Hello Friends and Church Families!
I am reporting from Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where God is present and Jesus is alive! Our journey began four weeks ago, and the time has gone by so quickly. I cannot tell you how many seeds we have seen planted along the Mekong in Southeast Asia. Our adventures have been many. Here is a quick summary of the past four weeks. Please continue to pray for SE Asia!
Our journey began in Luang Prabang, Laos, with a two-day boat ride down the Mekong River.
When we arrived in Luang Prabang, we helped take care of children in a daycare and taught English to youth in the evenings.
During the day we helped build a new swing set for the children. One day we also helped clear land in a village so a house can be built soon for the daycare owner and his family.
We left Luang Prabang in the sketchiest bus we had ever seen! (I wish I had photos.) After the bus driver loaded a motorcycle on top of the bus, and about 20 extra people filled up the aisle of the bus sitting on plastic stools, we took off in the evening. We stopped every two hours because there was no bathroom on the bus. Our bathroom on one stop was the woods around us! We drove through the mountains and jungles of Laos on dirt roads, weaving around cattle, dogs, and motorcycles, and nearly killing two pigs on the way! We arrived in Vientienne 12 hours later, tired but thankful to be alive!
In Vientiene we joined a group that teaches English to university students. After one week, we flew to Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
We first visited a village about 30 km outside the city. We worked with children in the slums, taught English, and led prayer groups with families who have survived the Khmer Rouge. We heard so many stories of pain and triumph. My heart grew bigger for the Khmer people.
Last week, we served another ministry in a slum village. We also worked with women and men who have been trafficked into the sex slave industry. We saw families who live on top of a trash mountain and hundreds of girls being sold in brothels and karoake bars. We could not take photos of the trash mountain or the karoake bars.
Next week we will continue to serve the Khmer people in Cambodia in a village that ministers to Children at Risk. Poor children in Cambodia are at great risk of being sold into forced labor and sex trafficking because their families desperately need money to survive. Last night, we taught a group of parents who are learning to value their children instead of sell them. My heart lept out of my chest as they all asked so many questions about God’s love and how to share it with others. We will spend one more week in Cambodia and then go to Vietnam, a very closed country to the Gospel. Please pray for safety and unique opportunities to share the love of Jesus there. **Update on the status of Thailand: Many of you know that Thai authorities have declared a military coup for the whole of Thailand. Our friends from Chiang Mai report that everything is calm with only a few reports of non-violent protests here and there. This is the 19th coup Thailand has declared, and from what I hear, it is one of the calmest. I do ask that you keep Thailand in your prayers to work through these issues, but our Thai friends say the coup is the safest option for Thailand right now. The military can keep protesting down by setting a nationwide curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. and setting military checkpoints at protesting points in the larger cities. If you are on Facebook, you can follow my posts from the Mekong. I try to post daily updates. Thank you so much for all your prayers and support during this time. We are scheduled to return to Thailand June 12. Many blessings to all of you! Korina, Jaynee, Justine
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