I am back! Back to blogging. Back from Cambodia. I went to Cambodia this summer with a team from my church who also happen to be some of my closest and dearest friends. We brought 900 lbs of medicines, hygiene items, baby clothes and jewelry making supplies. I was especially excited to visit my friend Holly who I have mentioned before. She runs a home for vulnerable young women in Phnom Penh called ‘The House of Refuge’.
The rehabilitated girls at Refuge make jewelry to raise funds to live without ever having to return to their old lives which usually involved sex trafficking. Unfortunately it is the norm for the poor people to sell their young daughters to pay off family debt. Holly rescues girls from different places, but one way is street outreaches. This is when you go out at night to the red light areas, speak to the girls, and offer them a new life.
Much prostitution centers around the temples, such as this one. We split up to cover more ground, each of us had a Khmer (Cambodian) girl from Refuge to translate. The girls who are rescued are so brave and eager to go out to the brothels and streets to help others. One girl did come home with us that night, which was beautiful. My heart broke though for the countless girls who didn’t.
My favorite place has got to be the province of Kampong Cham. I fell in love with the place and the people. They are living in a kind of poverty that we don’t know here in the US. This is a small “village” that is actually the dump. The garbage trucks dump the trash, the people here sort it and the trucks pick it up another day and pay them a pittance.
Such Beautiful children! Dirty and scarred from playing in the trash, but ever eager to flash you a playful smile. They are malnourished and are in great need of clean water and medicine. We hooked up with a local church that makes weekly visits to bring food and supplies. For these people the church is their lifeline.
This beautiful woman was left in the dump by her children. She lived through the Khmer Rouge. I asked her how she survived, I know they killed everyone who had a defect and she is blind. She says they spared her because she could cook! Everywhere we went we heard amazing stories like this. I so badly wanted to take her home, take care of her, and hear all of her stories.
We got the word out that we would be having a medical outreach at the church near the dump. Many people came, for 6 hours we nonstop served the people. I was helping out my friend Jodi who is a chiropractor, she told me where to rub, massage or tap. She had 5 tables set up with patients and a long line out the door! It was hot and I should have been exhausted, but it wasn’t that bad. Once you get a patient you just want to do anything to help. Many people walked away who hadn’t walked in years! Crooked people stood and walked!
Jodi said never in her practice would one treatment cause results like that. It was all God. We prayed with and for all the people we treated. Many people renounced Buddhism and walked out with Jesus after witnessing his power. Truly amazing!
We were able to get into a prison and a hospital. The Aids Ward at the hospital was my most horrible memory, it just makes you feel so helpless. I didn’t take any pictures because I think it wrong. We asked them if they wanted prayer, that we could give them.
At the prison we had to leave everything electronic at the gate, all phones, cameras. Pictures are a no-no. They offered the prisoners the choice to come talk to us, sing with us and study the bible. We also brought gift bags of hygiene products.
It was all emotionally and physically draining, but great! I definitely want to go back and stay longer. I continue to support my friends who are full time missionaries with encouragement and finances. They are doing amazing, life changing work and it is not easy!
Yes, it is very hot and humid and it floods… There are bugs. I even ate some. (Yep)
But, Cambodia is one great adventure that I highly recommend. You will overlook the uncomfortable parts because the people will touch your heart and hopefully you will be able to touch theirs.
My daughter's Cambodian Adventure HERE