Monday, March 5, 2012

Visiting Proyouth Village Projects

It is now mid afternoon in Siem Reap and we have been in the KCC (Khmer Christian Center) that is operated by our partner Reaksa Himm. It is hot and when I say hot, I mean really hot. Yesterday I read a prayer letter from another International worker who is up in Poipet which is about 3 hours from here. According to their thermometer it was 122 degrees Farenheit. Even Sathya our Khmer staff was sweating and commenting how hot it is. For a Khmer person to feel the heat means it must be hot. We are drinking loads of water to stay hydrated but in spite of that, my concentration levels are low. The heat makes me want to sleep all the time! So today, I've had to improvise a bit dipping my Krama (Khmer scarf ) in ice cold waer and wrapping it around my neck in the hopes of keeping cool and keeping awake. Nonetheless, we have had a good opportunity to see some of the capital projects that Ratanak has had the privilege of funding.
Reaksa outside the Khmer Christian Centre(KCC)

In this particular village of Proyouth, that is about 10 miles outside of Siem Reap, Reaksa has been involved in rebuilding this community for the past 10 years. When he first arrived here, there was a lot of hostility but as trust has been established,  the villages have seen the sincerity and genuineness of those who serve at KCC and that has open the door for further development projects. Just as I pen this the commune leader came in to thank us for our support regarding a recent project. 

One of the first projects to be developed was a road that was paved. Since then the Khmer Christian Center (KCC) was established which has a library for the kids to come and read or learn computers. 

In these rural settings, there are no video games to play with so it is a refreshing site to see young people engage in reading books. The kids here for some reason like to read out loud and they seem totally engrossed with their books. The older teenagers were quite happily learning to type on the computers. Of course those of you who have visited here know about the infamous hockey playground. Reaksa was hoping we could play a game of hockey, thankfully we have no time for that as I think if we did, we would last a mere 5 minutes and then collapse from heat exhaustion :-) 

One of the projects we recently started to fund in this area is a drainage system and a small dam that will benefit 11 surrounding villages once it is completed.In the last four years, this community has been affected by  severe flooding.  Hundreds of hectares of rice paddies were damaged by the floods but the new drainage system is meant to help divert the water faster so that it will not allow the water stay too long in the flood season. It will also help to stock water for up to 500 hectares for farming after the reaping season. All of this will help to minimize poverty in this community.

We will have the opportunity to come back later this year when it is all completed for the dedication service. But more importantly, from a sustainability perspective,  it is encouraging to know that years from now, this community will continue to be blessed with a drainage system that limits flooding and enables their rice fields to have the appropriate water supply to grow their  rice which hopefully will provide a sustainable source of income for them.  It is this kind of long term development work that we are privileged to be given the opportunity to be involved in as we seek to be agents of change rebuilding both the physical capital and the human capital of this nation.

 Construction workers pressing rocks and filling with cement

One of the the other projects that is being constructed simultaneously not too far from this drainage system is a boys and girls dormitory. It is small dorm but provides a place for young people from the rural areas to study. KCC hopes to provide a scholarship to these young people so that they will have the opportunity to go to university to further their studies. Again our desire is to empower the next generation of Cambodian youth 
 Dorm Construction

so that they will have a positive impact on their communities and ultimately in their nation as they reflect Christ's heart and values in their spheres of influence.

As you think of all the projects in this village, pray for Reaksa as he juggles managing these different projects with his other roles of training up young leaders to take on more responsibility and ultimately oversee the work in this community. Pray for the Lord to give him much wisdom and discernment and a humble heart as he continues to serve the people of Proyouth and that the Lord will raise up a generation of leaders in this village with His servant heart.   May the physical buildings continue to reflect that Jesus is the chief cornerstone of this community and that each person who passes through and benefits from the ministries of these projects be living stones through whom Christ will be exalted and glorified as He imprints His mark on their lives!

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