Personal Testimony by Susan Goh, PKH Centre Director

Hi Friends,

Susan Goh, PKH Centre Director has kindly offered to share her personal story on how the Lord has led her to serve at PKH Cambodia. It’s been a challenging journey but nonetheless rewarding as quoted by her.

“Well, it has been 11 years for me here, working in PKH. I must say that it has been all the way wonderful because the job is very fulfilling to be able to touch lives and help every young Cambodian, to have that hope and to have that dream and seeing how they can change and become stronger people. I really enjoy teaching them.”

In this video, you’ll also hear ex-students testifying to their transformation from living without hope to a better life, all by God’s grace.

I hope you’ll be encouraged by this video!

For other videos, kindly follow this link.

Best Wishes, PKHCambodia

PKH September 2016 Trip Update

Good day friends! Greetings from PKHCambodia.

Just over two weeks ago (10th-13th September 2016), 74 supporters and friends of PKH, including 13 people from Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) joined us on this trip to the three PKH Centres (Chbarmorn, Aoral and Trang). This is the biggest group PKH has ever hosted and we thank you for the great support for this work!

To those who were not able to join this trip, PKHCambodia is pleased to share a short summary (not exactly short but happy reading!) of the 4D3N trip and we hope you will be able to join us in the future.

Day One. It all started on the 10th September mid-day with a gathering at the Singapore-Changi airport to do a group  check-in for our flight. Everyone was punctual and it was heartening to see fellow trippers offering to carry 20kg mosquito nets each for distribution to the village people in Trang, so we had all these checked-in all at once!

At 345pm on the same day, as soon as we arrived into Phnom Penh, we boarded the coach to take us to Himawari Hotel (the hotel where we stayed for 3 nights) and we had the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the Royal Palace while traveling along the Mekong Delta Esplanade. Got in, checked-in, what’s next?

We had roughly an hour to refresh ourselves for the Alumni 2016 Dinner happening at Himawari Hotel, 6pm. In case you’ve been wondering, PKH has formed a PKH Alumni since 5 years ago (2011) with year-to-date membership count of over 750 members. The Alumni Dinner is a yearly activity and the purpose is to gather graduates from the different batches for a time of fellowship whilst also creating a forum to share their testimonies. At this year’s dinner, we had the very first batch of graduates return to share their stories and over 120 other graduates joining us, some with their families. We gave out hard copies of Life Stories containing their testimonies and if you wish to have a soft copy, please click here. SEATV News (Cambodian TV Channel) was also on site during the dinner to film the event and we have them in this link too!

Day Two. We started our day by attending a Service at the Anglican Church of Christ Our Peace (CCOP) of the Deanery of Cambodia. Soon after the Service, the rest of the day was a relaxing day pretty much for shopping/leisure while some of us parted ways to visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Russian Market, Central Market and the AEON mall. Weather was not exactly favouring us with a big downpour after lunch so most of us had to stay indoors. Nonetheless, many of us had the opportunity to mingle with one another. We had great local Cambodian food for dinner at Kravanh I and II after which many had an early night in anticipation of an exciting full day the next day!

Day Three. We left the hotel, boarded the bus at 650am where we headed out of Phnom Penh into the country side of Kampung Speu. We visited the main centre, PKH Chbarmorn (headquarters of PKH’s work in Cambodia) and had to split into groups moving to our individual group vans (11 vans altogether). Soon after, we departed for Trang Village which is approximately an hour and a half away from the main centre. As it had been raining, the journey to Trang Village was quite bumpy and treacherous in some areas. Nonetheless, the drivers are skillful and we got there safely at 11AM (none of us had to push to free the van from being stuck in the mud!).

On arrival at PKH Trang, we were overwhelmed to see the people from the Trang village greeting us with smiles on their faces despite the harsh conditions they live in. We were given the opportunity to interact with the villagers (including the on-site teachers), distribute food rations and served each of them their meal (a plate of rice and a simple soup) as it was lunch break. We also had the chance to visit some of the homes of the villagers to understand the level of poverty these villagers face. After spending over 2 hours in Trang, we travelled to PKH Aoral (second centre built after the main centre) which was approximately an hour away, for a simple lunch. Not long after, we headed back to Chbarmorn and visited the PKH English School. This is where PKH has just started its new work of teaching English to 110 orphans and poor children, from 1st September 2016. Upon returning to PKH Chbarmorn, we had the opportunity to tour the neighbouring premises of Seeds of Hope Orphanage where PKH supports a third of the orphans. Our long day ended with a delicious Chinese meal in Phnom Penh. Seated at table with one another, we were able to exchange notes on what we had seen and experienced.

