Monday, January 24, 2011

Ratanak Vision Trip Team in Cambodia from January 21 to February 2nd.

A Ratanak Vision Trip Team is in Cambodia from January 21 to February 2nd. The team is made of up of several folks from Cambridge and Toronto, Ontario and Vancouver who volunteer and are involved in supporting Ratanak in a variety of ways on the homeside. The team is led by Beth & Stephen Lauer, Stragegic Operational Mangers for Ratanak.  The team is visiting several Ratanak funded projects over the next few days so that they can gain a greater understanding of how to assist in public awareness, fundraising events and prayer ministry for Ratanak International. We are thankful for their support. Below are blogs from some of the team members.

TEAM MEMBER: Linda Ruth Ciglen (January 24, 2011)

Cambodia feels so familiar - because I have been praying for it for three years? It actually looks a lot like the Dominican Republic, where I was on a mission trip last February! Tropical foliage, stucco'd buildings behind fancy gates, shops right on the street, chickens and barefoot children wandering around, lots of motorbikes piled with people and loads, same crazy driving and no collisions ... except that the people are Asian rather than Dominican or Haitian, it could be the DR. I feel very much at home here.

So far we have spent some time getting oriented to Cambodia's history, especially the trauma of the Pol Pot genocide. We went to the notorious Tuol Sleng prison in Phnom Penh and to the Killing Fields. At both places we had English-speaking guides to take us around. Both guides had lived through the genocide. Our guide at the prison was 8 years old at the time. She, her mother and one sister were able to escape over the border to Vietnam. Her dada and the rest of her family were killed. Our guide at the Killing Fields was 17 years old at the time. Both his parents were killed, as well as some siblings. He was able to escape. Please pray for these two people and the rest of the Cambodian people who are survivors, that God would restore the years that the locust has eaten and would gently uproot any bitterness that has taken root in them, and give them His peace - that they would come to know Him and be restored and redeemed by Him.

We also saw the Royal Palace. I had a hard time here. It's full of frozen wealth - gold, silver, diamonds, emeralds, a lot of it in the form of idols (buddhas). I have a hard time seeing this ostentatious display and thinking about how it could be turned to living resources to help the people.

However, the true treasures of Cambodia were at the church service in Svay Pak we attended. Church runs from 7:30 AM to 10 AM - I think because it's the cooler part of the day. The service was led by the young adult leaders - the associate pastor (a young man) and the young woman leader. I have been praying for these two young people and others of Pastor Chantha's disciples for over a year, so it was an incredible blessing to meet them in person. The joy of the Lord radiates out from them. Listening to the Khmer language during the service - I can understand Jesus' name, not much else, but it didn't matter. It's like listening to prayer in tongues or singing in tongues, my spirit responds even if my mind doesn't understand. Pastor Chantha preached from John 6, so I could follow along in my Bible, and he had several people sit near us to translate, so we got the gist. We had communion together - such sweetness in sharing the Lord's table together!

Meeting my hero Pastor Chantha in person, wow! The light of Christ shines out from him. The church was packed at 7:30 in the morning. The cell group leaders were introduced - a new set of seven or eight people, both men and women, to pray for, who are leading the during the week Bible studies. A young man, very fashionable, who I could so easily see in a different lifestyle had he not been touched by Jesus, got up to sing a song very well. I could only understand the hallelujahs, but it was wonderful! One of the house mothers from the New Song centre (where the youngest rescued girls are sheltered, protected and treated) came with her husband and three of the New Song girls - two of them (very young still) had been trafficked in Svay Pak - such courage to return!

After church, I also got to meet a young girl for whom I've been praying for a long time, to keep her safe from being trafficked. God has answered those prayers, as she is still safe! She is so beautiful! She gave me a hug. I cannot tell you the mix of emotions that came over me to actually have my arms around her, whom I have carried in my heart and prayed for for so long.
Today we are going to the Daughters of Cambodia project and will be spending the entire day there. This ministry works with older girls who have been in the sex industry in order to support their families (parents and siblings) but who want to get out. Daughters gives them schooling, training in business skills and a trade (sewing, jewellry-making, cooking and catering, that sort of thing) and support to exit and set up their own business. Please pray for this ministry and for the girls. 

TEAM MEMBER: Jessika Mak (January 20, 2011)- Blog Title: This One Man

My first stretch of flight from Toronto to Taipei, there was one man on the aisle seat, sitting next to myself and my team mate, as I sat in the middle. This man has this smoking bad breath carried with him, breathing out an awful stench and starting to get across to my nose. He moved and shuffled himself a lot. I needed to readjust my sitting position so that he won’t have his blanket pushed across to my side.  I was on guard and couldn’t fell asleep.

At last my team mate, LR, had a chance talking to him, finding out that he was heading to Cambodia, like we were, and said he was going to Cambodia working for a NGO.  Right off the bet I was very alarmed and got very antsy as the conversation went. As soon as our conversation landed on the reason why we and the rest of the team came to Cambodia was to be with vulnerable children who are at risk of being sold as child sex slaves. He immediately dismissed that child sex slavery is not as serious as malaria and dengue fever. He then also dismissed that Cambodian parents would not sell their children for sex. My alarming system totally got out of whack as he spoke and muttered quiet words under his breath about how long he is going to stay and the uncertainties of how long. The profile and his intention of going to Cambodia started to surface in my mind.

I started to pray and commanded that anything that is from the darkness be immediately bound and fled in the powerful name of Jesus. Any form of darkness that is creeping to my skin and spirit, I asked in the powerful name of Jesus, to be immediately stripped of its scheme and action and that we all be covered in the blood of the Lamb.  Any demonic force, Flee away!!

I will never forget about his stench coming out from his breath and his shirt, the body odor rising up every time he moved and shuffled. I held my breathe and prayed. After a while, as I excused myself to go to washroom. I came back, he was not in his seat, and I didn’t see him coming back to his seat for the entire flight journey.This is my first encounter of a potential sex tourist.

Father God, I pray for your protection as all these sex tourists flew from all over the world to do such evil thing with such intention in such a time. Father God, I pray you will stumble their way, mess up their plan, make them sick and ill so that their evil plan would not be perfected. I pray that as they come to satisfy themselves with such a distorted view of sexuality, they will know that the only way that can truly satisfy the void is to come to our Lord Christ Jesus. For He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

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