These past couple of days my back has been hurting. I think it has to do with the fact that I am sitting for long periods of time but I also believe it is a bit of a spiritual attack. So today I decided that I would spend more time standing and walking around to stretch out the back. When I arrived in Svay Pak, Sakhon from Place of Rescue was just leaving. She had met with Pastor Chantha, the mother and the baby who had AIDS. For now, they have asked the mother to take a bit more time to think about her decision although she still wants to give the baby up. So we'll see. Tomorrow Chantha, Bunthan and I will go to visit Place of Rescue so that Chantha can be able to see the ministry there.
Poster on a building warning about trafficking
Since I wanted to do a bit more walking today, Siny and I decided to just wander around some of the side streets of Svay Pak. We saw some old buildings that had posters in Vietnamese talking about how to recognize a trafficker and to warn parents to not sell their kids. Unfortunately its not really a deterrent.
Two female traffickers relaxing
For as we were walking toward the end of the street, Siny pointed out two female traffickers sitting and chatting. I was trying to figure out how to get a picture of them without them being suspicious so we had Pastor Chantha's 8 year old niece pose near them but they were onto us and cover their faces with their hats. It's funny how they know that we know what they are up to and their reaction to hide their faces is just another example of how those who live in the 'darkness' like to hide from the truth.
Old man who was partially healed from a stroke
Anyway after that little experience, we headed back to The Sanctuary and then after lunch Pastor Chantha took me for a walk to show me the other side of the village that is located on the Tonle Sap river. One of the first people we met was an old man who the church had been praying for as he had a stroke on the right side. God healed him partially and his face is no longer twisted to the same degree as before and he can lift his right hand up mid air. I took the opportunity to pray for him for God to do another miracle and to completely heal him.
Rows of Vietnamese homes - Trafficking Alley
From there we went on our walk passing some of the homes of Pastor Chantha's students and we ended up on a small street or alley where there were tons of houses that were located right next to the Tonle Sap river. The majority of the people who live here are predominantly Vietnamese but it is also a place where many trafficked girls from Vietnam come. I suppose one could call this area the 'trafficking central'. Everyone is focusing on Svay Pak, but I'm told this is where all the action really is. It is easy to see why, as the traffickers can bring the girls in boats from Vietnam and hide them here without anyone noticing. The people in this community are on the 'take' and so foreign pedophiles come here quite frequently in the evening to arrange a deal. One of Pastor Chantha's church members who lives in this area used to be a trafficker and since she became a believer she has been a key person in providing info on what happens here. However she has to keep a low profile as no doubt she would be a target for retaliation.
One of the people we went to visit was a lady called Roat. A few months ago her 9 year old daughter was raped by the next door neighbor---a 17 year old boy whose uncle is the priest in the Svay Pak Catholic church down the street from The Sanctuary. Roat's daughter 'SK' is now safely at the Newsong centre and apparently is doing quite well despite the horrible ordeal she went through. The 17 year old was arrested and is in jail but his family was not too pleased with this and so they began to harass SK's mother by first thrashing and destroying her home, stealing her pots and pans and then one of the 17 year old's relatives tried to kill her 10 year old son. But God is on the side of the widow and those who stand on the side of truth.
Roat's 10 year old son
Roat's house rebuilt by Chab Dai
One of Ratanak's partners Chab Dai heard about what had happened to Roat's house and they provided the funds to have her home rebuilt. An older man in the community came to her aid and helped her rebuild her home. Today I prayed over her house and with her and her son asking God to protect them and to bind the spirit of harassment and intimidation and to put a wall of fire around her home so that no one or nothing evil will be able to hurt her or create more fear. I prayed that He would send His holy angels to surround her and that just as the mountains surrounded Jerusalem so too He would watch over here. I also prayed that God would bring conviction upon the next door neighbors who have such hostility against her and that He would thwart any plan of theirs to further hurt or harass her. Pastor Chantha has gained much favor with the village chief in this particular community and so the village chief apparently has warned the 17 year old's family that if they persist in their hostile ways he will report them to the police and have them arrested.
Wooden shack where a 9 year old girl was raped
We left Roat's house and continued our walk bumping into some of the kids who come to the school and kids club at The Sanctuary. Pastor Chantha then showed me a wooden shack at the end of the street. It's empty but its a place where a 14 year old boy who used to go to the kids club raped a 9 year old girl about 2 months ago. The 14 year old is now in jail but the girl's parents did not want to send their daughter to the Newsong centre and have chosen to keep her home as they didn't want people to know what had happened to her. I can only imagine the trauma that little girl has experienced and it is sad that her parents are perpetuating that trauma by preventing her from going to a place where she can begin to heal. Pray for her that God would touch her broken heart and broken body and would somehow minister to her as she comes to terms with the violation against her body.
The 'alley' route to Hwy #5
After seeing the little wooden shack we turned a corner into a long alley way. This is the route that the foreign pedophiles take to visit this little community. One can certainly see why it provides a secure access for people to make a quick get a way without anyone noticing.
A new chicken
We headed back to the Sanctuary to relax and within 30 minutes our 4 young ex-pimping boys came running in asking for our cameras as a new chicken was in town. We sent them off to take pictures and then eventually Pastor Chantha and I decided to go and chat with him. He was sitting at one of the local restaurants so we went in and ordered a drink but he got up, paid his bill and left. We were left sitting there and at another table sat 3 female traffickers. Nonetheless, our young friends got a good frontal view of our latest chicken and it appears that he is on the 'watched list' so perhaps his days are numbered. So that was my day of walking!