CAMBODIA TRIP UPDATE #2—TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY
Our time was devoted to the orphans of Bileg all day Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday morning we had an encouraging word from David Delk, who reminded us that in the eyes of God, while we haven’t CAUSED the problems of the world we are responsible for ADDRESSING the problems of the world. And pouring into the orphans at Bileg is one way of preparing the next generation of Cambodian leaders to be leaders through Christ. The Saving Susan Ministry kids from Bileg came to our facility to swim in the morning and then we were all off to their school, Solid Rock Christian Academy, for graduation ceremonies. “School’s out for Summer”—yay!! Jay Arntzen was keynote speaker at graduation, (translated into the Khmer language by the school’s Pastor Joseph.)
Wednesday Cathy Russo started with a moving devotional on simply trusting God and being obedient, even when it’s not clear what plan or direction he has for us. Then, back to Bileg for a day of academic assessments in English language proficiency, a program provided by Liberty University online. (Yes, it was amazing to watch 10 kids taking an exam via high-speed internet in central Cambodia!)
Wednesday was capped with a dinner and awards ceremony for the kids, at the team’s lodging facility’s restaurant. David and Tricia Delk coached the Bileg kids on God’s plan for sexual purity and got the boys and girls to pray a blessing of purity over each other (in groups). How exciting to see these wonderful kids excel in academics and Bible studies, and now understand the need to wait in purity for God to show them their future spouse.
Next post on Friday! Please be in prayer for our team as we move into the final two days of our trip—that God would use us in a big way to witness the power of our Savior.
We are happy to report that God has been at work in mighty ways in our first three days in country! This is a brief synopsis of what we’ve been able to be a part of so far.
Day One: Travel.
22 hours, Atlanta to Phnom Penh, Cambodia went very smoothly and we arrived to the enthusiastic reception of our partners in Cambodia: Pastor Sihok and ambassadors from the Bileg Children’s Orphanage. We were delighted to be passengers on the new Saving Susan Ministry bus from Bileg, a vehicle that has been able to accommodate our entire team of 11 and all its luggage!
Day Two: Phnom Penh with Pastor Sihok
After just a little sleep, everyone was up and “raring to go!” The team split into two groups…with three going to Pastor Sihok’s country church outside the capitol and attending services with about 30 faithful Christians there. These wonderful folks were proclaiming Jesus even as loudspeakers from one of the many Buddhist temples blared in the distance. Cambodia is over 90% Buddhist and Christians are an extreme minority. The team has marveled at the boldness and courage of the believers in Jesus here.
At the same time, the remaining members of the team conducted a prayer walk at Haley’s House, a facility supported by Western Hills and Sanctuary over the years. This prayer walk was not planned, but prompted by the Lord, and team members humbly read scripture and prayed at the facility, calling on the powerful name of Jesus, trusting that He is faithful and that the children there are the ones that Jesus loves.
Sunday afternoon the entire team attended services at Pastor Sihok’s main church in Phnom Penh and several of us were invited to give a word of encouragement to the congregation.
Day Three (Monday): A Full Day!
We began the day with a trip to a government-run orphanage in the capitol city and anticipated simply meeting with the director and his staff, saying hello to some of the children, and then providing a delivered pizza lunch for all. We were greeted by everyone there, and they had prepared their largest meeting room for us to deliver a presentation or program–which we were not prepared to do! But God made a way, as He always does, and after some moving testimony from some members, and to the delight of the children, we conducted games and had fun while we awaited the pizza. This included Jay Arntzen leading everybody in “The Hokie Pokie” and Taylor Lance leading a version of “Rock Paper Scissors” called “Sampson, Delilah, and the Lion.”
After the visit to the orphanage we went to the Killing Fields national memorial park, and sadly walked through, learning of the horrific details of the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970’s. We all left with heavy hearts, realizing how those crimes against the people have contributed to a cultural sense of hopelessness that Cambodians have to this day. It also reconfirmed how important our mission to bring the hope of Christ to this nation truly is!
We then proceeded to Kampong Thom and had dinner with the children of Bileg Orphanage. What a contrast we saw between the kids of Bileg, many of whom have adoptive parent partners through Saving Susan Ministry, and the kids we had seen earlier at the government orphanage. Bileg’s kids were smiling and delighted to have us visit; the government orphans seemed by contrast to have little to be joyful about.
Please continue to pray for Team Cambodia as we continue to endeavor to be the hands, feet, and heart of Jesus.