Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Our 2nd Week in Cambodia

Our second week in Cambodia, to me, went by much more quickly than our first week! Maybe because we were more adjusted to the time zone & all of our new surroundings. Although it felt fast, it was also filled with incredible opportunities for learning & memorable experiences that have shaped our hearts. 

This past week we traveled back to Phnom Penh & then on to another province. We experienced for the first time in Cambodia some truly rough roads during our drives - some dirt & partially finished cement with large pot holes. It was an adventure & we were blessed with safety in all of our comings & goings.  While in an Eastern province we were able to visit Destiny Rescue - an organization rescuing children from human trafficking & other kinds of sexual abuse. We spent the afternoon with one of their staff members - a highly intelligent & passionate young woman dedicated to the healing & well being of the girls this organization rescues. They provide emergency & long term shelter, schooling, vocational training, counseling & introduce the girls to the ultimate Healer, Jesus Christ. As we toured their facilities, we discussed at length the prevalent issues in Cambodia contributing to trafficking. Although it may be a dismal topic to some, I find the conversation inspiring & compelling. I was inspired to see how this global issue is being addressed on the field & how this ministry is being specifically effective! At our last  site visit - one of Destiny Rescue's safe houses - we got to play a game with twelve beautiful & very young survivors! They were playing a game after they had finished their studies & we asked to join - they loved it! So did we. The especially sweet part for me was watching my husband so gently & kindly play with the girls. Male interaction could be very difficult for many of them, which makes positive interactions all the more formative & vital to the girls healing process. Those moments with the girls are a memory I believe we will all hold dear for many years to come! Also during our time in this province, we had a very meaningful team devotional time of prayer & reflection as Andrea led us with beauty & authenticity. 

When we returned to Phnom Penh we got to attend an International church service & visited another organization that seeks to rescue women from human trafficking as well as extend more options to women trying to leave prostitution. It was another inspiring afternoon as we had lunch with a staff member from Daughters of Cambodia (daughtersofcambodia.org) - this organization has 7 small businesses including a jewelry production, two cafes, a boutique & a guest house. All of these businesses provide new jobs & skill training for the women while they join a stabilizing program that Daughters offers. 

We are now on our way back to the States with wider eyes & full hearts! We debriefed for an afternoon over the weekend & are each continuing in our own ways to debrief our experiences! We appreciate your prayers & would ask that you continue to pray for us as we ask  God to reveal all that He wants us to draw out from our experiences in Cambodia! See you soon! 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The 1st Week in Cambodia

We have now been in Cambodia for a full week and it has been packed with incredible experiences! Thank you for your prayers - everyone on our team is healthy and doing well.

As we have been introduced to the amazing work the missionary team is doing in Pursat, we have spent  a lot of time with Cambodian believers. We attended a church service and multiple Bible studies. It is moving to see our God at work in the hearts and the lives of the Cambodian people. At the beginning of our trip Scott led us to pray for God to expand our vision of Him and His world while we are here in Cambodia. He indeed has been faithful to do so! The missionary team is teaching us so much and beautifully modeling cross-cultural ministry and life. They have been a tremendous blessing to us!

We have had many opportunities to engage with Cambodian culture and history. Last week we visited two historical sites in memoriam of those who died during the Khmer Rouge Genocide. Although they were sobering experiences, we were grateful for what we saw. Also, visiting such sites has deepened our understanding of what it is like to do ministry among a people still in need of healing. We have also visited multiple Buddhist temples, called Wats.

Other incredible opportunities have included riding bikes through the villages alongside open plains of rice fields, meeting a local musician who crafts traditional Cambodian instruments, and meeting with a monk to discuss Buddhism and Christianity. Just this morning we had the opportunity to visit the local prison where we shared Bible stories and made friends. We have also had three Khmer language lessons, which all of us thoroughly enjoyed! We are trying to use more Khmer everyday :)

In the next few days we will be traveling again - please pray for our safety and the opportunities ahead. We are all praying that God would continue to speak to each of us and give us true hearts for Cambodia.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Cambodia Bound

We are so excited that this day has finally come - my husband, Brenden, and I are leaving for Cambodia this afternoon! We will be there for two weeks working with two missionary couples - visiting villages, a prison, genocide memorials, and even two safe houses for rescued victims of Human Trafficking. God has provided in abundant ways for us to be able to go on this trip and we are so grateful for how we have seen His hand already at work! We would appreciate your prayers as we go with hearts that are searching for what is next in our life. Please pray that we would have open hearts and eyes to what God wants to reveal to us. We want to be fully present in the things we will get to experience in Cambodia and the people we hope to befriend, while listening intently for His voice among it all.

Thank you again to the many people who supported us and in doing so, are sending us. We are so grateful to each of you and can't wait to share with you when we return. We hope to send a couple of updates while on the field, so check back here to read how it's going for us!

Lindsey & Brenden