Monday, January 28, 2013

My First Day in Cambodia

Sunday was a very long day as we flew from Chiang Mai to Bangkok and then took a taxi about three hours to the border of Cambodia. After a few hours of trying to get across the border, we finally made it into Cambodia. I was told that this country was very poor, but I couldn't believe what I saw (more to come on that at some point)

After a good nights sleep, we took off on Monday morning for the Minefield Village. It is a village not far from the Thailand/Cambodian border that has been built on land the Khmer Rouge once planted mines all over to keep people from coming into Cambodia (or maybe getting out). Most of the land has been cleared of the dangerous mines, but there are still some parts of the land that might contain live mines on it (see how close I got to them). The village is composed of some of the poorest people I have ever met. That is not an overstatement. I spent time in some villages in southern China in 1996 and these people are way worse than they were. I couldn't help but be impacted by them.

 As soon as we pulled up in our truck, I was greeted by this little girl. She is eight years old and was the sweetest thing. She came up asking for a hug and then for several minutes just clung to my side. We then spent some time with about 75 children, leading them in some fun exercises and then trying to teach the Bible to them (it proved to be somewhat difficult since we were asking them to give up their play time of the day; go figure, they are just like kids in America). In this village, Cadence International works with an organization called Lightbridge International to help support these children by giving them education and a meal a day. Trust me, they need it. I am looking into ways that we might be able to do some things to help support this village or some other villages at CBC.

After the time with the children, we went on a little walk to other parts of the village to visit a few people my friends at Cadence needed to check up on. This is where it became very difficult. We met a little boy named Hoew who had visited a free medical clinic provided by Cadence two years ago. At that time, the doctors realized he had a major issue in his stomach and worked out the details for him to see some professionals. Two weeks ago, he had his spleen removed. The doctors said that he would have died if not for this checkup. I had the privilege to pray for him and his family. I couldn't believe the place in which they lived. It was a house that couldn't have been more than 12' x 12'. There were no walls. It was incredible. This is a picture of their house (and yes, the mom is pregnant and will deliver in this house)

After that, we were able to see a young family that was recently given a new house (I use that term very loosely). Their daughter, Hong, had a land mine blow up on her body, scaring her stomach area badly. Then she had her skirt catch on fire, melting the material to her body. Her father is a rat catcher. While we were not able to spend much time with them, we were able to see the new house that Cadence has been able to provide for them. It is not much of a house, but it was one of the nicest ones in this village.

After some more time in the village, we drove about 4-5 hours to get to Pousat. Tomorrow we will visit one of the military bases, which I am told isn't much different from the village we visited today. I would greatly appreciate your prayers as I get some opportunities to teach tomorrow and minister in many other ways. I will continue to try to provide updates as I am able. Until then...

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