The Soeungs February 2024

We finally have our first truck! We praise God for His provision. The price of this gift that we have received was the same amount that we had been blessed with. He is the Good Father. Beth has been driving this truck carefully with me( F) and under Sopheak’s guidance. God has been so good to us. God knows when and what is best for His children. Because both Beth and Em both are coach assistants for soccer primary and middle school for this season, we can now travel long distances, and into the city, and not worry about coming home late when we stay out after events or games. Sopheak also uses the car to serve his soccer team to drive them to games and competitions. Thank you so much for you guys who helped make these things happen. We are so blessed! 🙌 😇 ❤️ We never thought that we would need a car but we are grateful for it now.

Our truck filled up with boys from the soccer team for the games.

During Christmas break, Beth did an internship in the northern part of Thailand, a province called Kanchanaburi, at a memorial museum called the Hellfire Pass Interpretive Centre. This memorial was to commemorate the lost soldiers and prisoners of wars from, mainly Australia, Europe and the United States during World War 2 where the Japanese killed more than 80,000 men to build a railway at the Thai and Burmese borders in order to support their troops in Burma trying to get into India. There, Beth was able to interact with both locals and foreigners, using Thai and English to communicate with them. She said that after this experience, her Thai had improved a lot after 2 weeks during this time in Thailand. Moreover, not only was she able to learn more about the cultures and food, her spiritual relationship with God strengthened. She was surrounded by the Great Thou Art. The wonder of His creation and unconditional love. We also had a chance to celebrate Christmas with my mom, my brother and his family, also people at my mom’s church. It was a wonderful time visiting Thailand.

Dinner with my family in Thailand

Sopheak and his soccer team decided to have a Christmas celebration at our house instead of going to the mountain since our budget was short. Nevertheless, everyone had a great time. Sopheak made Khmer curry, a Cambodian dish made during special events and occasions. Not only were all stomachs filled but their hearts also with joy. Each of them received a gift but most of all they all heard about why we celebrate Christmas, which we can say was the best of them all. They learned that Jesus is a special gift for us all. Recently 4 of them decided to join the youth group at church that Sopheak has connections with since they were keen to learn more about Jesus. Their names are Roth, Bora, Sophea, and Singha. Please keep them in your prayers, especially Roth and Singha who are now the leaders of the soccer team who are more involved and have an influence to the others in the teams. 

Sopheak, Roth, Singha, and coach Chanthy on the field at church. 

This is Vitou and Bundith. They are identical twin brothers with special needs and have been struggling a lot in school and in their personal lives. This picture I took was during one of our counseling meetings in my arts and crafts room. I have been praying to God since June, asking Him to use me as a vessel to people in the community, especially the twins, to help them find a way to enjoy their lives at school and at home more. I have been meeting with them regularly every week for about 3 months now. Last week, his father, who is a single parent, reached out to the school to ask for a meeting with the principal and Bible teachers regarding his sons. Today was the day that I had a meeting with him along with the school’s vice principal, principal and two other teachers. This meeting had such a pleasant outcome; Vitou’s and Bundith’s father stated that he hadn’t seen his sons so interactive and joyous before. In the past, they were ignorant and aggressive towards him and others, constantly avoiding homework and classwork, being around people and engaging in conversations to the point they did not talk at all even if they understood the language. The biggest difference the father saw was that his sons had smiled, played around, and laughed more – they started doing their homework and classwork, after avoiding it for 3 years. The twins also asked permission from Dad to take them to join the service on Sunday which has some performances, songs, and some games (Sunday school). The principal asked the father if this was the reason that he had come to talk with us. He replied with an affirmative answer, saying that his sons had changed in so many good ways. He didn’t mind that his sons were reading the Bible, wanting to know more about who Jesus was. He was so happy that his sons started seeing sunshine after the dark clouds, and wanted to come and give thanks to us.

Bundith and Vitou have so much pain from their family situation. As mentioned, they can speak and understand the Cambodian (Khmer) language but have chosen to not speak it at school. They also hate being in groups, working with other students. Even disliking the teachers and students at the school. The many times that they were assigned to do their different tasks, they chose to ignore and avoid doing it. They both threw tantrums when they were upset – throwing objects at people when they were agitated, yelling aloud when they were bored, even going as far to hurt or mock those that tried to help them. One of Bundith’s teachers, who had been working at the school for 3 years, recalled a moment when he was stabbed with a pencil by Bundith in his first year at that school. But during these past few months the teacher saw a clear and instant change: Bundith was more calm in class, he smiled more often and even responded to his commands and questions by the teacher and his classmates. Bundith has one classmate who always sat next to him, no matter what. He was a very good classmate who hung out with Bundith and helped me communicate with Bundith during our first meetings.

After the meeting was over we all walked out the room. Vitou walked straight to me with smiles on his face. 

“Teacher, I lost the paper from last week.”  Vitoul said.

“When was the last time you saw it?” I asked. 

“I put it in my back after you gave it to me but when I got home, it was not in my bag.”  Vitou replied.

“That’s okay. I will give a new one to you tomorrow,” I said. The conversation finished and he waved bye to me. All the teachers, principal and vice principal stared at me and said it had never happened before in this school. 

“Vitou never smiles and talks to us like he talks to you, teacher F.” is what they said. And it has stuck with me ever since. 

God blesses my heart so much. I’m very honored to work with Him, for Him and for His children.  Thank you for being part of our lives. 

The Soeungs