So, we left the orphanage around noon. Because we had left the hotel around 6:30 this morning to make it to church for the 7:00 AM service, noon felt like 3:00 or 4:00. Or maybe it felt that late b/c running around with kids for a couple hours is a bit more tiring than it used to be back in the day….just maybe.
Can you believe that the “main” service at New Life church is the 7:00 AM service. That would NEVER happen in the States, right? I looked around the room and it was packed…easily over 200 people there and I’m fairly certain that this did not include the children’s choir, the youth choir or the adult choir – all of which played a role in the worship this morning.
It was a bit surreal to be sitting in Phnom and Penh in 2009 singing songs that I hadn’t heard since the 1980’s when I was a teenager in a Baptist church in Birmingham, AL. As for the sermon, we were given wireless headsets as we walked in and were able to listen to an interpreter throughout the worship service.
After church we piled into the van to head to the orphanage (see earlier post). After we left the orphanage we stopped at a local restaurant where our meal was most likely clucking at us as we walked in the door. A few minutes later, we had chicken on the table, some sort of fish & lotus soup and some veggies (primarily beans). It’s not everyday that you actually get to see chicken feet on your table…=)
We had a little bit of free time this afternoon and spent that time exploring a local market. In the “the more things change, the more they stay the same category” as we were driving through town, Philip (one of our hosts this week), turned on the radio and none other than Andy Stanley is blasting through our speakers as we navigate the roads of Phnom Penh. Really.
It is 10:36 here and we have our team meeting at 6AM, so it’s about that time….and I know that we haven’t yet shared about our visit to Tuol Sleng (on Sat) – so, I’m going to post a link here:
Tuol Sleng is a school that was turned into a prison/place of torture by the Khmer Rouge regime in the late 1970’s. One sign said that of the 20,000 prisoners to pass through the gates, only 7 survived. It is a very sobering place, filled with some incredible stories of courage and strength….
Ok as important as it is for us to all know about this particular piece of history, we can’t end with that, so let’s end with this thought from Psalm 40 (Saegye shared this with us earlier this week):
1 I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
I think this passage is so relevant for the kids at the orphanage as well as Cambodia as a whole. Not only does it seem that the people here love to sing, but that they could clearly use a “new song” after a recent history that is devastating. So, please pray with us that we will be a part of God’s “new song” for Cambodia as he lifts them up and sets their feet on a rock…
ps For all of you who wrote notes of encouragement to us…they are so appreciated! Lisa did an amazing job in tracking all of you down and has done an even more incredible job of presenting the notes and prayers to us in a super creative way….We are grateful for you and loving all of your prayers!!