Today was a long day; the team had to eat breakfast and be all packed by 8:30 for a visit to International Justice Mission. This was a worthwhile visit and your scribe is grateful for the opportunity to be able to meet with people who are at the forefront of rescuing children from sex trafficking and slavery. Through advocacy, training, working with government agencies, and actively rescuing children, there has been a dramatic reduction in this horrendous evil. The fact that these practices exist is a testament to the brokenness of our world, but equally, the fact that, through prayer, wisdom, and hard work, this practice is on its way to being almost eradicated in Cambodia is a testament to the grace and power of God.
Our visit with IJM consisted of meeting with various staff members and hearing about their specific tasks. The staff then escorted the group to the tourist area of Phnom Penh where the sex trafficking had been prevalent and where attempts are still made to procure young victims. The group then did a prayer walk along this strip of real estate where so much evil has transpired, praying that the Kingdom of God would have dominion over this neighborhood. After this, it was lunch with the IJM staff; we went to a Vietnamese restaurant (many Vietnamese people came to Cambodia to escape the conflicts in their own country). The group enjoyed delicious food and lively conversations, a welcome relief from the weighty and serious discussions that had occupied the previous hours.
After the enjoyable repast, it was time for the group to get back to the hotel to load the luggage, pick up the translators, and make the journey to Battambang. It was thought the drive would take about six hours but that proved to be optimistic (Google maps fail!); the total time of the trip turned out to be nine hours, including a dinner stop and an unexpected stop due to a flat tire. The hotel was a welcome sight when the buses rolled up to it at 11:30 pm. In spite of the long day and lengthy trek, the group remains in good spirits and all are getting along well. Now it is time for your scribe to get familiar with his longed-for bed.