(2104) Cambodia and Thailand Trip Revisited
Written April 9th at 4:30 am when I woke up with these things on my mind. So....In the past few days I have eaten sticky rice with black beans out of a bamboo stick, eaten frog legs and brown rice, drank and eaten after several people besides myself (If you know me you understand how huge that is J) I have been abundantly grateful for the little packages of CareNet tissues that I had in my backpack during my numerous trips to the bathroom.
I have seen children in Cambodia act as if it were Christmas morning when given a used T shirt, a stuffed animal and a piece of candy. I have eaten at a table full of food prepared by a family who has taken in 20 street kids and who barely has enough funds to feed those who live under their own roof, yet in spite of this they prepared a Cambodian feast for me and 9 other American’s who they warmly invited into their humble dwelling. I have given a Peanut butter and jelly sandwich to a very old woman who had obviously NEVER had the privilege of seeing a dentist in her life, but cared enough about the beautiful hungry filthy little child in her care, to openly beg for their lunch. I've also looked into to the sweet, frightened eyes of that same little girl as I handed her probably the only meal of the day.
I have seen the most anorexic cows and water buffalo in my life. I drank from a seriously dirty cup floating in a piece of bamboo filled with palm tree water, hanging over the shoulders of an elderly woman who talked to me in a dialect I could not understand AND I did not get sick. I have been more grateful then ever for my precious bottles of anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal oils!! They are never far from my lips, thank you Lord for Thieves oil.
I have survived countless games of chicken on the road between Phenom Phen and Battambang, and only freaked out inside one time. I have seen 5 to 6 people riding the same scooter, live chickens tied to and covering the roof of a moving van, PETA would not be pleased. I've seen cows that aimlessly wander freely alongside the busy highway down the streets of the local village and in the middle of the road.
I have spent an evening with a room full of college students who loved to play games and hang with Americans. I have been greeted by a 10 inch lizard above the entrance of our hotel room. I have forgotten to keep my mouth closed in the shower and got water in my mouth but did not get sick. I have brushed my teeth with water bottle water that I shared with my daughter in law; I have eaten with chopsticks and did not go hungry. I've watched my hairdryer glow because the converter didn't work.
I have also seen every few miles and near every village and city, the most ornately decorated gold and jeweled temples erected for the purpose of allowing an already impoverished and destitute people to, in fear, give offerings to a dead and demonic false god named Buddah! These beautiful lost people live in grass huts and cardboard shanty’s yet they are taught to give this pagan entity some of what little they are missing. For a dollar at the entrance of a huge Buddhist temple I could have bought a bird to be set free and for only $10 I could have freed all the birds in the cage as an offering to a dead man that to this day ironically holds millions of people in this country in bondage similar to those small birds in their little wicker prisons.
I watched an old man and also a young girl come to the temple and kneel at the foot of one of hundreds of statues of a dead pagan god that has absolutely nothing to offer these people but false hope and fear. I actually spoke to a man that had Never heard the name of Jesus in his life which I am learning is very typical here.
I am impressed by the sweetness and innocence of the people that live in this country but am saddened and grieved to think that the majority of them are empty and lost. They have no peace, or assurance that they will live in eternity with the dead god they are in bondage to.
And today I get to take 2 flights from here in Cambodia to first Bangkok Thailand then north to Chiang Mai where we’ ll meet our driver and eventually drive 2 hours to spend our remaining time in Wiang Pa Pao with some more of Gods children rescued from a life of sex slavery!
After spending 5 days in Cambodia we arrived in Chang Mia, Thailand. One of the highlights of Thailand was the visit that Ciera, Dave, Christina and I made to a Red Light District in Chang Mia. We walked, 2 on each side of the street down a road that would be comparable to Broad and High St. on a Friday night in Columbus. Ciera counted as many as 130 beautiful Asian women just on her side of the road that were willing and ready to sell themselves to anyone that would pay. Our hearts broke for these beautiful young girls. As we were half way through our walk, I made eye contact with one of the girls. I walked past then turned around to find her still looking my way. What do you say to someone in that situation? I walked back towards her and smiled and softly told her that Jesus loved her, and that he loved all of them. I prayed as I walked away that miraculously she would be able to understand what I was saying. The 4 of us met up at corner and interceded to the Lord on behalf of every person we say on that filthy street. I saw very few Asian men as we walked, the majority of the males were Caucasian. It sickened me to think of what they were up to.
This was not a vacation but it was a privilege to be part of something so big that we cannot wrap our minds around. I cannot help but think of James, the brother of Christ and what he wrote in his book in chapter 1:27 he says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
Sending Hope has 39, soon to be 40 girls in Thailand and currently 23 boys and girls in Cambodia that will not have to live a life like those in the Red light District that we visited. Because you have generously given the young ones at SH are loved, well fed, clean, and most of all they are being disciple daily in the ways of our Lord. You are living out James 1:27 by caring for the orphans at SH. There are 17 ppl here who sponsor 13 girls and we are soon to be adding one more, Daniel and Ciera are going to sponsor a little girl named Milk. I am not sure without being an eye witness that you can fully grasps the magnitude of the gift that you have given these children. Thank you!
All these sights and smells and experiences always make me wonder why it wasn't me begging for my lunch, living in a hut, or worshipping a dead god or walking the beat in a Red Light District somewhere? I have to believe that the Lord has gifted us all with different talents and passions. I love people and I love to share about people who are in need or being treated unfairly. I certainly cannot change the whole world but I serve a risen Savior who can, and he has placed me right where he wants me knowing I won't be able to be quiet about what I’ve seen and experienced and knowing that I can and will, in Christ strength and power do all I can to be a voice for those who are unable to speak on their own behalf.