Sunday, August 29, 2010

Packed and ready to leave Phnom Penh... for now

My thoughts are still rough and the things I've seen and heard are still too raw to properly address right now, but suffice to say at the moment that God has GRIPPED my heart.
Heart is something that has been a constant lesson during these three weeks, as well as faith. I've been challenged in so many ways in terms of relationship status, mission work as a career, WHAT to do in terms of career, my identity.... There are so many things but I still have to process everything that I've journaled and boil the overwhelming amount of STUFF into a digestible pellet of information. Both for myself and to share with others. Hm.

In the past few weeks we have led programs at World Hope International assessment centre... we worked with girls who were rescued from brothels or rape victims, just allowing them to be kids and singing, playing games, teaching English... we also led programs at two orphanages where we were received with much love and affection- these kids just LOVE skinship and immediately Carmen, Sarah and I had several children dangling from each arm. It was interesting to see the difference in the way we were received at the assessment centre, versus the orphanages... We also visited a few very different churches and each one was so amazing!!!

We went on a City Tour of Phnom Penh which was actually very difficult; the pain this nation has suffered under the reign of Pol Pot from 1975-1979 is just astounding. A reminder of the atrocities that occurred are memorialized in the Genocide Museum (Tuol Sleng) and one of The Killing Fields (Choeung Ek). This was quite a difficult day, as in the morning we toured the Royal Palace, National Museum and Wat Phnom (the temple that sits on the hill that allegedly was the birth place of Phnom Penh as we know it today) which were laden with statues of Buddha and other idols. We headed into the afternoon already spiritually and physically drained... Tuol Sleng and Choeung Ek definitely pushed me over the edge that day. Something I journaled in the tuk-tuk on the way back home from the Killing Fields:

Saw three small children on the side of the road... one was passing an old, dusty-looking teddy bear to one of the others. There is so much garbage, dust, crumbling pavement everywhere- and this is in the big CITY.
It's so amazing that people find... joy? happiness? and laughter in any circumstances... but, dilapidated houses hovering over mucky water on stilts? Naked children playing in the dusty dirty streets, begging tourists for money? I'm intersecting these people's lives while driving in a tuk-tuk. What am I taking with me?
I went to bed early, crying and singing praise songs quietly in the room Carmen and I share. Before I fell asleep, though, God spoke so clearly to me... to truly love the people of Cambodia I must understand them, and their history is part of who they are. That day was quite painful, but I was assured that God is bigger than and able to handle our pain, at any time. This made me reflect on my own past and it was a HUGE comfort and lesson for me. PRAISE GOD!

We were able to take a trip up-country to Siem Reap, the tourist-y city of Cambodia where all the famous temple complexes are. SO BEAUTIFUL. I hope to post photos soon!

All in all, I DEFINITELY got a taste of what life in the mission field could be; I rode on a motorbike for the first time (a VERY common mode of transportation in Cambodia), I haggled with vendors in the markets, have somewhat adjusted to the heat, and even had an emergency root canal and wisdom tooth extraction at a missionary dental clinic here!!! Craziness.

Must sleep now, Sarah leaves earlier than Carmen and I so we see her off at 7:30am tomorrow... I really can't believe we're leaving Cambodia.

I don't think I feel like this is goodbye, though. Please pray that God will open doors for me to return soon! :) Thank you all, I will post again about details of the trip when I return to the Western hemisphere!

Love and blessings,

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Quick! Updated Prayer Points.

  • Spiritual protection: I have been feeling really OVERLY-overly-sensitive (I'm overly-sensitive to begin with~ hehe) since the weekend- to people and situations and its making me think strange things. I have also been having many many dreams, not all of them bad, but some have been very dark and strange and have impacted my mindset throughout the day.
  • Vision: how does this short-term trip to Cambodia fit in with God's bigger picture for my life? For His kingdom? I need clearer eyes, and a more receptive heart.
  • For the children: we have been working with children rescued from brothels and have seen several episodes of sudden crying, violence, and one of the girls expressed a desire to be "taken care of forever". These girls need love and freedom from their painful pasts that only knowing Christ can give. Tomorrow we will go to lead a program for 35 children (girls and boys) in an orphanage on the outskirts of the city... We need Jesus.
  • For the international Christian community to become much more aware of human trafficking issues, in Cambodia and elsewhere.
  • For our team (Carmen, Sarah and I) to really display sisterly love and Christ-like genuine-ness with each other, so that other missionaries, the locals, and the children we work with may be blessed by our team.

On another note, I really do need to invest in a good camera for future mission trips.... .. :(

Thank you, God bless you!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Phnom Penh!

We have arrived and settled and for the most part (well, 2/3 of our team hehe) gotten over our jetlag!
PRAISE GOD for leading us to this point.
I keep having moments of "where am I? Am I really in Cambodia? Is that really a palm tree outside of my window? Is it really STILL this hot?"... I think it'll be a few days yet until I'm truly settled, here.
As we went over our itinerary for the upcoming weeks, I physically felt thrills of excitement down my spine.
But! I do not want this excitement to be out of my simply being in this city. As I spent time in the Word and reflected last night and this morning, I realized that God is trying to get to my HEART.
Its a humbling and scary thing: I am asking myself if I have ever truly let God transform my heart! The fact that I ask that question makes me doubt if I ever have.
I know I'm physically in a strange new place and that change that occurs here could easily be categorized as yet another response to spiritual revelation in a strange new place. Please pray that I may be open and receptive to the Holy Spirit as I allow God to touch my heart... and I know I may not have explained this as fully/descriptively as I could but I am going to be late for a bicycle ride around our neighbourhood!!!

More to come...

With love and blessings,


Okay, have gone on bicycle ride around the neighbourhood, talked with one of the long-term missionaries about ministry at the assessment center (which I am SO PSYCHED about) and have had dinner... am now combatting jet lag (which I guess I haven't gotten over, after all).

So, before I pass out I thought I'd just finish up my thoughts from earlier today.
God keeps bringing words concerning the "heart" and our "inner being" to mind, and I am very much wanting that je ne sais quoi that has been missing at even my most the heady mountaintop times with God. Can I develop, maintain and desire further intimacy with the Lord always? Can I learn to walk with Him instead of being swept up by my mere (puny) understanding of Him and His works? Can I take God out of the mental box I have placed Him in and allow Christ to be made manifest in my life, moment by moment..... I don't know how, and I'm not sure if it'll begin to happen on this trip, but I do believe God is calling me to something more than situational and periodical holiness and discipline.


Okay. I am definitely feeling loopy- bicycling around Phnom Penh will definitely be bumpy, sweatyyyy adventures, but our short trip around this afternoon was so much fun! I have yet to ride a tuk-tuk or motodup, but hopefully I can get some photos of that when it happens. We're having a short lesson on survival Khmer phrases tomorrow morning and... there is just so much more planned I can't even believe it.

Just on a tangent, I cannot believe the variety and FRESHNESS of the fruit here! Dragonfruit, lychee, longan, papaya, bananas (that are ripe despite their GREENness!) are readily available and deliciousss. I'd drool right now, if I weren't so full from supper.

Goodnight, be blessed.