Lighthouse to Cambodia 2014

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To Enumerate

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One of the impressive young translators with which we were blessed is Tim.  Your scribe was given the responsibility of greeting/crowd control, but that quickly devolved into supporting Tim; organizing numbered tags given to patients, providing rates of flow that each of the departments were seeing patients, and gathering information so he would know how many more patients could be seen.  He had an immense responsibility in keeping track of the intake numbers for each category of service as well as keeping the crowd orderly and he fulfilled his tasks perfectly, in spite of some criticism from those who could not be seen.  He is one of the young men who represents a bright future for Cambodia; he helps support his family while studying for a Master’s degree.  After he completes that Master’s degree, he plans to pursue a second.

All of that is a lengthy introduction to the chart of the number of patients seen as shown below.  He was the only person who kept track of how many people were seen in each department and what the totals were for each day.

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Here, Tim is adding up the numbers for the day.  He kept a running tally throughout each day, so, at any moment, he could tell your scribe how many people had been seen in each department.

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Click on the photo to enlarge it.

The grand total of people seen is 1,299 over the four-and-a-half days.  (It is conservatively estimated that over three hundred were turned away because of time constraints.)  Consider that number of 1,299.  It is a big number.  It means not only that our band of ordinary people worked exceptionally well together as a team, but also that God was watching over us and energizing us, as well as empowering us to show love to each person.  Consider that number in another way: we witnessed a lot of human suffering.  Some people came in with conditions that were heart-breaking and some of those couldn’t be treated.  The heart is heavy with compassion for those that are still suffering.

Reflections From Kaylene Suyematsu

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The photo on the left was taken at the World Vision village school.  Kaylene is in the middle of the bottom row.  The photo on the right was taken at the World Vision youth group.  Kaylene is pointing to a student who is wearing a t-shirt that said, “Seattle Southwest University.”  It sounds impressive, but no such institution exists.

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The left photo shows Kaylene with her sponsored child, the child’s aunt, and the child’s grandmother.  On the right, another sponsored child and family departing on their moto.

Reflection from Kaylene Suyematsu

After returning home from our medical mission, I reflect and praise God for the amazing opportunity I have had during these past 2 weeks.  As I soaked in the beauty of the endless miles of green fields of rice and the fascinating jagged mountain ranges, experienced the different sights, sounds, smells, and taste of their culture, I was touched by many curious and welcoming people we met along the way.

From the stories of International Justice Mission and World Vision workers who left the comforts of their home to serve in Cambodia and what they are doing, meeting local community leaders whose loyalties are to help improve and enable their communities for the better with the help of WV, hearing testimonies from teenagers at a local church, visiting with children at a small village school, meeting and playing with the children at the Mishler’s orphanage, to caring/praying for the villagers at the clinic, praying with a new believer at the International Church we worshipped with in Battambang, to meeting, playing, and praying with my sponsor child, Seila, and her family…and even getting a short ride with her 19-year old Aunt on her “Moto” (motorcycle)…it all has left me with a lasting impression and clarity on how I can continue to pray for them.

Not only was it a daily blessing to travel with such an encouraging group of people whose hearts were to love, serve, and glorify our Lord Jesus, but I was also so blessed to meet other brother and sisters in Christ within our group of translators.  Not only did they all work tirelessly to help us communicate to the locals, but they also blessed us with their boldness to speak and sing about their faith in Jesus. To have been able to meet, eat, travel, serve, pray, and worship together was incredible and uplifting.  I pray the Lord will continue to encourage them in their faith so that they will continue to shine God’s light wherever they go.

My thoughts and prayers will also be for God provision for the Mishler’s “On the Frontline Ministries” so that they will be able to contact and reach out to those that accepted Christ during our clinic days.  That God will use their ministry to water the seeds that were planted in their hearts, so that the people will have a way to grow in their understanding and love for Him.

Thank you all who supported our team, whether financially, and/or in thoughts and prayers, you were all a valuable part of our team!  God bless you all!!

What a Clinic Looks Like

Now that the team has returned home safely, your scribe thought it would be helpful for you, dear readers, to see what the working conditions were at the two clinics.  (Just click on any picture for a larger version.)

First Clinic Location.

