For further updates on the Cambodia trip try : https://www.facebook.com/pages/RAC-Cambodia-2011/198191140213886 I'll try to update here on www.rocklandchurch.ca as well.
See my "summer Vacation" Essay for a reflection on the trip. I still haven't completed the transfer of my "diary" of the trip to this article.
Day one, travel. My browsers on this Galaxy phone can't handle the website's richtext editor, so I'm resorting to typing in the html source. Don't expect any fancy formatting! Also, I'll write up day one later, when I have an actual keyboard under my fingers
Day Two, Initial Impressions.
What do we Christians mean by God filling a place, except 'Thy will be done?' That is to say a place is filled with God when His will is being done in that place. Yet we often speak about it physically, as though God were not already here. And what do we mean by 'Thy will be done' except that his love be known and enacted by his creatures? (unless we imagine that God needs to be told to do his own will!) So God fills a place when His people are doing His will: loving their neighbour, glorifying Christ.
Saturday, July 16, 4:00am Jonah 4:11 Since we arrived after dark on friday, emerging from the airport just before 8, our view of the city is of the night life, passing crowded patios, endless Ankhor Beer signs, and women apparently waiting to be picked up. It is hard not to be struck by thought that it looks a lot like the rundown part of a north american city, and maybe that is the part of the city we're in.
As I pray about God's work here I'm pondering what difference it makes when the love of God for each person is proclaimed in the society. What a huge difference it makes when the DNA of a culture is infused with this truth. To make God's love evident in daily interactions is to fill, and be filled with the Spirit of God. So, as I pray I realize that I didn't ask the bellman's name. Each person that I meet is loved by God, and our mission is to live in that reality, not just as we teach and worship but as we shop, ride elevators, and drive through town. How's your mission going today in Rockland?
Saturday July 16, 8:pm: It's been a day for settling in, adjusting to the time change and acclimatizing, in short, a day of being a tourist. We went to the Tum Nup Tek Evangelical Church for a breakfast of rice porridge: as long as you think of it as a lunch rather than a breakfast it is really quite good. Cambodia's one claim to fame is it's pepper, which a French king preferred above all other pepper. Rice porridge topped with bean sprouts, chives and black pepper makes a suprisingly nice start to the day.
We went to the New Market next, haggled poorly, and then went to the genocide museum after lunch. The grim reminder of Pol Pot's mad and cruel reign in which nearly a quarter of Cambodia died (1.7 miilion wiped out to create a classless communist paradise... hmmm.) Excuse me for saying it, but I don't think any world religion has ever approached the legacy of 20th century secular ideology's thirst for blood. Religion has caused suffering, even Christian churches, but nothing on the scale of Hitler, Stalin and the Khymer Rouge. Cambodia is a country in need of deep healing, and though the Genocide museum is poorly organized and maintained, its subject speaks very clearly anyway.
It's very good to get to know our team better, and to be meeting the other teams that will be contributing over the next week. Teams from Toledo Ohio, Vancouber BC, Minnesota, and a couple other individuals are all going to work to support the mission of our Cambodian Christian brothers and sisters.
As this day ends, my thoughts are on the people of Phnom Penh whom I have been encountering today. How many of these retailers, beggars, workers and prostitutes suffered specific deficits because their parents, grandparents, and other family, did not survive Pol Pot's rule? What will it take for this country to heal? I believe that the love and support we show here will make a difference - I'd love to see miracles, but I know that even with miracles the healling will take the involvement and cooperation of Christians from around the world. Even then it will be through sustained faithfulness of team after team, Pastor after pastor, and witness after witness to ensure that Cambodians get a shot at a much better future than the past they have known. For tonight, that's all I can write - still fighting the cold, and while jet lag has not been too bad, I think a goodnight's sleep is in order! Have you asked God to show you the hurting in Rockland that you can bring God's healing Love into?
Day six: finding time to update has been difficult, we are very focused on the teaching and activities with students through the day, and team events in the evening. Then there's falling into bed exhausted! I regret not getting a netbook or something before I left. Long story short I might not get a full account up here before I get home. But keep checking in, cause you never know.