Thank you SO much for your continued support of our work in Cambodia. Here’s a special message from Nathan, CGI’s Executive Director.
CGI has gained some new faces in recent weeks!
We’re excited to announce three births we’ve been celebrating with our CGI Cambodia staff. Our Kien Svay Kids Coordinator, Srey Leak, gave birth to her first baby boy in December. He is beautiful and healthy and we’re praising God for his safe arrival. Srey Leak is a critical piece of our ministry in Cambodia, and faithfully teaches impoverished children in the Kien Svay province each week. These kids are excelling in school, playing fun games and learning about Jesus thanks to her!
Our Director of Operations in Cambodia, Alan and Katy Beringer, welcomed their second son last week! His name is Elim, and joins big brother Jonah to make them a family of four. Elim was born in the U.S. while the Beringers are home on furlough, and their family is happy and healthy and enjoying this new addition to their family.
Kristen Baynai, our byTavi Volunteer Coordinator, also welcomed her first baby with her husband Jeremy in the Fall. Baby Spencer is pictured below. We’re on cuteness overload here at CGI!
We’re happy for the New Year and new little faces! Please join us in thanking God for these new lives.
The Kien Svay Kids recently had a Christmas party! It was a fun day of celebrating how hard they’ve been working, having the chance to open small gifts, and learn about the Savior we celebrate this time of year. There was lots of laughter, games and snacks!
This program has been a huge blessing to the kids involved. Kien Svay is a very poor province in Cambodia and we’ve seen marked improvement in the kids’ grades since entering the program. It’s a place where at-risk children can learn, grow and be known.
Please keep these precious children in your prayers, as well as their tireless teacher, Srey Leak.
Most of you are familiar with our Culinary Training Center (CTC) and our resident culinary instructor, Ryana DeArmond. Not only does Ryana train our CTC students vocationally, but she is also a wonderful friend and mentor to them as well. Her roommate is also involved with the students in a super cool avenue called the Princess Club. The Princess Club is a wonderful program that teaches girls their worth as daughters of Christ, and our CTC students are getting another opportunity to hear the beautiful truth about their lives and the hope they have as Kingdom daughters.
Recently, the Princess Club met to have their photos taken. Often, Cambodians will dress to the nines and have “glamour shots” taken, and the students were able to participate in a fun-filled photo shoot. We’re thankful they had a chance to see how beautiful they are, but more importantly, the truth they’re learning about the beautiful way their Creator sees them.
Recently, Storm Chiropractic did an awesome thing: they hosted a Kids Wellness Day at their clinic and donated the proceeds to CGI Kids! What an amazing and creative way to use their business as a way to give back.
Fast forward to this week, when our Executive Director received an email from Cambodia. The email was from Seiha, the director of our Kien Svay Kids program in a very poor province in Cambodia. The children have flourished in this program and their grades in school have improved, they’ve developed greater confidence and have the opportunity to learn about Jesus. It’s a fantastic program that helps us to pour into the young Cambodian population and is a vital piece of our mission, which is to protect the vulnerable.
The letter from the director of Kien Svay Kids was an update about the children in the program, and some of their immediate needs. These needs ranged from sand to protect their facility from flooding during the upcoming rainy season, to small gifts the children will receive for doing great in school, to funding a Christmas party for the kids and their siblings and friends.
The requests totaled almost exactly the amount that Storm Chiropractic was able to donate. They were thrilled to learn their gift was able to be used to grant the requests of schoolchildren half a world away.
This was a beautiful illustration of God’s good timing. If you’ve been dreaming of a way to use your passions, skills or business to help others in need, don’t push those ideas away. Act on them! They may be the answer to someone else’s prayers.
Lindsey Green has recently become part of the CGI team! We were able to chat with her about her passions and how God is using her to battle against poverty and human trafficking. Read about Lindsey’s journey to making a difference and be inspired!
How did you first become passionate about CGI’s ministry?
Six years ago I was invited to attend a human trafficking awareness event where my friend was speaking. Her passion for human trafficking and heart for the people of Cambodia opened my eyes to the injustice happening to millions of women around the world. I could not get the stories she shared out of my head, the darkness was overwhelming and God began working in my heart to do something. I have been involved with CGI from the beginning by volunteering at events, traveling to Cambodia, interning and now working a part-time position.
What are some of the ways you get to use your gifts to help CGI?
