PS-Please pray for the rash on my legs....not good and itching like craaazy! Mom, I know you feel for me! No Geranium in my stash! ;)
Feb 20th…I feel like it has been February 20th for a long time and I still have about 20 more hours to go! This could be a long post…so feel free to skip ahead. We are on the 3 hour flight to Tai Pei right now and I need to stay awake! Although, the way my stomach is that shouldn’t be a problem. ;) We will leave Tai Pei at 830 pm on the 20th and arrive in Denver at 945pm on the 20th!
It is 1:30pm and we are flying out of Cambodia right now. The man in seat 7A has a horrible high pitched cough, the 3 year old in seat 5B is screaming and my head and heart can hardly contain all that I have seen, heard, smelled and felt over the past 8 days. I have a long time to sit and process all we have just experienced and I want to be sure each thought and feeling is never forgotten. Well, I would like to forget the way my stomach is churning right now, as well as forget the fact that I used the men’s squatty potty at the public hospital! More on that later… ;)
I am sad we are leaving Cambodia, but know that we will be back again one day and will continue to pray for the beautiful people we have met. There are several Drs we worked with who do not know Jesus yet, but have some very good questions and I know their hearts are being touched. One of the Drs we worked with will be in Denver in May and we will have him and his wife over for dinner! I am so looking forward to our time with them. They are getting married next month and are the sweetest couple. She will change her wedding “costume” 8 times and celebrate in front of 1,000 people! Wish we were going to be here for the party!
Yesterday, Friday, I went with a group of our time to The Killing Fields as well as Tol Sleng prison. I was in tears most of the day. The Pol Pot regime brutally tortured and killed over 3 million people in only 3 years. The records the Pol Pot regime kept were breathtaking and seeing the mug shots of so many who were killed broke my heart. Seeing the look in their eyes made me understand the hopelessness and sadness that was in the eyes of the patients we worked with. In 3 short years, everyone was effected by the brutal killings of their loved ones. There is very little people talk about before Pol Pot came into power. It is almost like there wasn’t life before that. He killed all the Drs, nurses, teachers, leaders, pastors, monks and young families. He wanted a classless society, a society full of phesant workers. My eyes could hardly take in the pictures we saw on the walls of the prison, my heart couldn’t take the sight of the mass graves, the pieces of bones sticking out of the ground at the Killing Fields, the deafening silence as we stood in the 17 story memorial full of skulls, bones and clothing that was found in only some of the mass graves. I stepped on a piece of clothing sticking out of the hard ground and wondered what else was under my feet. I couldn’t help but to think of how delicately we walk around Pearl’s grave, we brush off the snow and the ants. These people in Cambodia have no idea where their mother, father, brother or sister is buried. I am still crying for these people….almost everyone we met had a family member who was killed. This happened only 30 years ago and the impact will be felt forever.
As I walked around the prison, Tol Sleng, and looked at the tiny cells where they tortured the prisoners I had a feeling we were walking on holy ground. I know that sounds so strange to think that as we were feeling the pure evil in the air. The cells were only about 3 feet wide and had brick walls that you could tell were quickly constructed, the foot stocks were still in the ground and there were blood stains on the floor. I felt as if I could hear the martyred believers asking God, “How long?” I know the women with their babies in the cells had to be visited by angels and maybe by Jesus himself. They were alone and scared as they were beaten to near death. I know God was so near and many called on him to come and save them. In the faces of the photos there were those who looked afraid, yet at peace. I have to think that there were those who met Jesus in the midst of their pain. God is near to the brokenhearted and He will continue to be near to the people of Cambodia. In one of the rooms at the prison there was a list of rules…every rule started with NO. NO laughing, NO talking, NO eating, NO smiling, NO water, NO crying. Everything you could ever want the answer is NO. My prayer is that the people will hear Jesus saying YES. YES, I love you, YES, come to me, YES there is hope.
The hearts of the people in Cambodia are strong…their faces are often so stoic and they hide their pain so well. I was with a 3 year old boy in the recovery room, he had open heart surgery only 18 hours ago and was all alone in the recovery room. The parents are not allowed to see their children for more the 48 hours after surgery, and they children lay in the bed alone, often hurting and scared. There is no TV, no books, no crayons, no PSP, no popsicles. I smiled at the little boy and walked over to him. He started crying silently, stifled sobs. I went over to him, stroked his arm and listened to the nurses tell him to hush. I started crying too and just sat there for a bit. I prayed for him and even though neither one of us could understand what we were saying, there was love present! Sweet, sweet baby…I will never forget him. They learn so young that no emotion is allowed. It only took me giving him a smile to start the tears. We have no idea how much only a smile can mean to people.
