Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Cambodia mission trip - Island team

Yo Yo wadsup wadsup~ Rachel here reporting from Kuching, man, it feels great to be at home. Awww...did u guys miss me while i'm not around? (Perasan betul) ...Oh u better be, or else! Lol!

Alright, so wads new in gepc? Oh, don't tell me u know nothing... -_-'''

Come on, Get ready for YOUNG ADULTS CAMP that is going to be held at El-santuary (Melaka) 13th to 15th June 2008. Aren't you just thrilled and excited? Well, first come first serve...but u gotta be 20 years old and above. So please sign up or we won't "chop" places for u...~ More details, please refer to pastor rueben (016-3445408)... :P So what are u waiting for? Time waits for no one~ Sign up sign up! U dun wan to miss this for anything~

Okay, now...here's what you all have been waiting for~ Tadadada....Ahem... Ladies and gentlemen...i present to you...the Island team! *applause please*
(from left to right) --> Shiao yong, Aloysius, Sabrina, Amanda, Pastor Robert, Pastor Chin and Kenyom Rachel~

We had 6 amazing days spent in Cambodia, truly life-changing. Too much to show and tell and i don't think i can round up everything by a single post (coz i need to sleep). But nevertheless, I'll summarised as much as i can...so get a glass of water and a bag of snacks ready...u have a lot of reading to do next. Hehe.

Day 1

After we got separated with the baray team, we're off to the hotel which is located in the Phnom Penh city. We got onto this "tut tut". See the man with orange shirt? He is pastor Sawut (Someone please correct me if i spelled wrongly).

The tut tut can only take 5 person...so Aloysius have to go by motorbike.

Can u spot Aloysius?

If u think traffic in Malaysia is terrible, man u should come to cambodia, its HORRIBLE. Traffic lights are hardly seen. Motorbikes and cars just squeeze their ways out whenever they could. And you know what? They don't wear helmets at all.

The main transportation in Cambodia is motorbike. It can go up to 3 adults per ride. Somemore without helmets. That is why the accident rates are alarming high too. The inflation rate, is insanely high as well. In Cambodia, 1kg of rice is worth of 20++ USD (which equals to RM70++). The petrol price, for 1 litre is somewhere around max to 10 USD. Thats not it. It is still increasing.

Every minute is precious to them coz as they work longer hours, probably they are able to earn 1 USD per day. I guess that is why they don't bother about safety.

Pastor Sara, a local pastor greeted us in the hotel. He is a very friendly and humble person. The trip was so enlightened whenever he's around.

Pastor Sara, one of our interpretors.

According to Pastor Sara, most of the hotels in Phnom Penh serve for immoral purposes. They offer '24 hour services' - One girl per hour for 5 USD and 10 USD for a guy.

Cambodian people are very poor, so poor to the extent u can never imagine it. Pastor sara said that each family in cambodia who works in factories earns about 50 USD per month. For farmers, few hundred riels. Others, probably 20 over USD. Most of their money is used to buy rice and petrol. So, it means that cambodian people are actually surviving with 1USD per day. So tell me, what u can buy with just 1 USD (RM3.50)?

So brothers and sisters, please try to finish every meals u have. Food is so precious in Cambodia. Eventhough cambodia is a rice-planting country, it is not enough for the people. You see, many farmers have abandoned their padi fields because they just couldn't survive with a few hundred riels. 1 USD = 2000 riels. So u do the maths.

Things are just ain't getting better for Cambodia. The prices for food are increasing each day and the government is so corrupted until they ignore the cries of the people. Guys, people there are suffering and they are living in fear. Fear causes them to turn to idols and foreign Gods. They need hope, Jesus is their hope and only We can bring it to them. The question is....who will go?

Day 2

Pastor Chin hired a van because it's gonna be hours of journey to 2 villages that we were going to visit.

So along the way we saw the differences between the population in urban and rural areas.

This is a house of an average family in a village.

They earn by selling hand-made cloths and some crops.

This kind of house is considered rich.

This one (in Phnom Penh), millionaire i supposed.

We came across a lot of buddhist temples as well coz Buddhist is cambodia's chosen religion.

The Buddhist Gods punya rumah so high class. How I wish the goverment would use the money for the people...

After one hour and 45 minutes, we reached the first village. Oh, did i mention about the weather? ITS BURNING HOT. We sweated immediately after we got out from the van. The funny thing is, we realized that the local villagers do not. I think they are so used to the climate until their body temperature threshold for sweat is higher than us.

The church.

The church members welcomed us. They are mostly adults. Youths are hardly seen around.

This is the equipment they used to make cloth.

