North Way Christian Community Church in Pittsburgh, PA

July 27, 2018 | The Road to a New Partnership

Today was what I’d say can best be described a good, long day. First, a bit of recap… After a day in the hustle and bustle of downtown Phnom Penh, today we headed out of the city to the province of Kampong Thom. We had to get an early start, pulling out at 6am to avoid the inbound traffic to Phnom Penh for the national general election tomorrow. We were told millions of people were expected to be coming to town in preparation for the election and based on what we saw headed out of town I believe it. As a result, we were able to get to Kampong Thom, check into our guest house, and head out to the new children’s home to meet the kids all before lunch. We spent some time together learning names and seeing the property they’re staying in until a permanent home can be built which ran us up to lunch time. After a quick trip to town to grab a bite, we headed back to the home to do some crafts Linda prepared with the kids followed by a few hours of the kids teaching us some of their favorite games and wearing us out pretty well playing soccer in the yard. About that time, we noticed a storm approaching in the distance and decided to call it a day and head back to town for dinner. Our bus driver was unavailable this afternoon so Sitha arranged a tuk-tuk to drive us to and from the children’s home. The ride out after lunch was a lot of fun and quite the experience. The ride back was too, just with much more water. What started as a moderate cloudburst seemed to exponentially increase into one of the heaviest downpours I’ve seen. The tuk tuk was open, so we were treated to a refreshing mist (at times more like a hosing off) to cool us off after a fun day with the kids. Once we got back to the guest house and freshened up a bit, we headed to dinner. Sitha told our tuk tuk driver where to go and we found ourselves at what he said was the “best European style food place in town” (also the only one in town 🙂 ). After dinner, what started as a polite conversation with our waiter as we were leaving about where we were from led to a quick huddle up prayer session with the waiter and the host. As it turns out he shared that their restaurant is closed on Sundays so they can attend a nearby church. So that’s day one of what we hope to be a long and wonderful partnership and friendship with the children’s home of Kampong Thom. After months of preparation, discussion, prayer, and (what felt like months of) travel, we’ve finally set foot in KT province and met the kids and house parents there. Several times today I couldn’t help but look out over the room and yard as our team was talking, playing, or dancing with the kids and smile as I observed the joy on the faces of all parties involved. Josh and I tried to prep the team for what to expect during our time with the kids but until we got here and got to it we could only prepare them so much. I have to say, it was really neat to watch. Several times during our discussions today and debrief this evening the word joy was mentioned and that’s the best description for what I saw during those times of observation today. One of the things I was most excited about for this trip was this bit of loosely planned time at the home that we planned to play by ear and just use to intentionally love on the kids. From Linda’s crafts to running around hitting balloons in the air to rock paper scissors to soccer, the mood was the same. These kids’ joy is just infectious. Their love for each other is really a beautiful thing to witness and really makes one think about what is truly important in life. I’m really looking forward to spending more time over the next several days teaching, playing, and doing whatever else comes our way with them.