A note from Pastor Warren who arrived Cambodia yesterday…
A short night sleep still brought much needed rest for our travel weary team. Our missionaries, George and Shary, had a full day planned for us, so we started out the day with a hearty breakfast topped off by mangosteen and garangatan, delicious Cambodian fruit. Today was a day getting acquainted with the pace and heat of Phnom Penh. We walked through the local markets that were filled with many street vendors selling food or clothing. From there we meet some wonderful people at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cambodia (ELCC) who work with George and Shary, and will accompany us as we travel North tomorrow to meet the people of Siem Reap to conduct an eye glass clinic. Our day continued with presentations from the ELCC team and also the Lutheran Hour Ministry (LHM) team. Everyone that we have met from these teams are very committed to the local mission of sharing Christ to the people of Cambodia by developing and strengthening relationships that help fulfill many human needs.
The remainder of our day took a somber and deeply moving turn as we toured Teoul Sleng Genocide Museum in downtown Phnom Penh, and Choeung Ek Genocidal Center( one of the many Killing Fields.
Teoul Sleng was a downtown High School that was taken over by the Khmer Rouge in 1975, and quickly turned into a detention and torture center for nearly 20,000 prisoners. Any prisoners who survived torture at Teoul Sleng were sent to Choeung Ek to be terminated. While words seem inadequate to describe these atrocities, it gives our team a deep sense of why there is such a great need to reach these good people of Cambodia with the love of Jesus who can take a nation that basically had to ‘start from zero’ since 1980, to bring them salvation in Him alone. After a delicious dinner, we once again returned to the hotel physically tired and now emotionally drained. A six hour drive to Northwest Cambodia is on the docket for tomorrow. Turning in for now.