Monday, May 25, 2009

Joy's Prayer Letter

The Khmer Rouge revolution and subsequent Vietnamese invasion of the 1970's left Cambodian society in tatters. There were few social, family and moral structures left standing and along with this vacuum came profound poverty. Under these circumstances, desperate parents, unable to feed their children will sometimes sell one child and use the money to care for the rest. In a culture already numbed by violence and with no real legal system in place, such children are unprotected and subject to terrible abuse and over time, this sad situation has become accepted by society. An environment where children are bought and sold, where no limits are placed on the degree of abuse and where few legal restraints exist will attract and encourage the very worst forms of human behavior. In more recent years, the AIDS epidemic has added to the disaster. Children are now left orphaned and are sold by neighbours, friends, police officers and distant family members. Those seeking “safe sex” pursue younger and younger girls who are felt to be less diseased. Cambodian folklore teaches that an AIDS infected man can be cured by having sex with a young, “clean” virgin. The implications of such thinking are absolutely devastating. The situation is now well known world wide and so scores of international pedophiles fly into Cambodia to wreak their havoc and add to the suffering. Brothels are now commonplace, young women and girls as young as five years of age are held captive to be abused daily. Many corrupt police and officials turn a blind eye.

MISSION TRIP: July 14 – August 5, 09.

Two years ago, since joining the Core group of the ‘Ratanak Foundation’ I was given opportunities to learn, raise awareness, promote advocacy and encourage actions to end this vicious industry. To take my conviction further in a more personal way, I have the privilege of travelling to Cambodia for 3 weeks this summer. I am part of a team of 12 from 5 different churches in Toronto, being trained by the Ratanak Foundation.

We will be staying in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, also well known as a hub for ‘sex tourism’. We will spend time working with one of Ratanak Foundation’s partnership organizations, ‘Daughters Cambodia’ and Prayer walking in Svay Pak, Stung Meanchay (slum area- local brothel area), Street 63 and Waterfront. Possible ministries to NewSong Centre (a ‘safe house’ in a secluded and undisclosed location with tight security for very young girls - they are valuable commodities for traffickers), and Rahab’s House (former brothel - helping with outreach to community).

‘Daughters Cambodia’ is a Transition Life Skills Centre for the girls who have been rescued. Our Team ministries there will include giving workshops on Anatomy/Nutrition, Drugs effects, Domestic Violence, Choosing a Mate, Budgeting, Hair Cutting, Dance Training, daily Intercession and Worship and ‘Member Care’ Clinic for Staff.


Please consider being a prayer partner for the entirety of my training and my mission trip. I will send out prayer requests for those who wish to join my prayer support team. Your prayers will be my support when I enter the overwhelmingly dark world of child sex trafficking.

Financially: The total cost of the trip is $2,900, which includes airfare, inoculations, evacuation insurance, accommodations, food and any other materials needed for the trip. I will also be taking a second suitcase of shoes for the girls at ‘Daughters Cambodia’. If you are interested in supporting me financially, please send donations to Rexdale Alliance Church, 2459 Islington Ave, Etobicoke, M9W 3X9, on the memo line designate ‘Joy Sumyi Lee – Cambodia Mission Trip 2009’. Tax receipts will be issued at the end of the year.

Attend a Fundraising Concert: given by piano students ages 5 – 18 on Wednesday, June 10, 2009, 7 pm, at Runnymede United Church, 432 Runnymede Road, Toronto, M6S 2Y8.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Stephanie: How Flipping Channels Changed My Life

As a bored highschooler one evening, I was flipping channels on tv when I stumbled upon a documentary about young Afghani girls being sold on the black market to Saudi businessmen for their sexual pleasure. Beyond just being appalled and grieved that this was happening in the world, I was utterly gripped by the face of the only girl who removed her veil for the camera and her words that she was being interviewed ‘for the sake of all other girls who [were] experiencing [her] pain, to give them hope for escape from their torment.’

Since that day, I made a commitment that my life would somehow be involved in helping end the sex slave trade and in redeeming those who are so devastatingly affected by it. Working with the Ratanak Foundation, an organization committed to this same goal, has allowed me an outlet for this conviction in a tangible way by giving me an opportunity to raise awareness, promote advocacy, and encourage action in ending this vicious industry.

This summer, for 3 weeks, I have the privilege of traveling to Cambodia to spend time working with one of our partnership organizations that runs a life-skills center for the girls who are rescued. I am traveling with a team of 11 others and will be staying in Phnom Penh, the capital of the country, as well as a hub for the sex trade. We will be teaching workshops on topics ranging from health/beauty/identity issues to offering dance classes and business technique courses. It is also our desire to serve the long-term staff and find ways to encourage and refresh them from the daily emotional pain they experience though their work. We will also have opportunities to interact with some of those living in the brothels and serve them through various community outreaches run by the girls from the life-skills center.

