We started this morning cleaning at the House of Refuge. The new building was once a place with a dark history, so cleaning was a little bit of an emotional process, and we prayed over each room as we dusted and mopped. Watching the way that God can turn any dark place into a new creation and a place of peace and light was encouraging.
After lunch, the team split into two smaller groups; Nisha, Ashley, Jess, Andrew and Garrett went with Chad to a local inner city slum, while Connor, Kim and I went with Cody and Laura to do in house visits for New Life church members living on a different side of Phnom Penh. We went to several church members’ homes with a local pastor, praying over them and anointing the sick with oil in the name of the Lord. Many people welcomed us in and shared their stories with us. One beautiful elderly woman told us that she believed in Jesus because her son had been very ill and deaf, and although she was a Buddhist and her friends encouraged her to take him to the local monks for prayer, she had decided to take him to the church instead, and Jesus completely healed him. Her entire family had put their faith in Him. We heard many stories like this, and although several of the families we visited lived in another local slum, their faith in the goodness and greatness of God in spite of any hard circumstances is definitely something I will never forget.
Today a small team of us got a sweet opportunity to come alongside a woman from Australia named Tanya and go out and minister to children in the slums, showing them the love of Christ. The slums consist of tall shacks with metal siding, a narrow path about 7 to 8 feet wide, and trash swarming with flys covering the ground. I have never seen anything like it. Within moments of walking through the slums we were swarmed by excited children, wanting to climb you and have you hold them. Though they could not understand our words, my hope is that we were able to model the Love of our Lord Jesus to them in our actions through painting faces, blowing balloons, and holding these children.
After going on out various afternoon outings, we were able to go to the dorms here in the city. We brought them dinner-we had beef fried rice and they brought us these HUGE bags full of individual take out boxes. As per usual in Cambodia, we divided girls and guys. Nisha shared her testimony with the girls and Chad shared with the guys. Sharing our stories with them helps them learn about us, but also to practice their English. Knowing how to speak English is vital to success in Cambodia.
As we’ve been blessed, encouraged and challenged by the people here, it’s easy to forget this is their reality. In a week we’ll be headed home and the amazing people we’ve met along the way will be here. This is there home. And may we, as brothers and sisters in Christ, continue to lift all these people up in prayer as God is raising them up to change Cambodia.