Departure Day. After an extremely useful sharing and feedback session in the morning, it was time to bid farewell to Cambodia and take our flight home! All by God’s grace, we got home safely at 7pm.

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Here are some quotes from our fellow trippers:

This trip is a real eye-opener for us.

A great and meaningful trip.

The kids in Trang are clearly malnourished and in need of medical help.

How can we be of help to PKH?

We can see how PKH has transformed lives.

For such a big group, it was well-organized.

We thank God for the dedication shown by the teachers and staff of PKH.

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I hope it was a useful trip for you as it was for us here in PKH. Thank you once again to all for your great support and hope to see you again!

Best Wishes, PKHCambodia

Rebecca Koh’s Testimony shared at Westside Anglican Church

Rebecca Koh, one of our trainers at PKH, returned to Singapore recently during the PKH term break. She shared her testimony at Westside Anglican Church and we have her kind permission to re-produce the testimony below. Happy reading! ^-^

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Cham riap su. How are you today?

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It’s always good to be back. But this time when I’m back, I’m actually missing my second home a lot. A place where love is expressed in many ways. The female students will often hug me before they go to sleep. Maybe that’s the real reason why I have not been sleeping properly in Singapore, because I broke that routine when I’m back here.

My past 3 months in Cambodia was indeed a learning journey. I thought “Aiya, how bad can it be right? Afterall, it’s just adjustment of lifestyle only. And I think eating wouldn’t be a problem because I’m not fussy at all. But everyday I’m learning. Not just learning, but quoting from my friend Eunice. It’s called unlearning to relearn.”

I had to unlearn a lot of things that I’ve learnt in Singapore. I had to stop using Singapore as my benchmark when it comes to living standard.

When I first arrived at Cambodia, it was the dry season. So water and electric source will be cut off every now and then. I had to ensure that I always have water in my tub, just in case there is a cut of water supply. I complain of the heat in Singapore when it’s always 38 degrees in Cambodia during the day. Of course one of the things that I’m proud of is the ability to disconnect from internet most of the time, because internet was simply unstable and I give up most of the time.

There were a lot of things I had to be sensitive to. A recent example was at a house fellowship party. When I saw the students using condense milk to season the barbeque meat, I raised my voice and asked “What are you doing?!” They said they are seasoning the meat to make it sweet. I asked why don’t you use honey instead? Their answer was “We will never be like you Teacher. Cambodia will never be the as rich as Singapore.” I was dumbfounded yet again because it was not the first time I was caught in such situation.

What touched me the most is the big heartedness of the students. They make me ponder on things that I’ve not done in my life. They are poor, but never forget to pray for the poorer people. And they are extremely thankful for the little things in life. So happy to bless others when you know they have so little themselves.

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It makes me wonder…. What have I been praying about last time? My prayer pointers are usually about my friends, myself and my career. Indeed very self-centered topics.

The issues of the believers in Cambodia are very different from Singapore. They face persecution at home when they choose to believe in Christ Jesus. There is this once when I went to the girl’s dormitory and saw one of the students crying very badly. She told me that her mother is extremely upset that she became a Christian and said that she will disown her if she still continues to choose this faith. It makes it more difficult in Cambodia because their culture is such that they will always respect their parents a lot. Anything that their parents say, they will follow.

When I first arrived at PKH in March, I shared with the female students during Sunday devotions of how God led me to PKH through my testimony. I told them of the two heartaches, and one of them came to me after the session telling me “Teacher, don’t be sad. I lost my parents when I was very young. I even forget how they look like. But I’m not alone because God is always with me.”

A lot of students come from single parent family or they grow up as orphans. And there are so many times, they taught me to be resilient. It caused me to appreciate and express my love to my parents in Singapore more. But there are also students who blame God for putting them in that situation. So this is what I’m struggling, because I cannot truly empathise with some of their problems. And even if I do, I will end up crying buckets because I cannot imagine myself in their situation.

