Cambodia is a beautiful country with a heart wrenching history and yet an extraordinarily resilient people.
The story doesn’t stop there— it never does when God is the author of our stories. Scripture tells us over and over again of Jesus, the Redeemer, our Rescuer; He reaches deep into the plots and turns of our life and brings hope, life, redemption and purpose. To redeem something or someone is “to buy back or bring back to its original purpose”. The story that Jesus is weaving in Cambodia is a powerful one. To understand the great need for redemption in this beautiful land, a little back story is important.
I remember 9 years ago when I first stepped foot in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and was in a sort of shock as I learned gruesome details concerning the Khmer Rouge, led by Pol Pot. Here is my brief, non-historian (!!), synopsis of this tragedy that took place in the 1970’s but wreaked havoc for decades later. Feel free to research on your own, but this is what I’ve gathered from seven previous trips to Cambodia, reading books, and speaking to locals.
Towards the end of the Vietnam War, Southeast Asia, like much of the world was fearful and there were many unknowns of the war happening just across the border and some of its collateral effects occurring in Cambodia itself. Pol Pot and other regime leaders used this fear as the tool to start a massive genocide systematically killing anyone who was educated, owned a business, was elderly, wore glasses, etc. Just outside Phnom Penh city, there are the “killing fields” — literally fields of mass graves where men, women and children were taken to be killed.
The scene shook me to my core when I first stepped foot on a rainy day in October of 2009, as rain fell and dirt turned to mud, literal fragments of bone and teeth rose to the surface. The city that was once hailed as “the Paris of Asia”, was left desolate and in many ways forced to start over.
Freedom’s Promise collaborates with some incredible mission partners that have risen up to bring not only redevelopment to the country but the hope of Jesus! From high poverty areas on the cities edge, to rural villages that have one road in, the hope of Christ and change is palpable.
As our amazing team of Cambodians, Americans, and Canadians embark on the next several days of short term mission work and partnership, the ministry focus is intentional. Children’s ministry through play and VBS, Healing ministry through health clinics, health teachings, and prayer, and the “ministry of presence” to be used how God desires.
Over the years, my eyes have seen Him do amazing things! He has delivered people from hurt, pain, and sin. He has healed people both through medicine and through power of the Holy Spirit. As a nurse practitioner, I think I feel most alive when using gifts in service and I’m so excited to be heading back to this beloved place!
Please continue to keep our team and the people of Cambodia in your prayers. Pray for full redemption. Pray for the hurting to be made whole. Pray His kingdom come on earth as in heaven.