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This is the Waiting Area and Intake.  Once the procedure was refined, the Waiting Area became the place where Intake forms were distributed and the name, village, and phone number of each individual were written down.  It was also the area where people were segregated by their chief complaint and designated to be a dental, optical, or medical patient.  The Intake was where the vitals were taken as well as the chief complaint recorded for medical.  Take note of the number of people waiting; this was the sight that greeted the team as we arrived at the clinic location on Saturday, which was to be only a half-day clinic.  The number of people waiting was both breathtaking and probably a bit anxiety-producing for some of the team. It was clear that the word had spread from the previous two days that there was a free clinic.  It was sad in that we knew that we could not treat all of the people who had come, and many had to be turned away, disappointed.

The tents and chairs were rented for the clinic and provided welcome relief from the oppressive heat of the sun as well as the occasional rain shower.

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This is the Pharmacy, from the inside (notice the suitcases in which the drugs were transported) and from the outside, where there was a small waiting area.

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This is the Dental area.  One of the dentists brought a pretty cool portable unit enabling them to do more advanced procedures like drilling and filling (and surely other procedures of which your scribe lacks knowledge).  Unfortunately, for many patients, the only option was extractions, but at least they no longer suffered from toothache pain.

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This is part of the Optical area; not shown is the other treating area inside the building.  Both of the gentlemen providing treatment were Cambodians.

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This is the Medical area.  It was, relatively, quite a nice area, being inside with lots of open windows, but also a very busy area.  Several hundred people were seen in this area over the two-and-a-half days.  The team was aided by two doctors from a local hospital – one a Cambodian Christian and the other an Italian, who is not a Christian.  (Your scribe developed an instant rapport with him by saying one name: “Valentino Rossi.”  Much enthusiastic discussion ensued.)

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This is the Prayer tent, where much spiritual transformation and spiritual battles took place.  (At the far left end is the waiting area for Dental.)

Second Clinic Location

The second location was cramped for space.  Whereas the first location was expansive, we were wishing for a bit more room at the second location.

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This was the scene in front of the clinic; several ambitious and entrepreneurial food vendors had set up shop and did quite well selling their products to the waiting crowd.

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This is the Waiting and Intake area.  Notice how limited the space is; there is a fence on the left side and a building on the right side.  The Intake tables were placed as tightly together as possible, while still allowing for some space to move about.  When it rained, as it did on both days, everyone had to move in closer together to stay under the tent and to avoid those places where the tent was leaking.

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This was Pharmacy; notice the people waiting on the left in the left picture.  This was usually what it looked like once people had finished seeing the doctors.  I was impressed with the resourcefulness of the team to make work whatever space was available.

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This is the Medical area; the space used was nothing more than the porch to the clinic building which was made available to us.  In the left picture, a mostly successful attempt is being made to hang some fabric as a protection against the intense rays of the sun.  In the right picture, John Mayeno in the foreground and Patti Yonemura in the background are treating patients.

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A word must be said about a little known, but necessary, job and that is that of runner.  That’s the word we used, but perhaps a better word would be guide.  These are the people who walked with the patients from Intake to any one of the treatment locations, showing them the way.  Your scribe was impressed by how even this simple act was done with grace and love  (shown is Alan Chi).  It was uncomfortable at times, especially during a particularly heavy rainstorm which turned the ground into a sloshy, mucky mess.  Yet no one complained; indeed, they continued to smile through it all.

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This is the Dental area; notice that, again, they are in a covered open-air space.  The Dentists are experienced at working in less than ideal situations, having been on many mission trips.  On the right, Bob and Kerry together worked for a very long time on a young woman whose teeth were all rotted.

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On the right are some of the devices laid out for the Dental procedures.  On the left are the sterilization containers; your scribe was surprised to learn that it is a several-step process to sterilize dental tools, and that one of the steps involved soaking in a particular solution for twenty minutes.

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Your scribe was presented with a quandary from the Physical Therapy area; the mats had been laid down on the rock surface and the patients found it quite uncomfortable.  The solution?  A layer of sand over the rock.  On the left, your scribe is smoothing out the sand for the second mat.  Past experience in finishing many yards of concrete came in handy here.  On the right, one of our translators is testing the comfort level while Heather, being reminded of sandy beaches, is doing her best impression of surfing.

