Friday, June 22, 2012

Preparation for the Trip to Cambodia

Not many people are familiar with Angkor Wat in Cambodia; it never get as much spotlight as The Great Wall in China or Eiffel Tower of course, but it holds such beauty nonetheless. It is not a familiar discussion as well to hear people going to Cambodia for vacation, despite its fascinating historical background. However, that is where I'm planning to go this late July. Together with 30 other people, we are going to Cambodia for a 2-weeks mission trip.

This trip might be the highlight of the year for me. I have been planning to go abroad to some 3rd world countries, not to witness the beauty and pretentiousness of skyscrapers and mega-complex shopping mall, but really to understand the low and reality of life; the side that is frequently hidden behind the glossy cover of tourism magazine.

I was born and raised in Indonesia; a developing country with one of the highest corruption, population and pollution level. Street beggars are conspicuous, slums are a daily eyesore, and criminal activity is a normal everyday threat, not to mention circulating rumors of bombing here and there. Growing up in this surrounding, I am certainly not unfamiliar with poverty. So what else do I need to understand about poverty?

I actually do not have a great answer for that. What I know is, so far my involvement with poverty has been confined to mere emotional and intelligence level. I know I look at them with teary eyes, my heart breaks and my gut shouts for the world to help them. I also read books and study about several poverty alleviation business models, I attended seminar and created a social business club as one of the efforts. But still, even after all that being done, I know I have not even crawled anywhere near sacrificial level.

To witness is not to understand, to have an eye-opening revelation is different than to have a life-changing experience, and regardless of how many cook books a person has read, that doesn't make him a chef.

And these are what I'm expecting to do and achieve to get nearer to that level
1. Talk to as many people as possible to identify one specific problem that can be tackled through social entrepreneurship
2. Although we are supposed to stay in a hotel during our trip, I'm gonna try to find a local that is willing to let me stay at his house for a couple of nights
3. I am with the construction team, so I'm gonna work my head off to help them build a school

Last but not least, I will hold on to this promise from Numbers 6:24-26

"The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you. The Lord lift up the light of His countenance upon you, and give you peace. Amen" 

When times go rough, and when the heat of the day is just painfully suffocating, when there is no power left to even form a simple thin smile, I will see upon the Lord's face, who will graciously lend his smile and lift up the light of his countenance upon me, and give that peace that surpassed all understanding. That's, where my heart will rest. Amen. 

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