July 29, 2018 | Joy in Kampong Thom

Today we were headed back to the Children’s home for church with the kids and locals. I must say that everyone on the team was excited to see the kids and formally worship with them on this beautiful Sunday morning. We arrived to the home again with a warm welcome of hugs and fist bumps and immediately headed into the church to start worshipping. I always love praise and worship and this day was so powerful as the kids led alongside Sitha (Host Dad). Their joy and passion for the Lord was moving and it is truly hard to describe in words. Immediately following Andrew Showman from our group came up to teach. Yesterday afternoon as we were leaving the home for the guest house Sitha had requested for someone from our group to lead the sermon to the church on Sunday. Andrew immediately volunteered after hearing of this request. As Andrew started to speak in the church this morning he discussed a consistent word that he has now written in his journal numerous times, Joy. As he spoke of Joy and read from Philippians 1:3-11, Sitha translated the message to the kids and locals. Everyone including the kids were engaged with the sermon and Andrew thanked the kids directly. He let them know that they had been a blessing to him and others they have met. Prior to arriving to Cambodia Andrew had written a simple prayer in his notebook: “Show me today how I can be a blessing to someone else.” Andrew has definitely been a blessing to many on this trip including myself, our team, and the kids. During the sermon he mentioned that he took an occasional step back from our activities with the kids and each time he was blessed through admiring the kids joy in all that they do. These kids have been through so much and it is amazing to see them persevering through God’s love. As the service finished we shared a snack with everyone, played games, and danced to music with the kids. To calm the kids down for a bit Josh huddled the children and read a story from Daniel while Kongkea translated. Kongkea has been a huge blessing in helping us this week and is a pure joy to be around. He used to live in a children’s home in another province and is now attending the university in Phnom Penh. It is hard to not light up when you see Kongkea because he is always smiling! The kids enjoyed the story and then we decided to take a walk before their lunch. The kids directed us down the dirt road alongside their home to the rice field. The majority of people from this area rely on rice farming to support their families. It was beautiful to see the vast space and also have the kids introduce us to a random fruit tree at the edge of the field. At one point five of the kids had scaled the tree and they were each tossing branches down for all of the others to try the fruit. It was a very memorable experience and we eventually made our way back to the home before lunch. All of us were a little exhausted and also hungry. Following a nice lunch in town for our crew we ventured out on a prayer walk through their local trade area. It was great to meet some of the locals and roam through the markets. Walking the streets is exciting and humbling at the same time. Please pray for the people of Cambodia and that the church in Kampong Thom continues to be a blessing and grow throughout this region. -- Stephen Slaughter