I had the opportunity yesterday to share a bit of our story about Pearl and our family. I was able to talk about how what we do isn’t measured in what we give to people, length of time we stayed with them or even if we can understand what they are saying. The impact of what we did here in Cambodia may not be fully realized until eternity. We were able to offer hope, pray with people and maybe be the only smile they have seen in a long time. The brief moments we had with families will never be forgotten and I am so thankful we came. Yes, there were moments of frustration and questioning why I even came, but I know God was with us and our hearts are forever changed. We love the people here and cannot wait to be worshipping in heaven one day all together.
We were able to meet with an American couple who live in Cambodia with their beautiful family. They work with a local church and have an amazing ministry to the people in the city as well as in the villages. Jason and Angie have huge hearts and I know they have sacrificed so much to be living and loving the people of Cambodia. They have 2,000 youth come to their meetings on Wednesday nights! One day when we were on a break we went to the Russian Market. A huge, indoor market, no air and no windows. You are crammed into each tiny space and asked to look at all of their things for sale. I’m pretty sure you can buy just about anything there. There is food in one whole section. Whole skinned pigs, half of a cow, huge fish, chickens hanging from the ceiling, and a smells that will make you gag. There was even a place to get a pedicure! Not sure the bucket that they were sticking their feet in was clean and I’m pretty sure the tools were very used! The wires in the ceiling were exposed and very dusty. It was over 100 degrees in the middle of the market and the stagnant air was almost to much for me. I wanted to get out fast…trying not to think about what if there was a fire! Clothes and other goods plied from the floor to the top of the 20 ft ceilings! Anyway, there was a boy that was following us around the market. He wanted us to buy his books. We were not interested, but he was insisting. We started talking to him and found out he goes to Jason and Angie’s church! He stayed with us, helped us translate and we learned about his life. I know this was not a coincidence, and we had so many divine encounters with people. We will pray for Raa and are so thankful for the work Angie and Jason are doing in Cambodia.
I don’t remember if I talked about one of the hospitals we were in during our first days in Cambodia. The conditions were horrible and the care the “nurses” were giving the patients was horrible as well. Patients received no pain medication following surgery, writhing and thrashing as they came out of anesthesia. No side rails on the beds and not even a sheet to cover up with. The families followed the patients into the recovery room and were there to just stare at their loved one. One family member of a patient donated 2 units of blood and carried the blood to the desk from the lab. The blood sat on the counter for 2 hours, in the very warm and humid post op room. Another family member took of the patients breathing tube because the patient was pulling on it. After the tube was taken out, they went over to the “sink” and “washed” the tube and set it on the counter. Family members cleaned out suction tubes with their own bottle of water. The nurse was never present and the hardest thing I ever had to do was sit and watch this happen. We were not allowed to take care of those patients. If we did, we would be kicked out of the hospital and our group could not perform surgery there anymore. The group of Cambodian nurses we were teaching took amazing care of our patients as were so eager to learn. Some of these students were 4th year nursing students and didn’t even know how to take vital signs. They forget about pain meds and there is no real charting. However, they are so eager to learn the look in their eyes when something clicked was so priceless. The medical care and teaching is so behind because a whole generation of Drs, nurses and teachers were killed. Cambodia is putting itself back together…
Thank you so much for praying for Josh and I. Please continue to pray for the rest of the team who will be there for another week. The team we were with was amazing and I know God is doing a sweet work in so many of their hearts. Our hearts were touched and we will never forget.
I will blog again when we get home….thanks so much for reading and praying! I will post some of our photos…the people are just as beautiful on the outside as they are on the inside.
Josh just ate the most delicious worst meal he has ever had! I think we are getting punchy and know we have a long day ahead of us. We can’t wait to see the kids and actually feel cold again! Ask me next week how I like the cold and I’m sure I’ll miss the heat. I won’t ever forget the first blast of hot air as we got off the plane in Phnom Penh…we really were there and God met us. He is still with the people of Cambodia and someday we will all be worshipping together. I can’t wait!
Love you all,
We are on the airplane now…we can’t wait to see you tomorrow. We are so proud of you and know that God did great things with us because you prayed for mama and daddy. We are praying for you now and hope you rush into our room in the morning and crawl in bed with us. A snuggle is just what we need. We can’t wait to go to Oliver’s recital and then out to dinner. Maybe we can go to Fat Burger for lunch too! Oliver, where do you want to go to dinner after your recital? Just don’t pick Chinese food or noodles! We have had a lot of that kind of food. Roark, have a great basketball game today and grab a lot of rebounds. Zoe, have fun trying on your clothes! Lucy, eat some Crasins and dance for Mimo.
Kisses to all of you,
Mama and daddy