Cambodia Mission Trip 2018
From 30 Sept to 5 Oct, a team of 9 flew to Cambodia for a short-term dental mission trip. Neo Yi Ling shares with us more.
The team comprised of five members from GBC, and four others from Redemption Hill Church, St Andrew’s Cathedral, and Zion Living Streams Community Church.
L-R: Neo Yi Ling, Matthew Koh, Dr Benjamin Wee, Carrie Chong, Jasmine Heng, Joshua, Susan Goh (Director of PKH Chbarmon), Dr Shawna Rekshmy, Tan Kim Cheng, Samuel Ng, Dr Wee Thiem Heng.
Project Khmer H.O.P.E. (PKH) is a registered NGO in Cambodia started by St Andrew’s Cathedral in 2000 to meet the socio-economic needs of Cambodians living in poverty. At present, there are 3 vocational training centres under PKH: PKH Chbarmon (the main school) where English and Hospitality classes are taught, PKH Aoral (teaches only industrial skills courses) and PKH Trang (a supplementary after-school day care for children where English is also taught). GBC has been a partner since 2010 and sends a team there 1-2 times a year.
Read more about the PKH project here.
This trip there were three dentists with assistants who mostly had no experience in dental care! It was wonderful experiencing God’s grace through the great teamwork exhibited by everyone as we learnt to overcome differences and were being trained to assist the dentists 'on the job'.
Setting up the clinic at PKH Chbarmon on Sunday.
Portable dental chair set-up inside the PKH Chbarmon centre.
This trip we came up with a simple dental booklet for the students to learn more about dental hygiene.
Matthew and Samuel teaching basic dental hygiene to the students waiting for their turn to see the dentists.
For the first time, we ran three dental stations all at once. This proved to be a bit too much for the electrical supply at the Aoral centre as the lights and fans took turns with the dental units to stop working. At some point, water leakage was discovered within the dental chair. Sangkhoem, one of the Cambodian teachers at Aoral, squatted by the side investigating the leak with his students and Kim Cheng, while Dr Shawna and Samuel as her assistant continued with providing 11 dental fillings to a single student during that time. The ongoing technical support from an ever-ready team led by Kim Cheng was essential to running these mobile dental stations. It was beautiful watching everyone work together in that way!
Dr Shawna and Samuel.
Taking a break in between seeing the students.
One of the portable dental station set-ups at PKH Aoral.
Nothing like the use of a flashlight to provide focused lighting!
At PKH Trang, we met up with Deborah Teo (read more about her here), one of the missionaries supported by GBC. It was a great encouragement to see how she acted effectively as the spiritual mother of many children!
Deborah with the students at PKH Trang.
We were beset by a number of challenges as we set up the clinic in the Trang district particularly as it was the most rural of the three PKH centres. In the middle of the day, there was a heavy downpour and we had to stop the running of the clinic temporarily as we scurried to cover up the sterilised instruments. It was also amusing listening to herds of cows walking past in between the rain. Some villagers looked on curiously.
Some of the students waiting for their turn for treatment.
Watching the cows go by in the midst of dental work.
The clinic at Trang was run using portable dental machines, which required manually changing bottles that contained oral secretions from the dental treatment. Towards the end of the day, one of the suctions for the machines stopped working. So did the lighting stand that came with the unit. The dental assistants used headlamps to help shine light onto teeth for the dentists to continue working. Throughout all these, we were also amazed at how the students patiently waited for their turn!
The use of headlamps was very crucial this trip!
Extended clinic hours into the night.
PKH Trang mission house that night - dental clinic on the right, students occupied by a movie screening on the left.
The dental team with the staff and students of PKH Trang.
Over five days, the team provided dental treatment to 172 students and local staff. During the trip, every morning before we started the clinic, Thiem Heng would gather the team for a time of devotion as we read from God’s word and prayed for the day’s activities. In the months leading up to the mission, he reminded us to ponder upon what God has done for us in Jesus that would compel us to go to another nation to reflect who God is to them.
1 John 4:10-12: “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.”
John 13:35: “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
It was the first time working together on such a mission for many of us in the team, and truly it was a time when God’s love worked through us despite challenges, different working styles and coming from different backgrounds. It is our hope and prayer that the students and staff experienced the love of God through this work.
- for Deborah as she continues to serve the Cambodians at PKH Trang.
- for safety for the students and staff in their commutes as flooding often occurs in the villages during the rainy season.
- for the students and staff to experience the love of Christ and come to know him more fully during their time at PKH.
Contact Kim Cheng at email@example.com or Thiem Heng at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the next time we are going there!