We had a zoom update and prayer time with Sarady and our missionary to Cambodia Lynn last week. Here is the latest update from DOVE Director, Sarady.
The coronavirus outbreak is a human tragedy that has already imposed untold suffering on thousands of people worldwide who have been infected by the virus and their families. Hundreds of millions more are enduring lockdowns, a lack of income, and uncertainty and concern about the safety of their families. We can only hope at this stage that this is controlled soon and worldwide.
Our absolute priority is the safety of our staff and students. We have taken a total shut down since 16th March. DOVE has postponed physical gatherings and training classes in all its ministries, including staff personnel working from the office. Instead, we have been working from home and meeting on Zoom. Both Onyx classes (level 1 and 2) in PP have been meeting weekly by Zoom. For the YESIC Drop-in and Language Center, volunteer teachers are still meeting online facilitated by the YESIC coordinator to strengthen their English teacher skills and their lesson plans for the day when we reopen the 5 classes again.
Since the Onyx students are divided into small peer groups (4-5 people per group), they meet online as well, and sometimes they meet physically, respecting distance and wearing masks for safety as they interact and discuss lesson material.
It is even more important than ever for the mental and spiritual wellness of our students and staff during this stressful pandemic. That’s what the ONYX program is. It is about developing emotional and spiritual maturity. Early this year (Jan-Feb), DOVE’s crew brainstormed about the new kind of church we want to see in Cambodia, and at the ONYX-2 early retreat, we also discussed this among our students. There are many thoughts on what they want to see in a church and one of them is a safe-supporting and missional community; we continue to learn and observe as we conceptualize how to make this happen. Onyx students reflected and shared in a large group meeting on Zoom how their small group helped them get through this stressful situation and how they felt close to one another and supported as friends.
During the WFH (work from home) period, a few office staff are still coming to work at the office but keep social distance protocol, since they struggle with working from home as they live with big families where it is very noisy with many distractions and interruptions. For some, it can also be really hot during the day. In order to make it easier for our staff to work at home, DOVE provided some funding to pay for better internet access at home, especially for those who have no Wi-Fi available. On May 11th, staff will start working regularly from the office again. Onyx classes, support or growth groups (Men's group, Al-Anon, Leadership Club), and Art class will meet physically again when the government reopens the public schools, allowing them to gather again for classes. Counselling will be discussed later with our volunteer counsellor in order to re-open the service for young leaders and children. For the YESIC English language and computer classes, we decided to open classes one or two months after government schools begin in order to make sure our staff and the teens are safe since there are usually 4 classes going on at the same hour and DOVE is wall to wall with teenagers each evening (80 teens).
In order to respond to the needs of the indigent, DOVE has prepared 145 relief packages supported by one of our partners and with contributions from our Onyx alumni and drop-in students, to be delivered to the hands of the needy by the end of May.
Director of Mission DOVE Cambodia
In the picture above you will see some DOVE's leadership including Sarady -third from left and Founder Seila -second from the right.