A green and yellow 25-seater bus. Rice three times a day. Bamboo huts and plastic chairs. Gummy bear vitamins sandwiching albendazole tablets. Tuberculosis patients. Tuk tuk rides. Finding oatmeal cookies in a tiny mart on a muddy street. Three different guest houses in four days. Hand-washing laundry in a sink the size of a juice jug.
Put it all together, and what do you have?
Oh, just another week of outreach.
(All packed up! My trusty backpacks are getting a lot of use lately as we are moving a lot these days, typically every two or three nights we travel to a different part of Cambodia. Tiring, but so neat to see different parts of the country!)
Our week saw us travelling first to the south west of Cambodia to several different villages, running clinics and learning from two local men about their ministries and their dreams for the villages they live in. I was blessed to meet some incredible people, including patients, translators, contact people, and even a fellow Canadian who works with YWAM and actually knows some people from Fort St. John. So cool. :)
One of our contacts was a young man who was a tuk tuk driver in Phnom Penh, saving for his future with one tuk tuk ride at a time, when he drove for some mission teams and started asking them questions with his limited English. They taught him some English, introduced him to Jesus, and got him connected with a church. Nobody in his family had ever been a Christian, and he was curious as to why these foreigners would come to another country to serve Cambodians.
Fast-forward six years.
Over time, that young man became a Christian, sold his tuk tuk to pay for a YWAM DTS, moved back to his village, started a school for local kids, and began to pour his life out for his family, his village, and the Lord.
Within a year of starting his ministry and school, 25 people in his community became believers.
Since then, he has built two churches, an even bigger school, a group home for boys, a coconut oil business for community members to work in, and has plans for a mercy clinic and university in the village as well. So many people in his family are believers, and they have been so blessed and prosperous.
All because of one man’s curiosity and subsequent obedience to the call of God.
He has an amazing story, and it was such a blessing to spend time with him and his family this week, and run clinics at two villages he works in, to bless the people there and provide some sort of basic health services that they otherwise have to travel hours to access.
(Me and that young man’s grandmother – and in the background, one of the huts we ran our clinic in. She literally glowed with joy. When our team pulled up to her place to run a clinic, she met us at the van door with huge hugs and a big smile, and never stopped grinning at us the whole morning. Even though she didn’t speak a word of English, communicating with my limited Khmer taught me that she was so sweet and had such a lovely heart.)
(The view from one of the villages we visited. Ahh, mountains. How I have missed you. :) All that was missing was a cow or two to have the stereotypical “Cambodia” photo.)
This week we also began a new chapter of outreach, ministry with a fellow named Phillip, a Korean man who with his wife Grace pastors a church and runs a sort of group home in Phnom Penh for young Cambodians from faraway villages to come and stay while studying university.
We’ll be travelling all around Cambodia with Phillip quite a bit over the next two weeks, travelling to the villages of his students! It’s so neat to get to know the students (studying medicine, midwifery, nursing, and seminary/bible teaching), and then get to see their roots and meet their families.
For more information about our ministry here, check out our team’s update here ( Outreach Update Week 6 ) as it contains more photos and information about our adventures in Cambodia!
(The view out the back of our tuk tuk of the traffic congestion in Phnom Penh. It’s definitely a good place to hold tight onto your bag, and to look both ways a few times before crossing the street!)
It’s hard to believe that there are only two weeks left in this beautiful country; our time here has just flown!
Praise God with me for an incredible burst of energy, enthusiasm, and joy this week! Somebody out there must be praying for that for me, so thank you. It made a huge difference in my ministry and in my heart. :)
Please pray for me to finish the race well (2 Timothy 4:7) and to keep my eyes and my faith fixed on Jesus as outreach starts to come to a close.
Thanks so much for your encouragement and your prayers! Looking forward to hearing from you. :)
(Welcome to outreach in Cambodia, “elephant pants” and Mekong River and all. :) )