Sains Overseas

October 2014 Newsletter and Support Update

October16

Hello from Cambodia!

Just a couple of weeks ago marked our one-year anniversary since moving to Cambodia. It is funny how it seems like both forever and just a moment since we left the U.S. If you haven’t heard already, we have extended our stay here through June 2015.

Being here for a year has opened our eyes to new ways that people experience life. We have seen firsthand how many people struggle daily for food and education for their kids. We have seen lives change overnight when close friends have unexpected medical issues or get beaten and robbed. We’ve also seen local believers transformed by the Gospel. I’m inspired by the struggle and resilience of the Cambodian people and am reminded daily of the privilege I experience just because of the time and place where I was born.

In my work this year at IJM Cambodia I have helped to develop monitoring and evaluation systems, participated in strategic planning, and grown close to many bright and talented professionals. God is using my professional background and experience for His work in the fight against child sex trafficking! Check out Kanya’s story to get a glimpse into our work.

Looking toward the months ahead, I will continue to work with IJM Cambodia as we expand our casework into new areas of injustice and evolve our strategies against sex trafficking. I will also continue learning the Khmer language and networking to see what God may have in store for our future. The kids will finish out the school year at Logos International School, Jen will take care of the homefront and remain active in the school parents’ association, and Susan will teach a variety of classes and age levels across two campuses with Asian Hope.

Our first year was fully funded through generous one-time and monthly support. Thank you so much to those who have already given and continue to give! At this time Chris, Jen, and Susan all need to raise additional support for our extension through June 2015. Would you consider giving to help us meet our goal? The easiest way to give is through International Outreach Ministries, which is one of our sending partners. Click the Paypal Donate button to make a tax-deductible one-time or monthly donation. After you click “Review Donation and Continue”, you can type our names in a box that says “For the ministry of”.

Jen’s Corner

It has been a year of ups and downs. The ups have far outweighed the downs! Cultural changes have been met with excitement, fear, joy and any other emotion you can think of. Hannah, Caleb and Jacob have enjoyed meeting new friends and have embraced our “new normal.” Over the past year life has become “normal.” This is our home for now and we know that God has us here for His purposes.

I have had the opportunity to grow deeper in my relationship with the Lord. He has given me peace in the transitions and has blessed me with new relationships with fellow expats. A healthy support system both in country and at home in the States are essential to peace and joy in our work and lives here. I am thankful to the Lord for the work he has done in my family and me.

Update from Susan

This past year has been a challenging yet rewarding year for me as a teacher. I have been equipped by God to teach like never before. Everyday I go between two campuses helping children (K-10th) with learning difficulties or just struggling to catch up. This year I also teach science and social studies for Kinder through 2nd grade at Logos. The phrase “Jack of all trades, master of none” comes to mind. It is such a joy to see these students’ desire to learn and perseverance. For a peak inside my schools, take a look at these websites – asianhopeschool.org and logoscambodia.org. It has been an absolute joy being at Logos this year with Hannah, Caleb, and Jacob. All this being said, I am a happy, fulfilled teacher but often very tired!

Prayer Requests

  • That God would grow us deeper in our relationship with Him and with other Cambodians and expats that He has put in our path
  • That God would continue to lead IJM Cambodia into new opportunities to protect victims of injustice and vulnerable people
  • That God would faithfully provide the financial support we need over the next nine months and prepare us for the next step
  • Susan – for focus and efficient use of time in my work, to show God’s love and joy to each student, and to be in His will all the time.

 

 

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Mimi and Jacob Asian Hope Teachers

August 2014 Update

August3

Hello from Cambodia!

Our major focus at IJM Cambodia this year is long-term change in the justice system to protect poor people from violence. In my role, I’m helping develop our strategy to sustain system reform gains. Through activities that support our partners in the community, police, and social services we will help keep pressure on traffickers and protect vulnerable people. Please pray that our team will recognize strengths and weaknesses in the justice system and opportunities to support our partners over the coming weeks and months.

Recently we hosted a training to teach pastors about God’s heart for the vulnerable and to encourage them to seek justice in their own communities. Anti-trafficking police attended to explain how the pastors can report crimes in their area. Please pray that God will use the Church to spread truth and love throughout Cambodia. Read more here.

