Marvelous Blessing to Those Who Are Mourning
Pleroma Home for Women is a place that provides a safe haven and holistic restoration to women. Our clients are women who are struggling with mental health symptoms, lack of soft skills, broken relationship/support systems, and poverty.
Adding to this kind of unfortunate life, 2020 is the year of the COVID-19 pandemic. People around the world are facing crises such as losing a loved one, financial hardship, and emotional tension. Similarly, our women are also facing deteriorating circumstances of life.
Fortunately, there are some blessings. As our friends and donors share their love through merit grants during this hardship, our women in the community have received a helping hand.
One of our women, Sunshine*, was living in bitterness and hopelessness. It seemed like darkness covered her without even the hope of seeing light. She was at a critical time in her life, facing the loss of her brother. At the same time, the main breadwinner of her family, her mother, also lost her job, leaving them penniless after the funeral. Sunshine also has mental disabilities, which is hard for her and her mother. She was in the community trial period before all these tragedies happened. Her mother was stable and claimed Sunshine back into her care, but after only a week, she sold everything she had in order to treat her suddenly ill son, but he died anyway. To the mother, Sunshine is the only one that she insists on keeping next to her even during this hard time. They are each other’s support system, so being in the community is needed.
“I had no money to even come back home for my son’s funeral in my hometown. All I have remaining is only debt. I went blank and numb. I could not even cry because it was too overwhelming. However, receiving a call from the PHW that there is a COVID-19 supportive fund makes me excited in the sadness,” Sunshine’s mother said.
Life in the city (Phnom Penh, Cambodia) after she came back was harsh. She had no job because most of the jobs were taken when she was away. The job market was so limited for her labor field because of COVID-19. There was a lot of dispute and fighting. Many times, she was wrestling with the days remaining in the month because there was nothing to eat and no money to pay her bills. She tried her very best every day to find a job, but at the same time, she needed to fill her stomach. Neighbors were helping but it was not enough. “I am so happy to receive a support fund even if it is not fully enough but it is helping me during my desperate and critical time – the money keeps me alive to fight for my living,” the mother said. She added, “That money so far keeps me being a mother to my daughter. Without it I am not even a mother to my child as I can’t even feed her when she is with me.”
At present, her situation is improving. We give thanks to God for the ability to offer support when she was in desperate need. She can now stand more on her own. She got a job and can earn monthly wages, and although it is not much, she can feed and take very good care of Sunshine. Sunshine is now very happy being with her mother in the community.
Your love offerings have played a big part in lifting our women downfall back to their feet.
* Sunshine is her false name to provide confidentiality to PHW’s client.
A Way Back Home
Many women in Cambodia are suffering from domestic violence. The root cause varies from poverty to lack of education to trauma. The traumatic events in their life result in attachment injuries that make them have destructed behavior such as unhealthy decisions, low self-esteem, emotional disturbance, and self-blame and/or blaming others. Trauma that these women have suffered from are often violent and usually pass on cyclically from generation to generation.
These women usually do not know the proper way to express and protect themselves or leave the situation. There are a lot of emotions and challenges that they would face if they left the violence without preparation and help. These challenges include the feeling of helplessness, shame, stereotypes of widows, caring for children while trying to make a living, and fear of being found by their husband, so it is a very difficult decision to make.
Min* was one of our clients who used to live in a domestically violent family and when she grew up, she married a few times and had violent husbands. She had moved out from her hometown for more than 20 years, leaving all her memories and relationships with her relatives broken. She kept moving from one place to another to work in the labor field without a regular income. Her last marriage was also violent but she thought she should hold on to her kids and her unborn baby.
But at last, she used all of her courage to leave her husband and everything behind. She walked out of her home rural village in the middle of the night, through the wild bushes and trees. Min began her walk at midnight and arrived at the village before sunrise. She asked for help from the villagers to stay for a while until she came to the Pleroma Home for Women (PHW) in early 2019. She was emotionally and physically wounded. She had nothing apart from a small package of old tearing cloth for her farm work. She was 6 months pregnant at the time and had her two girls with her: a 9-year-old and 15-year-old. The 15-year-old girl was sent to Pleroma Home for Girls (PHG) to receive her care there.
