Chantha & Bunthan with 3 ladies from a church in Kampong Chnnang
This morning started off fairly quiet in Svay Pak with my usual guitar class routine but after lunch three ladies from Kampong Chnnang province had come by to visit Pastor Chantha and Bunthan. They have previously visited as they heard about the ministries in Svay Pak and had come again today to chat some more. Their church is without a pastor and they are wanting to learn more about the kids club that happens at The Sanctuary. It seems they have approximately 500 kids that they minister to and as their church has no 'shepherd' they were asking Chantha if he could help them. It's amazing how word gets out about Svay Pak! I asked them if they knew Pastor Sok & Savy Em---these are Cambodian missionaries from my church in Toronto who oversee the Tahas Bible Institute in Kampong Chnnang but they hadn't heard about him. Their church is located 30kms from Svay Pak so its not near. I was asking Pastor Chantha how he would go about ministering to them if God opened the door. His vision is to train up someone from here in Svay Pak to ultimately become the pastor there. He would oversee and visit the church once in a while and perhaps some of his students from Svay Pak could help with setting up a kids club at that location. However, there is much to pray about. For this door to be opened there is a need for transportation via a van or car to take the 'outreach team' there. Pastor Chantha's heart is ultimately to empower his students here to take over but in the interim he would likely be preaching there as well. We spent time praying with the 3 church members asking God to make a way where there seems to be no way. He knows their needs and as scripture reminds us that the eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him (2 Chronicals 16:9), we trust that He will strengthen and encourage these believers in Kampong Chnnang as they are seeking first His kingdom. Who could ever imagine that Svay Pak could potentially have a daughter church in another province but with each day here, God never ceases to amaze me with the 'new' things He is doing in and through the people who serve in The Sanctuary.
People waiting for the medical clinic to start
In the afternoon the medical clinic was packed with more new people. However it seemed that some people wanted to jump the queue. Some were wanting to pay some money (a bribe) in order to be first in line so that they wouldn't have to wait the whole afternoon for their turn. This is very Cambodian and is a way of life here. However, Bunthan would have none of it---in fact, she is one person you don't want to mess with as we have seen her lecture patients. Today, she was annoyed that people were trying to jump the queue and she began to speak very sternly to the entire crowd telling them that this is God's house and we treat everyone fairly. It's first come first serve and no one has an advantage. She went on to say that no money will ever be accepted and if people didn't want to wait for their turn then they could leave. There was a hush over the crowd. Of course no one left.
Pastor Chantha sharing the gospel
At that point, Pastor Chantha took the opportunity to share the gospel given that he had a captive audience and then the Passion of Christ DVD was played.
The Vietnamese Trafficker in the purple outfit
As I was helping out at the clinic, a Vietnamese trafficker that I had prayed over last week was back again. She comes to church here every Sunday but according to Bunthan she is always very difficult. You may recall she's the one I mentioned that would not look me straight in the eye when I was praying over her. Today she was once again her fiesty self pointing to medicines that she wanted. We were trying to get her to sit down when Bunthan yelled at her and that was enough to keep her quiet as we were able to diagnose the correct medicine to give to her. I took the opportunity again to pray over her asking God to do a miracle in her heart, to bind the demonic forces that were controlling her, to open her eyes and to prevent her from selling any more kids.
Well the clinic ended and a young lady with her 2 year old baby was sitting talking to Pastor Chantha. Her's is a sad story as we believe her husband died of AIDS. She didn't openly say that but just said he died suddenly of a disease. This is a very common way of sharing here as people are too embarrassed to share the real reason. Bridget Brewster was telling me of a story a while back where a girl came in to the clinic with pnemonia asking for medicines and a few days later died suddenly. They found out later that she was on the last leg as she was really dying of AIDS but did not tell anyone. The woman before us and her daughter appear to both have AIDS. She was sobbing and her little 2 year old daughter looked emaciated like one of those kids you would see in a concentration camp. As I was looking at her, her big eyes had no life. It was a blank stare and unlike other kids who would smile if you smile at them, this little girl was so stoic. She was expressionless. I looked down at her little arms and could see that she had all sorts of rashes and sores. Her mother also has the same problem and wants to give up her daughter as she cannot take care of her. We called Sokhan who is the Director of Place of Rescue that Marie Ens oversees. Sokhan will come tomorrow morning to talk to the mother and child and will likely take the little girl to Place of Rescue. We tried encouraging the mother that she could go with her daughter to Place of Rescue but at this point she doesn't want to go. I have to say seeing this little girl brought tears to my eyes. She seemed so sad, with no joy. It's as if she knew that something was not right with her body and that the end might be near. She reminded me of another little girl I had met in 2000 at Hagar Cambodia who also was affected with HIV. I got out my anointing oil, signed her with seal of the cross and just started praying over her, asking the Lord to do a miracle in her life. I know of other kids who have lived with HIV---one of them is Theary who is similar to the age of the little one I met today and even now at 7 years old Theary is thriving with the anti-retroviral drugs at Place of Rescue so I prayed that God would do the impossible for this little one whose life seems to be slowly slipping away.
I am thankful that Jesus is the only One who can breathe new life where there is no life, and through His resurrection power can restore this little girl. I am thankful for Marie, Sokhan and Place of Rescue for they seek to give dignity to those who are in the valley of the shadow of death. They provide a place of refuge, a place of peace and a place of comfort for these special ones whose lives hang on a thread.