The trip to Cambodia was an AMAZING opportunity. Our team consisted of myself and 2 of my midwife friends, Echo and Brittany. We arrived in Siem Reap late on the 17th.We had been expecting to hit the ground running, so to speak, but God used the opportunity for us to practice our patience. We spent the next 2 days buying needed supplies (as the ones previously ordered for us had been stolen), going through an orientation to the ministry, building a strategy to best integrate into this culture, and visiting Angkor Wat.
Angkor Wat was a great experience. It helped to open my eyes to what we would be dealing with in the area. While amazing to view one of the ancient wonders of the world, I found it more amazing that this was all created for a stone god that could not answer the prayers that were offered up... years of blood, sweat, tears... how many died to build this temple and the many others that surround it?How many Christians would put that much into their worship of the Living God Jehovah? When you see this... it makes you stop and think.....
By the 3rd day in Siem Reap we were ready to go! We left early in the morning and loaded onto a large boat which took us on a 3 hour ride to the village where we would live (barefoot!!!!!- I love being barefoot!) for the next 10 days. Many believers met us on the large barge which serves as a school, home, water treatment facility, and house for the teacher and his family. It was a blessing to see how they respect the missionary we were there to serve with.
That first day we had 2 young women come to the barge for care/treatment of infections.
The next morning we were up bright and early (the people on the lake generally get up by sunrise), ready for a busy day. The first part of our day was spent asking the women believers the birth surveys. We used this opportunity, not only to learn more about these people and their culture, but also to gain insight as to how we may be better able to help these women share the gospel through midwifery. The afternoon was spent playing games with the girls on the barge until dinner. Following dinner (all meals are eaten while sitting on the floor, the food is put in a long line down the center) we listened to a Bible study through our translator.
Sunday was a blessing as we were able to join the church group for their service. Imagine sitting on the floor of a boat that bobs gently up and down as you listen through a translator to the Word of God. It was a great experience. The afternoon was spent teaching the women and girls what a normal prenatal was like and that there was no need for fear. They readily accepted it and worked hard to try and learn the English and Vietnamese translations.The days that followed were each different, but contained similar events. We would spend time teaching English and how to translate specific words and phrases from English to Vietnamese and Khmer. We would provide care to people who came and we would spend time getting to know the believers and hear their testimonies.
God brought us a number of women who were pregnant and desired prenatal care. We saw a few more women who wanted help with other medical issues as well. One mother brought her baby to us who had been burned and one young man came to us to help with a fish scale that went into his eye (a common cause of blindness for these people). We always treated as we could and prayed with each of them. God continued to bless. We had thought at first that we would have to go to them, but they came, desiring for something different. They wanted someone who would care.
There are so many other stories, so many other things I could share. We were blessed to see two of the girls we were working with come to Christ at the end of the 10 days. What a blessing! Their parents had only allowed them to come as it was an opportunity to learn English and maybe some medical information, but in addition to that they accepted Christ into their lives! It was so AMAZING!What more to share? I loved my time on the boats. I loved getting to know the people, their culture and ways. We had so many fun experiences... How many of you have watched a open air movie in 3 languages? One night we watched “End of the Spear” on a sheet with a projector... the movie uses native language, there were English subtitles and the entire time, translated in Vietnamese over a karaoke machine... it was a great experience! I also ate snail and turtle for
the first time. Only turtle got a second try. :) I loved learning to paddle the suong (small canoe like boats they use to go between the house boats, more on that story here) and spending time doing “prayer paddle” with the believers- like a prayer walk, but in a boat.
We took time to share our testimonies with the believers there. After sharing my testimony with a group of the girls, one of them turned to me and said “how nice it must be to have such an interesting testimony... mine is just so boring (really meaning more like normal)”... let me clarify... she had shared her testimony with the group that morning. Her testimony of how her grandmother was a medium, how she had been possessed and how Christ had saved her.... what a lesson on perspective!
The day before we left, the believers asked us for help. One woman's father was sick and not doing well. He had previously accepted Christ but then rejected Him when his village began to persecute him. We saw a weak and frail man lying on the mat before us. Our translator shared how not long ago he had been a strong man, not shriveled and weak. We treated him as best we could and prayed for him. The next day was Sunday and we were to head back after the service. Church happened to be held in his daughter's house. During the service he turned to the church family and asked for God's and their forgiveness. His wife also accepted Christ just before the service. It was so powerful to see the Church gather around and pray for this man and for God's will to be done concerning their restored brother. We took him with us to send to a hospital when we returned to land.
I didn't want to leave. Women asked us to stay, or at least to return to deliver their baby... they didn't want to go through the same way again... The believers all stood on the edge of the barge and waved until we were far into the distance. A sight I will not quickly forget.
On the return trip to Siem Reap, I was able to swim in the lake before we left..... It was fun and the water was not cold at all!
Our last days in Cambodia were spent debriefing and preparing to return to the Philippines. I don't think I truly recovered from the rocking sensation till I flew back on the plane.
What a trip. Emotional, Spiritual, and Physical. It was a great time of learning, teaching, and sharing. I saw God moving and preparing the way for us. I saw people reaching out to teach one another and share the Gospel. I saw people opening their hearts to receive Christ. Again and again I heard testimony of how God had saved them from Spiritual darkness and affliction. What a powerful and amazing trip. God is truly doing a great work there... I am thankful that I was able to go and witness this work!Well, that is all I have for you... at least for now! Here you can read my friend Echo's blog about the trip, which includes a video... Well worth taking the time to read another perspective and to watch the video! And here is Brittany's blog... I highly recommend following Brittany as she will continue to post more updates in the future... Until Next time!