She has been with the PHW for almost 2 years and even had her baby delivered in its care. She has now acquired a job and since she is able to have regular income, she can manage living on her own. Min recalled, “I was working on the farm all day long, very tired, and I sometimes had to sleep in the farmland when I couldn’t go back home. The work was no rest but still I could not afford proper meals for my family. But now I got a job that not only can feed my family, but people respect me. I got a lot of love from all of the people who work with me. They support and help me out even in some part of my life apart from work.” Her daughters also enrolled in Pleroma School for Girls (PSG). “My girls got to learn in a good school which I can’t afford if I didn’t know of PHW. They enjoy their studies,” Min said.
It has been a long time since she left her hometown and escaped from her husband, which makes her feel there is nowhere to go or return to; She rents a room near her workplace. Although it is a rented room, she feels at home and she feels good to return there after work. “I was helpless and didn’t know what to do. I was pregnant and had no money even to eat. I have to take care of my girls. PHW helps me find my value and rescue me from my true reality. My baby girl is safe and now I can stand strong as a mother to my children although I don’t have a man with me,” Min said with a smile on her face.
We hope PHW can further reach out to many more women who need help and restoration. We pray to create a way for our clients to find a place they can call home. We want to work as a transition for the client to step away from their current dark situation towards a brighter future and towards a better version of themselves.
Pleroma School for Girls
Groundbreaking Ceremony for Secondary School
By Chhourn Bun Hoeun
October 24, 2020
Chhourn Bun Hoeun (Philip) is one of the directors of the Pleroma School Board and a devoted Christian. He is the director of HRDI (Human Resource and Development Institute) in Phnom Penh. Philip received his Master of Education at the Royal University, Phnom Penh in 2010 and Doctor of Education at Assumption University, Thailand in 2019.
Good morning brothers and sisters!
On behalf of the school board of directors, I would like to give much appreciation for your presence in this ground-breaking ceremony for the Secondary Pleroma School for Girls (PSG). Thanks to God for answering our prayers and thank you very much to all of you, both missionary and local people, for taking part in praying to make this wonderful project happen. I would also like to give much appreciation for all of the PSG staff who have contributed greatly to the development of the PSG high school level.
Pleroma School for Girls has been established in order to contribute to the long-term development of the human resources in Cambodia. We learn that education can be the mechanism used to help girls live their lives violence-free and through it, girls can become better mothers to raise better children, and lead their families more effectively. The following rationales passionately contribute to the establishment of the PSG in Cambodia.
We would like to see girls receive equal rights to quality and holistic education that they would better contribute to the development of the country of Cambodia and lead their lives more abundantly as promised by our Lord Jesus. According to the report issued by the Parliamentary Institute of Cambodia (2019), the school enrollment rate for both boys and girls has increased from 2011 to 2016 but there was a big inequality between boys and girls in school, especially in master and doctoral programs. Moreover, the dropout rate for all grades between 2007 and 2017 decreased but in high school, the dropout rate fluctuated. In the academic year 2007-2008, the dropout rate was 13.1% and decreased to 9.8% in 2011-2012 but increased to 24.4% in 2013-2014 and continued to decrease to 17% in 2016-2017. The statistics showed challenges for girls in pursuing their education. Moreover, a high dropout rate of females at the upper secondary school level put Cambodia at risk of having more women with lower education than other countries in ASEAN (Kem, et al., 2019).
The report states clearly the factors hindering gender equality in education in Cambodia:
• Social and gender norms: Cambodian women are still constrained by social and gender norms to continue their study at a higher level. This may be because of their parents’ lower level of education and their lack of the awareness of long-term benefits of education for their children.
• Poverty: Poor families could not send their children to school. Some families had to migrate from place to place and to other countries to earn their living that left their children with limited access to education.
• Parent and community engagement in children’s education are still limited: Parents’ involvement in education is very important, but their engagement in children’s education is still limited. The engagement does not mean to have them present physically but their belief system that values the importance of education for their children.
• Violence on Women
A report released by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs in 2016 stated that more than 30% of Cambodian women have experienced physical, sexual or emotional violence from their intimate partners. Intimate partner violence continues to be a significant public health problem for women in Cambodia. The report recommended that to reduce violence, it is necessary to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment. This report and the report of a research on Women’s Health and Life Experiences (2015) conformed to the international evidence that where a woman has more resources available, she is less likely to have experienced violence. It is recommended that empowerment opportunities are needed for women including ensuring adequate education, and access to income generating employment and contraception.
