It was about 9:30 when I arrived in Svay Pak and sitting outside The Sanctuary was a handful of older women. I wondered what they were doing out there. It seems that many of them had come from other provinces. They had heard of the medical clinic in Svay Pak and had traveled long distances to get medical treatment. Some of these people had come from the provinces of Siem Reap (that's about a 5 to 6 hour car ride), Battambang (4 hours away), Prey Veng and Kampong Chan paying around $10 to $15 for their trip just to get free medicine. The staff here had asked them why they would spend that money since the medicine we are dispensing can be bought for considerably less than what they had paid for transport. Yet the word had gotten out about this little clinic that starts from 2pm and runs till 4pm on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and these folk had come so early to wait. Some of them had told the staff that the medicine their doctors had given them had not helped them but what they get from the clinic in Svay Pak did heal them . We may not be 'professional doctors' but God certainly has His hand and favor on this clinic.
Stopping a van to get its business phone number
Well no sooner had I arrived in Svay Pak, I was off again this morning back to Phnom Penh with Bunthan and Siny as we were going to the pharmacy store to pick up the medicines for the clinic. Enroute, I heard Siny (one of the student leaders) shouting to a mini-truck and they suddenly pulled over to the side of the road as our tuk-tuk stopped next to them. It seemed that she wanted to get their telephone number that was written on the side of the truck as they work for a telecom firm that sets up the internet. I can't imagine stopping a truck on one of our national highways back home to write their number down but here in Cambodia, people certainly operate on a more community level.
Picking up the medicines from the local pharmacy
We got to the pharmacy collected all our medicines and then headed to the local market called Orissey. This is where Cambodians usually shop. Just a couple of weeks ago, we got a pair of jeans for Bridget Brewster for US$3.00. Bunthan definetly knows how to shop for good deals. They asked if I wanted a pair but the thought of wearing tight jeans in 95 degree heat did not appeal to me. I need loose fitting clothing thank you! ;-) At any rate, we went to a particular stall that sells buttons and labels as the staff are looking to create a 'label' for the pillow cases made by the Newsong girls in Svay Pak.
By the time we got back to Svay Pak it was 12:30pm and the crowd had grown considerably more than when we left. People were vying for positions as they crowded around the 'in take' desk handled by one of Pastor Chantha's students.
Patients signing in for the medical clinic
Kids playing while they wait for the afternoon classes to start
In the midst of all this, the kids were starting to hang out on the ground floor waiting for school to start at 1pm. Some times you will find them sitting in circles playing a game with each other, while others are glued to the flat screen TV watching a show. It's so cute to see them all so eager to come to school way before the classes start. One would think the novelty would wear off after a few weeks but here, they wait just like the clinic patients and when its time for the classes they all charge up the stairs chasing one another into the 'hot' classrooms.
Some kids prefer to watch TV cartoons while waiting for the classes to start
As for the clinic, I continue to be in awe of how many people wait so patiently for many hours just to get access to the services in the clinic. We quickly had time to gobble down some food and decided to open up the clinic a bit earlier to accommodate the growing crowd. I actually am enjoying helping out at the clinic as you meet such a motley crew of people. As I scanned over to those who were there, I recognized a familiar face---one of the brothel owners from last week that I had prayed over---her face is like a bull dog---it really is---especially with her crew cut. I was so excited to see her and was hoping she could be one of my patients so I could pray again for her but she ended up being helped by one of the other Khmer colleagues.
Vichny - a teacher at the Newsong centre and my translator for today
Nonetheless, I did see many others, many of whom suffer from high blood pressure so we gave them medicine to control their pressure and also recommended they change their diet. One of the ladies I felt led to pray for and anoint was a 38 year old woman who has having bad headaches and stomach problems. It turns out that her husband while unemployed had an affair and left her and their young son for another woman. Since then she has been suffering quite a bit of stress thinking about her situation. Through my translator Vichny, one of the teachers at the Newsong Centre, I just encouraged her to give this burden over to Jesus and prayed that God would replace her anxiety by releasing His peace over her. I prayed that she would know how much she is loved by God and that despite the abandonment by her husband, she would experience her Heavenly Father's presence daily.
As I have spent time helping out at the medical clinic over these past few weeks, the real issues here seem to be more than physical, there really is a need for emotional and spiritual healing. It has been such a privilege to be able to pray for and pray over people trusting that the Lord will pour out His healing touch upon them and set them free from whether it is a physical, emotional or spiritual ailment. So as word gets out about this little clinic in Svay Pak, it is neat to know that people are coming here because of the good they are experiencing through the ministries at The Sanctuary. This is a small light that is starting to shine but we trust that God's light will shine even more brightly as He continues to transform hearts both near and far!