As well as offering regular support for Christmas Bowl, Lenten Appeal and other projects supervised by the Assembly of the Uniting Church of Australia, Enfield Uniting Church currently supports the following ‘home-grown’ mission projects:
Serving the Poor Foundation Organisation (SPFO) – Cambodia
At Enfield Uniting Church we have been very fortunate to have our own ‘missionary’.
Mrs Chheng Sophoap (Poppy) came to Australia in 1980 after escaping the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia. With two of her three children, she was accepted as a refugee after a period in a Thai refugee camp (Poppy’s husband had disappeared without trace).
During her escape Poppy became a Christian:
“I understood that my life was in His hand, without Him I couldn’t do anything. I am very well, because of Him. Now it is my turn to pay Him back. Lord I am ready to serve You and do what You want me to do”.
Poppy came to Enfield Uniting Church in 2002. In 2006, soon after the death of her second husband, she decided it was time to return to Cambodia for part of each year, to help the ‘poorest of the poor’. She published a book about her experiences: “Miracle during Pol Pot Regime – Sophoap’s Story” and used the proceeds to begin funding her plan. Enfield congregation decided to support her.
Poppy’s plan was for a Mobile Medical Clinic. Using the quarterly donations from the congregation, she purchased medicines in Phnom Penh, recruited a team of volunteer doctors, assistants and drivers, and began travelling to remote villages several times a year, helping up to 300 people at a time. (At least three members of the Enfield congregation have been able to visit Cambodia and travel with the Mobile Medical Clinic).
Serving the Poor Foundation Organisation was registered with the Cambodian Government as a Christian organization in 2007. Soon after, Poppy bought a one-hectare block of land in Kompot Province. Named ‘The Lord’s Garden’, it has large number of mango trees, jack fruit trees and ‘the best coconuts around’, a fish pond and space for the grazing of a few cows – the core of a community-benefit cow bank. New wells were sunk and supporters funded construction of a building which serves now as the centre of SPFO activities. It is used for community gatherings, while upstairs, the worship centre is a place where large numbers of children and their families come regularly for worship and Sunday school.
In 2016, Poppy handed over responsibility for The Lord’s Garden to a young Pastor, HENG Chen Sowath. Enfield Uniting Church remains committed to providing on-going support for his work. The needs of the community in this impoverished area continue, but Pastor Sowath is planting new crops (pepper), refurbishing the fish pond, trying to ensure children attend school (often impossible without the money for uniforms pencils and books). The needs are great but God’s work is being done.
Hope for Abyei
Abyei is an oil-producing area on the border of South Sudan and Sudan. It is one of the most controversial areas in the region.
When she was 14, Teresa Bol (one of our EKOS young people) announced she wanted to ‘build a hospital in Abyei’ – her birthplace. Her family had been displaced by war and Teresa had spent most of her childhood in Kakuma Refugee Camp in northern Kenya.
Enfield Uniting Church agreed to the family’s request to supervise any money Teresa raised in numerous projects. Currently (2017) over $13,000 is invested with UCInvest.
Meanwhile, Teresa herself has completed Year 12, two degrees and is training as a paramedic. When the time is right, she will use the money to realize her dream. Pray in hope for such a day to come soon.
Bertha Munro Fund
Named in honour of her Mother, Helen Munro instigated this fund as a reserve for both loans and donations to refugee and other families in our church community who may be in acute need. Enfield Uniting Church contributes annually to the fund, and individuals can channel practical assistance through it. Money has been used e.g. to support family reunions after long separations (the collateral damage of war), pay education expenses for child relatives and pay application fees for orphaned children to come to Australia.
If you are interested in making a gift to any of these projects, (SPFO, Hope for Abyei or the Bertha Munro Fund) please contact the church office.