In 2015, the pastor of Gloucester’s Church on the Hill (CotH), Ty Soupidis and his nine-year-old son Xavier went to Cambodia determined to help people in need.
This year, Ty and his wife Sarah will be returning to Cambodia in mid-November and they are encouraging members of the community to join them.
Ty’s dream of helping Cambodians began in 2007 at a Compassion International event where he had a virtual walk through the story of a nine-year-old Cambodian girl who was a victim of human trafficking.
“This really impacted me,” Ty commented. “I can’t let it go.”
In 2010, while holding his newly born daughter Samira, he had what he calls a “God moment’’.
Memories of the Cambodian girl flooded his mind; wondering what he would do if this was happening to his daughter. These thoughts are what led to his first trip to Cambodia. It was an exploratory trip, to see what he could do and who he could partner with to help make a difference for young Cambodians.
He met a local couple and founders of the Christian organisation, Cambodian Care which operates school in areas where children are at risk.
They formed a partnership, and in 2016, Ty worked with Gloucester Public School and the community collecting toothbrushes to send to Cambodia.
The 2018 CotH mission will be mainly focused around Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, where the group will spend time in Cambodian Care’s schools.
Ty said that although it’s a Christian-based mission it’s open to anyone in the community who wants to come along.
“At the moment there are about half a dozen people interested in going,” he said. But they are open to more people who are willing to lend a hand. Ty is looking to hold a meeting next month for those interested in going on the mission.
“The estimated cost is $2500 per person,” Ty explained.
If you’re interested in helping but are unable to make the trip, CotH is happy to take donations, which will go toward school supplies for the students. For more information, contact Ty at firstname.lastname@example.org.