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Cambodia Global Project Update
June 26, 2016
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Hello everyone!  I hope this email finds you well.  I am very excited to tell you about everything our team and the SONOKO staff have been doing this week on two university campuses in Phnom Penh.  We spent this week planning and beginning outreach to students at the Royal University of Fine Arts (RUFA) and the Institute of Technology of Cambodia (Polytechno) as a first step towards planting SONOKO groups for prayer and Bible study there.  At the end of the week, we have many reasons to praise God for what he has already been doing at these universities!
 
On Monday, the US team met with the SONOKO staff at the SONOKO student center for a full day of planning for the ten days we would spend at the university campuses.  The SONOKO staff explained how they already have prayer meetings and small groups at a few other universities in Phnom Penh to give us an idea of the ultimate goal for the outreach we would be doing at RUFA and Polytechno.  We divided ourselves into two groups—one group to work at each campus—to set goals for the next ten days and create a timeline for achieving those goals.  I joined the group with Chamroeun, Steph, Cydney, Elise, and Donn to work at Polytechno, and we decided on a primary goal of meeting 100 students by the end of our ten days on campus, and we also said we hoped to meet two or three Christian students who would be interested in helping to establish a prayer group.
 
Each day for the rest of the week, the two teams went to their respective campuses and set to work.  Most of what we did at both universities was simply have conversations with students.  At Polytechno, a few members of the group prayer walked around the campus each day, and the rest of the morning and part of the afternoon were spent finding students who were willing to have conversations with foreigners J.  On Tuesday, our goal for the day was to learn more about the campus, and the students we talked to were very helpful.  Elise and I learned from a third-year student named Litai what times students would be in class and what times they would be on campus and willing to socialize.  Cydney and Steph learned from another student that most of the students’ coursework at Polytechno is done in French or English, so they welcome opportunities to practice their foreign language skills.
 
We wanted to find a way to meet a need of the students while we were on campus trying to make connections with them, so we decided to hold a “Language Café” later in the week.  On Wednesday, we brought iced coffee to share with the students while we invited them to join us to practice speaking English and French during the rest of the week.  We met several students who seemed interested, including a girl named Liep who was so excited to meet us that she talked and joked with us for a long time and helped distribute coffee and invitations to her friends—which seemed to mean just about everyone!  She promised to come back the next day to continue practicing English with us.
Chhay and his friend were excited to practice their English and French.  We talked about what they miss about their homes in the province.
Steph invited a few of the students we’d been talking with to join us for lunch that day, so four of them joined us for the short walk to another college campus (which the students informed us had a better cafeteria than Polytechno :) ) for lunch.  For most of the meal, the students spoke in Khmer with each other and with Chamroeun; Steph pointed out that this was an ideal situation because the students could begin to build a relationship with Chamroeun, who will be here long after our team returns to the US, and he could tell them a little about SONOKO’s student ministry.
Donn joined some Polytechno students playing soccer before class.
True to her word, Liep returned Thursday morning with lots of friends.  Our team split up among the students to talk with them and invite them to an event at SONOKO on July 2nd to celebrate the end of final exams.  I spoke with several different students who were eager to practice both English and French.  Most of them have not studied French prior to attending Polytechno, especially the large proportion who come from the provinces outside of Phnom Penh, and even though many have studied English before, they have very few opportunities to practice with native speakers.  It was lots of fun to talk to the students about everything from studies to hobbies; it felt as though we were meeting a real need by providing the students with an opportunity to practice their foreign language skills, and I also felt I could connect with them personally over the shared experience of studying a language--and of being nervous to practice with native speakers.
Phreak (right), one of the SONOKO staff, helped lead worship at Khmer church on Sunday morning.
On Friday we met a few more students, although many were busy preparing for final exams, which will take place on Monday and Tuesday.  On Saturday morning we joined SONOKO staff and a few students from Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP) and the Institute of Foreign Languages (IFL) for a time of worship and prayer, and in the afternoon we went to the nearby water park for some goofy games and team bonding (and a lot of splashing).  On Sunday morning we attended Khmer church with the SONOKO staff.
 
If you are praying for the team in Phnom Penh, please lift up a prayer of thanksgiving!  God has shown his faithfulness this week by opening doors for us to meet many students at Polytechno and RUFA.  We have also met a few Christian students on both campuses and are grateful for this sign that there may be students at these universities who are interested in being part of SONOKO and helping to reach other students with the Gospel.  Please pray that our team and the SONOKO staff find rest in the Lord this weekend and will return to work replenished on Monday morning and prepared to continue reaching out to students.  Please also pray that the Holy Spirit will move in some of the students and encourage them to attend the event next Saturday so that they might begin to form a stronger relationship with some of the SONOKO staff.  Thank you for your prayers, and may God’s amazing grace be with you!
 
Love,
Kaya
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