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Cambodia 2009

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S: Cambodia Trip 2009 by Laura E. Shughart

FC: H.I.S. Team Cambodia Trip- June 2009

1: Cambodia Trip 2009

2: (Top) Estelle and me waiting for take off! (Left) Leighann and me on the way to the airport. | And the Journey Begins.... | My Cambodian journey began on June 3rd, 2009. I flew out of JFK airport and spent over 24 hours in flight to the other side of the world! | (Left) This is a map of Cambodia located in Southeast Asia. Our team stayed in Phnom Penh, Poipet and Siem Reap.

3: Cambodia! | After a fairly uneventful trip our team finally arrived in Cambodia. We were jet-lagged and emotionally exhausted but the excitement of finally being in Cambodia kept us going for a day packed with sightseeing and great adventures! | (Left) Our main source of transportation while in Cambodia was a "tuk-tuk" (a motorbike-drawn cart). (Above) My first tuk-tuk ride! (Top) This street boy hitched a free ride on our tuk-tuk. (Upper right) Cambodian currency is called a riel. The exchange rate as of June 2009 was one American dollar to 4,200 riels.

4: My first days in Cambodia were spent in the capital city of Phnom Penh. The poverty in this country was evident to me | from the very beginning. (Middle right) These are some of the houses in the city. (Top) I spent 8 days with these lovely creatures! (Bottom) At breakfast on our first day in Cambodia.

5: (Above left) One of the many monks I saw while in Cambodia. (Middle) Merchant boats on the Tonle Sap River. (Bottom right) Three girls on their way to school. | (Right) A Cambodian man selling coconuts on a cart. He cut off the top with a machete and stuck a straw in it so people could drink the coconut milk out of it.

6: While in Phnom Penh, our leaders wanted us to understand the atrocities that occurred during the Khmer Rouge reign in the 1970's. We went to Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum which was originally a high school turned into an interrogation facility for prisoners of the Khmer Rouge. (Above) The front of the museum. (Top right) One room of the museum has walls full of pictures of the murdered victims. (Middle right) One of the many innocent victims. (Bottom) This is one of the rooms where prisoners were tortured. On the bed you can see some of the torture devices. | Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

7: The Killing Fields | The second place we visited was The Choeung Ek Genocide Center, also called "The Killing Fields". This was the final destination for over two million of the Cambodian people that were beaten to death there and then buried in mass graves. (Top left) The skulls in the main memorial monument. (Middle) The main memorial building. (Middle right) As we walked along the paths we could see bits of clothes and bones that had worked their way up to the surface. (Bottom right) One of the many mass graves.

8: Poipet, Cambodia | After our stay in Phnom Penh, we took a nine hour drive to Poipet where the majority of our ministry took place. (Top right) Some of the houses the people live in. (Bottom right) Riding in the trunk of a van! (Left) A little boy from the slums.

9: Compared to Phnom Penh, Poipet did not feel as dark and evil. However, there was much more poverty than in the capital city. (Top right) These three little girls were having a tea party. It was so cute! (Bottom left) It rained every day while I was in Cambodia. I took this picture while riding with my legs hanging out the back of a van! (Middle) The frangipani flower is a very common flower in Cambodia. (Bottom right) This cute baby kept waving at me. I just had to take his picture!

10: We spent time visiting a motorcycle repair school for boys which trains them to have a job after trafficking. (Middle) The boys saw that I was giving candy to the little children and wanted some too. (Bottom left) Two cute boys that came to visit us at the motorcycle school. (Bottom right) This beautiful little girl was intrigued by me, a "white girl". I would have taken her home in a heartbeat! | Motorcycle Repair School

11: (Upper left) This girl was very excited to see us. (Middle left) I group of women working on pants to sell. (Bottom left) Everywhere we went children followed us. I always made sure that I had candy and stickers in | Vocational Sewing School | We visited a vocational sewing school that trains trafficked women how to | sew and make a living after slavery. | my bag to give away. (Middle) These two sisters loved the candy and stickers I gave them!

12: While in Cambodia, I had the opportunity to visit two "schools on a mat". These schools are located in the middle of a field or under a tree where a tarp can be placed on the ground for students to come and learn. (Above) The teacher and her class from the first school on a mat. (Top right) The students are giving their traditional Cambodian greeting to us. (Bottom right) It is Cambodian custom to remove your shoes upon entering any home, building or school. | School on a Mat | While in Cambodia, I had the incredible opportunity to visit 3 d school. Two of these schools

13: My interactions among the students included teaching a Bible story, singing songs, playing with students and talking to them through a translator. (Bottom left) The students loved learning the song "Deep and Wide" in English and our team loved learning it in Khmer. (Middle) A young Cambodian girl and me. (Top right) We had the opportunity to interview several students through the use of a translator.

14: School in the Slums | Visiting the slum school was one of my favorite parts about Cambodia. This school is located in the middle of one of the poorest villages so that the children can have a place to go to school. | (Top and middle left) Some children from the slum school. (Bottom left) A sweet little girl that fell asleep during school. (Above) This boy was very good at reciting the lessons the teacher wrote on the board. (Top right) A typical classroom. (Bottom right) While I was in the classroom several children, who did not attend school, listened through the cracks in the walls.

15: At the slum school I did not do as much singing and presenting as I did | at the school on a mat. I observed each class and watched | while the teacher instructed her students. I also had the opportunity to look at the | curriculum they used. After that I spent time interacting with the children and getting to know them. They were shy at first but as soon as they saw that I had stickers they went crazy! | (Below) A boy showing me his school book.. (Top right) Estelle and me handing out stickers to the children. (Middle right) The teacher said that she was the youngest girl in the class, four years old. (Bottom right) The most beautiful sight I've ever seen!