Jen’s Corner

Is it August already? School starts August 5th. Hannah is in 3rd grade, Caleb is in 1st, and my little one is starting Pre-K. The kiddos are excited and a little apprehensive about the new school. Hannah’s new bestie is in her class so there will be at least one familiar face on the first day! Caleb is Caleb and will be just fine! I hope Jacob’s teacher is ready for Jacob “don’t mind if I do” Sain.

There will also be an opportunity for me to get involved at school. Having taught school before, I know the importance of parent support to teachers and other staff members. I look forward to using my passion to serve the educators who are helping to change lives.

Update from Susan

I’m back in the Kingdom of Wonder (Cambodia). I enjoyed visiting with everyone while stateside and apologize to those I didn’t get to see. I didn’t realize how crazy it was going to be. I am back at school now. It’s so busy already, and I’m looking forward to a great year. I will be teaching science for kindergarten, first, and second grades at Logos. This is a passion of mine and will be such a joy. I’m also working with a group of 10th graders that I worked with last year. They need extra support because they are ESL. I love them and they work so hard. Additionally, I will be continuing with several autistic children and many that just need learning support. It will be a very busy and rewarding year. The best news is that I will be at Logos with all three grandkids. What a joy to get watch them learn and grow. Blessings to all.

Prayer Requests

  • For wisdom and opportunities for IJM Cambodia to support our partners over the coming weeks and months
  • That God will use the Church to spread truth and love throughout Cambodia
  • For patience and skill for Jen to study and practice the Khmer language starting this month

4th of July

Family Dinner

Mimi at the Airport Bayon Temple

May 2014 Update and Announcement

May25

Hello from Cambodia!

Our major focus at IJM Cambodia this year is long-term changes in the justice system to protect poor people from violence. I’ve discovered that God’s call to serve the oppressed often happens behind a desk, in meetings, and writing reports. But just as we see God’s hand in rescuing and restoring individual victims, we also see Him at work when government officials choose to protect the most vulnerable in their communities.

God is using my time at IJM to provide project management support to our system transformation projects, develop our monitoring and evaluation capability, and mentor national staff. It is an honor to work alongside such bright, professional, and committed individuals!

The announcement is that we believe God is leading us to stay in Cambodia longer to continue the work. God has given us the desire and the opportunity to live here and work with IJM through the end of next school year. Jen, Susan, and the kids are excited to stay here, and my ability to contribute at IJM will only grow over the coming months. I will remain a volunteer with IJM, so please consider whether you would like to continue or begin supporting us financially.

Jen’s Corner

On the home front, things are going great! We have a house helper that comes a few hours every morning. We are working on English and Khmer together. It is a slow process but we are both patient and forgiving of each other’s mistakes and mispronunciation.

The kids are all happy that we are extending our stay in Cambodia. It will give them the opportunity to develop deeper relationships with friends and hopefully be an example and encouragement to the non-believers in our community. Recently Hannah said, “Mom, do you know there are people who don’t love Jesus?” Our response, “This why we are in Cambodia, to share Jesus through our words and actions!” Hannah, “Oh, that makes sense.”

Our experience in Cambodia has definitely made us closer as a family. Even through spiritual and emotional challenges God has blessed each of us with His peace, and we know this is home now.

Update from Susan

It almost seems impossible that another school year is at a close. I praise God that He would use me to be a part of His work. My 9th graders rocked their finals! The 2nd and 3rd graders have a much more solid footing in phonics. The boys in the two behavior groups understand and are consistently making good choices. My autistic friend is participating in everything! In a small snapshot, this is the hand of God!

I am blessed to have a time of refreshment this summer. I will be returning for a month to the U.S. to visit my grandchildren and (oh, yes) the rest of my family! This is the hard part of being away, not being with my precious granddaughters. God has graciously provided me with peace in this situation. So I will bathe in every moment of happiness with them, recharge my batteries, and come back to Cambodia ready to see God’s handiwork in the lives of our students.

Jen and Hannah

Sihanoukville - Mimi and Kids

Jens Birthday Susan and Chris

March 2014 Update

March24

It’s hard to believe that we’ve been here for 6 months. We when first arrived in late September, it felt like we were starting from square one in so many ways. New country on the other side of the world, new language, new ways of shopping, buying food, and getting around. Now that six months have passed, we have found our bearings and settled in at home, school, and work.

