On Monday morning our team went to help clean a Pre-School which is a ministry of YWAM Siem Reap. We got straight to work by weeding the garden in very warm Cambodian sun. In the afternoon we did a prayer walk around the neighbourhood, and prayed for the locals on the streets, in the laundromats, Tuk-tuks and restaurants. We then finished the day at an English School which is also another ministry of YWAM, and returned to our previous classes to help teach.
On Tuesday we set off for a village about an hour away, to build a Bio-Sand Filter for a community. Like the Cambodians, all 10 of us, as well as our leader, Yang, hopped onto an extra large Tuk-tuk for the adventure. When we arrived we firstly introduced ourselves to the community. We showed them a a world map and had a go at practising our Khmer. So far most of us can say "My name is...., "I come from...", and "I am ...years old". We then taught them how to build the filter for clean drinking water, and got everyone involved in this process. It was great to not only bless the community with this, but also empower them and give them a sense of ownership.
After lunch, we were handed a whiteboard marker and suddenly we were teaching a kids English class...a surprise for us all (we are quickly realizing that this is standard for outreach). This was a lot of fun, as we played games, sung worship songs and taught the kids colours, numbers and body parts.
As we left for our long journey home, our driver/guide, Bunna, stopped by a popular lake for a quick swim. None of us had brought our swimmers, but we didn't care. We all dived in, fully clothed, even some of us with our glasses on, and enjoyed the coolness of the lake. After some final attempts at doing a back-flip, we all ran for shelter as the afternoon showers begun. There was a series of thatched roof rest stops where you could buy food, drinks and also lie in a hammock. This was such a cool place with so many hammocks, our team loved hanging out here.
On Wednesday we spent the morning at a village a little further away to teach english to one of Bunna's classes. Again, we mastered the art of introducing ourselves in Khmer, and taught the kids about our countries. For lunch we all tried a classic Cambodian delicacy of chili and lemon grass infused Grass-hopper. I have to say it was better than I thought, but I couldn't seem to forget what I was eating.
We then returned to the village we went to on Tuesday and taught another english class to the children. On our way home one of the tyres on the Tuk-tuk needed to be fixed, so we stopped and waited at another village that Bunna teaches at. However one hour, turned into two as torrential rain started to come and didn't seem to stop. However this didn't seem to bother us as we played games with the local children in the dirt, including "Duck, duck, goose", "Rock, Paper, Scissors" and this game where we hop on one leg and try to tag each other. It was so much fun!
On Thursday we taught English to the same class as we had on Wednesday morning, but this time we shared the gospel with them. Our team performed a drama which portrays the message of Jesus, and then Ando explained it, with Yang translating. It was so amazing to see the children's faces as we shared Jesus with them. We were all so touched at how much they understood and how responsive they were afterwards. As this was our last day with them, we gave each child a small gift, in which many pictures and hugs followed. The love that poured out of the children was so beautiful, our team was very moved.
In the afternoon we went to the second village for the final time, and also shared the gospel with them. This time, there were about 50 children as we also did a health care session, where we washed all the kids hair and cut their nails. After some food, this time ended in many hugs again, and was a bit emotional as we all were quite attached to the children. Joining in on tradition, our team painted our flags and hand-prints on the school wall in the village. Bunna then climbed a coconut tree to make us fresh coconut, watermelon and banana smoothies. They were absolutely delicious!
Friday was a bit more low key, as three full days at the village was a bit tiring. After morning worship, devotions and intercession, it was up to us as to how we should spend the afternoon. Our YWAM Vancouver leader, Flavia, asked us to pray and see what God wanted us to do. A few of us felt we should go to a public space in Siem Reap and sing worship songs together as a team. At first many of us were not too excited to do this as it seemed a bit strange, but trusting God we went for it.
On the weekend we visited a War Museum which educated us all on the Khmer Rouge regime. We saw original tanks, helicopters, weapons, uniforms and pictures from the war. We also visited what is called "The Killing Fields" which is a memorial for all the people who died during the war. This time was really interesting, but also a bit confronting as we shared in the grief of Cambodia. In the afternoon we went to a hotel pool to relax and then hit the famous "Pub Street" for dinner and dessert.
On Sunday some of us rode bicycles to a nearby market, to get a 50 cent coffee and 50 cent sandwich for breakfast. We then helped serve at a YWAM church ministry which partakes at a Korean Restaurant and massage parlour. This is such an interesting ministry in which the boss is Christian and invites her staff to attend church, as well as learn English. After worshipping in Khmer, our team performed our drama, shared some testimonies and I preached. It was great to get involved and share Jesus with some people for the very first time.
This brings week 2 in Cambodia to an end. Please keep praying for us as some of our team have been sick as we adjust to the different food, water and climate.
Arkoun chraen (thank you very much in Khmer).