Yesterday, we went to church in Svay Pak, at Rahab's House. How marvelous it was to be worshipping inside the very walls God has redeemed. Only God could do this: transform what was once a place used to rape young girls into a place where these same young girls (and two hundred others in their community) now sing praises to their Saviour, Jesus!
We also had a sobering visit at Tuol Sleng, the Genocide Museum. A former elementary school, the Khmer Rouge utilized it as a prison where theyincarcerated men, women and children and brutally tortured victims, for one to six months before bringing them to the Killing Fields to be executed. Over 2 million people died during this period of Cambodia's history.
We went onto the Killing Fields after the prison. There has been a massive memorial erected in memory of those killed during the four years of Pol Pot's reign. Skulls line the inside of the glass fronted 'Stupa' - where as many as 400 people were buried. Shreds of clothing and bone jut up out of the ground as though the dead are bidding us to never forget their suffering.
This sort of inhumane treatment was difficult to absorb. How is it possible for a human being to reach a place where they are capable of repeatedly carrying out such atrocities? I thought, darkness is the absence of light. Without the light of God, there is darkness in the human heart. Is that what makes this sort of behaviour manifest itself? And there is such evil in power and greed and hatred. The people were following their leader Pol Pot's ideology, indoctrinated perhaps that the killing was necessary. Still, it is difficult to make sense of such human depravity.
After our group devotion time in the Sanctuary this morning, we saw there were police officers out on the street. At lunch we learned that a nine-year-old Vietnamese child was raped for two hours by a 45 year old Cambodian man and she was in very bad shape physically. Pastor Chantha was afraid she would die. Beth and Pastor Chantha met her at the hospital where a neighbour had taken but the hospital couldn't help her. It took five tries at various hospitals/clinics each examining and saying they couldn¹t help. They drove around on a Tuk-Tuk with the little girl, the neighbour and her father (for awhile until he had to go meet
The rape happened five days ago. Only today did a neighbour notice something was wrong. She is being treated (for now) with antibiotics, but has the measles too. There is talk of this man having HIV. He is in prison at present. The little girl didn¹t speak the whole time was Beth there. Tomorrow Beth will bring her clean clothes and some comfort things.
I grieve that I would write the details of this. But somehow, I feel we are ignorant to the plight of what these people face. Perhaps it is good for us to hear such details...God sees each secret sin of each human being everyday. If it is difficult for you to hear, it should be. May we never be desensitized to this. It is worth noting that the offender would have been a young boy who lived through the Khmer Rouge.
On a happier note, we have the great privilege of going to Newsong. Pastor Don Brewster has invited us. This is very special because this is the place where girls (like this one I just spoke of and many others) go to be taken care of and counseled after being rescued. Our church did a fundraiser for it this year by doing a ladies coffee pub night.
We are further ahead on the painting than we thought we would be, and so are moving down the street to paint Rahab's House. This is the building where currently church is on Sunday, and kids club is for the children of Svay Pak three times per week. We will paint a mural of Jesus as the Good Shepherd.