This week has been hard. It’s a holiday here in Cambodia for this week, so we’ve had a almost a week off from our main ministry. Which means I’ve had lots of time to think. I’m missing home a little bit, it’s hard to see my teammates on our internet days skyping with people from home and I’m stuck with lame facebook and emailing. But God is good, and I’m praying I get to see someone’s face from home soon.
This week we went to an orphanage. The place was flooded because of all the rain going on. It was so great to hang out with the few kids that were there during the holiday. They have their own farm going on the back, with pigs, chickens, and cute puppies. We also had a team day this week, where we spent the day as a team and family and just kind of chilled out. It’s good to have days like that. Another day we went to Rapha House, an aftercare centre and safe house, specifically for the worst of the worst cases of rescued victims of sex trafficking. They are out in the country side, so the atmosphere is so calm there. We only spent about fifteen minutes there, but they gave us some great information on how they’re organized, and how they work with International Justice Mission. Rapha House is based out of the U.S.A. as well. They are literally booked solid for the first two weeks of October, but they have graciously allowed us to come in the third week and spend some time with the girls.
There were only two or three that were at the centre at the time we went because everyone else had ‘gone home’ for the holiday. The couple of girls we got to spend time were so sweet and affectionate, I received quite a few hugs, kisses on the cheek and holding hands.
After seeing how Rapha House is doing, I was so completely humbled to realize that we are exactly where we’re supposed to be, with TransformAsia. Rapha House is strictly rescued victims of sex trafficking, whereas TransformAsia has their doors wide open if anyone needs shelter; hence the orphaned boys staying there. Yes, TransformAsia is just getting started, we are needed there. We are supposed to be there. But I’m so glad that we’re blessed to be at TransformAsia. God is doing great things there, and by them opening their doors to more than just trafficking victims, they are enabling the Holy Spirit to do even greater things, greater than what the awesome things they’re doing now. And by having a hand in teaching English to the women and boys there, we help solidify them getting a job, so that they don’t have to resort to sex trafficking.
So, since it was a holiday, we did get to spend a day with the few left at the centre (some weren’t able to go home because of the flooding). We all went swimming! It was a rushing river with some amazing rocks and calm spots of water. It was so much fun, hanging out in the water.
While there, there were some homelss children begging for food. They watched us while we ate. It was so hard to look them in the eye, because your natural instinct is to ignore them because they might have lice, and if you give them food they’ll just stick around until you give them more. Fleshly ways, man. Not cool. But after getting over it, I wanted to give one of them an extra Nature Valley bar I had on me, but by that time Perum had dragged me away to go take pictures of the ‘statues’ around the area. That boy loves to be in front of the camera. Seriously. Anyways, after we got back, there was a girl with here little brother hanging around, so I was able to give them my extra nature valley bar. And of course, vanity reared its ugly head and whispered the word ‘lice’ in my ear. But Jesus said let the little children come to me. So I got to braid the girl’s hair and call her beautiful in Khmer, and with the amazing help of our translator, Seang, I was able to talk to her a little bit. Can I just stop a minute and brag on Seang? That guy is hilarious. He’s pretty much already a part of our misfit family. Anyways, I realized afterwards, that that might be the only time someone is nice to her. That might be the only chance she sees Jesus. That hit hard.
On the way home, Perum fell asleep on my shoulder. I might just adopt that boy and take him home with me. I also realized how hard it will be to leave him when the time comes to leave Battambang and go on to Phnom Penh. That hit hard too.
I am also falling more in love with my team. I have learned what true community looks like with these women of God. I almost don’t want to go home, as much as I miss it.
Oh, and I made a video! Except it takes a million years to upload, so I probably will have to wait until next Saturday :(
Also, we have to renew our visas on Monday so please pray that everything will go smoothly so we can stay here for the remainder of our ministry.
Love from Cambodia!
Okay, so last night as a team, we wrote down the lies that Satan has been holding over us individually. Here’s my list, a lot of this has been recent from the trip:
-I must first love in order to be loved
-I’m not enough in any way
-I’m scared to speak my mind
-I shouldn’t speak my mind
-What if my words do more harm than good?
