By Ms. Aiko Hayashi (Tomigaoka Church, Kyoto Diocese)
Two years have passed since I was sent to Siem Reap Church and I have gone through a lot of things. I could not handle the local language well even after completion of Khmer course and was posted as an accountant. I wondered what the missionary meant. I wanted to go back to Japan when I was depressed by small matters.... But I slowly became to like Cambodia by seeing the children's smile and feeling the gentleness of village people and kindness of the church staff. Now I understand a little local language and church work. My self-questioning and worries are endless, but I feel like staying in Cambodia for longer time. So I extend my stay for five month till the end of this year.
Mr. Masaya Takahashi who has been staying in Cambodia for five years and Ms. Mari Hamada who started the mission together with me (2008) will return to Japan at the end of this month. On the other hand four new missionaries started to work here this month. I pray for two missionaries returning to Japan for their reverse mission and four having started new mission to have a fruitful life.
Ms. Sakiko Ishida(2010), my successor, who had Dengue fever just before starting her mission has got well. She visits the centers in Siem Reap with me and works for the church. But her most important role is being my consultant!!!
<Students in Taom Village>
The ninth year students in Taom Village had difficulties to continue their school education as there was no high school within their daily transportation. They left Taom to start new lives a year ago. Among them those who took computer course in the vocational school by Don Bosco completed one year course. The Fathers and the teachers looked for jobs for them. Some high-achieving students have started to work as teachers in Don Bosco and others found jobs at the dormitory or returned to Taom to help the kindergarten. They say that the dormitory life was tough. They seemed to have hard time in studying and daily life. But they have not only acquired the skill of computer and English but also learned how to dance and etiquette and look certainly grown. Though they have worries about their future, I feel the strength within their vivid eyes and smiles to overcome problems which they might face.
<World Youth Day>
There was a meeting of Cambodian youths who will participate the event World Youth Day held in Madrid, Spain in summer. Prier to their trip to Spain, there was a lecture for them about the history of Italy and Rome and the saints such as St. Assisi and they looked back their faith under the theme "Live based on Christ". In the meeting Fr. Olivie asked me in Japanese, "Do you know that Japanese preached Christianity in Cambodia?" I did not know it and I thought it was great. In 1555, six years after Christianity had been introduced to Japan, it came down to Cambodia. Now, 456 years since then, I am here as a Lay missionary to live with Cambodians. It is God's gift that I being Japanese, not Cambodian, participate in the World Youth Day representing Cambodia with Cambodian youths and I appreciate it. It means much more to me than representing Japan. I think I will enjoy it and interact with youths as much as I can.
It will be the first overseas trip for most of the Cambodian youths. They will board the aircraft for the first time and they have a lot of questions; whether the plane fall down or not, what is the inside is like, how noisy the cabin is, whether they need earplugs or not, etc. Some of them even asked me about toilet in foreign countries such as Washlet. They are very excited about their first trip abroad.