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This was the Optical location, under a tree.  This worked well until the rains came.  When that happened, they moved the desk to one end of the prayer tent.  Again, the men providing care were Cambodians.

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This is the Prayer tent.  There are some wonderful stories that came from this tent.  On the left, team members, pastors, and interpreters are counseling and praying.  On the right, the soggy conditions that made things more challenging are shown.

A word must be said about the thunderstorm that came through on the last day of the clinic.  Afternoon rainstorms were usually welcomed as they cooled the air; they brought a respite from the intense heat of the day.  But this storm, with its lightning strikes all around, brought some real danger.  A quick check of the different treatment areas showed that Medical, Pharmacy, and Dental personnel were relatively safe.  The floors and their feet were dry, and they were under a solid covering.  The Prayer tent was less so, but at least there was some dry ground in the middle where people could stand.  Of more concern was the Intake tent.  Crowded with people and the ground mostly soaked from the intense rain, it was not a good place to be.  But there was no other place to go, and it probably would have been worse to send the hundred people out into the open.  Praise God the storm passed over us without incident.

Reflections From John and Shari Mayeno

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John, in the white shirt, treating a patient.                Shari, on the right, working in Intake, taking vitals and information.

Fog and clouds, crisp, cool air, yellow leaves flutter on the branches of deciduous trees and in our hotel room one feels safe drinking water from the tap and the toilet is equipped with all sorts of options and gizmos and too many buttons to figure out at one sitting…  This is Seoul, Korea our last (12 hour) layover before flying back to Seattle. Quite a contrast to the  electrical power outages, sketchy wi-fi, unsafe water, squatty potties, soaking daily sweat, massive thunderstorms and deluges, fire ants, red mud, and giant moths we had just experienced two days prior (and normal everyday living for many Cambodians and others around the world).
Here, we debrief, offer constructive thoughts and gather one last time for worship and to remember the things we have witnessed God do in Cambodia.

By God’s grace, the team completed four and a half clinic days in two different rural areas in Western Cambodia and attended to over 1000 people’s combined medical, dental and/or optometry needs.  Those who expressed a desire to be prayed for received prayer by Cambodian pastors and translators and our team members and many got to hear about and experience the good news of Jesus for the first time!  As many of you know, we are not “all about the numbers,” but the sheer volume of people responding to the gospel coupled with individual “divine appointments”  made it impossible to miss the obvious: God was on the move. Listening to praises and prayers simultaneously lifted up in Khmer and English in  grateful worship to God two nights ago was the fitting response to such a great mutual experience:  God is good!
And now, in the tidy cafeteria of our Seoul hotel we look around the circle of team members and see how each individual with their unique giftings, talents and temperaments has been “hand picked” (as Xuan would say) by the Lord to serve on this team –  we are also aware that our time together is coming to a close and we will soon disperse back into our “normal” everyday lives…
Where to from here?

We’ll pray that team members exposed to a myriad of sick patients including possible active TB, will stay healthy.
We’ll pray for recovery from jet lag and that the process of reverse culture shock will be insightful.
We’ll remember and pray for the local Cambodian pastors as they follow up with each new believer.
We’ll remember and pray for the Cambodian translators – that they may keep their vibrant faith in the midst of very trying circumstances.

We’ll remember and pray for the Mishlers and other missionaries in the area.
We are thankful to the Lord for all He has done on this mission trip, for new friends, for the encouragement and faithful prayers of our family and friends, for the opportunity to work with the Mishlers and for Lighthouse Christian Church inviting us along on this Spirit-led adventure!

With gratitude,
John and Shari Mayeno

Reflections From Heather Nakamura

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The always smiling Heather.

A New Day for Cambodia

After we finished our last days of clinic in Kabien, the team was able to take a day of rest and tour Angkor Wat.  Even though we were tired, we got up early to enjoy the sunrise over the temple.  It was an amazing sight to witness, as we took in the beauty of the sunrise, I reflected on our time in Cambodia.

I realized the highlight of my trip was getting the chance to work with the young translators and pastors who will “cultivate the seeds” we planted during the two weeks we’ve been here.  Though our doctors, dentists, nurses, support team and prayer warriors provided valuable physical and spiritual care for more than 650 people, anything we did will only be temporary.

