“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18 & 19 (NIV)
We are wrapping up our second week in Cambodia. It’s a bittersweet time. Physically, this was a tough trip. The heat, the humidity, the mosquitos, some dehydration and stomach problems, and a little bit of scabies followed us around the countryside. At the same time, so many things happened on this Cambodia Mission Trip that were totally new missions experiences for our team.
Crossing the bridge in Kratie Province last Thursday is moment that I will never forget for a few reasons: 1) One, the bridge itself reminded me of a bridge straight out of the Indiana Jones movie series. It was built using logs, planks of wood, and rope crudely lashed together. The first time we crossed it, our van driver wasn’t sure it could hold the weight of the van passangers, our supplies, and the van at the same time. So, some of us got out of the van and walked across to the other side, 2) Secondly, the bridge was the threshold to a brand new community development effort for Cambodian Care Ministries and we were the facilitators. In effect, when we crossed the bridge, we became modern-day apostles. No one in that village had ever seen an American before nor had they ever heard about Jesus. What we were about to do in that village would lay the foundation for community development and ministry partnership in that area for years to come.
Another bridge that we helped to build was a relationship bridge. On Tuesday of this week, we drove to another remote village three hours outside of Phnom Penh to assist She Rescue Home with a project.
She Rescue Home specializes in rehabilitating girls under 16 years of age who have been raped or sex trafficked. Young girls in their program spend up to 18 months in She Rescue Home’s group home while social workers not only work with them, but also work towards finding a way for them to return to living in community with extended family. In the photo above, our team helped to build a small home for a young girl’s grandmother. She Rescue Home plans to reintegrate the young girl into this new home with her grandmother soon.
Then on Wednesday, we rode in our vans to Takeo Province to visit our friends at Teen Challenge Cambodia to see the progress being made with the biogas digester system we helped build in Fall 2014.
I was overjoyed to find the biogas digester working at full capacity. The green toilet facility was working well too and draining properly into the biogas digester.
The new piggery looked fabulous inside and out. Before we had arrived that morning, Teen Challenge had sold 20 piglets at 25% higher than market value based on the healthiness of the pigs and the cleanliness of the piggery.
The condition of the entire Teen Challenge site was a testimony to the effectiveness and program sustainability biogas technology provides in rural settings.
As we prepare to leave Cambodia, I continue to be amazed at what God has allowed us to be apart of. I continue to be amazed by the beauty and the contrasts that Cambodia represents and I look forward to returning next year for more missions adventures.
Oh, did I mention that on this missions team was my dearest BFF for over twenty years, Gina Wicklas? It was her first mission trip! I will miss her so much when she returns to the Midwest.
God has been good to us. We are leaving feeling at peace with what we have been able to accomplish and establish.
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 (NKJV)