It’s was amazing (after 7 months away) to see what has progressed in our absence and lots of exciting things have been happening. The Dream Centre is now operational with hundreds of children having been, heard about and experienced Christ’s love. Many of the regular kids have been completely transformed even in such a short time.
Since we have been back we have seen first-hand some of the amazing things Father God has been doing in the children’s lives there. Many of the children have been physically healed after prayer. We have heard testimonies of children having dreams and encounters with Jesus and we have seen breakthrough in so many of the children’s lives including positive changes to their behaviour. It has been such a joy and a privilege to be back and be a part of all that God is doing at the Dream Centre with these precious children. From this little centre will flow the other things God has planned down here and there are lots of exciting things ahead!
Some of our team members are close to opening a Coffee Shop as a business to help towards the funding of Iris Sihanoukville and to eventually employ people who have chosen to leave the sex industry. We are all excited about what this will bring to the city; both its great coffee but also the impact it will have on many lives.
Things are progressing well in the little railway community where we lived last year. It has been really encouraging to see the increased faith of some of the families, it has blessed us so much to listen to some of the testimonies of God’s provision and faithfulness through various trials.
One family there in particular has really encouraged us with how they have been transformed. They are the poorest family (materially) in the community and are often mocked and scoffed at by their neighbours because they are so poor, the neighbour kids even hit their kids and mock them because their clothes are like rags. As I sat there with the mamma of this family who has 8 children who are so skinny and have had their heads shaven because of constant lice I was amazed to see her full of hope, joy and faith.
)When we first met this family we were really concerned for them, she used to drink a lot because her situation seemed hopeless. Her husband left her and she was forced to fend for herself. Her life was falling apart and her children were malnourished and constantly bullied. Before we left we got to pray for her a few times and managed to help getting some regular milk supplied for her malnourished baby boy (a wonderful church in Australia offered to fund the baby’s milk).
This time around after coming back she seemed like a different person, she was sharing testimonies of God’s provision and faithfulness time and time again (in a way it was good we were away because God has shown himself strong). She couldn’t stop talking about God. She mentioned how every day she prays to Jesus and He gives her strength and hope. Sometimes when it is hot in their house (they have no fans) she prays to God and He sends a nice breeze to cool them down. She goes to church every week taking her littlest children and they have such smiles on their face as they sing songs. You don’t see the rags and holes in their clothes or their tiny skinny frame as they dance; you notice the joy and the freedom they now have; they know they are valued and loved and that the God of the universe is looking after them. The contrast is incredible to see, the biggest thing I have noticed in them is the hope they now have where before there was none. As I see how big God’s heart is for these precious people who everyone else seems to reject it fills me with such awe of God’s goodness.
We are blessed to have a wonderful family from England come and join us for three months here. They were our close friends and neighbours in Mozambique and have been a huge encouragement both in the past and now having them here. It seems like God has sent them at just the right time as an extra support and blessing. God is so faithful and good.
The time back here has not been without it’s challenges. For the first 6 weeks I was constantly unwell from different things and it felt like a constant attempt to discourage us. Then a few weeks ago we had something very sad happen in our family that has really affected us all and on top of that for the last few weeks the spiritual oppression even in our home has been intense. There have been times when we have felt physically oppressed and incredibly demoralised/depressed. We are learning more and more that it is a part of the fight of being over here and often after a good session in worship and spending time in the presence of God it breaks off. The constant battle can be very wearying if we don’t rest properly and continue to draw from His strength and grace for us.
I remembered recently some of the prophetic words our team received right at the beginning of our time here and one of them really stood out to me. It was in reference to Joshua and Caleb when they were sent out to assess the land before them (Numbers 13). The prophetic word we received was an encouragement to “continue to focus on the size of the fruit not the size of the giants in the land”. Caleb and Joshua did this and were the only ones out of that whole generation who were able to receive their inheritance and enter the Promised Land. It’s our heart to do the same. This place is a land were God is baring wonderful fruit not just in the people here but also in our own hearts. It’s our privilege to get to be a part of what He is doing and to be here at such a time as this.
Thank you for continuing to labour and fight along-side us with your ongoing prayers and support, we really do feel the difference.
Steve and Mollie