Experiences - South East Asia
Experiences - Central Asia
Experiences - South Asia
Experiences - Arab World
When we arrived, just over three months ago, the country was in the midst of the hot season. We experienced relentless hot, humid and dusty days and nights. WE battled the heat with fans, lots of cold showers and water play – and at times wondered when it was ever going to end! The most trying times were days when electricity/water supplies failed and the kids (and parents!) were hot and grumpy. We quickly adapted to the long lunch/siesta which most people here take.
Over the past few weeks the rains have arrived. It has been so refreshing to hear the sound of steady rain on the roof and the slightly cooler temperatures have made a huge difference to our comfort and energy levels. The dust has turned to mud and the children love sloshing around outside in their boots. The market has also become a quagmire and gumboots are the latest fashion item there as well. The wet season is a busy time for our local friends. School is out and many of the neighbourhood children and their parents have gone to outlying villages to plant rice. They prepare the fields with buffalo or hand tractors, working in extremely hot, muddy and wet conditions. Most families are reliant on their plot to provide their own rice for the year – those with bigger plots growing enough to produce some income. Right now many families, particularly in the villages, have run out of last year’s rice and are relying more heavily on food foraged from the forest – frogs, various insects and edible roots and leaves. Others borrow rice – to be repaid when they harvest the new season’s rice – usually at high interest. As we hear and see these things are hearts are moved.
Vision in Mongolia
Richard a British Interserve Partner in Mongolia, reports on an eye camp:
I travelled down to Mandalgobi on Monday morning with three assistants. We left a little later than we intended – that’s the way things go here – and arrived six dusty hours later. After a late lunch we got down to work. The equipment just about made it down in one piece: just on switch lever on the main glazing machine broke. We fixed it with a strange arrangement involving two matchsticks and some candle wax, and it worked OK afterwards.
Over the course of that afternoon and evening and the next two days we managed to check the eyes of 180 people – almost twice as many as I had anticipated. Of these, we were able to provide 152 with the spectacles they needed; we estimated that about 120 of them would not have been able to afford the glasses without the rather large discounts we gave.
On Tuesday we managed to see sixty-six people. We thought this was pretty good going until Wednesday morning, when we were greeted by over one hundred people wanting eye tests. We worked pretty solidly from 9am until 9:20pm. We managed to examine eighty-eight of them, but then simply had to stop. It was difficult to tell people they couldn’t be seen, but we had to stop sometime and by that time we were pretty well exhausted. Because we planned to leave Thursday morning, mega worked through the night to glaze all the glasses that we could make up; he finished the last job at 6am, and then understandably crashed out.
Since I had spent the previous three days doing the eye test, it was nice for me to be able to see some of the people who were collecting their glasses on Thursday morning. It’s really satisfying to see the difference a simple pair of reading glasses can make: a few of the people we saw hadn’t been able to read (or sew) comfortably for ten or more years, just for the sake of a few dollars.
Theng had been working for one of the agencies we second people to for a year as a driver. He was not a Christian then. He drives all the vehicles to fetch the children, staff and visitors from everywhere and anywhere. Throughout the year he has attended the church meetings on Sundays and has seen lives being transformed by God through the work of the agency and through the personal witness of the Christian staff. Recently, during an altar call in one of the meetings, Theng took a step of faith and accepted Jesus as his personal Lord and Saviour.
Meet Johnny and Lucille
Johnny and Lucille are both over 60 years of age. They retired from their jobs a few years ago and felt the strong calling to serve overseas. But how? After praying and making enquiries, a friend introduced them to an NGO in SE Asia where they served for six months. They returned home with the feeling that it was right for them to serve there long term.
Many times they feel ill equipped for the challenges they face. For example, children who have been involved in vice activities often have emotional and mental problems that they cannot properly diagnose.
Johnny is finding his skills and experience as a former businessman very useful. Not only does he provide fatherly figure for the children, but he also used his knowledge in financial management and office administration. Complementing him is Lucille who provides motherly love and care for the children, helps in administration and gives guidance to the local staff.
In partnering together with their sending church and Interserve in this ministry, Johnny and Lucille feel a great sense of fulfillment and peace that they have obeyed and answered God’s calling at the right time and at the right place, and in the process, God is also meeting their personal needs. This whole experience has indeed transformed their lives.