Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Making a Difference in Cambodia

Although we've been home from Cambodia for a few weeks, Cambodia has never left us! Here is an overview of Bayside's 2010 Cambodia Mission trip:

Agape International Mission, (AIM) headquartered in Phnom Penh Cambodia has two arms of ministry: 1) planting churches—led by Moses, a Cambodia Pastor who has birthed and oversees 800 churches, and 2) the rescue and restoration of young girls sold into sex slavery.
About six years ago, AIM led by Don and Bridget Brewster, a northern Californian couple, opened Agape Restoration Center (ARC), a home where about 60 girls who’ve been sold for sex now find safety, healing and Jesus. Then three years ago AIM began ministry in Svay Pak, a community 11km outside Phnom Penh. Svay Pak is known around the world as one of the hubs for the sex slavery of young children, starting as young as 5—who are sold by their parents for sex right out of their homes. Svay Pak is a violent, poor, oppressive place where children who are abused, abandoned and neglected live in constant fear.
But in the three years since AIM moved in, the hope, joy and love of Christ has begun to transform Svay Pak from the inside out.
AIM took a 5 story building destined to be one of the many brothels in town and turned it into a haven of safety and love, called Rahab’s House. A place once planned for harm has now become home to a free school for over 100 children, a church (that’s grown to 300-400 people), a free medical clinic that sees hundreds of people a week, an after-school kid’s club reaching 200 children a day, a community center offering computer classes for all ages, and a Lord’s gym that reaches the men of the community—some of whom are pimps, sexual perpetrators, gangsters and drug addicts.
For 2 weeks our Bayside team of 14 had the privilege of coming alongside AIM in Svay Pak in their various ministries: we helped in the gym; the medical clinic; the kid’s club; we taught computer classes to local teenagers; and conducted trauma education training for the 28 young people called Disciples who’ve recently come to know Jesus and now volunteer 40 hours a week at Rahab’s House. In addition we brought needed supplies as well as first aid and personal hygiene training to over 500 adults and children who work as slave laborers at 5 local brick factories, making barely enough to buy food to feed themselves.
When I went on my first mission trip, I wondered what kind of impact could we make in just two weeks? A great deal, I discovered.
• In addition to God impacting every one of our lives, were able to encourage and support the people of AIM who work tirelessly everyday—we were able to bring joy, love and laughter to the children who are trafficked every night, as well as love on their pimps, and comfort the sick and oppressed.
• We provided toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, soap, first aid kids, masks, sandals, and rice for over 500 people at the brick factories
• We helped supply the clinic with over $2000 in medical supplies and medicines
• We blessed the girls at ARC with a freedom party celebrating their freedom from slavery and their new freedom in Christ—on the 4th of July
• And like the woman’s jar of oil that never ran dry in the bible---after supplying the needs of the people for the two weeks and all our expenses, we were still able to leave AIM $6200 for their on-going expenses.
But the impact goes beyond the financial and physical. I discovered after talking with those 28 Disciples that many of them came to know Jesus because they were so moved by the fact that foreigners would come all the way to Cambodia to help them, and if this Jesus loved them so much that He would compel people to do that then they wanted to know Him.
One young woman told me with tears streaming down her face that before she came to Rahab’s house, before she came to know Jesus, she had no hope, no reason to live, and no purpose. But now because of Jesus she has joy, hope and purpose, and for the first time in her life, she now a reason to live.
What a privilege to be a part of God’s miracle work in Cambodia, and an answer to someone’s prayer.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Barb,
    I just wanted to thank you for talking with me this morning. It was a joy!! I am so excited to work with you the next few months and I can't wait to see how God uses us. I know your month is busy but I just wanted to thank you and let you know I am sending up prayers for you. I also wanted to post this on your blog to remind you that you do have one (wink, wink) and that it will be a real blessing to someone new to reading it. I know I will be regular reader now that I have found it and I can't wait to share these stories with others. I should would love to read another good one soon. I just wanted to be a source of encouragement for you this evening. Have a lovely evening and I hope to "chat" with you soon.
    In His Service,