Family Extraction Time

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Phil, Becky, Bryn, Toby, Pippa and Molly Sussex left New Zealand at the beginning of 2011 to work as NZCMS Mission Partners in Cambodia. Phil has been training dentists and providing dental care for the poor and vulnerable while Becky has been teaching at Hope International School – a Christian School which provides education for Mission families working in Cambodia.

We have hugely appreciated your support over the past 5 ½ years that we have been living here in Cambodia as NZCMS mission partners. Early in January 2017, we will be finishing our work in Phnom Penh and relocating back to New Zealand. There are a number of family reasons which have led us to the conclusion that this is God’s timing for us. We have a real sense of peace about our decision in spite of the sadness which comes in leaving behind people we love in the place which has become our second home.

Looking back over our time in Cambodia I (Phil) have created 8 different undergraduate university lecture series, all of which have now been handed over to Khmer lecturers – it’s exciting that they are now being taught across two dental schools. Over the past five years I have seen a steady improvement in the standards of oral surgery which I will continue to tutor for the rest of 2016. It’s been great to partner with local pastors who have been using the dental outreach clinics as a platform for sharing the Gospel. I plan to hand over his clinic work to the senior Christian students who are soon to graduate. The One-2-One weekly dental prison ministry is in good hands and will continue beyond my departure.

Our family has experienced first-hand the hugely important role that a mission school like Hope has in the pastoral care and education of MKs and TCKs. Over her time at Hope School, Becky has had the privilege of contributing to the lives of many children. Bryn, Toby, Pippa and Molly have had an amazing experience of Christian community and education while I have played a role in the governance of the school as a board member. We are more than ever convinced that Hope School has a vital role to play in enabling mission and we are very sad to leave that behind.

We really do value your prayers as we continue to work here for the rest of the year before heading into this next major transition. During the next few months, no doubt our heads will be straddled between two worlds. Please pray that we will stay ‘present’ here with the work we still have to do whilst at the same time, be in a space to make necessary preparations for our return to NZ.

Evening dental clinics

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We’re excited about a group of male dental students who responded to request to trial Saturday night church-based dental clinics east and north of Phnom Penh. Factory workers in Cambodia work long hours 6 days a week and are unable to access the care Phil has been offering during regular hours. The video is a short clip which Phil took at the new Saturday evening church clinic trial. It has been going really well so far but we would appreciate prayers for wise decisions to be made as this progresses.

The fear that his female dental students expressed about travelling at night was underlined last month when a 16 year old previous neighbour was stabbed in an attempt to take her bag from her as she rode her motorbike at 8pm only 100m from home. Her wounds were not life threatening and she is back at Hope school now. Please pray for her as she has to pass the place it happened every day and for her mother as they consider whether they should move house. Phil and Becky value your ongoing prayers for safety.

The prison work is going well each Wednesday. Please pray for Phil as he leads this team. Often there are different students each week so it takes time to train them all and get routines going. But, overall it has been very encouraging to have a good number of students who are committed to volunteering in this work and are keen to learn and gain experience. They are a mixture of Christian and non-Christian so please pray that the Christian students and dentists will have opportunities to share their faith and witness through their actions. The prisoners are very grateful for the treatment that they are receiving and the conversations that they are able to have while being treated.

The children and I are into the last 5 weeks of our school year so things are getting very busy. Please pray for us as we work our way through deadlines and towards farewells.

Lastly, but very importantly, the hot season is intense and the current drought situation is looking very serious. Drinking water is becoming very low in many areas and in some, it is simply running out. Animals and fish are dying as lakes and rivers are critically low. Here’s an interesting article which gives details of the situation: Animals die as Cambodia is gripped by worst drought in decades. Please be praying for this whole situation!