Kristin and I just returned from a sweet time with our regional team in Rattanakiri province, in the northeast where Cambodia meets Laos and Vietnam. My heart is full of all that we got to see and experience there and I hope to share some stories with you so you can be part of what God is doing! Would you join me for this journey of processing and marveling at God’s goodness? To get rolling, check out day one.
Tuesday, November 12th
2:30 a.m. My phone alarm sounds and I roll out of bed. I am not so excited about the hour, but ready to see what this day holds! This is my first trip to the other side of Cambodia, having made the western journey a number of times now.
3:30 a.m. With coffee mugs in hand, Kristin and I walk the silent streets to a nearby guesthouse to meet a few more from our team. There are not many out at this hour except a few diehard exercisers starting off their day, and a lonely moto or two.
4:00 a.m. Our van is a bit late but eventually we gather the rest of our team and 10 excited travelers head out of town. The dark eventually gives way to light illuminating the beauty of the countryside.
9 hours squished together in a van is good for team unity! As we make our way up to Rattanakiri, we tell stories and give thanks together, laugh over silly things, enjoy the changing scenery, endure the bumping and jolting of interesting roads and a few engage in a rousing game of iPad Scrabble.
1:00 p.m. We roll into the main provincial town and Kristin and I are surprised at how beautiful and clean the town is compared to Phnom Penh. We stop at a local restaurant for some yummy Khmer food (Ginger Pork is my all-time favorite!).
We are all staying at the home of our partners in Rattanakiri who uses her lovely home as a guesthouse. She is blessed with the gift of hospitality and so not only is it a blessing to stay with her but the income also helps her in the ministry expenses.
2:30 p.m. We explore the house, take in the amazing view and get settled in. After living the city life for the past 5 months, the house on the outskirts of town in a quiet area with breathtaking views of rolling hills and villages is a refreshing treat.
The girls gather to help prepare the evening meal. Everything is done by hand without mixes and many modern conveniences, so we chip in to chop veggies, cut up chicken, and get things ready for our American/Korean/Thai meal complete with fried chicken and mashed potato casserole, sushi and Thai soup. While we worked, it was fun to chat all together in a variety of languages. Two of our team members’ Cambodian partners were able to be part of our time so it was great to practice talking in Khmer. Several from our leadership team are working and living in Thailand. A girl from Korea is visiting with the missionary to learn more about the work there so it was a blessing to get to know her as well.
6:30 p.m. After a delicious meal and sweet time eating together, Kristin, our supervisor Gayle, our Cambodian partner Sophan and I head out with one of the other local workers to attend a special prayer meeting in one of the villages.
A bit of background: in this part of Cambodia there are several minority groups represented. Their culture and language are different from the Khmer people, and most of these groups are animist. The group we got to meet with Tuesday night are one of these minority groups, and they are a third generation church that is about 1 year old. This means the first church started a church (2nd generation) which started a church (3rd generation), and this church is active in starting a new group of disciples (4th generation).
7:00 p.m. We arrive at the house as the group of 35-40 believers are singing all together. As we climbed up the stairs to the one room house, lit by a lamp run by battery power and a few flashlights, I was overwhelmed with the beauty of this group of believers worshiping Jesus together. Whole families were there together, husbands and wives and children of various ages. They sang several songs, then gathered around the sick man to pray. One man led out by sharing about our powerful God and the healing that is found in Jesus alone. Together they joined their voices to pray for this man. Young and old prayed fervently in their own minority language, hands lifted in worship to our God the Healer. They sang several more songs and then joined in prayer again. Why pray just once? The group wanted to share several of the songs they have written in their language following the traditional melody. It was so beautiful! Again they joined together in prayer for the sick man. It was obvious that although he had been sick for quite awhile, his spirit was lifted as God ministered to him through the prayer time.
9:30 p.m. We crawled into our mosquito net haven for some rest after a long and full day.
This was my first introduction to what God is doing in Rattanakiri. A movement has been birthed there of disciples making disciples, churches planting churches. God is revealing Himself through dreams and miraculous healing, release from the power of spirits and total transformation. More stories to come!