The weeks leading up to the school dedication were intense. So many details needed attention. Fortunately, God orchestrated our AFM personnel and visiting donors to help with a lot of the last-minute details before the dedication. Our AFM leadership was going to be in attendance along with representatives from the Cambodia Adventist Mission, the local government, donors, our local AFM Cambodia team and many of our students’ family members. This was going to be a big deal!
We asked our local staff what would be culturally appropriate for a school dedication, and what would make it significant to people in the community. Ideas started flowing. We would need to decorate the front of the school building and the stage. We decided to have light refreshments for our guests.
As the big day drew nearer, everything was going smoothly until we took a closer look at the invitations we had already sent out and noticed a typo. Instead of saying there would be light refreshments after the dedication, it said we would be having a full meal! The dedication was less than a week away, and now we had to prepare a full meal for hundreds of people. The cooks started in earnest to get all the food prepared.
I worked hand-in-hand with the construction manager to make sure the school was properly prepared. There was a flurry of activity the afternoon before the event as guests started to arrive. Thankfully, most were able to roll up their sleeves and help out with the last-minute details. Things were coming together beautifully.
The Friday morning of the dedication began early as everyone dressed in their best clothes and made their way to the school. The program started a few minutes late, and there was excitement in the air as the students waited, ready with the songs they would sing. Throughout the audience, parents had cameras and phones at the ready to take pictures of their children.
The dedication went off without any problems. One of the things that really stood out was the traditional cultural dance that some of our students performed. One of our teachers has experience with this kind of dancing and was able to train a select few of our students. I found out afterwards that the director for the Ministry of Education at the local government was very pleased that we thought to add the dance to our program. It made a real impression on him.
After the speeches were finished, we served the meal. Our cooks did a fabulous job. The food looked and tasted wonderful. It was an excellent opportunity to serve a wholesome vegetarian meal to our community.
At the end of the day, everyone was ready for the Sabbath hours. It had been an exhausting day, but God had blessed abundantly. Everything was kind of surreal as we gathered together in the gymnasium to have Friday evening vespers. Even the builder joined us in worship. The big day was over, and we could look forward to the future of blessing our community through our school.