We caught the bus to Sihanoukville on a Friday. It is a 6 hour trip from Phnom Penh. It is interesting to see the country side, the farming of rice and the small villages. We were picked up by a friendly Tuk Tuk and taken to “BEC2” as it is called.
The house is quiet suitable with 4-5 areas one can teach in. There are 4 bedrooms all with en-suites. Our bedroom is upstairs. Most teaching is done outdoors under a large veranda; it is cooler outdoors as the sea breeze comes in fairly early til around lunchtime and again around 3-4 pm. Very pleasant really.
Our first student arrives a 6:15 am to 7:15. He is a waiter at a 5-star resort on the beach. He had a friend coming but seems to have dropped away. We hope to find out if he can return. We have about 14 students at the moment… coming 3-4 days a week regularly.
We have Bible class Wednesday night for the local Brothers and Sisters. They are going through the book of Peter. Once a month we have an activity and invite some of the students. Also once a month we have a dinner and invite as many as can come, this is so they get to know the other students and ourselves.
Sihanoukville the one-a-month dinner with contacts and members of the local ecclesia.
Yesterday, a young woman arrived here asking for help to translate English into Khmer. She is wanting to start a school, and is about to visit the parents to ask if they will allow their children to attend. There is a problem here, as foreigners have done this kind of thing in the past and it has led to abuse of children so often parents a reluctant to allow them to go with foreigners.
We have some wonderful news! Vitou and his wife Dany have a baby girl, Jessica. She was born on the 7th of March in the Caarmelite Hospital. There were so many patients that there were even some camped in the grounds waiting for a room! Vitou is the manager of the Bible Education Centre, and already a devoted father!
We are back in Phnom Penh, arriving by bus last Thursday afternoon from our teaching time in Sihanoukville. The bus trip was really nice as we love driving through the country, looking at the Cambodian houses and small towns, and also the small farms with animals around them drifting at times onto the road. We passed through little villages that have markets by the main road selling all manner of things from fruit and veggies to hair slides.
There are approaching 100 students enrolled for the five of us to teach! Where else in the world would you be able to say that? Janet and John Harris have been doing a colossal job keeping the schedules going, and also even enrolling new students all the time!
On the Thursday after we arrived and settled into our room, Don enrolled two boys. Then on Friday morning, I was about to start my class when I saw a young fellow standing in the doorway looking lost. I asked if I could help him and he said he wanted to learn about God!!
Many of our classes consist of two or three students. John and Janet have combined as many as they could into other classes to save on teacher power. The situation is such that many of these students are studying at university, so only have set times to come. Most of the students come four days a week. Classes start at six a.m., then continue till after seven pm. We also have classes on Saturday and Sunday afternoon.
We do have Monday off!
Last weekend we had a full program. It happens once a month. It is called Outreach. We had seventeen students come and stay from Friday afternoon till Sunday afternoon. This weekend is “Introducing Jesus”. Last month was “Introducing God”.
There was one study on Friday evening that was looking at the Old Testament quotes about Jesus. After the study a religious DVD was shown about the trial, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Saturday starts at seven a.m. with breakfast. There are five studies on Saturday “Introducing Jesus”. In the evening after dinner at the dorm, the young ones played a serious game of soccer at Olympic Stadium. Sunday breakfast starts at seven a.m. The Memorial Meeting is at nine thirty am. Then this time there was a question and answer session. Later we lunched together and they left to catch their different buses home.
A study held at the dormitories in Phnom Penh.
This week Don and I have started in earnest to teach with John and Janet so we can cope with ever increasing number of students. They have done a wonderful job here, staying for six months! So far they have been here six weeks already. On our Monday off we visit markets and generally do local sight-seeing.
Love to you all.
Don and Una Strempel
Post-blog photo addition:
Rosie Oosthuizen’s baptism in the sea at Sihanoukville