Avondale students connect in Cambodia
Students from Avondale travelled to Cambodia in November and December this past year as part of a short-term volunteer program helping a community in the province of Pursat build toilets, water tanks, shelters and playgrounds. Bachelor of Ministry and Theology student Josh Stadnik and his 16-member Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Connections team also ran a children’s club and helped teach simple health and hygiene principles. The team raised money through donations, by selling food at several barbeques and by cleaning at a Seventh-day Adventist camp meeting. Stadnik describes the trip as “a great learning experience” for those wanting “a challenge in leadership.” Bachelor of Business student Mikayla Davidson interviewed Stadnik about the trip. She asked:
What do you still remember from the trip?
I loved every minute of it, from the long bus rides to the early mornings and all the hard work in between.But one of my favourite memories was the Kris Kringle on our last night. We played Christmas music as we exchanged gifts and shared what we’d learnt and loved about the trip.
Any funny moments?
We played an improv game called Alien Tiger Cow with the kids from the village. The language barrier made communication difficult but we were all able to laugh along. Even the adult from the village and the ADRA staff got involved. The kids had an absolute ball. Everyone had a smile on their face.
Leading a large team would have presented some difficulties. How did you work through them?
I found two moments a bit frightening. Both were before we even got to Cambodia. First, a ticketing problem in Australia almost saw one of our team members not board their flight. The staff at the airport wanted the team member to purchase a new ticket, which cost well over $1000. But after lots of prayer, the member did board and without extra cost. Second, a payment failure meant some of the team members arrived at check in but didn’t have tickets for their flight from Thailand. Again after some prayer and some epic negotiating skills, the team members got tickets and legged it through the terminal to make their flight just in time.
How did the trip change you? Did you grow, did you see God working?
The trip helped me learn how to better relate to people of all ages and walks of life. And it helped bring a group of random individuals together and had them leave as family. God works in incredible ways. You’ve just got to trust His plan above yours.