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We’ve been working on this newsletter for over two weeks but the world changed so quickly that we kept changing some of the content. These are unprecedented times. Quieter on the streets, no schools are open, no church, no meetings, no long distance travelling.  In Cambodia, two weeks ago there were 7 reported cases of those infected by the COVID-19, now 98. And yet God is here.

Where did you see God today? Before we moved to Cambodia, we had the opportunity to lead missions trips.  One of the things we did every evening was debrief and ask the team where they saw God today? And it was incredible to hear the replies ranging from the bristling in the trees, the smiles in a poor child’s eyes, to extraordinary miracles that inspire our faith: all different, so personal, and so encouraging. 

Actually, the last three months has been an amazing witness of seeing God here. After years being burdened for the men, regarding the recklessness and hopelessness resulting in drinking, gambling or worse, we were able to register a business, Made For This Fabrication, to start a welding vocational training center and build a center. As for the Clothed in Dignity Sewing Center, we have MOVED! We have outgrown our current location, and we want it to be closer for those from the village.  Other changes are that Work of Your Hand has also have had board changes and staff additions, and then many changes because of COVID-19.

We love that we are supported through prayer, and so it is wonderful to know that you pray for us. James Hudson Taylor once said, “When we work, we work. When we pray, God works.

Thanks for joining our journey.


Work of Your Hand - Q1 2020

Clothed in Dignity Center
New home, new products, new goals... 
Made For This Fabrication
New start, new projects, new team
READ MORE

Work of Your Hand News

Board and Staff Updates...

Cambodia News

Update from the field...
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Work of Your Hand Work of Your Hand
Our Story Our Story
Our Team Our Team
Work of Your Hand Work of Your Hand
Made For This Made For This
Minako Minako
Darren Darren
Copyright © 2020 Work of Your Hand, All rights reserved.


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Clothed in Dignity Center

 

The spring months have been busy as the ladies sewed 1400 t-dresses and have sent them to Canada.  Afterwards they made bible covers, purse sachets, and t-shirts! But we are slowly running out of work.  If you know of someone who is looking for sewing orders, please let us know.



We are providing benefits!

Benefits:  The ladies have been enjoying paid holidays and paid maternity leave (one of our seamstresses had a baby) as well as paid transportation if the distance is very far. However, we want to encourage good habits for them to work on themselves, and one of them is saving funds.  Last June we told them that we wanted to start a money savings program. This program is intended to help spend salary wisely and to save money for the future.  It is an option for all employees although it is strongly encouraged by having CiDC match their savings up to a particular amount, if they are able to save for a year. All the ladies were interested, but when it came to saving, since the ladies were all in debt, they all said that they were not yet able. However, after a year of working for us, they have been able to pay off some debts and they initiated the conversation of the money savings program. Praise God that all but one person has agreed to save.



We are also looking into medical benefits for the ladies and their families.  It is scary here as hospitals and medical clinics will not accept patients unless they are able to pay and we have heard stories of how the sick have died because they didn’t have $25.00. We would also like to be able to help with educational benefits for their children along with childcare or child education program while being cared for.  Part of the difficulty for the women is that there is no one to take care of their children and so it becomes harder for them to come to work.  At times the children have come to the sewing center, otherwise the mothers could not come.



English lessons and Morning Devotions


In the morning we love being able to help them learn English but Hannah, our volunteer is returning back to the States so we are looking for someone else to replace her.  Please pray that God will send someone.  After the English classes we have daily devotions and it has been so encouraging to see the growth and development in their character being kind to one another, helping, honesty, watching their attitudes and their tongues when talking to their spouses, their children and each other. They are learning about perseverance, love, and finding joy and peace that fills their hearts amidst their difficult lives.



Clothed in Dignity has moved!

Our other big news is that we have moved locations on Mar 20th. Praise God that we have been able to find two long row housing side by side that together will only be a little more than our previous rent, and that has much more space and is much closer to the girls.



Our plan is to put in a 20 foot cutting table, with end cutter and a straight knife vertical cutter that will allow us to cut up to 50 or more pieces of fabric at once, along with being able to store fabric rolls. However we were given a used vertical knife cutter for free!  We were asking Pactics, one of the ethical factories in Siem Reap, for advice on which cutter models to purchase, etc, and they



gave us one and then suggested that they would also help train our girls how to use them.

Our hopes are that the sewing orders will allow this social enterprise business to be fully sustainable and not need financial support, however we are finding that it is not quite enough yet to cover both the benefits and additional training that the girls are receiving. But we are getting closer.
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Made For This Fabrication


The journey began a few years ago…

We had been working for several years in a poor community beside the garbage dump, as we felt called to a vision of using business for transforming (B4T) the community.  Working with the children is easy – play with them, invest in them and pour love on them.  Working with the women – be constant, caring and love their families.  Working with the men – a little tougher – they have been standoffish – surrounded by their vices and difficult to connect with.  However, if we are to help transform this impoverished community, you can’t only win over two thirds and have the other third working against you.  Out of this came the idea for a business uniquely geared towards investing in men; training them to be better skilled in a job that pays a little better; devoted men who know God and rise to be all they are created for; loving husbands who support and provide for their families; role models for their sons and daughters. Yes, they are Made For This…they just don’t know it yet.

Made For This Fabrication…what’s in a name…

A unique name – Made For This – with it’s double meaning of both making things for a purpose and of being made for a purpose.  Fabrication also with a double meaning – creativity, design and freedom to see something new be birthed and taking pieces of raw material pulling them together in a new, consistent way to produce a quality product that is of greater value. 

If you build it they will come…

We purchased a plot of land in the heart of the community, with a dream to develop training and community space in close proximity.  It was a bumpy start but with the land secured we decided the first development would be a space for the men.  When we started it attracted a lot of attention from the men, who visited daily to see what we were up to.