Needless to say, I covet your prayers for our time there—for our team, for the organizations and for those precious ones we seek to see both physically and spiritually redeemed. Pray that God will prepare the way for us, that we may introduce these girls to the only Redeemer who can ultimately rescue them from their suffering and can offer them a‘future and a hope’ (Jer. 29:11) that will fully and completely heal them.

Prayer: Please consider a commitment to daily/weekly prayer for the entirety of my trip. I will be sending out monthly prayer requests til I leave and then weekly prayer requests while in-country.

‘O Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear to vindicate the orphan and oppressed so that man…will no longer cause terror.’ (Ps. 10: 17-18)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Nancy's Prayer Letter

Dear Prayer Partner

Heartfelt thanks once again for being a valued member of our Cambodia Ministry Team.

If you would like to learn more about Cambodia, the following are good but disturbing resources:
  1. Killing Fields, Living Fields by OMF Missionary, Don Cormack

  2. Tears of My Soul & After The Heavy Rain by Sokreaksa Himm – the story of a lone survivor of his family from the killing fields as well as a helpful insight into the difficult process of forgiveness

  3. Internet documentary – “Year Zero” Cambodia documentary. Good coverage of Cambodia’s historical crisis under the rule of the Khmer Rouge and the needs following 1975.


  1. Twelve of us are in the process of forming a ministry focused team – pray for bonding and unity as we learn & grow together. All of us will be significantly stretched beyond our comfort zone in hot, humid, challenging situations.

  2. For an aptitude toward the language – I was dreaming phrases the other night and finally woke up remembering the middle section of one – dreaming has become a new way of learning a language!

  3. For God’s purposes, individually and collectively, to be clearly understood - details regarding ministry specifics are currently being worked out.

  4. For Satan’s oppositional purposes to be clearly defeated – in preparation and in ministry . Each of us is experiencing spiritual interference in a variety of ways –busyness!!!, lots of distractions, health issues, aggravations, pressure, etc.

  5. Personally, for Mom’s health and comfort while we are away.

  6. A home for Patches (our 2-year old Shit Tsu). Mom is unable to care for her on a daily basis.

  7. For awareness and preparation regarding ministry strategies related to Spiritual Freedom/Inner Healing Prayer as may be related to both the children and their care givers.

    Blessings of joy in Him doing more than we could ask or think.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Melinda's Journey To Cambodia

I would like to share with you what God has instilled in my heart. About 4 years ago my friend Lisa, from Rexdale Alliance Church, brought to my attention about Child Sex Slaves in Cambodia. These three words do not belong in the same sentence and yet this unthinkable and horrible travesty not only exists, but it is thriving and growing. Today there are over 1 million children who are bought and sold for the purposes of sexual exploitation in the global commercial sex trade each year.

In Cambodia, girls ranging from as young as 5 to 15 years old are either sold into prostitution to pay off family debts or forcibly recruited on the streets to work in brothels. Torture and violence are a girl’s daily companions. She will be raped 8 to 10 times a day by adult males who come from all over the world to humiliate her. They will take photos and videos of her terror so they can “re-live” the moment and impress their friends.

But her story remains untold, her voice is silenced by her fear, shame and guilt that she is forced to endure. Her body is desecrated by the multitude of sexually transmitted diseases it is forced to host. She is hopeless, helpless, has no passport or papers, no identity. She has become what they want her to be – a product – a sexual commodity.

Yet it is this darkness that God is calling His people through the words from Isaiah 61:1-4 to be His light by entering into the battle against oppression, to bind up the broken-hearted, to release these prisoners from the dungeons of sex trafficking, to see these captives free, to bestow on them His crown of beauty instead of ashes, to replace their spirit of despair with His garments of praise, to pour His oil of joy upon their crushed hearts so that they can become trees of righteousness, a planting of the LORD that He may be glorified.

For the last 4 years, Lisa has asked me to consider joining her Cambodia Mission Trip Team. Both my husband and I did not like the thought of me going to that part of the world. Fear of safety was our biggest concern.

In 2007, Lisa invited me to a conference at Rexdale Alliance Church. The theme was “Slaying the Giant.” After listening to the speakers and watching a video of a child trafficking, I could not contain my emotions. I welled up with so much anger and tears that I had to leave the room and cry.

Since then I started to pray and ask God how I could be of service to Him. The more I prayed about it, the more I sensed that God wanted me to go and serve Him in Cambodia. I struggled with fear but the Lord spoke very clearly to me through Psalm 32:8.I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go, I will guide you with my eye.”

In January 2009, I went again to Rexdale Alliance for the conference to gather more information. This time the theme was “Reflecting God’s Beauty in a broken world – Setting the Captives Free!”

