Saturday, June 5, 2010

Cambodia - Day 1

It is interesting how my 'radar' goes into gear as soon as I board a plane to Cambodia. Sadly I go into a 'profiling' mindset, scanning for any single males who look like they are coming to Cambodia for 'tourist attractions' that are not the kind found in tour books. Sitting in the first row in the economy class was a 60ish caucasian man with no wedding band. I gave him a few stares and it so happened I was sitting right behind him so decided to use that time to send a few impercatory prayers up to heaven.

I arrived in Phnom Penh and was casually walking out towards the 'nothing to declare' section of the airport when I got stopped and pulled over for a search. This has never happened before but our Ratanak staff person Sotheary suggested it was probably because I was travelling alone and also looked like Cambodian :-) Thankfully, nothing came of the search as before I could unzip my bag the officer asked what I was doing in Cambodia and I mentioned that I was coming to work for an NGO and in my broken Khmer I told him I was from Canada. That ended the search and I was waved through. Such are the advantages to being a foreigner with NGO status.
Sotheary at The Bloom Cafe

I had planned on going to visit Svay Pak this afternoon but didn't make it due to some logistical issues. Instead Sotheary and I ended up at The Bloom Cafe. run by Ruth & Murray Larwill who have set up a training centre to empower victims of sex trafficking. Many of you may already have heard or read about the girls from Newsong who work there. I was surprised to see a girl from Daughters (another Ratanak project) who I had met last year at Daughters. She is now working at Bloom using her creative skills to make some beautiful cakes. The picture above is some of the cup cakes we indulged in. I am not a person who indulges much in 'sweet' things but I have to say, these cakes are quite tasty and the icing actually taste like a sorbet. The Bloom Cafe has only been around since March and yet it seems to be attracting a steady attention of both clients and visitors through word of mouth. We saw a five tier cake that one could easily mistake as a wedding cake. Instead it was being made for the birthday of the niece of the prime minister of Cambodia. God is certainly giving favor to this cafe and the girls who work here.

Well its just after 7pm here and the jet lag is starting to kick in to full gear so I shall end for now!


  1. Dear Lisa,

    Just wanted to let you know that the Coffeehouse for Cambodian Children last night at Joy's church was wonderful. The church hall was beautifully arranged with small tables with white tablecloths, each table decorated with flowers, a candle and a framed colour photograph of beautiful Cambodian children which Joy had taken on her trip. It was like the girls were sitting at the tables with us! The attendance was excellent and all the tables were full.

    There were so many highlights of the evening! One was a song that Joy sang and played on the keyboard with two beautiful young girls accompanying her. One girl is Kate's 16-year-old daughter who played cello, and the other is the 10-year-old daughter of another friend, Sybille (whose initiative it was to organize the coffeehouse), who danced barefoot. Both girls were dressed in white and it was a beautiful and poignant moment.

    Another couple from Joy's church, both very musical, performed with their two young daughters. You would recognize them - both girls are piano students of Joy's. The mom spoke movingly of how much this cause has touched her as a mother and how her heart yearned to protect girls' innocence. The younger daughter (maybe she's 8 years old?) also performed on her own, beautifully singing a Miley Cyrus song about life as a climb and not giving up. I'm getting tears in my eyes again just remembering it.

    Sarah Addey came with her jewelry and Larry came as well - it was a joy to have him sit with my family.

    Joy did a wonderful presentation that included slides from her trip and the worship song "I Will Change Your Name" playing as the slides showed.

    Although I don't know the final net total, over $1350 was raised, and it was announced as the first ANNUAL event.

    Much love, many blessings, LR

  2. Hey Lisa...
    When I was reading this post I was seeing everything so vividly in my mind's eye! I'm so glad that there wasn't an ordeal at the airport :) I will be there with you in spirit my friend. Please say hi to Sotheary for me.
    What floor are you on at the GG? I hope you are near the top so you get a good view!
    I'm thinking that you will be going to Svay Pak for the service tomorrow so please give the kids a big hug for me as well as Ratanak and Pastor C and Buntan

    much love and prayers, Char

  3. Blessings Lisa...So glad that you made it safely and have such discernment. Praying for you & this mission. It's a matter of the heart for me!
    You don't know me but I am so thankful for you and each person like you serving God's children & His Kingdom and opening doors to rescue, restore & renew these precious ones! May this tragedy be stopped in Jesus Name! May each of these continue to find the value Jesus sees in them! May these 2 months be filled with many triumphs for you & this burden we share for the lost & trafficked!
    God bless the Ratanak Foundation, Rahab's House and each of these ministries. Love how God has turned around these places & pray they will continue to have God's favor!
    Thank you for loving them and caring & going!

    Peace & love in Christ,

  4. Thanks Linda Ruth for the update on the Coffee House. It's awesome to hear all that happened and the funds raised.

    Char, yes I am at GG on our familiar 4th floor with my balcony looking over the front :-)

  5. Thanks Peggy for your prayers and your words of encouragement.