Asia's Hope - Day One
Asia's Hope Cambodia is an organisation providing homes, education, love and joy in abundance for over 200 orphans in Battambang and another 100 orphans in Phnom Penh. Pastor Savorn, the National Director for Asia's Hope, travelled with us early on Sunday morning from Phnom Penh to Battambang to introduce us to his team on the ground in Battambang at Asia's Hope.
Later that afternoon we had our first unforgettable experience with our first visit to Asia's Hope. An ocean of beaming faces had swamped the van as we had attempted to get out! As a wave of children hugged us and dragged us along, we couldn't help but be overwhelmed by the pure joy, love and beauty reflected in every child. They were Khmer angels. We were blessed. We were then each taken by the hand by at least three children to sit with them in their Sunday evening worship service. The children were joyous in their worship of God and were very keen to teach us the actions to the songs.
It was with much anticipation that we returned to Asia's Hope the next day. It was the first day of the new school year in Cambodia so the children registered for school in the morning. We were welcomed by Pastor Savorn and the house parents followed by a tour of their community. Asia's Hope in Battambang has over 200 children cared for in 8 homes, with plans for more homes to be built. Each home has 'parents' and the previous evening the children had been extremely excited and proud to show us around their homes. The feeling of love and a sense of family in each home were palpable.
The team enjoyed spending time with the children, playing games amidst much laughter, smiles and yet even more hugs. A wonderful day ended with the children attempting to teach us traditional Cambodian dancing...(I'll leave it up to your imagination!). The children were even boot scooting - it felt like we were in Tamworth at the Country Music Festival! We left the children not with a feeling of sadness that so many children are without their parents but with a sense of love, joy, hope and a very blessed life for each of the children living in the Asia's Hope Community.
Asia's Hope - Day 2
Day 2 at Asia's Hope had us celebrating the birthday of one of our team members - Cathy Reynolds. The children sang Happy Birthday to Cathy, encouraged by Neil and the rest of the team. Then it was into a slightly quieter activity from the previous days games and sports. The children were going to paint. Julie discovered at Conference One that Art is not really taught at the schools in Cambodia. Here we had the perfect opportunity to see what lies in the hearts of the children at Asia's Hope.
The children were organised into groups of three - they had a paintbrush, water and water colours to share. Some chose to use their fingers to paint and some even used the reeds as paintbrushes. From the youngest child right through to the teenagers, everyone produced their own unique work of art that express who they are. The children were happy to share equipment and work quietly on their masterpieces. Some even produced birthday cards for Cathy. At the end, the children happily helped clean up and pack up. One boy took it upon himself to clean up the water and paint from the chairs without us even asking him to.
In the evening, the team returned to Asia's Hope to teach the children some new songs. The whole team had a wonderful time teaching the songs and seeing the smiles on the children's faces as they mastered new songs. The team left Asia's Hope knowing that the children are growing up in a loving and caring environment, where they are loved and cherished for who they are in God's eyes. All the team feels that this new connection with Asia's Hope is a connection that will last into the future.