Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Getting Involved - Recent Highlights

I wanted to highlight some encouraging stories with you of individuals and groups who have sewn seeds of blessing into Cambodia through their creative ideas and dedication towards doing something to help. There are likely many more stories of Ratanak supporters that I haven't heard about yet, (Please email me your stories, I'd love to hear them!) but I did want to acknowledge our appreciation as much as possible for each person who has invested their time and energy into being a blessing for Ratanak and Cambodia. I hope you are encouraged and empowered for action through these stories.

"Behind the idea of participating this 5K walk is to to allow our 5 year old daughter, Heather to do something within her own capability to help and to get involved.

Heather and I had a few moments containing the following conversations. At the start of the walk, she was holding our hands, looking up to us, saying, “Daddy, mommy, we are raising money for Cambodia. Cambodia needs a lot of money!!” When I put her to bed last night, she asked “Mommy, do the Cambodia children have families? Do they have daddy and mommy too? Cambodia has no clean waters. The children sleep on hammock. They don’t have money to go to school or buy food and clothes. Do they only wear underwears? Mommy, can you show me pictures of Cambodia? Mommy, is God in Cambodia too? Does Jesus love Cambodia too??” I was in tears. I held my tears and said to Heather, “starting from tomorrow night, we shall include Cambodia in our prayers when we give thanks to Jesus.” Heather said, “That’s a great idea, mommy!” Heather practically summarized everything I have been telling her ever since we started asking people for spare change 2 months ago.

Our 5K walk does not only carry the fact of raising money or awareness. Of course, raising money is important. It is practical. This ministry involves significant dollars to make it a reality. Of course, raising awareness is important too. It wakes other people up to step up and to speak up. It challenges others to care much deeper than their own life retirement plan. All are good and beneficial!! This walk is not excruciatingly long for anyone. We did not even have many chances to talk to other participants and walkers what are we raising money for. However God has something bigger in mind. He reminds us that the message that we are instilling into our daughters' minds carries something more significant in His reality.

In our visible reality, what we did may not carry any drastic significance and changes. The $1,400 spare change may not put a serious dent onto a girl’s rehabilitation process. However in God’s reality, He revealed to us, this is a serious dent as He pu
shes the limit further and deeper in us that we not only put on His armour to engage the darkness, we are combating this battle with our 2 young daughters as we are fighting this for a lot of young daughters in Cambodia.

Glory to God, Forever!!" - Jessika, Paul and Heather (Toronto)


Nia Bates works as a physical education teacher at an Elementary school in Lockport, NY. She and her husband Jeremy have jumped on board as Volunteers with Ratanak to help raise funds and awareness for Cambodia. Recently, Nia started up a school store at her elementary school, with the cooperation of the other teachers, and created a place where kids could buy donated school supplies that would raise funds to help send kids in Svay Pak to school.
Here's her recent updates on the success of the store -

"Here are the totals from the S.S. Upson Project on opening day:

  • 95 students visited the store today! (kindergarten through grade 5)
  • 8 student council members were working today! (using Receipt Books and all!)
  • The total amount of money accumulated from the store was $94.93 ($84.93 was through purchases either with cash or tokens & $10.00 was through straight donations into the “Change 4 Change” Jar at the check-out)
  • 24 Tokens were used! (Teachers only started to distribute them on Monday)
  • Today, a teacher wrote a check for $75.00 so that her class could personally be responsible for sending one child to school for one year in Svay Pak, Cambodia!
  • Therefore, our grand total from today is: $169.93!!!
  • In one day, the S.S. Upson project has helped to ‘send’ 2 children to school for ONE year in Svay Pak!!! ($75.00 pays for their school supplies, uniform and a percentage of the teachers’ salary for ONE year!!)
  • We are well on our way to reach our goal of $6,000 by June. The S.S. Upson Project will be featured in a western ny magazine at the end of November so we're hoping that more community members will now know about human slavery in the world and will want to jump on board with us. :) "

    - Nia (Lockport, NY)
As at the time of this posting, the students have now raised a total $600 at the school store and a church has made a generous donation to help towards their overall goal of raising $6000 by the end of the school year in June.

Thank you to everyone who donated supplies and to all the kids who have been supporting this school store! And of course, thanks to Nia for organizing and to the other teachers for jumping aboard.


"Every year, the Reitsma family sells daffodils from "daffodil fields" planted years ago on their property. As the idea of selling daffodils germinated, so did the concept that every year half of the proceeds would be given to a charity that the 4 siblings agreed upon. In May, 2010, one of our daughters played on the BVCS (Bulkley Valley Christian School) Senior Girls soccer team from Smithers, BC; the team played well and earned a placement to the Soccer Provincials in Abbotsford, BC (700 miles south).
Around the same time Brian McConaghy arrived in the Bulkley Valley to speak about Ratanak. The family
unanimously decided to donate half of the daffodil proceeds to Ratanak. Fundraising began in earnest! A sign-up sheet was drawn up and the soccer athletes could choose slots between picking daffodils or selling daffodils at Farmer's Market and other locales. Some girls even walked up and down Main Street with their hands full of daffodil bouquets to speed up sales! The students were so moved by Brian's presentation in their school assembly as they began to understand the horrible reality of stolen childhood, that the soccer team sold a record number of daffodils and and were very excited and thankful to donate $500 to Ratanak!
May God continuously bless your efforts via Ratanak and protect you all. We will keep you in our prayers.

In His love,
The BVCS Senior Girls Soccer team"

- Teresa (Smithers, BC)

Thank you to everyone who has given of their time and effort to be a blessing to Cambodia, and also to those not mentioned here yet. We are so encouraged by your initiative and partnership. You are appreciated!

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