The real transformation and long-term impact will come from the follow-up provided by the local pastors.  They carefully recorded the names and addresses of each person who made a decision to follow Christ, and will continue to build relationships with them over the days to come.

We also had the honor of “discipling” many young translators, who are pursuing advanced education in medicine, business, ministry, and other fields.  They are the future leaders of Cambodia, with a passion to change their country.

So even though I shed a few tears while saying good-bye to our new friends, I leave with a heart full of hope for this beautiful country.  I’ll continue to pray for each person we touched, and ask God to bring a New Day for Cambodia…

Thanks again for all your prayers and support.  We couldn’t have made this trip without you…

Love in Christ,

Heather

Reflections From Xuan Slocum

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Xuan, a gifted and passionate evangelist.

On the last day of the medical clinic in Kebin, we experienced the moving of the Holy Spirit vibrate throughout the clinic.

I do not speak the Khmer language so Bunthorn was assigned to help me translate.  We were helping with the intake team, taking vital signs and asking a few question before the patient was to see the doctor for treatment.  As we started the day, we had about one hundred people that returned from the previous day because they could not be seen.  One of the patients was Mrs. Heng Phy; she looked very sad and seemed depressed.  I asked why she appeared so sad?  She could barely be heard as she explained that she lost a nineteen-year-old son the previous month in an automobile accident; he and two friends were riding a moto when there was a head-on collision with a car driven by a drunk driver.  We were moved by her pain so I asked to be excused from intake so we could go to a quieter location.

As we settled under a tree, we were joined by her sixteen-year-old daughter, who had taken time off from school to comfort her mother.  The Lord is gracious in hand-picking each team member to serve Him because I have many loses in my life.  I also have loving friends to help me process my loss.  So I asked her and her daughter about their son/brother; what they missed about him and what he was like.  By then, Pastor Nancy and Kim had joined us to pour love and prayers on them.  There were many tears of love, comfort, and healing that only Jesus can provide.

Then we used the Eternity Bracelet to share the gospel with them.  We shared that our loving God knows their broken hearts and sent us to tell them that Jesus loves them.  They both, with joy and gladness, invited Jesus into their heart and life.  I told them that now they have Jesus in their heart; they are always comforted and cared for.  All they have to do is say, “Jesus, help me, comfort me” when they are hurting.  I also said to the daughter that now she can be at peace to go back to school so she can take better care of her mother in the future.

I also encouraged them to stay in touch with the local pastor and read the Bible.  Jesus is faithful and only He comforts them but also gives them a meaning and purpose to live for Him.

There is not much gospel influence in this area.  Truly, this is a land where people who been sitting in darkness have seen the great Light.

Xuan

Reflections From Nancy Sugikawa

(A note from your scribe who is lounging by the pool:  As of today, Thursday, all of the medical clinics have been completed;  yesterday we took the slow four-hour bus ride to Siem Riep and and tonight we board our plane for home.  As people have time to reflect and write, and as these are primarily reflections rather than a reporting of events, the posts will not be appearing in chronological order of events, but rather in the order in which they are written.  Read on.)

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Nancy, in the center, listening to a pastor who teaches children.  (See post)

328 came to Christ!

Greetings from Cambodia!
We just finished out first week with our mission team and it has been an amazing time!

We arrived in Phnom Penh and spent time with some faithful World Vision staff at the WV main office so dedicated to the transformation of this country.

We visited several Area Development Projects including a small classroom where a pastor teaches children who don’t have access to school, a youth club that is changing lives, a slum community that is dedicated to protecting vulnerable children from being trafficked, and a preschool started and taught by youth who want to encourage young children to go to school. Each area was very poor but the residents are learning to take care of each other and become change agents for their community! We were so inspired by their passion and the love and coaching given by WV staff!

Nine of us also got to meet our WV sponsored child! It was fun for me to meet Sophea who lives with her aunt’s family because get parents had to go to Thailand to find work. After some tentativeness Sophea showed me her fun side as we took goofy photos at the end!

We also were able to visit the office of International Justice Mission, attend their morning devotion and prayer walk around an area where prostitution and human trafficking occur daily. They have worked to help reduce the trafficking of children from 15-30% down to 8% in about 10 years.

