Mrs. G, the voice of Bible Stories Alive in English, is known around the world for her engaging storytelling, as she immerses listeners into stories from the Bible. Today her stories are available in multiple languages, reaching new generations of children in their heart languages but one heart language has been on the air for many years.
More than 20 years ago, Mrs. G’s daughter, Myfanwy and her husband travelled across Southeast Asia on a mission trip. Myfanwy took along several cassettes of her mother’s stories and distributed them to people she met. When she was down to one last cassette, she felt God urging her to hold onto the tape. Later, while in Cambodia, Myfanwy was connected with TWR missionaries Dan and Rose Ellen Blosser. Rose Ellen mentioned to Myfanwy that they wanted to begin producing a children’s programme in the Khmer language but didn’t have content for the programme. Myfanwy then knew why God prompted her to hold on to that last cassette: it was for Rose Ellen and the Cambodia team.
Out of this meeting, Happy Children’s Garden was born. Today, the programme airs weekly on 15 FM stations and is distributed on media players to around 300 listener groups across the country. Approximately 10,000 children are part of these listener groups, with about 5,000 writing letters in response to the programme each month. Some groups live in remote and hard-to-access areas and so hearing from them regularly is a challenge, but as much as they are able, children are writing to us.
Each listener group gathers once a week and after listening, the children write letters to the Happy Children’s Garden team, summarizing what they have learned and sharing a prayer request. Once a month their group leader will send the letters to the TWR Cambodia office by taxi, bus or through mobile phone apps. When the Happy Children’s Garden team receives these letters, they respond to each one personally and send the child a little gift, such as school or health supplies. These little gifts bring joy to the children and provide them with needed resources.
As groups meet and send in letters, we hear many stories of the impact this programme is having:
“A leader who is a primary school teacher requested the Happy Children’s Garden programme for around 60 students in his class. One month later, another teacher requested a set of the programmes for his students as well. Later, he requested two more sets for around 60 children at his church. He said ‘We used to have many people attending our church services when we had funding support from outsiders. However, during the pandemic, the church was closed by a mandate from the government and financial support was withdrawn. After the pandemic, even though meetings of large groups were allowed, people did not return to church. The pastor felt discouraged and he didn’t know what to do. However, after I brought Happy Children’s Garden to the church, more children started to join Sunday school and then adults began attending the service again. The pastor was energized and committed to serve his church again. Not only did we bring the Happy Children’s Garden programme but we also brought the Woman of Hope programme for adults as well. We give thanks to the Lord that led us to these TWR programmes which bring us hope again. Thank you so much.’”
“I am thirteen years old and I really thank God that I am able to learn many things from the Happy Children’s Garden programme. I can see some changes in myself since listening. First, I have become brave enough to share my testimony when previously I was too shy. Secondly, I am now able to lead songs for devotions with the children’s ministry team. Thirdly, I have come to love helping my friends and teachers. Finally, I find that my faith is growing stronger. Thank you so much for such good lessons.”
“I work in an orphanage in town and received the Happy Children’s Garden programme in November 2020. The children love listening. This is totally different from the Bible stories I used to tell them as they have started to focus and understand the lesson very well. I really thank God for this great programme. It is very helpful to me in teaching these children and it is a gift to see the uninterested children listen more.”
Praise God for the lives he is changing across Cambodia! Listener group leaders are sharing the stories with others, who are beginning listener groups in their own communities, and children who have grown up listening to the programme are getting involved in ministry.