Chem MERCY Orphanage – Special Report

You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you,
as you are to them. –Desmond Tutu

Greetings from Phnom Penh, Cambodia!

When I think of the CSW-MERCY Orphanage, I think of family.  General Chhem, the staff, the kids, MERCY.  One big family. 

It was such a joy to have Josiah and Kristin visit us and the kids at the orphanage to create the MERCY fundraising promotional video.  They captured the hearts of the kids and the staff the moment they arrived. 

The two full days of filming seemed like a lifetime.  During the interviews the kids and staff shared their life stories.  There were tears and laughter, joy and sadness, hope and doubt.  They shared their dreams and visions of a better tomorrow.  It was family. 

By the end of filming, Denise and I and Josiah and Kristin were even more convicted and committed to raise funds in support of the CSW-MERCY partnership to better the lives of the 53 children that currently reside here. 

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Kristin connected with the children by sharing her life.  Here, she shows photos of her children. 

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 Kristin with (L to R) Srey Leap, Kachana, Srey Vin (the youngest in the orphanage) and her biological half-sister, Srey Kim.

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Josiah seemed like a towering giant to the two youngest and smallest ones, Srey Vin and Ny.

Josiah and Kristin, bearing the tropical heat and the tiring effects of jetlag, they worked long hours compiling the content to create the promotional video.

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They interviewed the kids: Personal interviews, the first with Srey Leap, one of the older girls in the orphanage.  She shared vulnerably about her distress (James 1:27) not knowing her mom or dad and then being ostracized by her adopted family, before moving to the safety and security of the orphanage.   

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They interviewed the staff: Van Ouk, the cleaner, with two of her children by her side, tearfully shared how the orphanage became a refuge for her after her husband suddenly passed away, leaving her a widow with five children.

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There was a special bond Josiah and Kristin made with the kids and staff at the orphanage.

In addition, they took the time and made the effort to capture all aspects of the orphanage: 

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Filming in the cramped outdoor kitchen, which will some day be moved inside to a new kitchen with appropriate equipment and ample space

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Filming in the evening in the classroom, where Yukang, one of the older boys in the orphanage, teaches English to some of the kids.  We hope to develop a program to train language teachers so that 100% of the children will have the opportunity to  learn a foreign language.   

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 Bearing the tropical heat, Josiah and Kristin filmed the open field in the back of the orphanage, which will one day become an all-purpose turf sports field

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We were able to conduct an interview with General Chhem on Saturday and took a photo with the children.  Included in the photo (to  General Chhem’s left) are Ney Sakal, a CSW Board Member and the Director of Foreign Exchange for the Government of Cambodia in the rust shirt and Excellency Lean Sane, Council Minister for the Government of Cambodia.  Special Advisors Oknha Socheat and Trevor Suter (to the right) were also present.

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Big brother Heng shared about growing up in the orphanage and expressed his love for the children and his desire to see them improve their lives.

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We took a moment on Saturday to greet Heng’s beautiful bride, Solika.

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There were special moments like this one, spent just hanging out as family!

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All smiles!! 

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 Ice packs on her ankles, sore and swollen after a very long plane ride and standing on her feet all day!

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 A trip to the acupuncturist (the same one who applied acupuncture to Kip during his visit in January), who applied suction to remove the blood from Kristin’s tired and swollen ankles. It freaked her out, but the unfamiliar medical application did the trick!!

Unfortunately, both Josiah and Kristin caught a stomach bug Sunday morning, Kristin more so than Josiah.  Not to be deterred, Josiah preached the Word on Sunday to a record number, before whisking them off to the airport immediately after the close. 

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We’re so grateful for the Smiths’ hard work, expertise and perseverance, visiting Phnom Penh and the CSW-MERCY Orphanage.  We bonded as family, serving these children! 

Please keep the MERCY fundraising promotional video in your prayers. 

And pray for us as we pray for you.

Much love … Nick and Denise 

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