Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Kabal Chai Waterfalls & The Ratanak T-shirt

Hanging out at the Kabal Chai Waterfall

Today we left Sihanoukville in the morning and went to Kabal Chai waterfalls which is not too far from the main strip in Sihanoukville. Unlike the 85 degree temperatures of the ocean, the temperature at the waterfall is about 70 degrees as it comes from the mountain. Your truly opted out of soaking in the waterfall as the temperatures felt a bit too 'cold' for my liking. I suppose I'm getting a bit 'soft' in my old age despite coming from Canada where the lake temperatures in the summer is normally around 70 degrees. Nonetheless, everyone else chose to jump right in with their full clothing bathing attire that is normal in Cambodia. It was another nice relaxing time before we headed back on our 4 hour drive to Svay Pak.
Pastor Chantha & Bunthan

It has been great to see both Chantha and Bunthan relaxing and thoroughly enjoying themselves on this mini break. I don't think I have ever seen them eat as much as they did as they are always serving others. They give off themselves so completely to the ministry in Svay Pak and do not have a lot of time to rest. Unlike our pastors in North America who usually take Mondays off or take some other day off from ministry, Pastor Chantha and Bunthan don't do that despite the Brewsters and myself encouraging them to do so. I think culturally we in North America are used to having 'rest' and wanting our 'space' to recalibrate our spirits but here in Cambodia, where the focus is more on community --- the boundaries are different(or at least they seem to be) and so it is a real challenge for them to take the time out for a break. They seem to be on call 24/7. It was encouraging to hear Pastor Chantha saying yesterday that he was not going to answer his cell phone while we were in Sihanoukville. So often, he will get calls at all hours of the day and night from people in Svay Pak who have a variety of needs. Do pray for this amazing couple, as they are on the frontlines, serving the community and the kids as well as the short term teams that come here. They wear many hats and do so cheerfully and willingly as they invest their time and energy in the people and the students. It is no wonder God has given them such favor in this community even with the traffickers. Today Chantha was telling me how one of the traffickers send his daughter to the school in the Sanctuary. Also one of his church members used to traffic a lot of the underaged girls but since she became a believer, she stopped despite the ongoing temptation to do so by her 'old trafficking' friends. Now, she is a key ally in the battle against trafficking.

Speaking of trafficking, one of the stories I didn't get a chance to share in yesterday's blog was how God used the 'Ratanak T-shirt'---or at least the words 'Not Forgotten: Child Sex Slaves' to bring conviction even to a man who was not doing anything wrong. Yesterday as I mentioned we were all wearing this t-shirt when we returned to our guest house. The students were all swimming in the pool with the t-shirt on and an older looking French gentleman came in the pool with a young looking Asian girl. After some time, he came by to where Chantha, Bunthan and I were to tell us that the girl that he was with was his adopted Vietnamese daughter. His wife was sitting poolside but he wanted to let us know about his daughter as he noticed that many of us were staring at him and given what was on the t-shirt he just wanted to make sure there was no misunderstanding. He began to ask us questions about what we do etc. All this to say, Pastor Chantha commented that this t-shirt is good to wear in Cambodia especially around the tourist areas and in Svay Pak. God can certainly use it to bring conviction or at least create discomfort to those who seek to destroy the lives of the young.

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