Hello! My name is Mike Phillips, and I am one of the newest volunteers at New Day New Life.
I want to take a moment of your time to provide a view of the work that New Day New Life does through the eyes of a newcomer. I know as time goes along, I will learn much more about the details of the work, but right now I have a few first impressions that might be useful to you as you consider the needs of the New Day New Life organization and the people that it helps.
My family and I have been living in Phnom Penh for over three years now, so we are getting fairly accustomed to life in the Cambodian capital. Life here is vastly different than in Dallas, the city where we lived in America. But the differences in rural Cambodian village life and life in Phnom Penh are probably just as big.
The basic city services one can take for granted in Phnom Penh are not readily available in the villages we visited, as far as I could tell. Unlike running water that has been treated and cleaned in Phnom Penh, I only saw hand-operated pumps to provide water.
I did see a few houses that had electricity of some sort for a light bulb or two, but there was no central distribution of power that I could see. I think they must be using batteries or generators. I did expect to see at least some canisters of propane gas for cooking, but all the cooking I saw was over wood fires. And, of course, there was no sewage system. In other words, many of the conveniences I might take for granted, such as an electric fan on a hot Cambodian afternoon, are not available to many or most of the people in the villages.
New Day New Life is particularly concerned with the situation of the elderly in these villages. From what I could tell, most of the elderly people with whom we visited have no visible means of support. They seem to be dependent on the kindness of others, and that is where New Day New Life steps in. One of the more visible ways New Day New Life helps the elderly in these villages is by providing some basic food supplies to them on a regular basis. The largest amount of food provided is their staple, rice.
A variety of other types of food are also provided, including dried fish, vegetables, eggs, some canned goods, and perhaps a small bag of candy or cookies. On our most recent trip to the villages, I had the opportunity to enter the homes of a number of elderly people, and it appeared to me that the food we were bringing was more than they currently had in their houses. That is quite different than having a large, well-stocked pantry as I am used to having.
New Day New Life also keeps up with the health situation of these elderly villagers. The nearest clinic I saw was about 15-20 minutes away by car, and I did not see any apparent form of transportation for any of the people we were working with. Even if they could get to the clinic, they would not have the money to pay for treatments or medicines, so New Day New Life monitors their health situation and tries to help with appropriate medical care when it is called for.
There are a number of children in the villages that turn out to see us when we visit. Some of them are the grandchildren of the elderly people that New Day New Life is working to care for. In many cases, the parents have left the children with the grandparents in order to pursue their own careers. Unfortunately, these grandparents are barely able to provide for themselves, much less to feed and clothe children, and to pay their fees at school. This is an additional reason why the food supplies provided by New Day New Life are so critical to these families.
This situation has also caused the New Day New Life organization to consider what can be done to help those children to be helpful to their grandparents and to have what they need to survive and thrive.
Helping the children in turn helps the elderly. This area seems to me to be a particular need where your good ideas and your help could be especially valuable. If you can think of ways to help those children be more helpful to their grandparents, or ways to help them steer clear of the trouble that often seems to ensnare young people who are in difficult circumstances, please contact New Day New Life to discuss the areas where you can help.
As for me personally, I am convinced that knowing Jesus Christ and following Him provides great benefits in eternity, but also in this earthly life. My hope in volunteering with New Day New Life is to have the opportunity to introduce both the children and the elderly to the One who died in order to save them.
One final impression that I have: the need is great. Both the physical and spiritual needs of all these people are great. Please be praying with me that God will help us to meet their needs in the way that is most pleasing to Him. Please be praying that God will help us to bring the light of His love into their lives. Please be praying that we will bring glory to God in all that we do.