"Bringing Light to Cambodians through income-generating projects"
Reaksmei, means "light", "radiance" or "enlighten". This project was developed to help low-income church members of the Cambodia churches as well as pastors that have been working on the faith that their needs would be met.The pastors have accepted jobs knowing the funds were not sufficient, the people are poor and do not have the resources to support pastors fully. The sale of handicrafts have contributed toward the funding of 9 pastors and church planters!
BROTHER SO THAI
So Thai has worked for the Reaksmei development projects for about a year and a half. He was an orphan and brought up by the Christian organization through the dormitory ministry. He works very hard to coordinate with the like the women, young people and childcare center staff for making the Reakmei products such as keyholders, Cambodia Skirts. Coming from poverty, he has a heart to help the poor. The development project provides the opportunity to recruit artisans so they can help even more people!
Brother Sothea and Seang Hai
are two university students that come from the villages. Sothea is at his in his 2nd year studying Architecture and Seang Hai is in his first year studying Sociology. They help in painting cards and bookmarks and making strings for the decorated pens for freelance in order to support their study so they can ease the financial burden of the family.
Life with Blessing... PHILEMON'S story
In order to have a fulfilled life of hope and to pay back my parents for taking care of me since I was in my mom’s womb, I was determined to study and become a Buddhist monk. I hoped that after being a monk, I’d have a better life with good values and would get high respect from other people. I wanted to follow the traditions of my ancestors because I felt it was the best way to repay the good deeds of my parents.
Contrary to my expectations, the reality is that Buddhism has no way to help deliver the human spirit from evil's management, and neither does ancestor worship or worshiping idols. Being a monk for a long time still provides no way of salvation for the human spirit at death. So, there is nothing in it.
I was born into a big family with a total of eight children. I am the fifth, after my older brother, who is the only other boy. My parents were poor and uneducated, but tried hard to support all of us children to go to school. Unfortunately, most of us were unable to finish school. My brother finished high school, but none of the girls.
As for me, I had many Christian friends who lived in the same village (Prek Thei) and also were in my classes. One day, one of them invited me to attend a worship service at the church. Praise to the Lord! He began to show me the way, as the song says, “Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.” After a while, a missionary from the Philippines and a Khmer youth leader guided me one Sunday to pray, and I invited Jesus Christ to come into my heart. I was baptized on April 15, 2001, at Kaoh Sachtunlea East Church in the Bassac River.
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by whom we must be saved” (Acts 4: 12)
I was so happy to become a Christian and to have fellowship with other brothers and sisters. After I was baptized, Pastor Paula Guazon enrolled me in the Child Care program in House of Love. The other students there were so kind, helping each other, and loving one another. We had a chance to go to school and we had enough food to eat. I was eager to become like the others in House of Love.
Praise to the Lord! He has all the resources that we need. He has prepared the best way for my life. Since I confessed my sin and gave myself to the Lord, He has given the best blessings to me. For more than six years, I was supported through the House of Love. I received comfort, happiness, encouragement, love, an education, and was able to learn more about living a Christian life. Although sometimes there were problems because of a lot of students living together, we had peace and happiness by learning how to get along together from Jesus’ model.
THE CALLING IS STRONGER …
Daniel Sar’s Story
Daniel was a part of the Free Methodist Church beginnings. He was a teenager when some visitors started coming to their village to share about the good news of God’s love and forgiveness. His uncle, Sok Em, was the first one who came to share the gospel to their village. He was drawn to the Good News at his young age. He wanted to become an interpreter and became motivated to study English. Since the family couldn’t afford to send him to English School, he saved his allowance and rode his bicycle to the city. He didn’t mind the heat and fatigue. The distance from his village to the city is around 24 kilometers (almost 15 miles!)
His hard work and perseverance were soon rewarded. He now speaks fluent English and he also studies music so he can play the keyboard in their church. Daniel was called to the ministry at his young age. Some Christian organizations are looking for young people with skills like Daniel and have offered him jobs with a good salary. For a poor and young man, his commitment was tested. He is the oldest child and understands the needs of his family and siblings. There are enormous expectations from his parents and relatives.
Through much prayer, Daniel felt he was being called to go to Bible School and serve as a Pastor. While serving as a Pastor in the city, he had an opportunity to further his studies through the help of Heavenly Treasures. Daniel is eager to learn and furthering his education is always appealing to him. He is very thankful for this privilege that Heavenly Treasures has offered to him to support his studies.
THE LADIES IN THE CITY
by Davis Lam
The economy in Cambodia is always adversely affected by corruption and deprivation. The people who live in the village can mainly survive through their labor in farming, even though they may not have a regular income. However, it is more difficult in the city because the standard of living is much higher than that in the village, and the people usually have little land to farm. Most of them are working in the factories, non-government organizations (NGOs), and markets. However, their salary usually is not enough to cover the higher prices for commodities in the city. Thank the Lord, our development project, “Reaksmei Products,” can help our church members in the city as well as in the villages.
PAULINE AND HER FAMILY
Pauline has participated in this project since 2003. She started from scratch and now she has become an expert in sewing Cambodian skirts, passport cases, purses, Bible covers, and the like. She now has a family of two lovely boys, and her husband pastors the Phnom Penh church. Her financial contribution to the family is vital because her husband’s salary cannot cover the living expenses for a family of 4 in the city. In addition, when her son starts kindergarten soon, there will be another financial burden on the family budget. However, God’s provision is wondrous as we see that all things work together for those who love God.
DEBBIE AND HER FAMILY
Debbie and her family have been attending Phnom Penh church for more than 4 years. She is also a seamstress, and her husband works for an organization as a kitchen helper with low wages. They have 2 beautiful girls, and one now is studying in a Christian school, but the expense is high. However, they both strive very hard to work so that their child can receive a good education. Everyday, Debbie's husband uses their motorcycle to take the child to school instead of her taking the school bus, in order to save money for the school fees. Debbie has just recently started sewing for Reaksmei Products, and we hope that God will bless her as she works with us.
We hope that Debbie will be able to help in training women in the villages to sew so that we have more seamstresses available when orders come in, and when new products are developed.