Sunday, September 9, 2012

Short Term Mission Trip to Cambodia

Here is bits and pieces of my two weeks short term mission trip to Cambodia. Although I can't say definitively that there are lots of new discovery (maybe mostly because it is pretty similar to Indonesia), it is still a great learning experience nonetheless.

Just like real missionary, being sent off to the field. 
First day, we went to this floating village. It's amazing how they manage to live in this kind of environment, I get sea-sick easily so this is not a very friendly environment to settle in. Most people stay in one places and depending on the rain level that season, they move to other places. It is basically like a small town of their own, only the roads are water. They have people going around selling produce every day (kinda like a moving market),and they also have schools for the kids. 
I still can't wrap my mind around it. There are not one, or two, but many of these kind of children, wearing a real snake like a necklace and pointing it to all the tourist, while muttering "one dollar, one dollar". Not a really good marketing strategy though, you can't make me grab a dollar and give it to you if you have that creature on your shoulder like it ready to devour me. 

We have the opportunity to have a buffet dinner at this restaurant that also showcases local dances. Some of the dances are pretty boring for me maybe because it is too traditional and we don't really get the meaning behind it. But some of the more modern dances are pretty entertaining. One dance tells the story of rice farming and the love story between the farmers. Now, that is more relate-able! 

2nd day: Temple Hopping - we visited four temple, all of which have distinct and unique characteristic of their own. We took a group picture with the renown Angkor Wat as the background. 
I just thought this is pretty awesome. Imagine having no sophisticated tools at that time, and using your hand to carve this statue. The precision level (and frustration level too) must be very high. 
After done with all the temple hopping - we took a 7 hour bus drive to Pnom Penh where we will start our work week.  I am with the construction team and our big task is to build a wall around the church's compound. This is one of the sites - digging dirt, building a gutter, putting solid foundation. Next couple of days later: mixing cement, pouring the cement, and building the poles. 

Look at their expression, really adorable. The kid on the left is my favorite, he is pretty playful although a bit spoilt. Well, what can you do, he is a kid. He forces me to put him on the wheelbarrow and push him around.  Our VBS (Vacation Bible Study) team play with them, teach the Bible, do some craft work. We are so grateful for the four kids who accept Christ. 

We also get the chance to visit two historical sites: Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and The Killing Field. These were where the Khmer Rouge, led by Pot Pal tortured the Cambodia people back in 1975 - 1979 and then all the bodies were being dumped in what they called 'The Killing Field'. It is a very gruesome and bizarre pictures of human's cruelty and we all are very overwhelmed by what we've seen there. 

We all miss the good old American ice cream so we don't waste our time during our free day and quickly go to DQ to satisfy our craving. They have a green tea blizzard, so in the name of being adventurous, I try it and not regret it. 
Once we're done with our work week, we spend two wonderful days in Kep at this wonderful resort. I get to sleep on this outdoor bed complete with mosquito net, a pretty wonderful experience I should say. Back to nature!

Dinner by the beach, waiting for the sunset. The picture does not do the view justice though, the view is much more stunning if you see it by yourself. 

On our last day, we go to one of the provinces where World Vision do its work. This is a puppet play educating the children the importance of washing hands and staying healthy. We also got the chance to hear the testimony of one HIV positive patient, how she got the disease, how Jesus gave her hope again, and how the support group has been very helpful in helping her go through her struggle. Pretty impactful. 

My last picture - in front of World Relief Cambodia office. Very grateful to have these guys working for the cause of the Lord there.  

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