My role at IJM has grown considerably. I am developing a framework for monitoring and evaluating our justice system reform programs. The framework will help us better understand how our program activities improve the lives of vulnerable people and strengthen the local justice system. In addition to this, I am attending workshops with government and international stakeholders, contributing to program design and planning, and working closely with national staff to mentor and support them.

Jen’s Corner

Hannah and Caleb are doing great at school! They enjoy playing with friends from the neighborhood, playing dodge ball in our front patio area, and just running around like kids do! Hannah had her first official play date with some girls from her class. After her friends left she said, “That wasamazing, we have to do this again soon!”

Jacob and I have developed a closer bond in our time at home. We work on letters, numbers, and shapes throughout the week. He is like me and can’t wait to get out of the house, so we look forward to Wednesday play group every week.

Update from Susan

Learning support at Asian Hope and Logos is heading toward a strong finish for the school year. I have fallen in love with all my students and now have a vested interest in their education and success. The elementary students are progressing nicely in their reading. These are all English language learners who just need more time and help with English. My autistic student has assimilated beautifully with the class. But my happiest success these days is with my 9th graders. We have conquered a paper on the theory of atomic structure, written a persuasive letter to the government advocating for the rights of garment workers, read Romeo and Juliet, tackled the book of Judges and are writing a major paper on various subjects about rights and responsibilities of important events in history. This is giving me a run for my money. I now am “hosting” 2 boys’ behavior groups. Oh, those rascals!

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January 2014 Update

January12

The work for justice continues in Cambodia.  In December, IJM hosted a legal workshop with high-level police, court, and ministry officials from all over the country.  The workshop was an opportunity to educate many key stakeholders about the need for undercover investigation techniques.  I spent a lot of time helping the team prepare for the workshop.  We are thanking God for his hand over these past few weeks and trusting him to carry this forward in ways that are much bigger than us in 2014.  Read more about the workshop at http://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/undercover-underused-ngo.

Jen’s Corner

Never a dull moment at the Sain house!  Christmas in Cambodia was full of differences and excitement.  We were able to maintain some of our family traditions and at the same time make new traditions, Cambodia Style.  The big present at our house was a “blow-up style” kiddie swimming pool for our front patio.  In true Hannah Grace style, she fell in the pool her first time out on her new bike!

The day after Christmas we all left for the beach for a long overdue break.  This was the first time (ever) at the beach for the kids. They had a blast splashing in the water and building sandcastles.  Just as much as the beach they loved watching the Disney Channel in the hotel room.  We are ready get back to school and reestablish our family routines.  With every passing day we become more comfortable (and stable) in our new home.

Update from Susan

I enjoyed the holiday rest with the family.  Now things are back in full swing at school and I am busier than ever.  I am teaching 10th grade English in addition to my other responsibilities.  It is quite a challenge.  I pray I can be effective for the Lord in all I do.

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November 2013 Update

November28

Greetings from Cambodia!

I can’t believe we have been here for two months! Things are busy at IJM Cambodia. My primary assignment is to help develop tools and processes to monitor and evaluate our work. This helps us assess where things are going well and where there are still gaps to address. This work is so important to ensure that our efforts lead to lasting, sustainable change that protects women and children. It has been great to get to know our amazing staff and see all of the work they have done over the past ten years to help strengthen the public justice system.

In other news, IJM Cambodia recently had our biggest operation of the year. Police raided two locations simultaneously to capture criminals and rescue girls from brothels that were fronted as massage parlors. This operation required a lot of prayer and perseverance to overcome many obstacles. Read more about the story on the IJM website – IJM Cambodia: Girls Trafficked to Two Brothels in the Heart of the City, Rescued in One Night.

Jen’s Corner
What a whirlwind last two months! The family is settling into a more “normal” rhythm. The household has a predictable and of course flexible schedule. Mornings, school/work, home, homework, baths, books, bed! The three bedtime rituals. At times the kids ask to skip the first B – Bath. Then we remind them we live in Cambodia and as soon as you walk outside you need another shower! Our part-time house helper has helped to alleviate some of my stress. I have a full time job with all the kiddos so it is nice to have help to do some of the daily work. I feel blessed to be settling in to our “new normal.” God has given me an unexplainable peace. Peace from God alone!

