Hello everyone, I just got back from my Cambodia trip and would like to share some highlights with you!
Going to Cambodia I didn't really know what to expect because I had never been to that part of the world and I wasn't going with my home church. However, this trip was truly life changing and eye opening. During the two weeks I learned so much and was exposed to a different side of missions.
For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you saw how much I enjoyed Cambodia. What you didn't see, is the reality of Cambodia. Cambodia is a spiritually dark place, as much as the people are open to learning about Jesus and having a relationship with Him, it is still a very spiritually dark place.
To give you a very brief history of Cambodia I am going to explain the genocide that happened in this country. In 1975 the Khmer Rouge seized control of Cambodia and killed millions of people, the genocide lasted about four years. So many Cambodians who live today have experienced the horrific loss of loved ones.
Aside from the genocide, sex trafficking is a big problem in the country. During our trip we participated in an outreach that was in a brothel-infested area, which I will explain more about later on.
As indicated in the title this is part one, I am solely talking about outreach highlights and will follow up with a post sharing all that God showed me!
Taley & Chan-Sen Village
We partnered with a local pastor for two days to do outreaches in nearby villages and to assist him with his weekly church service. We drove on a bumpy, dirt road to a village where we did had an outreach that had easily over 100 kids in attendance.
The local pastor had just began going to this village a few months ago but it was evident that these kids had respect for authority, were attentive and excited to learn about Jesus Christ. It blew my mind to see how even though they didn't have Bibles they still retained the Word and memorized stories and scriptures. Throughout the lesson they stood in their lines and you could see the community-oriented minds they had, they weren't just looking out for themselves. What blew my mind even more was seeing that most, if not all, of the kids had walked quite a ways to come and hear from us.
Children of Hope
Children of Hope is a local, Christian foster home that houses just about 24 kids. The kids live there because their families cannot afford them or their familial situations aren't safe. The ages range from about 4-20. Girls can stay there as long as they want as long as they are attending university. At 15 the boys go to Water of Life, which is connected to Children of Hope but is strictly for boys.
There is a wonderful woman who is mama to all those precious children and she makes sure that each child feels loved and cherished. Going to COH was amazing because these kids have so much joy in their hearts, they are so happy just being outside playing soccer or playing a card game. We spent several days at COH spending time with the kids, doing VBS-style lessons and crafts. Some of our team members even helped build a rooftop garden which was pretty awesome.
In order to protect the children we are not allowed to post photos of them which I agree with 100%. As usual there were so many kids who stole my heart and asked if I will be returning next year, as much as I wanted to tell them yes, I told them I am praying about it and if it's in God's will I will be there. There was one teenage-girl who made me a bouquet of origami flowers and wrote me a letter when we went to tell them bye, those are things that I will cherish for a lifetime and will serve as a reminder to pray for all those children.
Girls House of Refuge
Girls House of Refuge was the one ministry that really exposed a whole new aspect of missions to me and pushed me out of my comfort zone.
Girls House of Refuge is a home for young women who can come from impoverished villages, slums and possibly victims of sexual exploitation. At Girls House of Refuge the girls study the Bible three times a day to gain a solid foundation in Christ.
It was with Girls House of Refuge that we went and did an outreach in the brothel-infested area. To say that was life changing would be an understatement. So you know, brothels are illegal in Cambodia but are disguised as KTVs (karaoke bars) and massage parlors. When you pass by a KTV you will find many women waiting outside all done up, waiting to be purchased for a given amount of time, depending on the price they're being bought for. KTVs are very tall buildings filled with a ton of rooms where the women will work.
You may be thinking, "How do the women end up there?" Well what usually happens is their families are in debt to someone, so then the daughters are basically pimped out to pay off the debt. The girls are under the impression that they are going to be a cook, KTVs are very sneaky as they have pictures of food menus on the outside to make it look like they are selling food. Little do the girls know is that they will be sold for sex and are under the control of a master.
We went out to the area at night to do a prayer walk and it was so heartbreaking. All the women are just waiting and there's even young kids around witnessing it all. We returned in the morning, around the time that the women would be ending their night.
We explain to them that there is a safe place for them to go to receive help and actually make money, although the women are being purchased a majority of them don't get any money. Some women were willing to communicate with us and you can see that they want help, but once their masters came out you could see how much control the masters have. It was so saddening and heartbreaking.
A part of me was doubting that we were even doing good. Yes, we want to save these girls and bring them to a place of rescue but their masters can punish them for even speaking to us. But if we don't reach out to them they won't know of the resources available.
That outreach really opened my eyes and exposed a community that needs a whole lot of prayer.
Once again, for protection I cannot post photos of girls from Girls House of Refuge, but I do have a photo of where we did the outreach. Please pray for that area.
Mercy Village was probably my favorite area, even though I didn't go there much. There is a local pastor in Mercy Village, who was once an orphan. But he definitely has a genuinely love for God and a desire to see the people saved. Mercy Village has had a few fires and the homes were burned. But God spoke to this pastor and promised him that He will make beauty from ashes. Sure enough, God provided and there is a building for the locals to gather for church and there are homes that have been built. I loved Mercy Village because when the people worshipped it was so genuine and beautiful, if you follow me on Instagram you can hear for yourself. The presence of God in that area was so evident and felt.
Thank you for reading and getting this far! Stay on the lookout for part two to see what God showed me!