The Foursquare Church in Cambodia is appealing to The U.S. Foursquare Church for a minimum of $35,000 in emergency relief aid to repair 27 orphanages that were flooded in recent storms that affected a majority of the nation’s 24 provinces.
Foursquare Disaster Relief (FDR) recently sent $5,000 to meet immediate needs, but problems have escalated, and continue to get worse. Surveys of the area reveal that water has not subsided and has instead caused further destruction. The $35,000 of additional requested funds is a starting point—FDR expects that much more will be needed.
The money is being raised for Foursquare Children of Promise, the ministry that runs the orphan homes. Directors Ted and Sue Olbrich, who also serve as Foursquare Missions International (FMI) missionaries, did receive emergency funds, but they were quickly depleted.
Southeast Asia Missionary Joyce Butron says that donated funds will be used for cleaning and repairing water sources, painting the homes, and repairing walls and floors. While she realizes FMI receives many requests for assistance, Joyce is asking for consideration for two major reasons.
“First, we have about 1,500 kids living at the homes affected,” she says. “Second, the fruit of orphan homes is evident. The number of kids who are now adults who serve the Lord and are impacting the nation for Christ continues to grow.”
This is a high-level disaster, with some of the homes and churches connected to them still underwater, says FDR International Operations Chief Chad Isenhart. In addition, the Olbrichs report that a dam upstream from their Cambodian rice farm broke and destroyed about 35 percent of what would have been a record harvest.
“There are no reserves at this point,” says Ted Vail, co-director of FDR. “The Olbrichs have maxed out their personal credit cards buying food for the children.”
Joyce says the greatest need currently is restoring clean water for drinking and bathing. The lack of fresh water has resulted in many children contracting illnesses, primarily pink eye and intestinal viruses. The cost of repairing and cleaning each source varies, but all can be repaired for about $5,000, she says.
“This may be replacement of filtration systems or filters and cleaning out the wells or other items,” Joyce explains. “Each home has a different water system, based on location.”
As the waters recede, there will be other issues to address. One of the challenges in Cambodia’s tropical climate is keeping mold under control, which the floods will intensify.
The homes will need to be painted, with work varying by the damage and size; Joyce estimates the total cost to be $10,000. However, the largest sum ($20,000) will go toward repairing damage to floors and walls. The flooring surfaces vary from wood to cement to tile.
Phil Shipman, director of the anti-trafficking ministry One8, which is a part of Foursquare Missions Press, posted a short video on Facebook showing damage to the home at Srayov Church. It provides an idea of what Cambodians are facing.
Through the years, more than 10,000 children’s lives have been impacted by these homes, says Joyce, who recently met with two former residents working with The Foursquare Church in Cambodia. One of them is a 26-year-old university graduate who recently obtained his degree in business management. He is working with young people, conducting evangelistic crusades and doing discipleship training with young men.
“Their passion for Christ and concern for the lost—not just in their nation—and their desire to see total transformation of Cambodia is inspiring, to say the least,” Joyce says. “Meeting the felt needs of people helps them to see Christ more clearly. The principle of giving a cup of cold water in Christ’s name really has an impact—not just on the kids in the home, but also the surrounding communities.”
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By: Ken Walker, an award-winning freelance writer living in Huntington, W.Va.