We Laid the Foundation


Brought in a Container


Container Unloading Video

Built a Concrete Pad around it



Put a Roof on it


It’s now all ready to go…but now the Virus has hit and everything has come to a halt!

We have been building up trust and good will in the community for over four years now. There are families that love and want us to be a part of their world. But now, in Cambodia, the Virus has been brought in by foreigners. If we continue to work in the community and the Virus shows up in villagers while we have been there – we will be to blame. So now we sit patiently for the storm to pass, positioned for a fresh clean start when the time is right.

Our goal is to be able to work with a group of men and to start to teach them to:
  • Build playgrounds
  • Build doors, windows, walls and roofs
  • Build trailers
  • Build truck accessories, seats, ramps, racks
  • Build furniture
Each day they will learn about:
  • Who God is and the plans and purposes he made us for
  • How they can become restorers of dreams and builders of communities
  • How they can become leaders of their families and their communities
And as it unfolds…

We have plans to see this model grow and the shop we have built will expand to influence surrounding communities.  However, these plans will be the subject of a future newsletter.  

Thankful to God and His provisions…

We are so thankful to God who has cast this vision, has provided the resources for startup and has brought people together from different backgrounds and countries to join in a team – we are from Canada, Germany, Australia and USA with skills in business development, design, welding, furniture making and all with a passion to see God be known in Cambodia as the light and hope of the world.

Your invitation to join us…

This is not something we are doing alone. As you pray through the list of prayer requests would you allow God to speak to you about how you too might be involved.

Pray for God’s provision of:
  • Communities that will commit to upholding this work in prayer
  • Supporters that will invest in transforming lives
  • Subject experts who can be a blessing with knowledge and skills
  • Customers who will value the finished goods 
  • The Men who are Made For This
Thank you for your interest!
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Work of Your Hand News




We are so happy to have Todd Greiner join our board.  He brings along a wealth of experience in business as well as having a love for Jesus.  In early 2018, we were blessed when he and his son Dayne came to Cambodia on an impromptu visit.  And as God seems to be leaning towards our work by becoming business incubators with a B4T focus, (business for transformation), it will be wonderful to have his counsel.  I love our board.  However, we are sorry that Helen Francis is leaving. She will be missed as she both encouraged and provided wisdom during our early years of moving to Cambodia.



We were amazed that Rowena Sellers and Irene Huisman were able to visit. These two ladies although on staff at WYH, went out of their way to raise their own support through Rockpointe Alliance Church to encourage Darren and I.  And it was wonderful to see them. I know that they walked outside of their comfort zone, travelling through airports during these times, visiting the girls, seeing the sewing center, the village and the lake. We are extremely glad they were able to come.



Another great piece of news is that Jacquie Rempel (fourth person on the left, back row) has rejoined our staff as Operations Manager once again. Jacquie was a previous board member, as well as having worked for WYH from 2015-2018. So she already knows WYH well and we already know how effective she is. Rowena has changed positions to become the Digital Media manager and Irene will stay as the Financial Manager.  So great to have great people.
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Cambodia News


Corona Virus

It’s interesting being in a 3rd world country but still being able to access the news of the whole world as this disease became a pandemic. Understandably we’ve had 7 teams cancel their visits with us. With close to 100 cases already, if this were to explode, there is no way that the health care system in Cambodia has capacity to meet the demand. Schools, shops, and businesses are closed, just like they are throughout the world. The government is preparing by setting up beds in schools as potential places that those infected can go. Most Cambodians are not aware of social distancing, and we are concerned as Khmer New Year, the largest holiday in Cambodia is coming up.

However, a thought-provoking quote by a doctor in India: “Social distancing is a privilege. It means you live in a house large enough to practice it. Hand washing is a privilege too. It means you have access to running water. Hand sanitizers are a privilege. It means you have money to buy them. Lockdowns are a privilege. It means you can afford to be at home. A disease spread by the rich as they flew around the globe will now kill millions of the poor.” 

Supporting our workers

We are trying to support our workers.  As of March 20th, we closed the sewing center until the pandemic is over. Our staff has compromised health as they have respiratory issues due to living close to toxic waste (garbage dump).  If one of them gets sick, and then infects their village, I can only guess that many would not recover. So we told them to stay home. But they need income. If they didn’t work for us, they would do construction or back to garbage picking. Therefore, we are grateful that because of your support, Clothed in Dignity is giving the girls 40% of their wages, and then has the funds so they can borrow up to 60% with an interest free loan to be repaid a bit at a time when they return to work. Thank you! They are extremely grateful that they still will have enough to eat.

We are staying in Cambodia

As for ourselves, we are not really afraid of the disease, but quite honestly felt uneasy about Cambodian hospitals especially after being inside them a few times. Since businesses and ministries shut down, we wondered if we would be doing anything but take away resources from others in Cambodia, and so seriously considered returning to Canada.  But as we prayed, read the Bible, consulted with other missionaries and expats, researched the disease, and as the borders began closing, we felt a sense that we were supposed to stay in Cambodia for such a time as this and maybe help educate the poor about the disease as well as reminding them of God’s eternal love for them.

We both feel healthy and we have chosen to trust that God will protect us and use us for whatever He wills.  Since we will have more time, Minako will be doing more Khmer language study as well as trying to finish her MBA, which will benefit our ministries in helping the poor.

One of my favourite verses is 2 Timothy 1:7, “God has not given us a spirit of fear or timidity, but of power, love, and discipline.” God is not surprised by the spread of the corona virus nor of the economic challenges! Instead, He will lead us through the unknown. All we need to do is listen and depend on Him.  

May you experience the peace that passes understanding during this tumultuous time and be used by Him to show others love.
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