Petrus and Yuliana Handoyo have served with Mennonite Mission Network since 2001, first in Mongolia and now in the Kingdom of Cambodia. Petrus is a university professor of ethics and literature. Yuliana works with educational ministries, including the Moriah Learning Center. The Handoyos are also involved in local congregational leadership. They are jointly supported by GKMI Semarang, Muria Christian Church of Indonesia.
Most of the schools and universities in Cambodia have been closed since mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The reopening date is uncertain. Originally, it was announced for November, but now we're hearing that it may be January 2021.
Since April, the Ministry of Education has encouraged teachers and students to do online learning on the local television stations, Facebook videos, YouTube streaming videos, and other media platforms. The government has also instructed all the teachers at public and private schools to conduct small-group learning sessions. This may work for urban schools, but village schools face obstacles because one teacher might have 35 to 50 students.
As teachers in these uncertain times, we look for precious opportunities to visit our students' families in their homes. Visits are important, as they help us encourage the family members during challenging situations. We also try to connect with the students on social media chats.
We recently visited the Mourns, a Khmer family who lives near the central market area. They have four children: Samphors (14), Sophat (9), Kunthea (6), and a newborn baby boy. They warmly welcomed us into their home. Mrs. Mourn said it was challenging to deliver a baby in a hospital full of COVID-19 patients. But they rejoice that everyone is healthy.
The Mourns are Buddhists. They know we are Christian teachers, and they are happy that their children learn Bible stories and Christian songs at the Moriah Learning Center. They have attended for nearly two years. Kunthea was 4 years old when her two older brothers first brought her to the coloring activity at Moriah Center.
We bless the families as we leave their homes, and when we end our conversations with our students. We want them to know God is with us all amid struggles and uncertainties.