Cambodia Teacher Training
“Teacher, the card won’t work.”
Four of our future teachers for the Cambodia Boarding Academy project were stuck in an airport in Malaysia. They were returning to Cambodia after attending a four-month SALT evangelism course with seven other future teachers.
The students went to Malaysia as part of the English education they needed to attend college in the Philippines.
Their time in Malaysia was an incredible blessing. Before the training, one student said she didn’t understand how people could study the Bible for hours. She could only do it for a few minutes. Since she has learned how to study the Bible, she can now do it for two or three hours without a problem. Spending time with God has become exciting to her.
Their experience also came with challenges. Because of visa issues, the students could only stay in Malaysia for a month at a time. Then they had to return home for a week and do classes online. Every time they went to Malaysia, the immigration officers chastised them. During their third trip, the officers told the students, “This is the last time we’re letting you through. Don’t come back.”
The students were worried. They still needed to go back to Malaysia one more time. Natalie Howell, who is leading the project (with her family), considered sending them to another airport, but God convicted her otherwise. He helped them every time before. He could do it one more time.
Four out of the eleven students were able to return to Malaysia once more. On the day they were traveling, Natalie was in the U.S. for FaithCamp (her husband Billy stayed in Cambodia to keep working on the project). As a FaithCamp team, we prayed for the students while they went through immigration. Not long after, Natalie received a message. For the first time, they had been allowed in with no problems. “We knew that was God,” Natalie shared. “Only God could do such a thing.”
The students finished their classes and celebrated graduation before returning to Cambodia. On the way home, they had to carry one extra bag. Natalie sent one of the students $200 to pay for it. The extra bag cost $197. When the student tried to pay for it, her debit card didn’t work. She couldn’t get cash out of the ATM either.
At around 11 pm in the U.S., the students called Natalie, but their flight left before she could find a solution. Natalie prayed and booked another flight from the same airline. The website said each passenger would receive one free checked bag, so Natalie bought the tickets and paid for one extra bag online. By 2 am, everything seemed to be settled, so Natalie headed to bed.
An hour later, she got a phone call. “Teacher, they only allowed one of us to go through,” one student said. The airline employees said the tickets did not include free checked bags. But, they said, extra baggage cost only $59.
The students scraped together all their cash and had enough to send a second student and suitcase back to Cambodia. Natalie spent the rest of her night trying to find a solution for the remaining two students.
After being stuck in the airport for hours, the students were exhausted. They had no money for food or a hotel that night, but they found a place at the airport to sleep.
In the U.S., Natalie continued to pray. Though she had slept only one hour that night, she had meetings to attend most of the day. God gave her peace throughout the sessions, and when they were over, He gave her an idea.
At 5 am in Cambodia, Natalie called her sleeping husband. After several tries calling him and the other students in the house, he finally woke up.
“I need you to go to Malaysia this morning,” she said, explaining the students’ predicament.
“Okay, I’ll go,” he replied.
Within an hour, Billy was out the door and on his way to Malaysia to pay for the luggage and escort the students home.
While Billy was at the airport with the students, he met a man, and they started to talk. Somehow, the conversation turned to religion.
“What’s so special about Christians? Aren’t Christians the ones that start wars?” the man asked. Billy gave him an answer, but the man had more questions. “What makes Seventh-day Adventists different from other Christians?”
Throughout the conversation, Billy was able to share why we believe what we believe, including the Sabbath and the state of the dead.
This was just one conversation, and while we don’t know the man’s heart, we know God sent Billy to him for a purpose.
After this, the Howells realized that all the student’s airport troubles and their lost sleep were for that man’s sake.
What is the value of one soul? Is one person’s salvation worth losing sleep over? Is it worth going through frustration and hardship? Is it worth risking your life or even sacrificing it?
Natalie had to ponder these questions before choosing to go to Cambodia. They are questions we should all ask ourselves. What is the value of one soul? Are we willing to give our all for the One who gave all for us?
What's Next for the Future Teachers?
We are about to send seven of our young Cambodian students to the Philippines to attend Mountain View College. The other four will serve as Bible Workers for a year before starting. School started on Monday (August 14), but the students have yet to go. To be accepted into the college, they needed a lot of paperwork from the government.
For the past three weeks, Billy went to the government office daily to get their visa paperwork stamped. Every day, they told him, “Come back tomorrow.”
For three weeks, the Howells prayed about the paperwork. There was nothing they could do to move up the timeline. They just had to trust God.
On Thursday, the paperwork finally got stamped! Now, the college has to process the applications, and by God’s grace, the students will be in the Philippines within the next two weeks.
Tuition, room and board, first-year school fees/deposits, and tickets will cost around $6,500 per student ($45,500 total). Currently, the fund has just over $17,000. We do not know how God will provide, but we trust He has a plan!
We are still praying about the funding for the students, and we invite you to join us.
Please click the button below if God leads you to invest in these students’ education.
- Contributed by Jesus for Asia