Friday, June 18, 2010

It's Never Dull in Svay Pak

Today started out like any normal morning in Svay Pak with time spent first helping out Bunthan in the kitchen cutting up the vegetables for lunch. Then it was off to help out in the guitar class. Some of our students have picked up the chords quite easily and are now at the point that they are beginning to learn to play a familiar song to many of us called 'Lord I Lift Your Name On High.' The plan is to have them play and sing it in the Sunday service. But there are are others who just can't seem to read how the guitar charts work and no matter how many times you show them the chart and position their fingers, they just can't get it. I think a breakthrough in their lives from God is needed in order for them to truly figure this out.

At any rate, we were about half way through our lunch when a young woman came screaming and crying uncontrollably towards The Sanctuary. All 40 of us got up and ran to the front to see what was going on. For a moment I thought someone's kid was being taken. But we saw a man carried off by the police and another woman come crying to talk to Bunthan. Then one of our students came rushing out and she was on her knees sobbing. It turned out that the man who was arrested was the father of the two sisters Paulie and Lim that I had blogged about a few days ago. He was being charged for child trafficking. His older daughter along with the sisters mother had come to tell Pastor Chantha and Bunthan what was happening. I am struck by the fact that people in this community see The Sanctuary as a place of refuge. It truly is a 'hub of activity' in this place and whether the person has done wrong or right, their family members come seeking help, seeking comfort and seeking direction. In this situation, Pastor Chantha cannot do anything to help this family for the father of Lim and Paulie indeed has done something wrong. Not only had he trafficked his girls but it appears that he had recently trafficked another little girl---at least that is what is being alleged by the police. They noticed that he had a new motorbike and in their eyes, that provided sufficient evidence to haul him in for questioning. Unless the family has money to pay a 'bribe' to the police, he will be held in jail for 6 months awaiting his trial. In Svay Pak, like many other areas in Cambodia, every one knows every one's business and every one is watching everyone else and reporting what they noticed. This reminds me of the time during the Khmer Rouge era where families reported on each other or the young men known as Chlops would report to the Khmer Rouge officials what was going on in the communes. In some ways, we are seeing the modern day version of this in Svay Pak and it has its advantages especially if you are trying to track down traffickers and pedophiles. It can also work the other way, where some people will tip off the brothel owners if there is a raid pending.

As the afternoon progressed the story of Lim and Paulie's father became much more clearer to me. About 11 months ago a little girl about 6 years old was rescued from Svay Pak and taken to the Newsong centre. She used to live with relatives in Svay Pak after her mother left her. Unfortunately this family would sell her for sex whenever they needed money and would allow anyone to rape her whenever the felt like it. She was so mistreated that if there was any food left over after the family ate it, they would throw it on the floor and she would have to scramble and fight the dogs to get anything. Today 'Sparky' is safe and is thriving at the Newsong centre. She can eat whatever she wants and through the staff, she is discovering how much God loves her and values her. She has a new life with a 'new' spark in her quite different from the somber, sad little girl that was first noticed in Svay Pak. Sadly, the family she lived with is none other than Lim and Paulie's family. God not only wants to redeem the life of Sparky but He wants to redeem this family. Paulie is the only believer in her family and is a gifted leader. She has the potential to influence many for God, but as you can see, she comes from an extremely disfunctional family. Pray for God to direct her paths and preserve her that she will one day testify of His transforming power not only in her own life but perhaps in her family's life.

Well another 30 minutes past and an 'old chicken' arrived in town. This is the term the team uses to describe the pedophiles they have seen who are once again visiting Svay Pak. This guy didn't stay too long but no sooner had he left, another hour past and we saw our first Asian sex tourist come walking into town. I'm told that some of them are so bold they will go house to house using their finger to describe what they want since they cannot communicate in English or Khmer. I ended up standing outside of The Sanctuary with some of the students and stared him down as he walked by to head out of the main street. Every few minutes he would turn around and look at us and we at him. So as the weekend begins, the 'chicken's are coming out or as I said to Chantha today, the 'ants' are coming out of the cupboard. They will come and hangout at the so called restaurants or coffee shops waiting to prey on the innocent. Pray that the Lord will continue to expose all the deeds done in the darkness and that He will contend with these who would seek to perpetuate these atrocities. I think its that time again to pray those impercatory psalms.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Lisa, I pray for Paulie to have the anointing of Rahab.

    What could possibly have moved this prostitute of Jericho to conceal the Israelite spies, lie to the king's messenger, betray her countrymen? She said to the spies, "I know that the Lord has given this land to you. ... We have heard how the Lord dried up the waters of the Red Sea ... for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below."

    Rahab's allegiance was to God above all else. Lord, I thank You for Paulie, whose allegiance is to You above all else. And just as Rahab was able to save her family, I pray for this family of Paulie's, that You will work a miracle and turn this family from their corruption and dysfunctionality into red-hot sold-out-for-Jesus believers who will be a blessing to their neighbourhood and their city. Nothing is impossible with You.

    I thank You that Rahab is included in the geneology of our Lord. There is no limit to Your redeeming power, Jesus. I pray for a scarlet ribbon for Paulie's family, that they would understand and fall on their faces in gratitude that Your blood makes the way for them.

    And as I pray and meditate on Your amazing work in the life of Rahab the Jericho prostitute, I think of another Jerichoan whom You redeemed from a life of preying on others. Just as the sinners and prostitutes and tax collectors and outcasts clustered around you, Jesus, I pray that even these "old chickens" would be drawn to You - that they would climb trees like Zacchaeus to see what's going on at the Sanctuary, that their hearts would be changed, that they would make reparation for all their evil deeds. For You come to seek and to save what is lost, not only the victims, but the perpetrators, too. I pray that in the depths of their hearts they will come face to face with the emptiness and viciousness of their lives and they, like Zacchaeus, will want to see YOU.

    And Lord, until that day, I pray that any evil schemes of theirs would be frustrated and come to no avail, that their evil intentions would shrivel up and dry up and be blown away by the breath of Your Spirit.

    I thank You so much that the Sanctuary has become and is known to be a place where people come seeking help, direction and comfort. I pray for wisdom surpassing that of Solomon, for the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, for the shrewdness of serpents and the innocence of doves, for Lisa and Pastor Chantha and Buntan and all who labour in Your service there as they serve and help and pray for all those who come to them.

    Thank You, Lord Jesus. Amen.