Karol Boschung - March 21
Most of my days here in Cambodia have been good days. Today, however, was exceptional - it was a wondrous, joyous day. We started the day off early by going to church in Svay Pak. The service began at 7:30 AM (ouch!) and was held in Rahab's House. It's difficult to describe how great it was - the building was absolutely packed out, here amidst the darkest darkness. Next door, The Lord's Gym was also packed for Sunday School for all the young kids! Chanta and Ratanak led the service, all in Khmai, and while I understood very, very little, it was great to be there. There was singing and praising and praying and all that is good - often led by a wonderful group of young people my age who we've seen at many of our lunches and at Kid's Club. A highlight of the service came when they served communion. Everyone does it differently - some have wafers, some have whole wheat, some may even have Wonderbread! And don't even get me started on the wines - or is it grape juice? Here, they did it with what they had - goldfish crackers and small cups of sweet juice. Somehow, this was one of the 'holiest' communions I have ever taken - there in Rahab's house there was much to remind me that His body and blood were given for me!
Ater a stop at P'sa Toultem Pong (spelled right in this blog post!), we headed out by tuk-tuk to Place of Rescue, and orphanage/AIDS hospice/elder care center about an hour out of Phnom Penh. This place, and the goodness of God towards it, are almost beyond words. The first word that came to mind as we came through the gates was "oasis": Started only 7 or 8 years ago, it has grown phenomenally and is very extensive, with another satellite property to the north. There are many orphan houses with wonderful dedicated house-moms, as well as some houses for abandoned grandmothers and families living with AIDS. All in all, they care for about 300 orphans, 30 grannies, and around 30 families with AIDS. There is also a school for the orphans, and some fields to grow vegetables to help support themselves. It was started and it run by Marie Ens, a wonderful humble widow and woman of God who is very young in her 70s! She first came to Southeast Asia as a missionary with her husband in 1961 - when she was told she had to retire by the mission she worked for, she retired and then started Place of Rescue on her own in her late 60s! She is a remarkable example, and seeing her compassion as she showed us around was amazing. It was also joyous for us to know that none of the many children we saw were at risk like the children in Svay Pak. While there were some who were sick, with HIV/AIDS or otherwise, they were all well-fed and happy and safe. We left there happy and amazed at God's provision and healing.
We're halfway through the trip! Wow. Continue to pray for Rahab's House, Chanta and Buntan, Ratanak the pastor, Ratanak the organization, Svay Pak, Place of Rescue, and Cambodia in general.