WE ARE HERE!! Finally, after a long car ride to Seattle, a 12 hour flight to Taipei at 2am, a quick layover and another short flight, we’ve finally arrived in Phnom Penh: capital of Cambodia! We’re still shaky from the long flight, bedraggled, and sleep deprived, but so stoked to be here and get started on the plans God has for us!
Our college pastor in Corvallis, Chad Weaver, has a three rules that he gives whenever he takes a team on a missions trip: 1) Be flexible, 2) Be flexible, 3) Don’t touch the pets. The last one is more of a necessary cautious warning as animals in Cambodia are mostly strays, not pets. However, the first two may seem to be automatically understood, but honestly, flexibility is easier said than practiced.
We’ve been in Phnom Penh for 9 hours, and already our plans have changed at least three times. Today we had lunch at a missionary-run cafe called Jars Of Clay that supports missionaries in Cambodia and provides a safe place for groups to bring teams to eat really really amazing food! Instead of orientation, we went to visit Toul Sleng, the former highschool turned prison during the Khmer Rouge. For those of us who were on the team that came last year, this was our second time, but it made no less of an impact.
There is almost no family that was left unaffected by the devastation that the Khmer Rouge caused. Walking through the very rooms where innocent people were tortured and killed and young men and women were brainwashed into believing that evil was good brings a new perspective to the culture and lives of the people of Cambodia. To see all they have suffered, and yet also see how much resilience and hope they still have, makes the pain of knowing worth it.
And it makes the hope that Jesus brings all the sweeter!
As we head to Kampong Speu tomorrow, we realize that we are here to be flexible. We didn’t think that on the first day in this beautiful country, we would be visiting a place of such emotional weight as Toul Sleng, but the experience sparked an empathy in our hearts that otherwise would have been lacking as we minister to these people. We are here to serve, not to be served, and our schedule and agenda is not always the same as God’s agenda, but in the end, His agenda is so much better! And as we continue to be flexible (and not touch the pets), God will continue to use us and stretch us to play a small role in bringing hope and healing to the people we meet.
Thank you for all your prayers as we traveled to get here! Prayer requests now:
Strength and stamina as we recover from our jet lag and get oriented to the different time zone.
Wisdom for those of us who will be called upon to share as we head to the provinces.
That God’s word would be spread widely and mightily as He speaks through us.
That it would be clearly evident that it is God working and not our own strength.
Openness in the hearts of the people we minister to.