Update from Susan
School has been very busy and challenging but filled with purpose and reward. I am seeing more and more students. The challenge is keeping track of 16+ students’ individual needs from grade 2-8 and also teaching 14 students in grades 9-10 in a writing class, along with a midday tuk tuk ride to another campus. There’s never a dull moment at school as well as at home. I’m loving being in an active household. I’ve just finished getting my room, my sanctuary, all comfortable.

Prayer Requests

  • For the victims from the recent operation that continue to receive crisis care and our staff who are supporting them through this difficult time
  • For continued adjustment to our life overseas. Adapting to a new cultural environment can be difficult.
  • For Susan as she goes on staff retreat this Thursday – Saturday. For refreshment and building relationships with colleagues.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! We are thankful for your support and partnership with us in God’s work of justice in Cambodia.

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Two Weeks In

October8

We have been in Cambodia for almost two weeks!  Since we arrived we leased a house, visited several malls and stores, tried new restaurants, visited the IJM office, visited the schools, and attended church for the first time.  Jet lag was difficult for everyone for the first few days, but thankfully it is behind us now!

Overall things are as good, if not better, than expected.  We are starting to get settled in the new environment and culture, and the kids are pretty well behaved.  “Mimi’s Club” is a daily treat of screen time and projects if the kids take a good nap and are well behaved.  Jacob is our biggest challenge – his strong-willed defiance is turned up to 11.  But on the bright side, he potty trained himself within the first couple of days in country.  He has known how to use the potty for a while now, but just now decided that he would like to use it on a regular basis.  So that is a blessing – far better than our expectation of having him in diapers for the next year!

 

Update from Susan

So much has changed except our love and trust in the Lord. It’s one thing to say “I trust in the Lord and love Him with all my heart.” It’s quite another to live it in my heart and cling to His promises. What an eye opener it has been for me. The culture shock is almost too much to explain. I thought I was prepared. Boy was I wrong. With all that said, things are actually very good. There are good and not so good times but I wouldn’t trade it. I’m excited to start work. It’s going to be a joy to be in school again and to work with students that need help. I pray I will make a difference in each life as God has planned for them. It will be nice to talk with coworkers about educational ideas. I have thoroughly enjoyed being with the family. Chris, Jen, and the kids have made all the difference. I’m glad I didn’t have to do it by myself. They have made me feel most welcome and in a family of six, there’s never a dull moment!

This week Chris will begin full-time at IJM. Susan and the big kids will start school. And at home we will finish buying household essentials and hopefully move into our new place. Thank you so much for your faithful support and prayers for our family. We could not be here without you. We look forward to the work that God is already preparing for us here in Cambodia.

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Good-bye Texas, See You Next Year

October7

From the mouth of babes.  “Good-bye Texas see ya next year!” said Hannah as we watched Texas get smaller and smaller out the airplane window.  Those words just sank into my heart and I really, really realized that we are moving to Cambodia! For a year!

God’s GRACE has covered us these past two weeks.  The kids are doing remarkably well and are learning to thrive in our “new normal”.  The Khmer holiday, Pchum Ben, was last week so school was out.  This was good timing for our family.  The kids (and the adults) were not thrown into a new culture and the kids into a new school all at once. We spent most of our time exploring stores, eating great foods, visiting various places around Penom Phen and spending some much needed quality time together.  We were also able to find a house and sign a lease over that week.  The LORD blessed us with an affordable house, close to friends and close to school.  The last weeks before we left the states were filled with packing, packing, packing, more packing and moving our entire house into a storage unit.  It was nice to take some time for each other this week.

Chris and Susan started work today.  The kids began school.  I am now at the hotel with Jacob, cleaning up after the tornado that ran through our room.  All 5 of us have been in one hotel room for the past two weeks!  Talk about family togetherness!  We will have good days and difficult days but we pray that God be glorified through our interactions with new friends, and more importantly for each of us and our heart conditions.  Our inward heart condition will be reflected in our outward actions!

Many of you have asked for pics.  Here are a few, and there will definitely be more to come!

 

2nd First Day of School

2nd First Day of School

 

Stairs at the new house!

Stairs at the new house!

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