It just dawned on me that the issues of a first world country is so small compared to Cambodia.

I never felt lonely before when I was at PKH. I told the students that they were like my family. And it’s just heartwarming that this year I received my first Mother’s Day card. Such a special year for me this year. When I care for my students, they will really express their love by saying “I love you”. I’m not used to hearing that so often actually. LOL.

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Life at Cambodia is way more challenging than I thought, because there were many hats that I had to wear. In Singapore, I only had to be a daughter and an employee. But when I’m at PKH, I am a teacher, a spiritual mentor, a mother, a sister, a pharmacist (dispense medicine when the students are sick), a first aider, a counselor and a friend.

There are a lot of things that I just got to tell myself that I do not have them the same as Singapore. (There were times that I caught myself thinking “I would have never thought that I will be where I am now.”) Again and again He guided me when I didn’t know what to do. There are so many other situations that I’m caught, but I will just pray. But our God works in an amazing way, because my 3 months in PKH really changed me.

I hope God is also changing you in your walk with Him. ☺

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Warm wishes,

PKHCambodia

Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) Project Cambodia Trip to PKH Trang, 20th Dec 2015 – 1st Jan 2016

Hi everyone,

We are thankful for SIT Project Cambodia for their contributions to PKH having spent over 10 days in December at PKH Trang. Here’s what they have to say. Enjoy reading!

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SIT Project Cambodia team comprising 15 students and 1 staff visited PKH Trang, from 20th Dec 2015 – 1st Jan 2016, for our overseas service learning trip. The staff and children at PKH Trang welcomed us warmly and made us feel at home.

We were excited to see the Multi-Purpose Hall (MPH) which we helped to fund through several fund raising initiatives. The prominent red zinc roof instantly caught our attention. The over ambitious idea of building a MPH, which cost approximately SGD20,000, seemed impossible at the start. However, this was made possible with humongous efforts put in by the students with encouragement and support from Singapore Institute of Technology.

During our stay, we were heartened to see how the MPH was well utilised. The children at PKH Trang played, studied, danced and had their meals all under the big red roof. This motivated us to make full use of the 10 days there, a rare opportunity to engage and learn from the staff and children.

We participated actively, teaching and playing with the children. To create a vibrant environment for these children to study, we painted murals on the classroom walls. We also designed “Our Tree” and invited PKH’s staff and children to place their thumbprints as leaves of the tree.

In addition, we assisted with various small construction works and other ad hoc yet meaningful duties. We introduced Singapore dishes, such as mee rebus (Teacher Sokha Bunthoeurn’s favourite!) and laksa, cooked up with local sauces purchased from Singapore. To promote healthy life style, we constructed goal posts, complete with proper netting, for the boys to have a game of football.

On reflection, we faced several obstacles but we were grateful for the skillful and kind staff (Teacher Deborah & Brother Souvuth) at PKH Trang who guided and assisted us throughout our learning journey. We learned valuable lessons at PKH Trang thanks to the staff, growing a deeper awareness of cultural diversity and an appreciation for all that we have.

We had a hard time saying goodbye to the staff and children in PKH, parting with tears of gratitude and friendship. We thought we were giving more than receiving, however at the end, it was the other way round – the experiences we gained were enriching and memorable. This overseas service learning project has broadened our horizons and nurtured our own personal development.

We are thankful for the opportunities given by SIT and PKH, for an extraordinary experience, beyond our classroom.

To be the catalyst for transformation, we have to be able to learn, unlearn and relearn, to empower ourselves as astute thinking thinkers by being grounded in community.

We look forward to visiting, bringing more fun and laughter, to PKH Trang again in 2016.

“To be able to give is a form of joy, to be able to receive is a privilege.” – Wong Kai Xian, Vice-President
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“The smiles on their faces were the greatest satisfaction! “ – Suhaila Zainal Shah, Publicity Officer

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“In returned they taught us a lot of things, such as gratitude” – Kim Yoon Jung, Finance Officer

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“You have two hands. One, is to help yourself, the other, is to help another” – Danial Azri Ismail, President

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Regards, PKHCambodia

My First Visit to PKH – Personal Reflections

Dear PKH Friends,

Back in November 2015, PKH had the privilege to host Dr. Teoh Mei Lin, a medical doctor and member of St. Andrew’s Cathedral who was there together with her two sons, Westin and Wesford. We are thankful for them having provided medical assistance during their stay despite it being the first visit to PKH. So, let’s hear their personal reflections.