We spent the next 2 1/2 days doing medical clinics in a poor rural area where our World Vision sponsored kids live. We saw a total of 650 people and 328 received Christ! Local pastors and church members helped us share the gospel after people received medical, dental or optometry care. Our 20 translators were truly amazing as many of them are evangelists themselves!

The highlight of the trip so far would have to be our time of worship tonight after dinner with Jerry and Wilma Mishler, our missionaries with On the Frontline Ministries. Once we began to sing Open the Eyes of my heart the Holy Spirit filled our hearts as we sang in unison with such love and joy in Christ! One translator shared how she once was very active in her church but had since lost her way in the busyness of life and children. She thought she had lost her gifts of worship and evangelism. But in our clinics she again felt the joy of leading people to Jesus and was so thankful to be part of our prayer team!

God has been so faithful to us, despite the heat and humidity, the unexpected additions to our team from several countries and cultures, and the last minute changes to our plans each day!

Thank you so very much for your prayers for us! We can feel the power of the Holy Spirit uniting us and protecting us–even from several patients who were found to have TB! Please continue to pray for God’s protection, favor and fruitfulness!

Joyful and amazed by His goodness,
Nancy

Reflections from Kim Nguyen

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Kim, displaying one of the many ways she expressed love for the Cambodian people.

 

Thank God for calling me to serve the Lord beside the Lighthouse Mission Team in Cambodia.

The first day in Cambodia we visited the World Vision office and also visited some places where World Vision is supporting some Christian volunteer teachers.  By teaching these slum children, the teachers’ ambition is to better the community.  The next day we walked on the sidewalk nearby the Tonle Sap River to pray for the Cambodians and their government.  Let God bless and save them.  On the third day, Wednesday, we visited a pastor who has adopted nine children, giving him a total of twelve.

Then we traveled to Preah netr Preah to hold the medical clinics for two and-a-half days.  I am so happy because there were many people who accepted Jesus Christ.  Some of them had the charms that they tied around their bodies; these were cut by the pastors.  They heard about the Gospel and then they accepted Jesus Christ as their savior.

God’s power is always in control in this world so I have to humble myself before Him more and more because Satan still wants to attack us.  Later, we went to the orphanage that the Mishler’s started to play with the children. While I was standing recording the kid’s activities, suddenly a long snake appeared very close to my foot.  Many translators yelled, “Get out, Kim!”  I looked down at my foot and saw the snake.  Very scared, I ran away.  At the same time, Pastor Mishler cut his toe on a rock.  And also, there are some on our team who got sick.  Although there are small accidents, God is always protecting and covering us.

I serve in the Intake Team.  I I can’t speak the the Khmer language but we have the same language of “love.”  We have our smiles to tell about it.  We show respect to the patients while we serve them.

The first time I stepped inside our bus, I saw the Buddha’s picture hanging in the front of the bus driver.  I prayed that God would save all the drivers who helped us with transportation.  Later, I heard that two of them accepted Jesus Christ.  Thank God.  I know all of the members in our team are always praying for the unbeliever.

We are working together very smoothly as the body of God.  Thank God for providing everything to us.  Thank God for our core medical team that is working very hard.  We pray for them.  God help us to finish the mission trip.  Glorify God.  Amen!

Kim

Reflections from Barry Wong

(But first, a note from your scribe.  Each person has the opportunity to write for this blog at least once.  Because of the hectic pace of clinic days (up at 6 am and long and busy clinic days) many people had to postpone writing their reflections.  The team has had a brief respite from the busyness and many have taken the opportunity to record their thoughts and impressions.  Thus, the flurry of entries in the last half day.  And lest one think that all is hardship and suffering and labor, we have just spent a  relaxing night at a sumptuous resort hotel, complete with swimming pool, in which your scribe indulged.  The best part?  Eighteen dollars per night.  On to Barry’s reflections.)

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Yes, Barry is the one in the Stanford shirt.

