A small English school begins as a witness to neighborhood children.
It was a miracle, really, how I ended up back in Cambodia. I’d been here before for two years, teaching at the local Adventist school. When the time came for
me to return home, I really missed my students, but I didn’t know if or when I’d be able to go back to see them.
Back at home, I began the search for a job. It seemed to take forever, but just at the right time, God brought me to one that was the perfect fit for my situation. I
worked there for a year and then right when I was starting to think about possibly quitting my job and returning to Cambodia, the shop I was working at closed.
I asked God if this was the right time to go back to Cambodia. In ways, it seemed like it could be, but in other ways—such as a job offer the same day I lost
my original job—it seemed that I was supposed to stay at home. I decided that it appeared that God had opened a door wide for me to stay at home, so I chose to accept the new job and see where things went.
A couple of months after starting my new job, my boss mentioned that he thought it would be great for me to travel and work remotely during the slower months,
which would start in only a couple of months! A lightbulb went on in my head: This was my chance! I excitedly made preparations to return to Cambodia.
Meanwhile, my friend Seyha, who I’d known during my time at the school, was watching God’s leading. He’d recently gotten married and settled in a home just
outside of a village. He thought that he’d really like to start a small school with the neighborhood children, but he wasn’t sure that it was the right time—and besides, where would he find a teacher? He didn’t want to “steal” anyone from the Adventist school, but he knew he needed a teacher whose first language was English. He decided to wait and see what God would do.
As I prepared to come, I sent a quick email to the school director, inquiring whether there was space for me to stay and work, and possibly teach a little as well. To my chagrin, he responded that there was currently no housing available, and I’d probably need to find another place to work. I wasn’t sure what to do next, but after checking with a couple of my friends, I realized that my friend Seyha had a home and was always happy to host people. So I told him I was hoping to come, but wasn’t able to stay at the school. He very quickly invited me to stay at his place as long as I needed to!
When I arrived in Cambodia, it felt like home. But this time it is different—I get a better picture of village life, interact much more with the neighbors, spend time
with Seyha’s wife, and practice my language skills every day.
We began our little evening class with three little boys, and it quickly multiplied. Today we often have up to 40 children who gather on the porch to sing songs
and study English vocabulary! They sing and recite quite enthusiastically. Often after class, we hear them loudly singing “God is so Good” as they ride their bikes
Friday evenings are special. We tell the children Bible stories in their own language and sing all of our favorite God-songs. Seyha began this tradition by introducing them to the concept of sundown being the end of one day and the beginning of a new one. He also asked them why there are rainbows,
where the sun came from, and why we all speak different languages. They weren’t sure, but they were quite curious to hear. Now we get to tell them Bible stories that explain these questions!
Our goal in spending time with our little students isn’t just to teach them English—that’s just a way to encourage them to come. Most of them already study all day at school in a stressful environment and come home to parents who don’t usually spend time with them. We want our front porch to be a safe and happy place where they can come and know they are loved, and learn about a God who cares about them. Seyha’s dream is to teach the older students to play ukulele and possibly other simple instruments.
This story of our little front porch school isn’t really about me—it’s more the story of my friend Seyha and his desire to follow God’s leading. But God saw
fit to allow me to join in for a few months, which is exciting. When I head home, there will be a vacant spot—but we know that God already has a plan in mind!
How You Can Help:
Pray for the children to catch a glimpse of Jesus and choose Him for themselves.
Sponsor a missionary teacher to come and work with Seyha.
Provide funds for student instruments (our first goal is 20 ukuleles).
Come and teach for a few months or longer.
Contact Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org