Mrs. Elaine Ramiro is the SSM coordinator for Bileg Solid Rock. She has done a wonderful job with administrating Parent Partner calls, teaching English and music, and so much more!
I come from a country where one or both parents in most families work abroad in their desire to provide a better life for their children. This scenario leaves the children in the care of grandparents, or other care providers other than their parents and end up having a long distance relationship. Communicating through video calls helps keep these families connected. With the aid of technology, they can somehow hope to maintain a bond, talking through Face Time, Facebook, Skype, or other means of communication in order to keep and nurture their relationship or try to make up for their absence. Having the families communicate through Skype with their children is not uncommon and we personally know the impact it brings to both parties. Although it does not replace the personal, face to face encounter, it is a great help to assuage the longing they feel for each other.
The first time I witnessed a call here at Bileg, it was with Sokkhun talking with the Lacy family. I heard her call them Mama, Papa and sisters. I looked at the laptop’s monitor and I saw a Caucasian family from the other side of the globe, comfy in their living room, talking to this lanky Cambodian girl. It did not feel strange to me. It was rather heartwarming. I sensed a feeling of love and acceptance witnessing people from completely different backgrounds having intimate chats as if they are truly related, truly belonging to the same family…and they do. As Mr. Malandro says of one of his favorite songs of Buntheang, “In Jesus Christ, We Are One Family.”
The video calls bring the kids closer to their respective Parent Partners. And they do not always need a lengthy call. Simply talking to them, merely saying hello sometimes is enough to make their day. Receiving a call makes the kids feel loved by someone. Some calls do not just end in hello, though. The Parent Partners also give a lot of words of affirmation, Biblical counsel, some Bible trivia that get them to read the Bible more, and prayers, most of the calls end in prayer. At times they need some deep Scripture lessons, but other times the simple regular talks or just seeing a loved one on the other end of the line, knowing they are there, even with the silence, is reassurance enough.
When I inform the kids about their schedule for video calls, their faces light up a little. It is enough to encourage them knowing that someone cares. When I sit with them during the calls and witness the sincerity, and genuine affection that the Parent Partners show them, I see this as a reflection of God’s love through the experience of having received forgiveness from our Savior. It is evident. It is Agape love at work.
These calls have not just enriched their lives; it has also enriched mine as I gained more new friends in the process and has brought me closer to the kids.
Let’s make the calls count.