Hi Everyone,
Thank you for partnering with us in prayer; God continues to move among us and do great things! Some of my favorites:
– I have spent the first two days of clinic in at the prayer/evangelism station. This is the final station and one to which only interested patients are directed. In other words, no one has to receive prayer or hear about God to get treated. But a large number of those who are treated are interested in at least hearing the story of God’s love for them and for the world, and an amazing 262 have made commitments to Jesus as of the end of the second day in Si-sophon. These will be followed up by local pastors to ensure that people understand what/whom they’re committing to, and to offer support and encouragement for a growing walk with Jesus to those who desire it.
– In one of my favorite interactions from the second day of clinic, my Khmer interpreter Kuntha and I shared the Gospel story with a woman, who when asked if she would like to receive Jesus as king and savior, firmly declined. She did, however, want us to pray for three ongoing physical ailments which were troubling her, two of them for years. I said we would, but whenever we talked about Jesus, she pushed back to ask that we would just pray that she’d live a long life. I finally decided she had had enough of a chance to respond, and that it was time to pray, and so I prayed against her headaches, stomachaches, and arthritic leg pain, asking the Lord to heal her body as a demonstration of his love for her. Afterward, she reported that all three conditions had been healed! She was smiling broadly, when I asked about a bracelet she was wearing. I recognized it as one that a number of the people here wear to ward off evil spirits. After confirming with her that that was its intended purpose, I warned her that it was not protection, but bondage. However, Jesus would protect her from the evil spirits if she wanted him to, and we could cut off the bracelet. She said she’d like that. As we moved to prayer, I thought to clarify: is she saying she wants to give her life to Jesus (vs. just get protection from the evil spirits)? She gave a firm ‘yes’ — so we cut off the bracelet, prayed, and she received Jesus. It was a joyful reminder to me that God meets people in powerful, immediate ways.
– A favorite event from earlier in the week was our visit to the World Vision ADP at Preah Netr Preah — a project that Lighthouse is helping to support as a church, and an area where a number of us are sponsoring children. I had a chance to meet Siyean, the five-year-old girl our family sponsors and to spend some time with her and her family. I brought gifts for her and her family (in this case, an uncle and aunt and their four children, who look after her because her parents are in Thailand working (a common thing here in Cambodia, but one that exposes them to all kinds of risks, including human trafficking/slavery). She is shy and playful, and we had a lot of fun coloring and playing together. She is not as verbal or as big as one might expect a five-year-old to be, which has me wondering how well-fed she’s been up to the point. She’ll start school in less than a week, which hopefully will be helpful. But I found her charming and delightful, and praised God for her life and her family; I even had the chance to pray for them, after which we enjoyed a nice lunch together. I never imagined that such a meeting would ever be possible; it was a precious gift to spend some time with her and them, and it galvanized my resolve to pray for and write to her on a regular basis. Later that day, we saw a variety of World Vision projects that Lighthouse is helping to support: providing clean water at a school, offering nutrition and hygiene education in a village, along with special food and tracking of baby weight gain, and a community preschool — all very impressive.
I am grateful to be a part of a short-term team that is giving witness to the Good News that Jesus the King is making all things new — and also to see up close a people and a part of the world that  he loves so dearly. Please join me in praying that the good work that he has begun here, he will bring to completion — claiming a people for himself and giving a taste of his Kingdom coming!
Joyfully in him,
Barry

Reflections From Anna Sandefur

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Anna is on the left, treating a patient.

We saw 180 patients today in our half day clinic, with one less doctor and several less staff (part of the team left to complete another project of making 40,000 children’s packets. You read that correctly, 40,000!). We had to turn away about 50 patients at the closing of the clinic, but we were able to give them vitamins and have the local pastors pray with them before they left. It has been a blessing to pray with the patients I helped. We left Preah Netr Preah and rode the bus for 2 hours to Battambang.

One of the reasons things have been going so smoothly (besides The Lord!) has been the blessing of an amazing group of Cambodian translators who have such a heart for The Lord and their people. They have served alongside us with energy, compassion, service and joy in The Lord. These young leaders are the future of Cambodia, and we praise The Lord for the blessing of serving with them.

Please continue to pray for us. We are tired. Some of us are starting to get a little sick. We’re exposed to ill patients. We have another week to go. In spite of this, we are having a great time, the bus rides are LOUD with laughter and sharing each other’s faith stories, and people are enjoying serving together. The Lord is good and we praise him for his love and grace.

Anna.