16: CHO Community House | The Community House is a home for abandoned and trafficked children. We visited the children there, played with them and brought bubbles, balloons and lap quilts for them. | (Top left) This little boy was | so excited about all of the balloons he collected. | (Bottom left) This little girl had never seen bubbles before. (Middle) We spent a lot of time blowing up balloons but it was worth it to see the children's delighted smiles!

17: (Above) This seven year old girl was saved out of slavery in Thailand. I spent most of my time swinging with her. (Top right) It broke my heart to see that these quilts were the only thing they had to call their own. (Bottom) A sweet boy cherishing his new quilt.

18: The Safe Haven | Our team spent two days working to help build a Safe Haven for children saved out of trafficking. My job both of those days was to make bricks. It was quite an experience! (Top left) Getting ready to start mixing the clay for the bricks. (Middle) All of the bricks I helped to make! (Bottom right) The people I worked with while making the bricks.

19: Working at the Safe Haven gave our team a way to be a part of the solution to the issue of trafficking. (Top left) Me taking a break to sit with the Safe Haven pet, Michael Jackson the puppy. (Middle) These are the new dormitories for the rescued children to live in. (Bottom left) Our team after a long day of work. (Bottom right) Carrie and me.

20: Children of Cambodia | "So Jesus called the little children over to him and said, "Let the children come to me! Don't try to stop them. People who are like these children belong to God's kingdom. You will never get into God's kingdom unless you enter it like a child!" Luke 18:16-17

21: These children captured my heart from the moment I laid eyes on them. Their sweet faces were a perfect reminder that God has called each of us to care for the orphan, lost and "the least of these."

22: Siem Reap | We spent our last days in Cambodia in a tourist town called Siem Riep. This city was much more modernized | than Poipet, a town out in the country. (Left) A small market place along the side of the road. (Bottom left) These turtles were being | sold for soup! | (Middle) Because Siem Riep is in the city, motorbikes are much more common. (Above) Estelle and I on our last tuk-tuk ride.

23: We spent half a day wandering around Siem Riep and experiencing another little piece of Cambodian culture. (Below) There are several destinations throughout the city where shrines and statues are built for the people to offer sacrifices to. | God put such an incredible burden on my heart for the people of Cambodia that offer gifts to unknown gods. (Top right) A beautiful hibiscus flower. (Middle right) This woman was selling fruit pods along the side of the street.

24: Ta Prohm and Bayon Temples | While in Siem Reap, we were given the incredible opportunity to see and climb the ancient temples of Cambodia. The first temple we visited, Ta Prohm, was built in the late 12th century. These temples have been invaded by parasite trees which grow on top of the temples. | The temples are a must see when visiting Cambodia!

25: From there we journeyed on to see the Bayon Temples. These Buddhist temples from the early 12th century are known for the huge stone faces carved throughout the ruins. The climb to the top of each temple was a | treacherous one but well worth the danger! These pictures show just a few of the many face carvings seen at Bayon.

26: Monkey See Monkey Do! | On our way back from the temples, we drove past a place that had monkeys galore running around. We stopped and were able to feed and even pet them! It was exciting for me to be able to feed them until one of the monkeys got greedy and tried to attack me for the fruit in my hand. Pretty scary! It certainly was an unforgettable experience for me!

27: Elephants at Sunset | Before we climbed our final temple to watch the sunset, we made a stop to see some elephants. They were absolutely beautiful and I loved every minute of being able to watch them. | From there we walked through the jungle to our final temple for the day. Once we had climbed to the top, we sat and watched the sun set while we reflected on our day. It was the perfect way to relax and unwind after a tiring day.

28: Sunrise at Angkor Wat Temples | On our final day in Cambodia, we woke up at 3:30 AM to watch the sun rise over the Angkor Wat temples. At first I was not thrilled about getting up that early but when I saw the sun rising up over the beautiful ruins, I would not have traded that experience for anything! (Middle left) Carrie and me reflecting on our trip as we watch the sunrise. (Bottom left) These men were fishing in the river that runs by the temple.

29: Our team spent the rest of the day exploring the temple, buying souvenirs and enjoying our last day in Cambodia. (Upper right) This woman wanted her son to have his picture taken with an American. (Bottom right) I tried fresh coconut milk for the first time. (Middle) This beautiful girl, Teap, gave me a note that asked me to never forget her or her country. I will NEVER forget you, Teap!

30: On my last day in Cambodia, | it finally hit me that I actually had to say goodbye to this incredible country and go home. As much as I missed my family, I was not ready to leave because I knew that I was | needed by so many orphaned and abandoned children there. As I walked away from that beautiful country, God pressed an incredible passage into my heart, Isaiah 58. I had carried it with me all through the trip and I carried it home as well. | Goodbye (for now), Cambodia!

31: Going into this trip, I do not think I fully realized what kind of impact it would have on my life. Looking at it now, I know that I will never be the same, not because of what God used me to do in other's lives, but because of what He used them to do in mine! I left a piece of my heart in Cambodia this summer and I never want to get it back!

32: The things in this book are not even half of what I saw and experienced while I was in Cambodia. I saw things with my own eyes that are even now too difficult to speak of without crying, incredible acts of evil that no one ever hears about. | However, now that I have seen these things, I am responsible to tell others about the atrocities that occur in this country. It is my job now to give a voice to the thousands of people in Cambodia that are crying for help but cannot be heard! "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice." Proverbs 31:8,9

33: "Is this not the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and provide the poor wanderer with shelter- when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteous One will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard." Isaiah 58:6-8

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  • By: Laura S.
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