Asia / Church Partnership / Mission Trips

Hands-on Ministry: Cambodia Volunteer Team Day 4

Our Lutheran Hour Ministries International Volunteer Team from St. Paul Lutheran Church, Mt. Prospect, Ill., continues the journal of their trip to participate in the ministry of our Cambodia ministry center.

Farming in Cambodian grassland. Source: Creative Commons.

Farming in Cambodian grassland. Source: Creative Commons.

This morning we headed out to the village of Sro Gne—a very rural farm area. The leader of the village (mayor) and his wife invited LHM and their traveling puppet show to their house to evangelize in the area. Both children and adults love the puppet show about the Prodigal Son. We were asked to sing a song for the children so we picked “God Is So Good”—and to our surprise the children already knew it in English and sang along. We added actions and they quickly joined in.

We passed out the rest of our witness bracelets (made by our grade school children). To show their gratitude, each child bowed with their hands raised as if praying—the Cambodian way to say thank you. In all, we handed out about 300 bracelets these last two days. We also gave the children some licorice that we brought from home. They weren’t sure what it was at first but by their smiles we knew they enjoyed it.

After lunch (yes, we eat a lot!), we returned to the building site. The supports were completed by the local contractors. So our task today was to carry rocks in baskets, buckets, or by hand (whatever was available) and lay them in a single layer on top of the foundation of soil we laid yesterday. After pounding the rocks to make them level, water was added to help settle the soil. We then were asked to carry buckets of cement to the contractors who would pour it into the hollow wooden supports. Our team instinctively formed a “bucket line” which apparently is not a common way to work here! Our Cambodian friends laughed when they saw us swinging buckets from one person to the next person and snapped photos of us at work. But our team work approach worked well and was a great example of the rhythm of team spirit that has come naturally to our group!! Another gift our Lord has given us!

Our construction foreman is 84 years old. It is obvious that he is proud of his age as, through the translator, he has told each of us many times. He has a right to feel this way, as the life expectancy here is 50! Not only that, most people of his generation did not survive Pol Pot’s genocide of his people. The lack of “seniors” in this country is overwhelmingly obvious. But the term “young at heart” is well suited for him. We shared a packet of Crystal light with him and he giggled with eyes extremely wide and immediately poured it into his water bottle, shaking it with the excitement of a child.

Our devotions tonight were about how we shouldn’t worry, but trust that God will provide. He certainly provided us with strength to carry the rocks and bricks; he provided the shade trees to give us a respite from the sun; he provided us with fresh fruit picked right from those shade trees. But best of all, he provided us with our new Cambodian friends who are taking such wonderful care of us.

Thank you all for your prayers. We feel them strongly!

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