'Srey M' is one of the 8 year olds that comes to the Kids club and the summer school at The Sanctuary. She is also one of the favorites of the 'chickens' and so some times we see her and other times we don't. She is one of my 'new' little friends in the community and loves to get my attention with her antics. She will holler my name, run up and give me a hug and then as quickly as she came, she will disappear into the crowd of 'little ones'. Her mother sold her quite frequently and despite her age, Pastor Chantha has had to take her a few times to the hospital as she has many STDs. You would never know that by looking at her as she seems like any happy go lucky child, but after her mother fled to Vietnam because the police were looking to arrest her, 'Srey M' was left with her grandmother. Sadly, the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree, for her grandmother also has been selling her. When I look at 'Srey M', I still find it hard to comprehend how these kids cope with what is being done to them, yet I have heard of a term called 'disassociation' where kids who have experienced abuse are able to separate certain mental events (thoughts & beliefs) from conscious awareness. It is a coping or defense mechanism where they are able to disengage from the traumatic events. We think this is what 'Srey M' and many of the girls here must deal with for to see them is to think they are like any other school kid, laughing and playing and having fun, yet unlike healthy little kids, there is a hidden side to their personality---one that is being crushed and broken at the most sacred levels. Pastor Chantha would love to have 'Srey M' go to the Newsong centre but because she is a 'financial cash cow' for her grandmother, the chances of her going to Newsong are slim. So we pray and ask God to do the impossible---in the visible reality, 'Srey M's situation may seem hopeless and it is easy for us to feel powerless, but in the invisible reality in which the Lord is asking us to live in, we are asked to intercede for these lost, little sheep so that one day they will have the opportunity to be set free from their life of bondage and discover instead a future where they can be a 'whole' person in Christ as He heals and restores the shattered pieces of their lives.
Well it was just after 4pm when Ratanak and I were jamming on the guitar that one of our teenage boys came in to tell us a 'chicken' had arrived in town and so we decided to go take a walk and check him out. We bumped right into him as he was driving his motorcycle out of the main street and I recognized him from a picture I had taken just last week. He is one of the regulars in this place and I was curious as to why his stay was so brief. Ratanak said some times the 'chickens' will visit to just give the money to the family of the girl and she will later be delivered to the hotel of the chicken during the night---this is the business of child sex slavery where children are being served up like an entree at night!
As I started this blog this evening, I got a call from Ratanak asking if I would pray as an Australian chicken had come by Svay Pak and approached him to see if he could help him find a girl and he would pay him. Ratanak said to him, 'I like you so I want to tell you the truth--- if you take a girl the police will arrest you and you will go to jail. The man thanked him and left. Ratanak's prayer request: pray for the man that God will bring conviction on this man's heart, pray for the girls in Svay Pak this weekend---every weekend is a busy time in Svay Pak--pray that God will protect all the children and that those who would seek to do evil will be frustrated in their plans.