The starfish principle in action - Cambodia | Mission Direct

The starfish principle in action – Cambodia

An account from one of our volunteers who served in Cambodia with us in 2019 shows how the starfish principle comes into action on a two-week trip.

Following a long illness, a young man and his family travelled hundreds of miles from the Thai border to Phnom Penh in search of work. He was desperate to clear debts which had accrued whilst in hospital. Although he had found work in Phnom Penh earning just $150 a month, he and his young family were homeless and his wife reduced to begging on the streets to feed their three small children.

Whilst team three were washing children’s hair at Harvest of Hope school, Charaya (the man’s wife) walked into the playground carrying her baby. Meng, a Serve Cambodia manger, spoke to her. She was very distressed and said that her husband was a hard-working man, but his illness meant he could now only do light work and they had no money for rent or food.

Meng explained that Serve Cambodia had been set up to help families just like hers and that there was good news. A home in New Happy Village 1 had just become vacant.

Whilst there, Charaya noticed the hair-washing and asked if she could join the queue of children. One of our volunteers (pictured) was a retired hairdresser, so Charaya not only had her hair washed, but cut too. She was delighted.

A Mission Direct volunteer with one of the families in Happy Village, Cambodia who were housed as a part of the project there

Later that day, Meng took Charaya to see the home. She cried, but this time with joy. God had led her and her family to Serve Cambodia.

This was Thursday afternoon. When team three attended church in New Happy Village 1, just three days later, the young family were part of the congregation. They had moved into their new home, neighbours had rallied around and made them welcome with gifts and loans of equipment and the eldest child was enrolled in the village school. The village cook had loaned the father a bicycle so that he could get to the factory 10km away. Their smiling faces said it all.

Mission Direct volunteers purchased a bicycle for the man, a large bag of rice for the family and paid for electricity and water to be connected to their home. This young family are determined to work so that they can pay off their debts and eventually return to their land in the north of Cambodia. In the meantime they are enjoying their new found surroundings in New Happy Village 1.

Another example of how your two-week mission trip is so much more than bricks and mortar…