-What if the words I’m supposedly hearing from God aren’t actually from Him and I’m just speaking nonsense over my teammates? If I’m wrong, then I’m not hearing the voice of God and I’m too dumb to discern His voice from my own.
-I’m scared to be me completely around God, always scared of offending Him with my sin.
After I wrote that last one, God told me to write down exactly what He spoke to me. He kind of took control of my pen and hand:
Look what you have tattooed on your foot! Tetelestai, it is finished! It’s already been paid for, so speak your mind, child. Speak it fully and completely. Nothing you say or think could possibly offend Me or seperate you from Me. You are my bride and we are ONE. Do not try to seperate what I have put together.
After we wrote down our lists, we read them out loud. It’s funny how some of those lies were written down more than once on several women’s lists.
Then we tore up said lists of lies, and we wrote a new one, a list of truths to come against those lies. Here’s mine:
-I am loved FIRST. 1 John 4:10, Ephesians 1:4-6
-My thoughts DO matter, especially amongst my teammates, and I have the right to speak up. Ephesians 3:12
-God is bigger
-I was made for love.
That’s about it for now. Maybe I can upload a couple of videos next week? We’ll see :) Oh and before I forget, a HUGE thanks to my church for their donation to my trip. It’s helping insanely. And thank you everybody for the multitude of prayers:)
I’m going to start this update with last Saturday night.
Jesus loves me.
He gave me live folk music at Cafe Eden.
Best thing ever. It definitely was feeding my soul, please excuse the cheesiness. But it’s true. Just the raw, pure harmony of a couple of guitars and 2 voices was what I needed to reboot my batteries. It was perfect.
Anyways, I found out some more info about the boys at the TransformAsia centre. Yes, they do mainly deal with girls who have been either in prostitution or were trafficked, but these boys had no where to go, so Sothea, the youth pastor at the centre, took them in.
Pierum was abandoned by his parents. He was staying in a very run down building, which floods every time it rains, with ten other families. He begged for food on the streets, was beat up by gangs several times, and gangs tried to force drugs into him several times. Pierum found TransformAsia, found Sothea, and begged to stay at the centre. Sothea had to say no because he wasn’t sure the centre could provide for him. But after getting beaten severely, Pierum found Sothea again and once again asked to stay. Sothea took him in and now Pierum has found family with the staff and the girls at the centre.
Sotan is the brother of Tina and her little sister, Jet-Yun. Their father is disabled, and their mother has left them. Their older sister supposedly works as a cook in a bar in Thailand. The family owes the bank a lot of money, so the three children were brought to the centre as a prevention. Last week, Tina left with her sister to work in Thailand to help pay off her family’s debt. Jet Yun is so little, I’m so scared for the both of them. But I have faith that God is going to work this out according to his will. Sotan was of course, heartbroken, and wanted to leave too. But Sothea convinced him to stay, and he’s now much better. He is realizing that a lot of people at the centre love him, including our team, and he’s better now.
As for Mong, his parents died and he lives with his grandmother; they live right next to the centre.
This week, God has been doing crazy things in our team. God has opened my eyes a lot. He taught me that even though I’m not working with the girls from the centre all the time, especially this week, I still need to love on people. God made us to be fishers of men, that’s what I need to embrace fully. Yes, he gave me a passion for human trafficking, He’s still doing something with that on this trip, but there are other elements of ministry that don’t deal with that. There are orphans, street kids, teaching English to random Cambodians, or whatever it may be, they are still God’s children. God planned out every single detail of this trip, he orchestrated what people I would meet, how many steps I would take through the mud, how God would move in other’s lives, everything. So just because someone hasn’t been trafficked doesn’t mean that I’m going to love them any less.
There’s more to add, but I forgot my journal at the hotel, so I’ll add more later when I get back. For now, I’ll upload more pictures for your viewing pleasure :)
Hey there friends!
