The Cambodia team continues to reflect on their experiences, here are some of Bev’s thoughts about the trip…
Want to hear more? Come to the team debrief next Monday, 7.30pm at the Weimer’s home
I came to Cambodia to serve, but also to see the country where members of my family lived and worked as missionaries for decades. I wanted to get into the minds and hearts of the Khmer people. They have been through so much.
When the US Started bombing Cambodia in the 1969, people swarmed to Phnom Penh for safety. Then in 1975 Pol Pot ordered everyone into the countryside. Under the Khmer Rouge,40 percent of the population died. The professional class was wiped out.
While visiting Tuol Sleng Prison, I realized that some survivors of the genocide were my age, and would have been teens when the Khmer Rouge was in power. I also realized that my aunt and uncle probably lost friends in the genocide.The emotional scars of that time have left their mark on the next generations in the form of domestic violence and worse.
In 1997, my cousin and his family experienced the coup in Phnom Penh. Tanks rolled down the streets and some buildings burned. I asked a Cambodian friend about the experience and she said that they were afraid the devastation was happening again.
Now for the good news. There are a myriad of projects to rebuild, providing jobs and education for Cambodians. Many of the efforts are aware of the need to heal the psyche of a nation. Cambodia is rapidly changing for the better. I was especially excited to hear that International Justice Mission has worked themselves out of a job with regards to trafficking of children, turning over their work to nationals and other NGO’s. In the future,IJM will be focusing on something else.
In Siem Reap, I talked with young adults working hard as hotel staff who seem to have an eye on the future. I saw traditional music,dance and drama rising from the ashes in the enthusiastic performances of youthful dancers and circus performers.
Continue to pray for Church of Christ Our Peace and other Christian organizations in this mostly Buddhist country. As conditions improve in Cambodia, pray that Jesus Christ will reveal Himself as healer for individuals who seek an answer to their deepest needs.