Cambodia Journal: Day 3:2

This is the second installment of my 3rd day in Cambodia, Part 2.

It’s amazing to me all the kids get to do and learn while with AIM. God has really provided a way for them to dig deep and take care of the children and the community in a really amazing way that could indeed only be explained by the presence of God in that place.

For lunch we sat down with the disciples (read staff) and ate some chicken and potato stew with rice. We ate some green bananas that were quite sweet. It was a pleasant surprise to sit down and eat with everyone the way we did. It builds a bit more of a family environment. I haven’t really had too many meals like that in a long time, so it was more than refreshing to sit down and see everyone living their lives together for just a few minutes.

After lunch Rebekah and I got to go with one of the staff to pick up the kids from different parts of the village in the van. Most of the students, well actually all the students that we picked up lived in slums.

A slum is a particularly underdeveloped area. You could also read, devastated area containing the most significant form of poverty that you could imagine. Most “houses” are made from pieces of wood, kind of that classic stilt housing that most people think of when they think of 3rd world Asians that live near water.

There were actually a lot of the houses on stilts so that they stayed out of rain/waters way. These houses mostly made of stray pieces of wood boarded together with tin roof tops to keep out the rain. Some homes had special pieces that made it a little nicer looking, and most had some kind of shrine set up as a sign of worship of something. The majority religions seem to be Buddhism and Islam. We were told that a lot of it is an amalgam of many different beliefs kind of smashed together.

We would drive up to an area of the village and the disciples would jump out to get the kids from their homes or the streets. We gathered them up into the van and brought them back to AIM. They had us engaged the whole time we were in the van with them. We played different games and answered various questions as they probed and prodded us.

When we got back we proceeded on with the 2nd session for Kids Klub for the day. Much the same as the first time we start with worship and a testimony. Audrey was very honest and open as she told the kids her story. I often wonder if telling our stories, like we did, was even important or effective in our task of communicating the gospel to these wonderful little children. I mean, what can a bunch of older middle class westerners teach to young children form their situation. I think that will have to wait for another time though. Afterwards we told the story of “Jesus feeding the 5000” again. As with the music the second time it seemed a bit easier and they seemed to enjoy it more too. But as we ended this second time we closed with a craft that reinforced the story.

Again we let the children go with a prayer and a blessing. We were taught a blessing in Khmer that was really fun to learn and say. It never ceases to amaze me how much stronger something feels when said in another language. Sometimes just communicating a simple phrase in a more comfortable way for the listener has bigger consequences.

To finish the day we had agreed to play volleyball. Our new friend, The Defender, quickly becoming my new best friend 😉 took me to the field. We talked about him having a girlfriend, and that they had not yet talked about marriage. They have been dating for over a year, but still, no dice. It’s funny to me how we are all the same.

– Aside –

During my time in Korea I have learned that it doesn’t matter where you came from, people are the same. Boys are afraid to move to the next level, girls talk about the same things, and people tend to worry about the same types of issues. This time was no different, but it seemed a bit more special. Maybe it was because it was easier to keep the scary white guy closer than further away, but I would like to think that God planned this special event, this special relationship into my life to bring us together for His glory and for our joy.

– Aside finished – ㅋㅋㅋ – hahaha

At first when you see The Defender you see a young man who feels a little cold. He seems a little distant; not in distance, but in his eyes you can see the space. Even his humor is a bit odd, perhaps off putting at first. But as you get to know him you understand the weight this young man carries around with him. He, in a lot of ways, is the watcher over theses children. He is with them during the day and then does a lot of work at night in hopes of putting the bad men who come to Svey Park away. He is in constant danger and always has to be careful. Especially because he is a Cambodian in an all Vietnamese area.

We closed out the full day at AIM with a bunch of guys playing volleyball. The most amazing part about it is that they were a bunch of guys who had previously been pimps and trafficking the children in the area. These are men who don’t anymore. These are men with whom we could say have seen the full weight and glory of God. These are men whose lives have been changed in great and tremendous ways. men who went from making thousands of dollars a month to making a couple hundred, if they were lucky, because they had witnessed the full power and glory of God in their lives. Gods presence in their lives meant that they could walk away from the lives they once knew and begin again.

It’s exciting news to see lives transformed and lives renewed through the power of the Holy Spirit. He is doing so much in AIM and in Svey Park, but there is so much more work to do!

We met back up at the hotel and grabbed a final meal together as we wrestled over what we saw, what God taught us, and what He had in store for us for the remaining two days. We soaked in prayer as we gave thanks and prayed that God would do EVEN MORE in that place!