Dear Lord, I really need your help

By Barbara Smith

What do you do when 40 pairs of large, bright brown eyes are looking at you at 4.30pm, each holding their bag with an exercise book and pencil, and waiting expectantly? Oh no! I’ve only set the classroom for 25 children aged between five and eight years old and there are 40! I won’t have […]

What do you do when 40 pairs of large, bright brown eyes are looking at you at 4.30pm, each holding their bag with an exercise book and pencil, and waiting expectantly?

Oh no! I’ve only set the classroom for 25 children aged between five and eight years old and there are 40! I won’t have enough tables. Also, the clouds are building up – how will I make myself heard during the oncoming thunderstorm?

Okay, dear Lord, you really have to help me this afternoon. We begin our English lesson of teaching a sound and a colour, and revise what has already been taught over the past few days, singing nursery rhymes and action songs. After an hour, the children leave, giving me a traditional bow and then a hug and big smiles as they walk out into the pouring rain.

This was my introduction to the new school for teaching English at Tang Krang Christian centre in Cambodia in October 2016. I fell in love with the children who are so eager to learn. During my two months with Pastor Vibol, newly graduated teacher and Bible student Sreyleak and American volunteer Lindsay, I supported them in establishing infrastructure, finances and organisation for the school.
This included daily English classes, Sunday Bible sessions for children and youth of the local and neighbouring villages, youth work and Pastor Vibol’s pastoral work.

Now the English classes consist of more manageable numbers. Lindsay teaches those aged five to eight and the secondary students. Sreyleak teaches the children aged nine to 13 and does youth work among several villages. More than 100 children attend Sunday Bible sessions. Students from Rainbow Hostel in Phnom Penh travel every Sunday to support Pastor Vibol and his team in witnessing the love of God to the village children.

Living at Tang Krang Christian Centre was a very special time and I had many wonderful experiences, including love and care from Pastor Vibol, his wife Sokry and their two gorgeous, entertaining daughters, Honeylim and Hannahwim; the fellowship from Sreyleak and Lindsay; giving rice, sauces and Tiger Balm to the poor; seeing the sun rising over the green rice fields and fish ponds; eating our meals (often from pastor’s flourishing garden and poultry) on the shelter built over the duck pond; walking to the local stalls and being greeted by smiling villagers; watching the men and boys take cows and goats out to the fields; seeing the progress of building a haystack next to our home; watching the women and girls sew dishcloths to sell.

If God wills, I will return to Cambodia in September this year. Please listen to our Lord – if he calls you to Cambodia or to another mission area – GO!


This story was also published in the March 2017 edition of Border Crossings, the magazine of LCA International Mission.

If you would like to consider the opportunity to serve as a volunteer in mission, serving in practical ways, teaching English, teaching in the seminaries and institutions of our partner churches, or in local churches, you are invited to phone Nevin on (08) 8267 7300 or email nevin.nitschke@lca.org.au. For more information, go to http://www.lcamission.org.au/join-gods-mission/volunteer/

Read more stories about volunteering at http://www.lcamission.org.au/category/join-gods-mission/volunteers/

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About the Author : Erin Kerber


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