God’s Love for Girls
PSG is a Christian school which was established by missionaries from America and Hong Kong. They have received God’s grace, love, and blessings and want to share them with girls in Cambodia, particularly in the field of education. We want to empower girls through quality and holistic education that they would have an abundant life, which includes the eternal life God has promised to give to the girls. John 10:10 (b) states that “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” We would like our girls to know Jesus and expect them to receive Him so that they would have an abundant life.
These above-mentioned rationales moved our missionary people, including the local staff, to establish Pleroma School for Girls in Cambodia. We believe that our contribution to the long-term development for girls through quality and holistic education empower girls (women) with more resources that can be used to lead their lives wisely, healthily, and abundantly.
Today, this groundbreaking ceremony indicates that the construction of the PSG high school has already started. We need your continuous and persistent prayers for the construction to go smoothly and safely. Pray that everyone is sharing each part for the project to be completely done as planned.
Once again, thank you very much for your time and presence in this wonderful event this morning. May God bless you all with health, strength, and safety! Thank you
On behalf of the School Board of Directors,
Chhourn Bun Hoeun (Philip)
Esther Mok, Director of Pleroma Community Center
May peace be with you all in times of the pandemic! Because of COVID-19, my colleagues and I have returned to Hong Kong and resumed normal life after self-quarantine. I was not too used to the humid and cold weather here in the beginning of quarantine and really missed the sunny and dry weather in Phnom Penh.
The Situation in Cambodia
After my return, a lot of you have asked, “what is going to happen to the children now?” It is true that schools and religious gatherings are suspended in Cambodia and the Pleroma School for Girls (PSG) and the Pleroma Community Center (PCC) are unable to operate. I have shared the detailed PCC prayer items in May and the present situation is similar. But we have started inviting youths back to talk to them about their mental state and family needs. They were very bored at home and wanted to go to school. Some of them were worried about their parents’ relationship as they were always arguing after losing their jobs. Some of the children have to work to help out at home. Our colleague, Bopha, regularly shares with me their situation and prays with them. I miss them very much, but I know I have to trust that God will provide for them and He cares about their needs more than we do. I would like to thank our brothers and sisters for their offering, so that we can buy food supplies for them and help them through this difficult time.
Aside from the children from the PCC gatherings, we have also met with the students from our community tutorial classes and children that received our school sponsorships. Originally, we were going to organize the PCC Tutorial Classes Graduation Ceremony in July and invite parents to see the cute performances of their children and to witness their growth. It would have also been a good opportunity to introduce the PSG to them. Sadly, the ceremony has to be cancelled now. But the most important thing is to maintain contact with the children and to give them worksheets for revision at home. The epidemic has put all ministries on hold and we can utilize the time to process our past experiences and pray to God about the situation of the children and place our hope in resuming our ministry and our work in the future.
I am very happy to start studying again after returning to Hong Kong, as it is not easy to find a suitable course as a missionary given the limitation on the mode of teaching, duration, and location; It is a real joy to study again. I have chosen a course about children’s holistic development at the Malaysia Baptist Theological Seminary. Online classes commenced last month and it is very challenging and interesting to learn with students from other countries online and to experience foreign cultures again. I hope that I can develop a broader vision on children development and leadership and hope that I can focus more on children ministry. I am very grateful for the support of our organization, so that I can study without worrying about money or time.
Thanksgiving and Prayer Items
1. Although we returned to Hong Kong due to the epidemic, I am grateful to be able to spend more time with my mother. May God continue to bless her health.
2. Although we are not in Cambodia, my colleague Bopha and I are still planning ways to serve our community together. Her ability to work and execute duties independently and responsibly greatly reassures me – thanks be to God!
3. May God grant us wisdom so that we can help the low-income families in the community. We wish to set up a small workshop once we return to Cambodia, so that the women can earn more by processing garments.
4. Due to unemployment, many parents can no longer sustain living in Phnom Penh and have returned to the countryside to find work. May God protect the villagers and children and deliver them from evil, so that they will not encounter human traffickers and will be able to continue to study and go to church in the future.