I wanted to hear from the Lord again if this is the right time for me to step out. He assured me through Acts 18:10, “For I am with you, no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.”

Holding on to His promises and assurances, I am stepping out of my comfort zone in faith and taking His lead. I will be traveling from July 14th until August 5th for 3 weeks, with 11 others in the team.

Each one of us has a God-given ability and skill to share and teach and minister to the girls at the centre that have been rescued.

My service is to teach Hair-Dressing/Esthetics skills to the girls at Daughters Cambodia Centre. In this centre, victims of trafficking are supported in their efforts to leave the sex industry. Their aim is to bring healing and hope for a new life to the lives of sexually exploited girls of any age or nationality who are current sex-workers. To offer them opportunities for life style changes, through a range of activities, services, residential re-housing, and vocational/income generation opportunities. To empower girls with the courage and inner resources to make and sustain healthy choices for their lives by building self-worth and dignity, by showing respect and care, through meeting their needs in practical, medical, emotional/psychological and spiritual ways, and by Christian love.

God is looking for people who will speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 31:8) and stand up against those injustices, remove the chains that bind these girls and set the oppressed free.

Will you be part of God’s Isaiah 61 team by reflecting His beauty in a broken world as you partner with me in prayer and in financial support?

First and foremost I will need your prayer to get me ready for this trip and while I am traveling and upon my return. Pray for safety and patience with each other as we travel together. Pray for understanding of another culture, learning a new language and our own ability to approach people with truth about Jesus. Pray for protection on our families. And second of all, if you feel led in financial support it would be much appreciated. The cost of this trip and the Hair-styling tools is $3500. I will be leaving the tools behind for the girls when I leave Cambodia.

If you would like to support me financially, please make your cheque payable to “First Alliance Church” and please include “Melinda - Mission Trip” on the memo line. Your donations are tax deductible.

Thank you in advance for your prayers and financial support and I look forward to sharing this experience with you when I return home.

May God richly bless you as you partner with me in this mission.

Yours sincerely,
In His service,


Marty's Prayer Letter

About nine years ago God placed a desire in my heart to learn about emotional healing. During this time God began to work in me and then gave me the desire to see other women set free of the chains that keep them in bondage. As I have been praying with teams of women, we have watched the Holy Spirit move in the lives of individual women to bind up the broken hearted, to set the captives free and to release prisoners from the darkness.

When Lisa, who leads teams to Cambodia each summer, indicated that she was looking for people equipped to do healing prayer ministry to be a part of this year’s team, I prayed about whether I should go because of my passion for others to experience emotional wholeness as I did. God has been speaking in amazing ways to affirm the fact that I should be part of this summer’s team. Although my husband was not enthusiastic for me to go at first, God worked in his heart and he gave me his blessing to go on Christmas Day. Then through the Bible Study Stepping Up, Beth Moore said, “God diffuses not only our past of all power to harm and haunt us but He infuses it with the power to help others. Redemption is incomplete if our negative past is only diffused. Satan won’t be completely sorry and God won’t get all the glory until the bad is used for good.” Since going to the Ratanak conference a couple of years ago, God gave me a desire to be one of His instruments to bring emotional healing to women and girls who have been traumatized through abuse of all kinds. God has also been increasing my burden for Cambodia as He gives me insight during my quiet times with Him. An insight that really stands out to me is in Leviticus 19:28, “Do not degrade your daughter by making her a prostitute, or the land will turn to prostitution and be filled with wickedness.”

I am looking forward to all that God will do in Cambodia through the team that He is sending there.

The team members are as follows:

Rexdale Alliance: Lisa, Tara, Charlene, Nancy, Peter, Prem, Vidya, Marty
Runnymede United: Joy
Young Nak Presbyterian: Genie
First Alliance: Melinda
Grace Toronto Church: Stephanie

The purpose of the trip is to do some prayer walking, healing prayer ministry and to teach the girls some crafts or skills that they can use. We covet your prayers for us even before we go to Cambodia as we sense already that there is a battle going on.

The date of the trip is from July 14th to August 5th. Would you prayerfully consider if the Lord would have you support the team financially, including myself, as well as in prayer?

Thank you for partnering with us as we go to Cambodia.


Ratanak Mission Team 2009

Over the past few months a team of 12 people from 5 different churches in Toronto have been preparing and training for a 3 week mission trip to Cambodia from July 14th to August 5th. This blog is the beginning of the journey of those who God is calling to be a part of this mission trip. But we hope in the years to come, there will be many more testimonies of other individuals who will share their pilgrimmage to Cambodia as they seek to partner with The Ratanak Foundation. Welcome now to the stories of inviduals who are following their passion for God as they seek to be His salt and light in Cambodia.