So, I have more news for you. We have moved from our treehouse. I miss our squatty potty, no lie. One of my teammates has hearing aids, and the constant humidity, no air conditioning thing was taking a toll on them. So we moved to a HOTEL. I honestly felt like I was cheating the first few days. Although, my back is loving the mattress. The only thing is that we’re surrounded by buddhist temples and monasteries in this area. For the past week we’ve woken up super early to chanting on an outdoor intercom that can be heard for a few blocks. I’m talking, 3am early. Who the hell gets up that early to worship Buddha? Seriously. This chanting goes on ALL DAY. We’ve put up with it for a week, and good news is it only goes for another week. Apparently the buddhists are chanting to ‘send over ancestors who are lingering in this world.’
Anyways, when we got to the hotel, we just felt a sort of heaviness, so we prayed over the hotel and over each of our rooms and it’s been much better.
So, we had a very successful first week of ministry! I’m just going to paste from my journal on my netbook of this past week:
We are halfway through our first week of ministry and I am already in love with these girls.
Today, Kori (one of my team mates) lead a bible study in the morning, about the Gospel, God’s love story to us. She told them (with the help of a translator) that they are beautiful and loved women of God. It was so powerful seeing the Holy Spirit work through her. Around 5-10 girls accepted Christ into their heart! It was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. Tomorrow, we will continue the story of the Gospel, I can only pray that more girls will accept Christ as well.
God has been so crazy awesome in speaking through my love language to these girls! Today we handed out flyers for the centre advertising free English classes (which it turns out, we will be teaching as of next week). When we were walking down the street we would link arms, or hold hands, or rub someone’s back and ask her how she’s doing, despite it being hot and humid outside; things one would only do with her best friend, and we’ve only known them for a few days. I connected most with a couple girls named Tina and Chandy. Barriers of different spoken languages had no effect at all in bonding with these girls. When we got back to the centre, after eating lunch, we hung out in the church on site and played games. A girl came up to me, snuggled real close and we went through my camera pictures together. Afterwards, she grabbed my hand, drew a sunrise on my finger, and laid her head in my lap. And later, when we took pictures she had her arms completely around me. I’m guessing it’s safe to assume her love language is the same as mine? It’s wonderful. I love these girls. God loves these girls.
How am I here? How is God so crazy awesome to love me so much and send me here?
We have had a very successful first week of ministry! I love it here; I don’t want it to end. I still can’t believe it’s only been a week and we’ve already bonded so much with the girls. It’s crazy how God’s love works.
I thought I should tell you what it this week has looked like. There are a few neighbourhood kids who hang around the centre. One is Sotan, he is probably around 13. There is also Pierum, who is approx. 10-12. These boys have definitely won our hearts. We love them and their English is quite excellent, so it’s easy to communicate with them or if we need them to translate for us to some of the girls. There are the really wee ones too, Mong, and his friend, whose name I can’t remember, are around 6. These boys have so much energy it’s enough to scratch your head at how they don’t tire out at all. Then there are the little girls who live at the centre. Kim-Lang is twelve. I sure hope she’s there as a precaution to keep her out of trafficking. I don’t know if I could handle it she was put through that hell. She’s got such a great energy about her. Her English is also very excellent. She also knows the Gospel, which is so great to see. Then there is Jet-Yun, who is the younger sister of Tina. She’s around five. Jet-Yun’s so cute and full of smiles. She will hold onto your hand all day and not let go. Then there is Sammy, a very tiny two year old boy who has Downs syndrome. This little one is so precious, all of us love him to pieces.
Last night, I had a dream about my dad, so I woke up missing him a lot. I was kind of mopey this morning, so I asked Elle and Kendall to pray over me so I would have energy today for ministry. I also asked God to romance me today. Wow, did he ever.
When I got to the centre, I was bombarded with lots of hugs from the little ones. Later on I hung out with Tina and Chandy, a couple of girls at the centre. They were so great, once again communicating through touch, and learning words in Khmer from them, which is an ongoing occurrence. We also went to the market today. It was a great walk with them, despite the heat. And the sunshine piercing through the palm trees was a sight I haven’t seen in a while.
