how the people would come so early in the morning to worship God, both adults and children. They do not have an air-conditioned, comfortable hall but their praises and worship are very real and moving.
I can still hear the kids singing “This is the day that the Lord hath made” in English and Khmer as I write this testimony to recount my trip of the year….
Ang Zhen Jie
On this mission trip, I was expecting to have an experience that was mostly about outreach and ministering to the children of Cambodia. But it turned out to be a very personal experience.
During the trip, my group went to First Bible Presbyterian Church of Siem Reap to teach the children the gospel and the story of Noah’s ark. Thank God for the opportunity which exposed me to another culture and gave me a taste of life as a missionary. I have learnt so much during the 4 days.
If you are looking for an experience to serve the Lord in a new way, I would strongly encourage you to go for this Cambodia mission trip!
This is my first mission trip and I am glad that I went because it was truly an eye opener for me! It made me happy to see the many children who want to know the Lord! I enjoyed very much when the children came on Sunday and there were even more children that day! We played very creative games that Sis. Christina Mohan came up with in using all the animal cards and the children have to match Noah’s animals in the different games! The outing to Angkor Wat was awesome and we ate very nice food in Cambodia too – no diarrhoea (haha!) It was nice my granny came. We took turns looking out for each other. My granny is 68 years old and we admired her energy and love for the children there. I look forward to my next mission trip with the church and with granny!
Mr. & Mrs Alex and Jit Eng Koh – as told to Sis. Lilian
We asked to be assigned to Group 1 which would minister at the Mission House because we already established rapport with some of the children there when we were there last year. We would very much like to see the children again. Yes, we were happy to see these children and it is good that they recognised us. I remember the little boy that Bro. Thomas carried on his shoulder last year. We saw him again – he was happily chewing on a piece of chicken when we saw him!
There were a lot more children this year. This means we spent a lot more time to get through the craft and the games. I felt bad that we did not really explain properly the memory verse (John 3:16) but I felt that God answered my prayer when Ps. Gan at the end of the worship service preached from that very verse when he was sharing his testimony.
The children must be so poor. When they came for high tea, they would keep the biscuits they were given into their pockets. They would not eat them immediately – as if they were saving for later. Perhaps there are other children at home they wanted to share with. Or perhaps they are just children saving the good things for later because when they finish the biscuits, they would not see such nice biscuits again for a long time. I felt sorry for them and encouraged them to eat.
We were also very privileged to be with Ps. Gan when he met up with the local pastors. We saw how Ps. Gan was so focus especially when he called Pr. Tann Heng back to the hotel even though it was already past 9pm. I supposed Ps. Gan really has many things to speak to Pr. Tann Heng because our time there was so short.
Of course, we would like to go again (but only if you do not insist that we write any testimony!) We must do God’s work while we still can.