Hello from Phnom Penh, Cambodia! It’s been a great week for the team here. On Sunday we attended and helped with the dedication ceremony and ribbon-cutting of the building of First United Methodist Church of O’Khmom village. Then, after a service including worship led by Emara, Dane and some local worship leaders and a message given by Dr. Dunagin, 70 more were baptized. Meanwhile, several of the ladies taught Bible stories and presented the gospel to the children and youth. After lunch, some impromptu worship started with the young Cambodian worship leaders playing the new guitars that were donated, and then we handed out rice to the families.
Monday we went back out to O’Khmom village and gave out eye glasses to about 25 people, trained the local leaders on how to do the testing, and left about 400 more pairs of glasses. Meanwhile, some of the team led the kids in arts and crafts. Chiv and Richard met with the building contractor and the local church leaders in FUMC O’Khmom’s first “building committee meeting” to finalize the last remaining details on the building. We finished our time at FUMC O’Khmom by spending some time in prayer over this new church and its leaders.
On our way to Chiv’s former village, we stopped to see a dam that was built by forced labor when the country was being controlled by the Khmer Rouge. We visited a home on land fomerly owned by Chiv’s family and met with some people that he knew and shared the gospel story as the sun went down. Packed into a sort of tree-house with about 45 people in addition to our group of 18, we helped them all make the six-colored “salvation necklaces” so that they could be reminded of the story after we left.
Tuesday we drove to Siem Reap and visited the ruins at Angkor Wat. We saw four different sites and finished the day overlooking the Cambodian countryside just before sunset.
Wednesday morning we braved the markets to get formal dresses for the women and dress shirts for the men, and then drove to Phnom Penh. That night we attended a sort of rehearsal dinner for the wedding of Chiv’s son, where they sat us on a rooftop overlooking Phnom Penh.
This morning at about 6:30 we lined up for the carrying of the fruit in a procession that is part of the wedding ceremony, and then ate with the wedding party and participated in a lot of other Cambodian wedding traditions. Tonight we’ll attend the wedding celebration dinner wearing our Cambodian formalwear. We were instructed to wear our DANCING SHOES!
Tomorrow we will visit a prison camp that was used during the reign of the Khmer Rouge and a clinic that Chiv has been instrumental in building in this area, and then Saturday we head home! It has been a wonderful trip – some of Chiv’s family and the O’Khmom villagers have been traveling with us for a lot of the trip, and we have made some great friends.
Abbey and Dane Daniels