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The new school year began in early November and many children from nearby villages including Chom Bok and Trang were warmly welcomed by teachers at PKH Trang Centre. As new and returning students, close to 300 in numbers, completed registration and settled into their new classes, our team started medical health screening for the students and staff at the school. Our mobile clinic was quickly set up in the school library with a simple registration area, another area for anthropometric measurements, a doctor’s station and a pharmacy cum dispensing area. The students aged 6 to 16 years filed in patiently, some wide –eyed  and others smiling. Much anxiety was broken by the friendly ‘chats’ and interactions of my  school- aged young helpers, while the children waited for their turn to see the doctor! Most had nutritional issues, with some having common skin conditions and digestive problems.

We were blessed to have Pastor Thona not only aiding us in translation, but also giving gentle words of advice to many young children, some of whom were in school for the first time! Some children came from the local Suoy and Krung tribes and did not understand Khmer, making communication challenging, but we managed to communicate using ‘sign’ language and  visual cues. We also had  Ms Deborah’s help, who ably assisted us with the workflows and also in the supervision of medicines to the students. While adjusting to the unaccustomed heat, the timing of lunch, where we could join the school principal and his staff, and the sunsetting in late afternoons, gave us a cool respite. The communal lunch cooked with local village produce was interesting, and the bits of conversation at the table added joy to simply knowing that we were all fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Towards the closing of the day, my young helpers played football with the children and going by the chuckles, smiles and display of everyone’s fancy footwork, there was certainly great bonding and the start of team PKH!

The PKH Aoral centre carries out industrial skills training for youths, and over here, our team carried out a medical health screening for students, teachers and staff. The students were in late teens and early 20s so unlike the children at Trang, they presented other problems, such as adolescent skin problems and infections, and common respiratory complaints. We also carried out a health education talk on personal hygiene and basic infection prevention measures. The youths were attentive and the question and answer session was vibrant. We were touched by the hospitality of Lawrence and Lynn, and also the kindness of the other staff, like the cook, Chenda who prepared special dish of fish on our last night! We were privileged to visit Chbarmorn and see centre’s  setup and the courses there. With Ms Susan’s friendly narrative, we learnt about the history of PKH at Chbarmorn and how it has developed over the years. Many graduands have started their vocational lives successfully, with some starting their own families. I was glad to learn the alumnus is strong and many had come to know Christ while staying at the centre.

What has definitely left an impression on us? Definitely, the warmth and earnest gratitude that the Cambodian people- students and staff alike- exuded. Away from the comfort-seeking, entertainment-addicted desires of Singapore society, their hearts were full of gratefulness and thanksgiving. Medical checkups were responded to by clasping of hands and heartfelt mutterings of ‘thank you’ (in Khmer). Our ‘hellos’ to them were reciprocated to by shy greetings, humble nodding of heads, and bashful warm smiles. Even the small, almost thoughtless, giving of balac wood sticks to some young children, for them to draw on as they awaited their checkup, were received with palpable excitement. Truly, their actions and words were outflows of their heart: hearts that were free of illusions of entitlement, and full of joy beyond their circumstances; hearts that realized how everything- from food, to health, to happiness, to life itself- were gifts of grace.

It is not by chance, nor by any merit, that we have the resources to give, or that we are in the position of giving. On the shoulders of giants who have labored and tilled the land of Cambodia with fervent effort, vision and prayer, stand all the work that is lovingly poured on Cambodia, of which we have been blessed to be a small part of. And truly, every single mite of all kinds, exists in the first place because of the grace first given with truth in full to us. Grace that has given freely to us the undeserving, that paid the sacrifice in full, and which now constrains us to pass it on.

Indeed, the 3 centres are reaching out and nurturing many young Cambodians with God’s love and may God continue to bless the work of PKH.

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Children waiting for the medical check-up at Trang Centre.

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School children in the clinic, Trang.

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Clinic in session.

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PKH Aoral youths at medical screening.

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Health education talk at Aoral Centre.

Teoh Mei Lin, Westin Goh, Wesford Goh

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Regards, PKHCambodia