Now that I've got your attention..I'm not pregnant, but preparing and waiting for this trip feels like forever (9mths) and it's finally here. We're flying out tomorrow and will return July 27th. My leader, Marc Cleary, is already in Cambodia. Here's an email he sent us. (FYI-It's a little graphic.)
Last night was our first service for HOPE Cambodia. Everyone was making quick adjustments as the Cambodian Government switched venues on us at the last minute, moving us from a 10,000 seat arena to a 700 seat theatre. Despite the sudden change in venues, God displayed His glory. Hillsong London rocked out and Ps. Gary Clark, also of Hillsong London, delivered a powerful message. There were so many young people attending that were on fire for Jesus Christ already. They were dancing and celebrating before the Lord.
During the day, we visited the Royal Palace of the King of Cambodia, fed monkeys, rode on an elephant named Sambo and took a boat ride down the Me-Kong River. After enjoying the local sites and attractions, we visited Cambodia's dark past by touring the Genocide Museum at the infamous S-21 prison and the Killing Fields of Phnom Penh. It was amazing actually standing in the places where just 30 years ago millions of innocent people were literally slaughtered in the cruelest ways for no reason at all. The heaviness and darkness was unbelievable as you saw the make-shift prison cells that people were chained to everyday that were no bigger than small closet. The Khmer Rouge regime was so deliberate in their terror that the photographed and kept detailed files on everyone one of the millions of people they slaughtered. This is very horrifying, but I saw pictures and read first hand accounts of them tossing babies in the air and catching them on swords and long knives. I also saw the actually tree where they took babies and beat them to death against it while playing music loudly to cover up the groans of the thousands of people that were dying in the ditches they just finished digging. It is the most brutal and evil things I have seen firsthand.
Yet, despite the dark past, Jesus Christ is breaking through the darkness with His eternal light. The young people that were at the first service are the hope of Cambodia. I was fortunate enough to hang out with a 20 year old college student named Vatanak (pronounced Va-tah-nah). Despite his father being a prominent buddhist priest, Vatanak accepted Christ as a teenager taking free English lessons at a local Christian Church in Phnom Penh. He told me that ever since he accepted Jesus that his life is "full of love, joy and peace unspeakable" that he never knew existed.
Vatanak is why we are here. To create an opportunity for kids like him to be changed and help change others through Jesus for all eternity.