5. At last, please pray for all of our missionaries who have returned to Hong Kong that they can smoothly go back to Cambodia for work, as their return relies on flights and Cambodian entry policies. May God prepare a suitable time and way to return for the missionaries, so that they can continue their work in the country.
Thank you for remembering us!
Standing with their Heads Held High – the Daughters of Pleroma and Cambodia
By Heather Hui, Missionary and Assistant Field Director
April 13, 2020
How can a woman in Cambodia hold fast to her faith in a family that does not believe in God and in a society where Christians make up only 1% of the population? How can a village girl find her place and find work in a society that is male-dominated and has always trampled on the dignity and basic rights of women? It is the hardest ministry to change lives; more often than not, disappointment outweighs satisfaction. How has a girl persevered with this ministry for nine years?
This is why I interviewed Kimsang, a social worker who joined the Pleroma Home for Girls (PHG) nine years ago, a wounded healer and the Director of PHG.
Her Family – Because He Walks with Me
Kimsang’s husband – like all Cambodian men – thought himself superior to his wife, could do whatever his heart desired and enjoyed, and did not think marriage should be exclusive or that he should apologize for his mistakes. In the early days of their marriage, Kimsang suffered greatly and often cried about this. But she prayed to God for wisdom and courage, as well as His guidance in their marriage.
Gradually, Kimsang started sharing her thoughts with her husband, and even confronted him. Bit by bit, her husband started to understand and respect her and even promised that he would not be with any other woman and she would be his only wife in this lifetime.
Even though her husband was not a Christian, she shared with him biblical teachings about family. Praise the Lord that her husband was willing to listen to her. She even told her husband, “If I did not do as the Bible has said, please remind me.” Sometimes, when Kimsang fell short, her husband would be the person to remind her of what the Bible said. In the process, her husband has gradually learned to express himself and started helping out with housework. He would give most of his time to his family, treat it as his priority and even apologize to Kimsang when he did something wrong.
Christians in Cambodia are lonely, and at times, they have to pay a heavy price for their faith. I once met a young family who were living with their parents and they were kicked out because of their faith. As none of the family members of Kimsang’s husband were Christians, she faced a lot of pressure every time she visited them. For example, during Pchum Ben in September, all families had to pay respect to their ancestors at temples. However, Kimsang insisted on following the teachings of the Bible. The stress and tension she faced were indescribable.
A few years after they got married, Kimsang had not been able to have a baby. Her husband’s family were worried because it was embarrassing in Cambodia to have no children after marriage. Her parents-in-law had offered many times to bring Kimsang to temples to ask for blessings for a child. But Kimsang did not listen to them, which made them very unhappy. Nevertheless, Kimsang stood firm and prayed to God, surrendering it all to Him. At last, God blessed the couple with a son so that he could be a proof of God’s grace for her in-laws and proclaim that “I have triumphed with the grace of God.” In remembrance of this, she named her son Victory.
After giving birth, Kimsang did not stay home to take care of her son as a traditional Cambodian woman would. In the beginning, she was worried that her husband’s family might not be happy with her decision. Besides psychological stress and the change in role, she was thoroughly exhausted as she also had to work. But she discovered that, through working, the couple could take better care of her in-laws and provide for them. At the same time, her in-laws began to see that, although Christians did not worship at temples, the couple still cared for them and stayed by their side. They have now changed a lot and are starting to agree with the couple; They even support their decisions and their lifestyle and have gradually accepted Kimsang’s Christian faith.
Her Work – Because He Motivates Me
How could she keep on doing life-changing work for 9 years? Kimsang said it was because of the passion and indignation from God. Every time she learns of a rape case, she is deeply saddened and angered. Her anger and pain can only be calmed and comforted through walking with the girls and getting them out of their predicament. When her friends learned that Kimsang was still working at our organization, they often joked and asked if she planned to work here for her lifetime. But Kimsang knows in her heart that this is a mission from God and this is where God wants her to be; She will stay until God leads her elsewhere. To her, it is the greatest satisfaction to be able to serve the girls in Cambodia. She said, “It is the same to serve in any organization. Also, Pleroma takes good care of me and my bosses are kind to me. Although the person-in-charge of Pleroma is mainly based in the United States, she is filled with love – love for Cambodia, love for the women and girls in Cambodia. With her vision and leadership, we have gradually turned such visions into concrete actions. I experience a deep sense of satisfaction in the process.”
