[dt_sc_blockquote align=”center” cite=”Daniel L. Smith, MD, President , CMMCJH”]
Dr. Nam Cho, Mike Reagor and I return from a marvelous trip testifying again to God’s faithfulness in that we saw His hand in every meeting we attended, every contact we had, and every decision we were led to make. We are very thankful to Pastor Setan Lee of Kampuchea for Christ (KFC) and also a member of our board, his wife Randa, and his staff for all their work before and during our trip. This will be a summary as there is no way that I can give you the flavor of all the details. Be assured that we are very positive about the future and what God is going to do through CMMCJH (Christian Medical Ministry to Cambodia/Jeremiah’s Hope).
The meetings with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were very positive and they assured us that all of our application was complete and would be signed soon by the director in charge of international NGO’s. Pastor Lav Hoeun of KFC is our local representative and will sign on our behalf. The director was out of country and the rest of the government shut down for 3 days for the coronation of the new king and the birthday of the old one.
There was some initial resistance from the deputy minister in the Ministry of Health on the grounds that he was not sure this was needed in Kampong Chhnang and that we were planning to work in the private sector rather than public. This was largely a political statement as he was from the Funcinpec Party and the leaders of Kampong Chhnang are in the Cambodian Peoples Party ( CPP ). In our meetings with the governor of Kampong Chhnang and the regional health director, who is also director of the provincial hospital, we received wholehearted support. After visiting the provincial hospital and seeing the poor facility and equipment, it was obvious that they needed our help. Their only concern was that our hospital would cause their facility to close. We promised that we would help them with supplies and education so that they could do the primary care and we would focus on tertiary/specialty care. We now have a good working agreement and will get their letters of strong support to the central government in Phnom Penh. We are hoping to honor our end of the bargain by getting a container of medical supplies, with the help of Project C.U.R.E., on the water to the provincial hospital soon so that it will arrive for distribution during our January trip. We will also be holding a 2 day outreach clinic in the provincial stadium and doing some teaching during that visit. Dr. Sophal Oum, father of our star medical student Phalyka Oum, is in the Ministry of Health and will also strongly support our proposal.
Mr. Jong Ho Kim, executive director of Shin-Dong Construction Co., Ltd of South Korea, accompanied us to our first visit to Kampong Chhnang at the invitation of Dr. Cho. This company has extensive experience in construction in Cambodia. The large plot of land that we initially thought was to be ours proved to be unavailable for gift or purchase and an alternative was so difficult to reach that it was unacceptable. But when we visited the old American hotel, Mr. Kim assured us that although it did not look great now, it was structurally sound and could be made into a combination hospital, apartment complex for fulltime staff, and guest house for visiting medical missionaries for 30% less than if we started from scratch. Furthermore, it is in close proximity to the Women’s Center from which we could train and employ housekeeping staff, aids, etc., and to the provincial hospital with whom we have agreed to partner. Although I was initially one of the opponents to this concept, God spoke very clearly to us that this was the direction we should take at his time. I have begun the dialogue with Mr. Gary McPhee of eMi ( Engineering Ministries International ) to get a full analysis and architectural drawings of the building as soon as possible. We would then plan to contract with the Koreans to do the construction using Cambodian labor, but their supervision. As Mike Reagor said, what a marvelous story to tell of how the Americans built it, bombed it, and are now rebuilding it for His Glory!!.
I met with many of the medical missionaries now serving fulltime in Cambodia, with the leaders of the church councils, with the Christian Cambodian Healthcare Fellowship, several of the physicians with whom we work in the public sector in Phnom Penh, the directors of World Vision, Center of Hope Hospital in Phnom Penh, and anyone else who was willing to listen during our seven days in country. No one thought that this was a bad idea and most strongly supported the concept as something that was badly needed in rural Cambodia.
Again throughout the week, Setan and his staff worked tirelessly to be sure the meetings occurred, there was transportation, and acted as invaluable translators. To witness the tremendous growth of the evangelical Christian church through men of God like Setan is a true blessing.
So we move forward in faith, trusting that the almighty, all powerful God whom we serve will continue to lead and guide. We will be taking a team of at least 23 healthcare workers from the USA plus 10 or more from Korea for our annual medical mission January 17 –30, 2005. Pray earnestly with us as we continue to serve God in this project.[/dt_sc_blockquote]