Today, Thursday, we spent the day participating in the multi-faceted mission of Dr. and Mrs. Castro. We toured the hospital with Mrs. Castro, whose given name, aptly is Joy. The hospital has a pharmacy, operating rooms for major and minor surgery, and residence rooms for visiting medical staff. A nurse from Hong Kong has been commissioned by her church to serve with the Castros, and they’re anticipating a medical mission team coming in August when some community members can receive the medical care they need. Mrs. Castro showed us where they hope to expand the facility in order to begin a training program for nurses.

Dr. Castro has developed a positive relationship with the public high school in the community, and as a result, staff from his school have the opportunity to teach English lessons there, as well as lessons about Christianity. This morning we visited two classes at the school. Each visit began with Tara sharing her testimony, and then our 4 students and the Cambodian students asked each other questions about life in their respective countries. Then Pastor Matt presented a message about who Jesus is and that He came to earth to redeem us from our sins, enabling us to have a loving, personal relationship with God, our Creator.

After lunch, we returned to the Castros’ school, called Solid Rock, and taught two classes. This time, Madeline presented her testimony,  the team introduced themselves and our students had a question and answer session again. They sang the “Father Abraham” song with the Cambodian students who knew the song and actions in Khmer, Kiana sang a solo, and then the team performed our rendition of the Zacchaeus story. Afterward, Matt presented the gospel story again. During the second afternoon class, the monsoon rains came pouring down, so we stayed in the classroom with the sixth graders, playing games in small groups with Uno and blocks, while other students enjoyed coloring.

Most of the students went home at 5:00, but some live on campus. The rain had stopped and the adults on the team went inside to converse with the Castros and our students played outdoor games with the remaining students. We listened to the Castros’ testimony, inspired by their faithfulness and passion to live and share the gospel with the community in which God has placed them. When asked how we could pray for them, Dr. Castro expressed his hope for the health and strength to serve, teach, and train God’s children in Cambodia for another 20 years.

We spent the end of the day in the dining hall with the students who are part of the orphanage and those who board on campus because their homes are too far away from the Solid Rock school to commute daily.  Matt presented an encouraging message from Isaiah 43 that God calls us by name, He knows our unique personalities, and He cares for us deeply. Then three small groups of students sang songs about Jesus for us.  Our translator for the day was a 28-year old woman named Kim who grew up in the Castros’ orphanage and was educated in the school. In addition to translating, she works in the hospital. She is an example of how the Castros’ are pouring the love and life of Jesus into the next generation.

Tomorrow we have the privilege of returning to the Castros’ ministry and spending time with two more classes. Then we will participate in an outreach ministry in the community, before undertaking the 3-hour drive to Phnom Penh for the return flight home.

Carla Sethna