However, when it comes to work that changes lives, passion does not guarantee success – there will always be disappointment, dejection and helplessness. How did Kimsang persist in it?
She said, “Prayer and reliance on God are my greatest sources of strength. Through prayer, I know that I am not alone in this work and God is with us. He is the lord of life, of all living beings. He loves the girls more than I do, He will be responsible for them till the end. Also, I believe that God has His own timing and I need to learn to wait. The girls may not listen to some of my teachings now, but one day they will understand. So, I know that I have to wait and I have to let the girls know that we will never give up on them; we will always welcome them with open arms whenever they decide to come back.”
It is Kimsang’s wish and hope that, one day, the girls and women in Cambodia can be free – free from the cage and exploitation of sexual crimes. She hopes that there will be chances for girls to receive education, to understand their worth, to have hope about the future, to have the ability to choose how they want to live their life. More importantly, she hopes that they will get to know God, and know that God also loves them. They will know that even though some people may hurt them and/or exploit them, God loves them and will never forsake them. They can live their life with their heads held high, triumphing over what happened in their past.
Joy and Fulfillment in These Ten Years
by Debbie Choy, Field Director of Pleroma Missions in Cambodia
An important milestone for me – this is the year that I have served in Cambodia for 10 years. The International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, political, and cultural achievements of women. However, in Cambodia, that day also promotes and enhances women’s development and opportunities regardless of the hindering of society’s economic, social, and cultural issues.
During these past 10 years, there are two stories of the local co-workers that remind me of how grateful and fulfilled I am with this ministry:
I witnessed Kimsung, a social worker who joined early on, and her loyalty to her ministry in more than ten years of service. Due to the needs of the particular social service in this ministry, she learned counseling skills and also completed the Master of Social Work program. During these years, she was humble to serve and is now the director of our Pleroma Home for Girls. I deeply experienced how God built up a local co-worker through the Fellowship in Christ Fellowship (FiCF) ministry.
The other one is Philip, who is one of the board members of “Pleroma School for Girls”. Twenty years ago, he was just an ordinary young man who worked hard to fulfill his dream to become a teacher. I witnessed how he finished college, completed a master’s degree, and has earned a Doctor of Education degree recently. Yet, he is still humbly serving in Cambodia and is an experienced lecturer of the “HRDI.” He also spends time serving on our school board and sends his daughter to our Pleroma School for Girls.
I have experienced many hinderings and challenges in the past 10 years of ministry such as going through the work to find suitable co-workers to become our directors, hiring co-workers on a limited budget, figuring out ministry expenditures, participating in endless changes in the government legal systems and policies. However, in the end, I am grateful for having trusted co-workers walking with us and that we have not experienced financial problems or lack of supplies. When we walk boldly on the path of God’s ministry to understand and care for the girls we serve, God will comfort us and prepare everything for us. In all difficulties, God is our provider.
In my ministries, I need to make many decisions such as ministry development, setting up policies, etc. I am not experienced in these areas and I lack the confidence to do so, but God shows me His richness in my weakness. When I let God expand myself and walk alongside with me, I may feel pain and the incapability of accomplishing my duties but when the goal is clear with the mindset that “I don’t want to do but must do”, God is always my helper to support me. This process is surely painful because God has to break me to rebuild me; He encourages and comforts me when I am weak.
I received much over these 10 years – not in accomplishments or achievements – but in knowing God more through these ministries, understanding more of His heart, and seeing how much He loves the girls and women we minister to and all of us. He works through us to educate, counsel, and raise up these abused and ill-treated girls and women. They often experience various social injustice problems in Cambodian society such as child marriage, child labor, and sexual assault. In the past 10 years, we have built the social, cultural, educational, family, and economic values of local women. They gained self-esteem and self-respect, space to explore, and loosened their hard feelings. In the future, we hope that local people will carry on these missions and bring changes to the Cambodian society.
Pleroma School for Girls
1. Please pray for the school inspection by the government on 19 November and that they visit only
for educational purposes, without other agenda.