Before starting at CGI I worked in the bridal and boutique industry where I developed a passion for fashion. I was able to learn about current trends, sizing and styling outfits. Working at CGI allows me to combine my passion for fashion and ending injustice. I hope to use these gifts to help CGI connect with retail centers and expand the byTavi and Imprint line. Upon graduating in December my degree will be in Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations and Pre-Theology. The communications and promotional skills I have learned are useful in representing CGI at events and through daily conversation.
What’s your favorite part about your new role?
Connecting with our event hosts and volunteers. I love our product! So it has been fun to share it and the stories behind it with others and see them get equally as excited about it.Through forming these relationships I discover each person’s passion for ending injustice. It is so encouraging to work with people who are equally as passionate about this ministry.
What advice do you have for people who want to get involved, but don’t know where to start?
If you want to get involved but don’t know where to start, examine the gifts God has given you. I guarantee CGI has a way for you to use them! If you like to share stories, host your own trunk show or present to your bible study. If you have a knack for organization, become an in-office volunteer. There are many more ways to get involved. Jump in and be prepared for the journey God will take you on. I never imagined I would have the opportunity to work for CGI but God made a clear path. You just have to be willing to follow.
-The CGI staff in Cambodia
-The CGI staff in the U.S.
-The country of Cambodia as a whole, that it would allow the love of Jesus to infiltrate the culture and that He would be known there
-The girls in all of our programs: byTavi, CTC, Imprint and cgi Kids
-That God would use CGI to help break the cycle of poverty and give each of these girls a new life in the physical sense, but that He would also speak to their hearts and they would know and run to His love.
-The future of our ministry and our listening hearts as God continues to lead
Thank you for your prayers and being a key part of CGI!
Alan and Katy Berginer and their son Jonah will be returning this week to the US. Their furlough will extend through February as they visit with supporters, friends and family and also welcome their second son! They’ve shared with us a few prayer requests:
-Prayers for the CGI staff in Cambodia
-Prayers for safe travels back to the US
-Prayers that Jonah would sleep well on the flights
-Health and rest for their family
-Connecting well with family and friends
Thanks for lifting them up during this transition!
October 17 is a day set aside by the UN to recognize the plight of the poor worldwide. It’s called the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, and last year we created a CGI day of prayer in conjunction with this important day. As a ministry that seeks to eradicate poverty in Cambodia, we want to join in this effort and we do that in one of the most effective ways we know how–through prayer.
So again this year on October 17, we want to pray. Diligently. We want to cover the entire 24 hours in focused and unified prayer for CGI and all of its facets. From the staff to the programs to the participants to the country of Cambodia as a whole, we want to ask God to glorify Himself in and through all of it. It’s a day of prayer around the clock and around the world.
Will you pray with us?
Our hope is that people will take 15 minute blocks of time to pray for CGI on October 17. You can sign up for as many 15 minute blocks as you’d like! The staff and participants in Cambodia will pray the first half of the day (while the US is still asleep!) and Stateside we will pray the second half of the day. It’s a join effort for one purpose, and we hope you’ll join in! Simply click here to sign up for a time slot.
Next week we will post a list of specific prayer requests to serve as a guide. Thank you for being a part of CGI’s Day of Prayer!
It’s overwhelming in a very different way than America’s poverty. There are poor families in both places, and no poverty is “less legitimate” than another. But poverty in Cambodia and other third-world countries often goes beyond what most poor in developed nations have experienced. In America, for example, the bottom 10% spend about 17% of their income on the food needed to survive. In Cambodia, however, most of the population spends nearly two-thirds of their income on food to survive. This level of poverty, where the majority of income is spent on daily needs, leads to a huge lack of nearly everything else. Homes have one room, food is bought at the market daily because refrigerators are a luxury, everything requiring electricity is unplugged completely when not in use. Clothes are washed by hand, and hung in the sun to dry. Showers are taken from buckets outside the house after a long day working for just enough money to buy food the next day.
The poor in America struggle for daily needs as well, but aid and assistance programs are in place that simply don’t exist in Cambodia. The poor in Cambodia live without what even the poor in America consider basic parts of life – electricity, food, running water, and clothes. The poor in Cambodia are on their own, and the chances that they’ll be able to break that out of that cycle are incredibly slim. Children can’t go to school because they need to work so the family can eat, and without an education, they’re stuck working for that same small daily wage, selling food on the street or fruit at the market. The Cambodian poor need somewhere to turn for help and stability, so that kids can go to school and families can eat.
To me, the most striking part of Cambodian poverty isn’t the degree to which they are impoverished. It’s the seeming permanence of their circumstances. Thankfully, we have an opportunity to help lift them out of their desperate situations through the programs that CGI has created, and there can be hope and change for even the poorest of the poor.
By Alison Gayer