TAG | Ura



Harvest of Hope update

Over the last few months, we have seen lots of activity at the Harvest of Hope education centre, plus a few very obvious changes since February this year.

Harvest of Hope is a new education centre in an area where many children and adults have HIV. Thanks to very generous donations from supporters, plus help from Mission Direct, so many great things have been happening in and around this centre. The main building has now been extended, and the finishing touches are being put on the new rooms which will provide more space for classrooms, a kitchen, toilets, laundry facilities, medical supplies and more.

It is also wonderful to see the staff and children looking great in their new uniforms and enjoying some new books and other resources, such as tables and chairs, which have been provided by visiting teams. While school has just recently restarted for Australian children, classes are also full of activity here at Harvest of Hope. The atmosphere is joyful, as children who would otherwise have no opportunity to receive education are provided with a great foundation for the future. We are honoured to be part of God’s work in helping the next generation to have greater possibilities and opportunities.

The surrounding community is also getting involved with outreach activities, including a recent movie night run by Mission Direct. These are great opportunities to share Christ’s love with the community, and it is wonderful to see the relationships that the staff are beginning to form with the parents and neighbours. The centre has a mix of paid and volunteer staff at present, and they are doing a wonderful job. Our prayer is that God will provide more staff and student sponsorships so that we will be able to pay a salary to all of the staff in the near future.

Health care is also being provided, including a recent trip for the Harvest of Hope children to the dentist. Dental care is something that many families in Cambodia are not able to access, so this is something the parents are very happy their children are able to receive through the centre.  Also, the nutrition program is now well underway, with the children receiving a good balanced meal each day they are at the centre and with regular health checks to make sure they are a healthy weight for their age. It is a sad fact that around one third of all young children in Cambodia are malnourished. Many families also need help with health care due to the prevalence of HIV in this area, and meeting that need is a high priority at Harvest of Hope.

It is amazing to see the way God has provided so much and that so many lives have already been changed. Please pray that continued, stable funding will be found so that the centre can continue to operate. Many children still need sponsors so that they can continue in their studies and be provided with nutrition, healthcare and a bright future.

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Merry Christmas to all of our friends around the world, and we pray that you have a safe and blessed year in 2011. And while Christmas lasts 1 or 2 days for most people every year, our Christmas time is much more spread out. To make it possible for our senior pastoral team from Phnom Penh to join in with the celebrations at each Fellowship of Hope congregation, every congregation celebrates Christmas on a different day over a 2 month period. As we grow, this becomes more and more of a challenge to coordinate, but we really value the community and support that this allows, particularly for the smaller provincial churches that are further away from the city.

Christmas is also a very busy time for the Serve Cambodia education centres. We always hold a large Christmas concert at TLC for the students, their families, and the local community. Everyone has a lot of fun, and it gives us an opportunity to share the good news of Christmas in both word and deed.

TLC centre manager Sochea puts a lot of hard work in to preparing for the concert, and Pastor Sara always loves an opportunity to share the good news. Meanwhile, a lot of activity was happening behind the scenes as the Serve Cambodia staff prepared a Christmas meal to share with all of the guests.

Back on stage, the crowd was treated to a variety of performances – songs, dramas and much more.

As a first this year, Ura and the new students from Harvest of Hope centre travelled to the concert, and they performed a few Christmas items of their own. Can you guess which characters these 3 boys were playing?

At the end of the concert, the staff and students received their Christmas presents. A special thankyou to those who helped with the cost of the gifts - a luxury that many of these people can’t afford themselves.

We look forward to what God will bring in 2011, and we look forward to working together with so many of you as we serve God and the people of Cambodia . If this new year is anything like 2010, then there is a lot to be excited about!

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Harvest of Hope update

Today we have some photos to update you on the progress of the new Harvest of Hope education centre and HIV clinic. The centre is partially up and running, and there will be a lot more activity there from the end of this month.

Centre manager Ura (above) has been hard at work for the past month or so, getting to know all of the families in the area, building relationships, and finding out which of the local children are most at need of assistance. Ura grew up in a very poor family that struggled to feed and educate him and his siblings, so he understands the power of education and the way it will be one of the keys to transforming this slum community on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.

A huge area of need in this slum community is that of medical care for those affected by HIV. The many people with HIV in this area are all far too poor to be able to afford treatment, and a large percentage of the children who Ura has enrolled at Harvest of Hope are HIV positive. The founding vision for this centre includes showing God’s love to these most marginalised and impoverished of people by providing the medical care that they so desperately need.

So we are really excited about they way that Harvest of Hope will be able to provide a combination of education, support and medical care to the community here, to give a brighter future to these precious children no matter what their background or health status.

Formal classes will begin early in the new year, and a nurse will soon be employed to begin work with the children who need HIV treatment. So far Ura has been organising games and activities for the new students, and he has also hosted a few visiting teams who have come to participate and make plans for the further growth of Harvest of Hope.  This includes a planning team from our friends at Mission Direct in the UK have just been over to make preparations for the next stage of building at the Harvest of Hope centre. Their generous contribution will involve the construction of toilets, a kitchen, another classroom and an outdoor undercover area.

It is still early days at Harvest of Hope, but all that has happened so far has been a constant reminder of God’s goodness and provision. We think that the sign at the front door is a true reflection of who has ultimately been responsibe for bringing all of these things together!

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Soccer and painting

We have all been very very busy lately, and many many exciting things are happening. We have teamed up with an Australian church-based international aid agency, so our Donations page will be up and running again in just a few more days. We are just waiting on a couple of signatures from people on different sides of the planet to make it official… so keep an eye out for the details!

At the same time as all of that paperwork is being shuffled, there has been plenty of activity ‘on the ground.’ The soccer news is that our Friendship Soccer Ministry has grown substantially!

This group of young men approached Pastor Sara and the team when they were playing a social game of soccer in the park one day. All that they were hoping for was to join in for the afternoon’s fun. But after a chat and some prayer, Sara invited them to join the Friendship Soccer Club as a new indoor soccer (Futsal) team. They were all amazed and excited to be offered this sponsorship to play a sport that they love but (being from the slums) could never afford. Thankyou again to those supporters who contribute financially towards this ministry!

The two Fellowship of Hope teams have been getting to know eachother over the course of the competition, and Sara’s hope is that they will be able to build strong friendships and share the Good News with these young men in both word and deed.

Meanwhile, the Harvest of Hope HIV Centre building is close to being completed. Some of the teenagers from Happy Village helped out with the painting the other day…

… as did Ura, in one of his first tasks as the new centre manager for Harvest of Hope. You can read a brief testimony from Ura here. He knows what it is like to grow up in poverty, and he has a real heart for helping kids to find hope in Christ despite their circumstances. Harvest of Hope will be a powerful demonstration of God’s love by providing education and medical support services to a particularly marginalised community of people from the slums.

Even though the building is still being completed, these local boys had heard that we would be opening soon. So they rushed over to ask if they could help the workers finish the job, and then enrol to study as soon as possible. This reminds us of Matthew 19:14 where Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me… for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.”

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You can contact us at enquiries@fellowshipofhope.net or PO Box 2574, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

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