2. Please pray for the fundraising effort for the construction of the secondary school building.
3. Please pray for the construction needed for the two terraced house that we recently bought.
Buildings in Cambodia are of very poor quality; May the Lord grant us wisdom to know what to do.
4. Please pray for the school life and health of our teachers and students.
Pleroma Home for Girls
1. Two girls arrived at the Home last week. Please pray for them, as they need counseling as well as vocational training. May the Lord grant us wisdom, so that we can assist them as they adjust to the new environment and help them find hope in life once again.
2. We are arranging for two of the girls to reintegrate back into their communities. Please pray for their relationship with their family members and their studies.
3. After Pchum Ben Day, one of the girls decided not to come back but to find a job to help sustain her family. May the Lord grant her wisdom to face the challenges in life.
4. Please pray for three of the girls receiving outside vocational training and one studying at a secondary school. May the Lord keep them safe when they are on the road and guide their studies.
5. Please pray for the recruitment of a cook, an administrative staff and a social worker.
6. Please continue to pray for the renewal of our MOU with the government.
Pleroma Home for Women
1. Please pray for the handover of duties after Chandra’s resignation. Please also pray for our new Project Manager and our social worker (Clinical Manager) Sokheng, who is in charge of the cases, that they can complement each other at work. Please also pray that the staff can adjust well and work well together.
2. Please pray for the vocational training of the women and that more people will be willing to walk with us and provide the women with different internship opportunities.
3. Please pray for Sreyra, who will continue to receive service in another organization. Please also continue to pray for the women who have already returned home.
4. The medical team of Chab Dai Coalition will provide training for our organization, so that our staff can better handle cases of suspected bacterial infection among the women.
Heather Hui, Assistant Field Director (July 7, 2018)
Thanks to the grace and guidance of the Lord, today we are sharing with everyone the new visions God has given us, Project 20/20. Every time God gives us a new task, we always have mixed feelings, because we know clearly that it is not an easy task. But the harder it gets, the more we see His grace.
In 2011, Pleroma Home for Girls was established in Phnom Penh to provide home-style Christian holistic services for some underage girls who were trafficked and sexually assaulted. After seven years of development, we have positioned ourselves aptly as an NGO in Cambodia, and the team has matured. But we have not stopped there. On the contrary, we put efforts to respond to the needs of Cambodia in terms of its social development.
In the past few years, although the number of underage victims has decreased, the number of victims who have been deceived and forced into marriage to China has increased. At the sometime, globalization has also increased human trafficking. Therefore, this year in May, we launched the Pleroma Home for Women to provide residential services for adult women. As the one and only Chinese Christian organization in Cambodia that provides services for those who were trafficked and sexually abused, we are pleased to see that the Cambodian government is committed to go after some fraudulent NGOs that weren’t doing their job. However, this is the current situation: the government no longer issue any new permits to new NGOs, they also set up different rules to regulate existing NGOs. For example, the land area of our location should not be less than 2,000m^2. The government’s requirement is reasonable, and our homes are indeed too small. In the past, there were many girls who asked to go out for a walk. It is really important to give space for girls who felt trapped and suppressed physically and spiritually.
In the past two years, due to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, many land in Phnom Penh has been purchased by Chinese people in large numbers. The price of land and rent keep skyrocketing. If we don’t own our land and property, rent will become a big burden. And now is the time to buy land, because the land price has dropped slightly due to the general election at the end of July. It is predicted that when the election end, the price will rise again. From these considerations, we must enter a new stage – purchase of properties for long-term planning, so that the development of ministry is no longer passively influenced by the owner of the property, whether terminating contract with us, or bringing the rent high up; It is also our hope that our services will no longer be affected by renting situation, we hope we can develop some service facilities based on needs, such as sports therapy, horticultural therapy, and etc.; we also hope to provide enough space for people to be free from their physical and spiritual shackles, as well as sharing resources between Pleroma Home for Girls and Pleroma Home for Women.
Since the beginning of this year, we have been searching for a suitable location. Recently, through a friend’s connection, a landlord is in urgent need of money, and is willing to sell us at a price lower than the market price. The land area is 3500m^2and the price is US$159,250. The distance between the new location and the Pleroma Home for Girls is about 45 min by car. The new location has water and electricity supply; primary schools nearby; and the area is under the same government department that has been working with us. This is the best location we have seen, but the terms and condition is this: we must pay 50% of the land price on June 25, and the other 50% had to be paid in three months (i.e. mid-September). We hope we can complete the construction by the end of 2020 and relocate Pleroma Home for Girls and Pleroma Home for Women.