Upclose and personal with the pig. In cambodia, pigs are called "Cheruk". Come on, u don't get to see a pig roaming free in malaysia okay.

Okay, here comes the funny part. When aloysius saw this pig, he said, "Christina, what are u doing in the mud?" (Christina, u know who to belasah ya~)

The worship team with their traditional instruments.

Preparing for service. Aloysius was in charge of the sermon.

Pastor vutti, one of our interpretors. He is a very helpful and humble man who doesn't complain of tiredness and heat.

During the worship session, i was so amazed and touched by their faith. Eventhough i don't understand their lyrics, but i have sensed God's presence. Its like no matter how oppressed their situations can be, they still want to believe in Jesus. Christianity is fobidden in Cambodia. What they choose to believe in may cost their lives, and yet they have chose to give their lives to Jesus. As they sang, i was so overwhelmed and had a vision. Regardless of our nationality, we share the same God who is mighty to save, great to change and merciful to heal. He is one true and living God who deserves our praise and worship. One day, Let all the nations of the earth praise Him and say "Amen". Our God, our saviour King will be greatly exalted through all the earth.

After the worship session, we (Amanda, Shiaoyong, sabrina and me) started our children ministry while pastor chin, pastor robert and aloysius continue with the sermon session.

The children have never gone to school before. Not just because they can't afford, the main reason is that....no schools were built for them at all. When the boys reached 12 years old, they will have to follow their fathers to work. Some girls, if they have reached puberty, will be married.

So u can imagine how excited they were when they saw us, knowing that we're going to expose them to something they have never learned before.

But there is one thing which upsets me. The children are not happy. Their smiles are so empty. Its like they don't know the purpose to smile happily. Trapped, i would say. But what? and why? i don't know.

First, we introduced ourselves. Pastor sara and sophoan were helping us as interpretors. We taught them some christian songs and also bible story-telling.

Then, we played games. Man, when talk about games, i think the children forgot the names of their parents already. They were so energetic and excited. That was when they begin to laugh and jumping here and there. Unlike us, they don't get tired under the hot sun. Ask them whether they are thirsty or not, they say "no".

After that, we gave them some drawings and taught them about colouring.

They are so smart, i tell u. I could see their desires to learn and hunger for more. I really prayed that God will send people to meet their needs.

The children who coloured the best were rewarded. See what i tell u, they don't smile. This is so sad. Where's their future? Who will give them hope, happiness and joy? Yes, the answer is God. But who will be doing His job?

Before this mission trip, i always thought that i would go to the ends of the earth for God. But when it is for real, i learned that only missions will prove how much you love God. How many of us would really give up our beauty, richess, comfort and future as professionals to come to Cambodia and serve the unhygienic, uncivilised and uneducated people? How many of us can live like them, under the hot sun without electricity and clean water supply?

It was that time only i realized, i overestimated my love for God.

Can u see the heart of Jesus for his children in Cambodia? And if we go after God's heart, let us all be a part in supporting missions.

Matt 25:40 Jesus says, "When you did it to one of the least of My Brothers & Sisters, you were doing it to Me!’

Reaching out to feed and clothe the Poor & Needy, as well as reaching out to help Believers who are suffering Persecution for being a Christian. God has blessed us with numerous good things, its time to give to those who don't have.

Let us all keep Cambodia in prayer. For missionaries who are willing to go. For money to build schools and food supplies.

The guy who stands next to me is Sophoan. He is sort of like an adopted son of Pastor Anba. His faith is amazing. He loves the children and taught sunday schools. A humble and helpful servant of God.

Pastor sara, on the other hand is cheerful all the time, the children adores him. He told us all the injustice, corruption and inflation happening in Cambodia. He could have left Cambodia and stayed at other countries like singapore and australia.

Everybody (including myself) is convinced that Cambodia is hopeless. But he chose to stay back for his people. He gave us an answer that touched our hearts deeply, "I believe God will make a difference for my country."

Just like how God has delivered Israel from the oppression of the pharoah, I believe the day will come when Cambodia will be freed from the chains and bondages of poverty and idolatry. God has heard every desperate prayer and He will save His people.

God will provide the physical, emotional and spiritual needs for this village. He will also strengthen the local church which needs spiritual nurturing. I began to realize gospel is so valuable and we are so blessed to hear and accept it. In places so deserted like this village, gospel is so hard to reach. They cannot learn more about God due to lack of resources.

I wish i have more time spent with them, or do something more for them.

Alright, that's all for today. There is too much to write about. Hehe. So stay with me, i'll be back soon. Till then, take care u all and love ya gepc. ;) God blessed!

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