Friday, June 14, 2013


While we did come on this trip as a part of a church, we are not walking the streets of Phnom Penh preaching on street corners. Nothing of that sort.  We are teaching an English class to about 30 World Relief staff members. It is hilarious and so much fun! Drew and I have the intermediate class—which just means our “students” are all over the place with their English proficiency. Most of the students in our class want to practice their English in order to be better able to communicate with the foreign volunteers who come to serve in the World Relief office. Specifically, they want more practice sharing about the work that they do at World Relief. So our culminating project is a letter they are writing that explains their background, information on Cambodia, their spiritual journey to date, and the work they do in the World Relief office. The hope is that as they have an electronic copy of their letter they will also be able to share it with potential donors they come in contact with.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Love Without Words

Hi! My name is Alyssa Champion and this is my Cambodian family. While I was on a mission trip to Cambodia I got to stay with this family. Included in the picture is: (from far left to right) Davi, Taylor, Lukas, Ming, Sovann, and Bros. One thing that God taught me through is family is that love is truly an action word. I hear this all the time but it was so evident in this situation when communication was hard. I didn't know Khmer and most of the family didn't know much English but they showed me unconditional love. They showed
me love by offering Taylor and I two of the three beds they had in their two room house for six people. They showed us love by cooking us breakfast when they typically didn't eat breakfast. They showed us love by inviting us unreservedly into their home. They showed us love by sharing their life with us and for that I will always be grateful. Love is an action words especially when you do not have words. I have felt extremely loved by my host family and the people here. This country and its people will forever change the way I look at the world.

An experience from the perspective of Taylor Strickland:

On the sixth day of our time in Phnom Penh, Muriel and I were able to go on a field visit with August and Nareem of World Relief.  We rode out into a village to assist with the HIV/AIDS education and prevention program.  According to World Relief’s statistics, Cambodia has the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Asia, with an estimated 75,000 people living with AIDS.  As the moto traveled deeper into the shanty town, the smell of trash and sewage grew strong in the heat and the terrain looked more and more undeveloped.  As we rode alongside rows of delapidated homes, crossing sewer pipes lined with rotting garbage, I realized I was in the most impoverished place I had ever been.  Living conditions in the areas surrounding Phnom Penh (the big city) are tolerable at best, from the perspective of a Westerner.

There I was, listening to a blind woman tell her story of being disowned by her family in 2002 when she tested positive for HIV, and all I could think about was how to prevent ants from crawling up my legs.  Then they asked me to share my story.  Talk about a rude awakening; I was overcome by feelings of guilt and inadequacy.  My story does not compare to the story of any of the people in that town in terms of suffering, but what I realized at that moment is that we all experience the same Gospel.  Every believer knows what it’s like when the scales fall off his eyes, revealing both his utter filth and the hope of salvation by the blood of Jesus Christ.  So that’s what I made my story about.

The reason World Relief is able to go out into shanty towns, educate people about HIV/AIDS and build relationships with those people is that the same God that changed us is redeeming the slums of Cambodia.  The work World Relief is doing in Cambodia is only possible because of the Gospel.  The purpose of this recounting is not to evoke pity for Cambodians, but rather to aid in portraying the power of the gospel to bring hope and peace.  The believers I’ve met in Cambodia know contentment.  They are sustained by Christ and experience him in a way that I don’t understand yet.  I’ve already learned a lot from my new Cambodian friends, and as my story continues to develop I hope my experience here never ceases to challenge me.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Eating and Shopping Can Save Lives

Nathan Chan, one of the staff at World Relief Cambodia, has been very thoughtful in the way He has presented this wonderful country to us even down to the places we have eaten and the shops to buy gifts. I want to highlight one place that we have went: Daughters of Cambodia.

Daughters (and Sons) of Cambodia: This restaurant and store is much more than it seems. It is a faith-based NGO that reaches out to women that have experienced sex-trafficking and sexual exploitation in Cambodia. At DOC they have the opportunity to start a new life by learning how to cook, waitress, sew, screen print shirts and bags, even massaging and nail care. Often times women have a strong desire to leave the industry but can not find work doing anything else. These skills open up the opportunity for a new life. Along with that they are also given counseling and schooling with an opportunity to develop spiritually. We were able to eat there and buy some really neat gifts.

If you want to learn more about it DOC: 

"Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert." Isaiah 43:19

Monday, June 3, 2013

Welcome To Cambodia

It's official, after two days of plane-hopping across the globe, our team of short-term missionaries has arrived to Cambodia's capital city, Phnom Penh.  Three days in, it feels as if we have already done so much, and though it would be fun to talk about it all, I am going to skip the majority of what the city has to offer to a foreign traveler so I can hone in on why our team is here in the first place:  to participate in what God is doing in the country of Cambodia through the efforts of the World Relief staff that He has raised up.  Within 30 minutes of arriving at World Relief Cambodia, we were worshipping The Lord in Khmer, the language of Cambodia.  Praising Jesus by listening and dancing to songs we can't sing and don't understand might seem uneventful, but on the contrary, knowing that the unintelligible shouts and praises were being sung to the God who promises for every tribe, tongue, and nation to bow before Him led our team to an immediate connection with our Cambodian family that only The Lord can provide.  As the sun rose only to be outpaced by the rapidly rising temperature (it gets hot here, ok), our team began to meet the people we worshipped with and form what we hope will turn into fast friendships over the next two weeks here as we participate in their lives.  They are not only a humble and caring group of Godly men and women, but funny, smart, and talented - I get excited just at thought of what God is going to do with our friendships in only two weeks time.  Saying that, as much as I would like to continue writing about our new friends and our experiences with them, there are six other team members who are going to elaborate on our time thus far in Cambodia, and since I am just the introductory blogger for this trip, I'm going to let them expound all the more on our experiences as a team.
Until next time,
- Drew