We ask the Lord to prepare and help us complete the fundraising by September 15th with the goal of US$159,250. The ‘cost’ for Pleroma Home for Girls and Pleroma Home for Women is expensive, but aren’t the lives and souls of these women more important than money, which will eventually fade away anyways? It is not easy to raise money, but as we have seen it time and again: in the eyes of our Father, these children and these women are loved by the Father and are precious to Him.
Will you continue to pray for us and support us financially? As you partner with us in this ministry that God the Father has given us, we shall experience His amazing work together.
(Translated by Himki Wong)
Humble Submission and Embrace Challenges – What I Learned These Eight Years in Mission Field
Debbie Choy, Field Director
Looking back at the work of Pleroma Missions in Cambodia for the past eight years, everything has been God’s grace and his wonderful work. Thank you for letting me experience His riches and His endless love.
In the days of serving in Phnom Penh, I truly realized that God has His own timing. We only need to boldly follow and whole-heartedly believe. This is also my biggest lesson learned. Many times, people dealt with problems by their own wisdom and ability. But in the past few years,
God has taught me to learn to “trust always, hope always, and persevere always”. Everything needs to be done one step at a time, because God has his own plan.
The ministry of Pleroma Missions in Cambodia has been expanding. Apart from Pleroma School for Girls and Pleroma Home for Girls, the Pleroma Home for Women and the Pleroma Community Centre have started operating in the past six months. Thus, we need to add more staff and their workloads and challenges have increased as well. Thanks to the Lord, there are also many different short-term mission teams supporting us. This is the grace and goodness of the Lord. It is also an opportunity for people in the local frontline and overseas churches to work in one Spirit for the expansion of the Kingdom of God.
In the past three to four years, the Cambodian government has gradually befriended with China diplomatically. The external environment is constantly changing. This also reminded us to keep abreast of the recent news and resources, and reevaluate the new challenges in mission fields. The first new challenge: The relationship between organizations and the Cambodian government. Because the political climate has changed, the government no longer welcomes the services of foreign non- profit organizations as it did ten years ago. Instead, it has begun to regulate NGO in different ways:
1. It terms of taxation: one must pay 10% VAT (consumption tax). For example, if an organization rents a bus, and the bus company does not pay taxes, the organization will be responsible.
2. We have to deal with different government departments, including the Interior Ministry, the Treasury Ministry, the revenue authorities, the Land Administration Bureau and the Ministry of labour, thus increasing Administrative work and cost.
3. The requirement for opening a school and a shelter has become more stringent, and the medical insurance and missionary visas for employees continuously fluctuate. On a positive side, it is a very responsible act for the Cambodian government to regulate non–profit organizations. But this also adds challenges for us. We need to constantly adjust and cooperate in terms of our work and personal adjustment.
In addition, influenced by China’s the Belt and Road Initiative, many foreign investors bought land and invested in Cambodia’s infrastructure, which changed the economic situation in Cambodia. The development of Phnom Penh accelerated, and land prices and consumer price continue to rise. The local people’s demand for learning Chinese language is also rising. I am sometimes tired of adapting to these new changes; but I must constantly adapt and seize opportunities, because these changes are affecting our mission in Cambodia.
The second new challenge: the attitude of working with fellow co-workers. We have always been taught to be task-oriented. May the Lord give me patience and adjust my mindset, not just focus on the achievement of the ministry, but the personal well-being of co-workers as well. Thanks to the Lord for stretching me in these things, I have developed some projects that I didn’t feel able to do before, and how to effectively delegate the responsibilities, and continue to learn that “there is no fear in love” through God’s grace. Thank you Lord for letting me experience all these, and putting this calling in my heart. Although we continue to face different developments and challenges, we are grateful that God’s started and established the ministry in Cambodia through Fullness in Christ Fellowship.
Through the years, God has enabled me to see His mercy and righteousness and to learn to humble myself like Jesus did.
(Translated by Himki Wong)