4:30 am meeting time. It was still dark but we had a 6 am flight to catch. There was such an excitement with us going to Cambodia and having our partners from the Safe House also coming and meeting us there. Our Chiang Mai hotel staff packed us breakfast To Go food. We had sandwiches, watermelon slices and cold water, oh and the sandwiches - they were tuna sandwiches. Not a usual breakfast but then nothing about this trip has been usual to say the least... Packed with protein off to Cambodia we went. The check in process for our bags was a testament of all for one, one for all. Weighing all our bags together, we were fairly close to the baggage allowance! The beauty of being one with the group.
After a lay over in bangkok where it was one more opportunity to do some airport shopping, off to Phnom Phen we went... arrived on time at 12:30 in PHN airport. No driver in sight. The group waited patiently until another van was sent and took us to Precious Women. That afternoon we met Salida, Director for Precious Women and some of the staff and enjoyed a wonderful dinner at 2nd Jar of Clay. Meeting with our Precious Women Partners and getting to know them over dinner was such a blessing. After dinner and an orientation, we formed teams, there were 3 teams who were going to do an outreach in the Karaoke bars and a fourth team who did a prayer walk.
Driving through the main road, there were so many Karaoke bars called KTV and we saw women after women lined up waiting for customers to select them. We went into one of the KTVs to do our outreach. Walking into a KTV bar and meeting with women who worked there was a new and an uncertain experience for the team. We did not know what to expect and prayed we would be able to do God`s work. During the outreach, our team met and had food with 3 girls from the bar. We had our Precious Women partner with us who took lead in just talking with the girls, translating for us and just listening to them, hearing about their stories and just getting to know them. We ate with them, drank soda and juice. Although the music was so loud and had quite a bit of a language barrier, there were laughters and smiles and what looked like a possible friendship with the girls and our Precious Woman staff member. She then invited them to join a Women in Fellowship with Christians party the next day. The seed has been planted for them to come join us in celebrating with Jesus. One of the girls have heard of Christians and commented that she has heard Christians are good people. There was expressed interest in knowing more...They may or may not come to tomorrow`s Women in Fellowship gathering but one day we hope and pray that seed will blossom and they will come and get to know Jesus. After the time wth the girls at the bar, we went back and debriefed with the rest of the team. We kept the debrief short as it was now 10 pm. Although brief, sharing our experiences and hearing about the other teams experiences was impactful.
It was 11 pm as we got back to the Green Pastures Inn and were incredibly happy and relieved to see our Safe House Partners now here and part of our group in Cambodia.
20 hours and 2 countries later....worlds apart with 3 different languages, diverse culture and backgrounds coming together all in the name of Jesus, working towards a common goal of helping empower women. What an incredible day !