I’ve learned that some of the girls at the centre have been rescued from human trafficking, and some are there to prevent them from being trafficked. I also found out that the girl from a couple days ago I spent time with was brought to the centre from an orphanage. Both her parents died, and when she got to the centre, she was quiet and wouldn’t talk to anyone, avoiding any social interaction. But once we arrived she’s been a complete ray of sunshine. That just blows my mind.
I can’t wait for next week’s ministry to begin. We will be starting off the week by picking up trash around town. Fun, eh?
I will be posting some pictures in another post so stay tuned!
We have arrived in Cambodia! So glad we’re finally here.
After a few days off in Phnom Penh, we took a five hour bus ride to Battambang, a smaller city where our ministry site, TransformAsia, is located at. I love it here. My team is wonderful. The time adjustment was fairly easy on me, we’re all going to bed super early, like 7 or 8pm early, and waking up just as early, just like Cambodians. It’s crazy how easily we’ve adjusted, God is good :)
When we first arrived in Phnom Penh, our contact met us at the airport. His name is Sothea, he’s a youth pastor and workswith TransformAsia, the organization we’ll be working with. He is absolutely thrilled we’re here, he’s got one of those smiles that lights up a room. Sothea is currently in the hospital, he had surgery a couple of weeks ago, and he had to go in again because his body reacted to some food we ate. Please pray for him.
We got to ride tuk tuks right away! From the airport to a daycare where we stayed for two nights. There were some critters around the place, like a lizard and a cockroach. I named the cockroach Ralph. He stayed out of my way, which I was happy about. There are critters every where here, I’ve grown accustomed to it already, which is good :)
Yesterday, we arrived here in Battambag and were taken to our ministry site to meet some of the girls and have a tour of the centre. The girls are so sweet, it’s crazy to think someone could intentionally hurt them every day, several times a day. I can’t wait to form friendships with them, they are amazing children of the King.
Oh and we found out what our second ministry is, if I haven’t written it here already, here it is. We will be at an orphanage in Phnom Penh for our last month. I’m so stoked. I love children.
Without further ado, here are some pictures:This is our canvas that we made at training camp. This is our squatty potty! Welcome to Cambodia :) Also, toilet paper here is not too common. We have had to go out and buy some lolWelcome to our humble abode! We get the upstairs room, it’s great. It’s like sleeping in a giant treehouse. Childhood dreams come true? Heck yes.These precious girls on the street were so fascinated by my camera. I love them.
That’s it for now! I’ll update next week with how our first week of ministry was like. Sorry this entry was so brief, I don’t have much time for internet access. I’ll try to give better descriptions as time goes by.
P.S. I will never take for granted again toilet paper and flushing toilets. And deoderant. And running water.
Mucho love from Battambang!
First things first, I have some bad news. My father has passed away. He admitted to being an alcoholic a few months ago, and he quit cold turkey. His body couldn’t handle it and he had a stroke/heart attack yesterday. He was doing so well, and I am so proud to call him my earthly father. Please pray for my family as we go through the mourning and healing process.
What about my trip?
I am still going to Cambodia. About a month before I left, God asked me if my parents died, would I still follow Him. I had to stop and think about it for a minute, and then I remembered that verse in Matthew 8. “…a teacher of the law came to him and said, ‘Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.’ Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have holes and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.’ Another disciple said to him, ‘Lord, let me first go and bury my father.’ But Jesus told him, ‘Follow me, and let the dead bury the dead.’ So, I am following my heavenly Father into the path He has for me. Yes, I am grieving. I have cried and will definitely cry some more. I miss my dad more than words can say. But God has called me to this, so I am obeying Him and trusting Him in everything.
So, onto what’s going on at training camp.
It’s definitely been interesting! Two days ago, we arrived in Atlanta together as a team at the airport, where we received “Super fun envelope #1” from AIM (Adventures in Missions, the organization I’m doing this trip through) staff. The contents of said envelope were instructions to find “MARTA”, the Atlanta transit system, and enough money for all of our tickets. We rode the train for a few stops until we came to ours. Then we proceeded to walk for a few blocks. Did I mention we all had our backpacks with us, most of which weighed 50 pounds? Yeah. Totally made it that much more fun.
