Journal entries – Cambodia, June 2012

Six of my Malaysian graduating students and I are in now Phnom Penh, working with several organizations. We split up into two groups, one group teaching attending skills, and my group teaching conflict resolution and stress management skills. Today at White Lotus and tomorrow will be with Daughters (and Sons) of Cambodia. Both orgs work with those rescued from the sex trade. Tomorrow we’ll also have “ladymen” – it will be interesting. There are MANY organizations in Cambodia working much more openly than in Malaysia. So much more work yet to be done. I am thrilled that we can support the faithful people who work in these orgs. Several very young Filipina “missionaries” who hardy seem out of the cradle – way out of their element. I suppose pressure by church and families, much in need of discipleship themselves. They work in the Christian kindergarten and primary school.

I sent 3 of them on Fri/Sat to a province 2 hours outside PP to visit a village school where the children are all on sponsorship. Six years ago a Korean nun and assistant just followed God’s call looking for an impoverished village where there were no educational institutions within walking distance. It took much convincing to bring the children in from the fields and now they have a thriving school and several small enterprises teaching the teens business skills. Our team enjoyed themselves fully teaching them effective communication and life skills.

Yesterday (Sunday) was voting day and the 2 days prior had many loud and colorful parades plying the streets with their propaganda, but no trouble at all on the actual day. I preached in the church but we couldn’t hold the afternoon session as the political party wanted the place closed. Most had to return to their provinces to vote so we only had a gathering of about 50 people.

Wow, very full day and such a challenge to teach – trying to simplify and change words to make them clearer, giving stories and pictures for as much as we could. It was so hot and muggy I lost 10 lbs today just breathing! Altho we take bottles of water and drink all day long, we don’t pee much. To look at these sweet faces and know the traumatic lives they had lived before taken out of trafficking – broke me up. Most of them do it as Poverty-Driven Commerce (PDC) as we now call prostitution. If you have the chance to borrow the book, “All things bitter and sweet” by Ashley Judd, you’ll learn much about these places. Actually, nothing is exaggerated in her book about this lifestyle and about the resilience of these women and girls. I found the same to be true in the African countries where we’ve been.

I return to Kuala Lumpur on Wed. Steve stayed behind to get our move completed – bless him. When we got the plane tickets, we had no idea we had to shift apartments as the proprietor raised the rent by 40%! God is very faithful and this new place is $100 more than what we’d have had to pay with the rent increase but it’s 700 sq ft more space, so I can now easily accommodate team members rather than farming them out.

Can’t tell you how much we appreciate everyone’s prayers. It was often quite evident to us that we were covered for the small and major things in life. I had three team members who’d never been on a mission project before. They were greatly impressed right from the beginning when our tuk tuk driver happened to have just returned from working in Malaysia and they could converse with him in Bahasa Melayu. Thereafter he took good care of us, never leaving us on the street before knowing that we had gone into a building with our hosts. Another blessing (major to me) was that the hotel had recently installed Internet access in the rooms. Although it was slower than cold molasses, I could still keep up with schoolwork. Praise God for His faithfulness in every way.