Dear Friends & Loved Ones,
Greetings from Cambodia!
2011 has certainly been a year of changes and travel!
Peter started the year as co-Pastor of the International Christian Fellowship (ICF) of Phnom Penh and finished the year as the 'sole' Pastor.
This has meant quite a different feel to the church ministry. He has been very supported by an active team of elders and many church members.
The ICF is a diverse and fluid church family of around 35 different nationalities.
It is very different to parish life in the UK. People are often very busy in Christian ministry and look to the church for encouragement and support.
Peter enjoys the challenge and stimulation of serving and working with such a diverse congregation. Last week, we had two very different Christmas Services led completely by the children and youth. It was one of those times when Peter sensed the privilege of being in Christian ministry.
Peter started the year as a bachelor and ended the year as husband of
Sim Hwee Ping (Chinese have their family name in front)!
Hwee Ping is from Singapore and has been serving as a missionary
in Cambodia for almost five years. We were engaged in January and married in July. Life has certainly felt a bit in the fast lane over the past few months and we are now settling into and enjoying more of a routine in Phnom Penh. We are constantly discovering more about each other and our cultures. We are very grateful to God for bringing us together and we value this special time He has given to us. We enjoy swimming and playing table-‐tennis, and enjoying each others cooking – Eastern and Western!
At the moment, Hwee Ping is taking a year's leave of absence from her mission's organization WEC International. This was to give her space and time to plan the wedding (no such thing as a small Singapore wedding!), and to explore her future ministry with WEC. At the moment she is volunteering at the WEC office and also giving pastoral support/care
to women missionaries and ICF church members. This has been quite a
big shift in her ministry as she had been serving more among local Cambodians the past few years here. Now, she serves more among expatriates who are largely fellow missionaries & Church members of diverse nationalities.
Three months ago, a short-‐term American missionary approached her to teach him Chinese and they both enjoyed the classes. That missionary
has just left Cambodia and promised her to use Chinese to reach out to his Chinese friends back home!
Travel this year included three trips to Singapore, time in Canada with Holly, Gemma and the Canadian family and a month in the autumn enjoying beautiful England, Scotland and meeting up with family and some friends. (Sorry if we did not manage to see you – it was impossible to catch up with everyone in a month). Hwee Ping took hundreds of pictures – and one project will be to make up an album of ourUKtrip.
Christmas Day was a combination of different things -‐ breakfast together with Gemma who is with us, then a morning service with a lot of visitors as well as church members, then back home to open presents, then a traditional Christmas lunch in a British Pub style restaurant with friends from Hong Kong, then playing some games with members of our home group – and finally home to watch a bit of television and zzZZZ.
This is quite a new experience for Hwee Ping as Singaporeans
Celebrate Christmas differently. This is part of us knowing and embracing each other’s tradition & culture. Christmas & Boxing Day are not public holidays in Cambodia – but they have been special days for
We helped settle Holly into All Nations Christian College in Hertfordshire in September. She is enjoying the experience of Christian community and the stimulation of mission/theological studies. In January, Gemma begins her last term of Photographic Studies at Ryerson
University in Toronto.
Life is good here – with both opportunities and challenges. There have been many big changes for us in 2011. As we approach a new year there will be new things ahead. It is so good to know that God goes with us and ahead of us. Despite the changes we go through in life, we have an unchanging God – what a privilege to serve a LIVING Saviour!
Thank you for your emails, encouragements, support and prayers – they are very much appreciated. For those of you who keep us in prayer here are some praise & prayer items:
1. We thank the LORD for His blessings of Joy in bringing both of us together and His faithfulness in seeing us through the multiple changes & transitions (especially for Hwee Ping).
2. We thank the LORD too for Gemma who is here with us to spend Christmas & International New Year together. Hwee Ping’s sister will visit us for Chinese New Year (late January 2012) too. Praise the LORD for the gift of family.
3. Please pray that we would sense God's leading as we seek to serve together in Cambodia.
4. For wisdom, courage and a zeal for Christ as we continue to serve the International Christian Fellowship (ICF) here.
5. That we would continue to grow in our love and knowledge of each other as husband and wife.
We can never thank you enough for partnering with us in Cambodia through your love, prayer and encouragement. We look forward to your continuous friendship and support in the year ahead.
Love & Blessings to you and your family for 2012,
Peter and Hwee Ping