Our goal today was to visit the Unit 14, Special Forces Unit of the Cambodian Army. One of the first things I was told going into this visit was to not assume a base would look like I think it would in America. As I understand it, a base is formed when a General is given a piece of land and they have to develop it from the ground up. The Unit 14 base is way off the beaten trail. We had to drive about 10 miles off the main highway, going less than 10 miles per hour. The roads are horrible. When we finally arrived there, we were greeted by the 2-Star General (middle of the picture) and several of the other top ranking officials of this unit. Because of the lack of communications between other bases, the ranking General probably has more power and authority than the average American General. I count it a true honor to meet this man.
Cadence International has been trying to help this base for several years now. As we talked to the General, he expressed his thanks and also said that they couldn't do this base "without God." We are praying that he is softening to the gospel.
One of the best things going on at this base is Major Savorn. He is a strong Christian man who is bold with his faith. He has become the pastor of a church at the base that has about 30-50 people each week. The national constitution of Cambodia says that Buddhism is the national religion. As a soldier, they are not allowed to openly speak out against it. But Savorn has been bold, preaching Jesus and leading many other soldiers to faith in Christ. Interesting enough, while he has been bold, he has received several promotions.
One of the areas in which Cadence has helped with this unit has been through medical help. I was surprised to learn that the military does not receive regular medical treatment. There are two doctors, who are both Christians (actually the story is rather unique; one of the doctors came to faith through serving in this way). These doctors are also in the military and serve in the capital city. They are glad to give of their time and energy to help establish rapport with this unit.
We tried to do some teaching as the medical team was setting up. That proved to be very difficult. It was chaos. The men come to find help with many small ailments, from headaches to stomach problems. One of the most important things they provide are glasses. This very important ministry has opened many doors for the gospel.
In the afternoon, we did take some time to teach to a handful of the Christians on the base. I counted it a privilege to be able to open the Word of God with these men, to encourage them to take ownership of this ministry.
There are so many other stories of events that took place today. For instance, it is difficult to believe that there are between 100-200 kids in the area who do not go to school. They have no options. There are no schools for them to attend. Cadence is trying to provide opportunities for the children to get an education. That is one thing that I will continue to ask questions about in the future as well, as it might be a way our church could help out this military base.
It was a long day. But it was a good day. Tomorrow will include much of the same. More medical team work and hopefully some more Bible teaching. Thank you for praying.