We found our way to Safehouse, a place for homeless people to have a roof over their heads and something to eat. AIM has a big hand with this amazing place. Bugs crawl on the ground on the lower levels, the carpets are ratty, and the walls are covered in graffiti; not the type of graffiti that you would expect, like bible verses and testimonies of how God saved them. So good.
After supper and debrief, as well as an intro by one of the AIM staff, we received “Super fun envelope #2”. Our instructions were to out into the city, hear people’s stories, share yours maybe, and just show them Jesus through any which way the Spirit leads you. My wonderful team and I decided on walking to the nearest park. Can I go completely off topic here and say my team is so amazing? They are wonderful women of God seeking after His heart. And they’ve been ridiculously loving and supporting with the news about dad and my decision to stay. I seriously love them more than I thought I could love a group of strangers after not even three days of being together. Anyways, we decided to split off into two’s once we got there. I went with Kerina, who by the way, has such a wonderful energy about her, I almost don’t even miss coffee when I’m around her. Almost. So, she saw a man sitting on a park bench. We wandered over there, sat down with him and introduced ourselves, shaking his hand. We had a light conversation with him (just about the city and the weather, I asked him how he got to Atlanta). I was fully expecting God to show up in a big way. But I heard God whisper, ‘Be still.’ So we said our goodbyes and left. God showed me that just by shaking his hand and wanting to be around him, wanting to strike up a conversation about him, showed him love, and that God was in the tiniest things. Talk about humbling.
After re grouping, we did some ATL in ATL (Ask The Lord in Atlanta). One of our leaders felt like we should go to Burger King. We failed miserably finding one, we wandered around for a good half hour to forty five minutes. There were lots of drunk people around, one in particular was slouched over a mailbox, looking quite dehydrated. Elle, one of our team leaders, gave him her newly purchased, ice cold bottle of water, along with a rub on the back.
I am fully convinced that we wandered around just to give that man a drink of water.
See? All about the little things. For serious.
The next day, we disembarked to AIM headquarters, near Gainsville, Georgia. Our first day of actual training camp. To sum it up, it was all being sweaty.
And dance parties.
And waking up more sweaty than when you fell asleep. And finding out you can sweat buckets just by standing still. In the shade.
And being excited about a shower (which was a hose with only one temperature:Cold) and then getting all sweaty and dirty two minutes after you step out of the “shower.”
The evening worship service was great, the speaker talked about breaking out of ‘prisons’ of sorts, anything that would keep us from being who God made us to be in Him. Holy Spirit was all up in thuurr!
Second day of training camp:
It was all about team growth and feedback, as well as hearing the Holy Spirit’s voice. And declarations over yourself, about who you are in Christ. It was so good. Tonight I cried some more for dad. I miss him with all my heart. But he is happy with Jesus now. And before I know it, we’ll be seeing each other soon.
Today has been about debrief of culture, safety, blogging, the basics. Worship this morning was great. Hearing God whisper, “Lift your hands to me, child” was probably the highlight. I love it when I hear God’s voice. It’s the most beautiful thing on this planet. For serious.
The bonding that has happened with my team is crazy. I don’t know these girls. I don’t know their likes or dislikes, I don’t know what kind of music they like, if any, I don’t know if some are bookworms like me, but I love them. I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s crazy how God has put us together.
Alright, that’s it for now. Love you guys!
So here’s the thing:
I am unofficially fully funded! It turns out that my dad has been saving. A lot. And after getting in the money that I’ve made from the tshirts and bracelets, I owe around $1500. And dad’s amazing. He’s paying for the remainder.
Okay, so here’s the deal:
I just talked to my support coach, and she really disliked being the bearer of bad news, but she said that if I don’t get the last $1700 in before I leave, I can’t go :( BUT she was super awesome and prayed with me.
So if you’ve contemplated giving to my cause, now would be a great time to do it :)
You can donate here:
Where it says ‘choose program’ select ‘Real Life’ and for ‘participant full name’ put mine, Sarah Rochel.
This is pretty much my last cry for help on fundraising.
If you can’t give, please please please pray that God will provide, and pray that I’ll be encouraged.