Update from Craig Baldwin
We had 11 of us take off from Seatac about noon on Tuesday. The flight to Seoul Korea went well, about 11hr 30 minutes but we were late getting in. Had about 30 minutes to go through the flight transfer and another security check, then race through the airport to our gate. We were late for our flight, but they held the plane. A 12th member of our team joined us for the second leg of the trip, Pat Vail from California. He was even later, the last one to board. Then we waited for some time before takeoff due to heavy traffic. Then another 5hr and 30minutes to Phnom Penh. That made it 11:30 PM Wednesday night. Finally settled into our rooms Thursday morning around 1:30 AM. Larry and Julie were both missing their personal checked baggage. We each had one personal bag and one team bag with medical supplies. Their team bags made it. They had to go back to the airport the next night and were able to get their bags.
Thursday was the cultural immersion day. Morning at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, a high school that was converted to a prison by Pol Pot. This was my second time to see the museum. They keep improving the displays and information. It is a hard place that brings you face to face with the atrocities committed there. Those that did not die of torture were sent to Choeung Ek, a killing field just outside of Phnom Penh. Before we went there, we visited Village Works, a fair trade retail store located across from the prison. Chapel Hill has bought items for our Festival of Hope for years there. Anak, the founder of Village Works gave us a brief history of their ministry and went to lunch with us at Hagar Restaurant. The restaurant is a social enterprise that provides training and jobs for young people escaping from human trafficking. They to catering and have restaurants in Siem Reap and Sihanoukville, employing over 300 people. When Sheila lived in Phnom Penh, she mentored Anak in her work to expand Village Works. On our way to Choeung Ek, we stopped by one of her factories. This one employs victims of polio. They were working on a large order, their first one to ship to Brussels.
Friday morning was spent with a little more fair trade shopping and a visit with International Justice Mission. They have made significant progress is working with the government in behalf of the poor. There is a significant trial underway, prosecuting a pedophile who abuse a number of young boys. Some of their is confidential, what can be shared is on their website. A a great time of prayer with their staff. They dedicate a half hour of staff prayer everyday and allocate another half hour for private prayer individually every day. The success of their work requires this dedication to prayer.
Lunch at a Friends Restaurant, the same one we visited last year. They have a great prayer room on their upper floor. A real sense of God’s presence there. In the afternoon we met with Medical Teams International. Scott Bevans joined us for that meeting after finishing a week or surgeries with a medical team doing a Smiles program in Phnom Penh. He will travel with us tomorrow to Poipet. MTI is focusing on the worse areas in Cambodia where the impact can be the greatest to develop capacity in the health care workers and to provide preventive care for infants and pregnant mothers. Theirs studies show that 50% of the children in Cambodia are stunted in their growth due to malnutrition.
By Craig Baldwin