Senior Pastor Des Klingspon of the Prairie Harvest Christian Life Centre, can't help getting choked up when he talks about his church's work in Cambodia with widows and orphans.
"Some of these kids, now, there's a doctor, there's a lawyer, there's a dentist, there's teachers, there's pastors, you name it," he said. "These kids are growing up and they're becoming part of Cambodia's future as far as people who are really helping to rebuild the nation."
Seven years ago, Klingspon visited the southeast Asian country, one of the poorest in the world, for the first time with friends from Foursquare Children of Promise International (FCOPI), a Christian missionary organization.
FCOPI, founded by Ted and Sou Olbrich in 1999, did not start out as an orphan care provider, Klingspon explained.
"When Ted and Sou went to Cambodia 15 years ago, they went as missionaries," he said. "What they didn't expect to happen was people started bringing kids and dropping them off at their church. They thought they were going there to plant the church, but what ended up happening is they've now turned into Cambodia's largest orphan care provider."
During that first trip, one of the places Klingspon visited was the Prey Krang Church Orphan Home in Prey Veng Province near Cambodia's eastern border with Vietnam. Prey Veng is noteworthy for its extreme poverty, fertile conditions for the spread of disease, primarily AIDS.
Klingspon was inspired, and upon his return, so was the congregation of approximately 350 who make up the Prairie Harvest community. They sponsored the home and currently send $1,500 USD per month to keep the 16 orphans and four "home parents" going.
Klingspon said without the home, these children could face a dire life alone on the streets, easy prey for predators and sex traffickers.
Instead, they are getting an education and learning skills for self-sufficiency, such has horticulture and animal husbandry.
Klingspon underscored how important some of the simple things Canadians take for granted can be to people in other less fortunate lands.
"In Cambodia, you can't go to school if you don't have a uniform, and there's some costs that have to be paid so, if the money's not there, it just doesn't happen," he said. "So, for orphans, it's pretty hard to get any kind of an education."
This year, 22 volunteers from Yorkton raised $25,000 to take on several projects at the orphanage and paid their own way to Prey Krang. They painted the orphan home inside and out because, Klingspon explained, the climate of extremes from flooding to drought, as well as, pollution-related acid rain, rapidly wears everything out.
The volunteers also built a fence around an acre and a half of rice paddy to protect the crop from animals. In addition to rice, the residents of the home also grow bananas and mangoes, tend chickens and ducks and fish in an onsite pond.
Other projects during the recent trip included a new well pump, clothing, kitchen supplies and roof repairs.
Part of the trip also including travelling to other parts of the country where they contributed bicycles so kids could get to and from school, pumps for fresh water, sports equipment donated by YRHS and got a special glimpse into another unique contribution Prairie Harvest has made to the FCOPI programs.
A couple of years back, the church secured three Case 730 tractors. They shipped them to Cambodia where they were used in training programs for orphans learning to be mechanics. Klingspon said it was exciting to see them just about ready to go out into the fields.
Finally they visited, and contributed $10,000 to a home that is in need of some finishing renovations in order to start accepting kids in one of the most "isolated and rural areas" Klingspon said he has ever seen, near Cambodia's eastern border with Thailand.
"We're actually indirectly starting to sponsor another home," he said. "We're very excited about getting this other home up and running."
Currently, Prairie Harvest is raising money on behalf of the family of Craig Grunert, who lost his life in a tragic farming accident shortly after returning from Cambodia.
To date, the church has collected $15,000, which will go toward planting rice for the upcoming season.