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week 1.

At last we have completed our first week in a new country. It has been a week that has humbled my spirit as well as affirmed what God has been teaching me and speaking into me for the past year. Prior to leaving on this trip I asked Jesus to place me in the darkness assured in my stability and reassured by my preparation that I could stand in the midst of it without faltering. I waited for days and months patiently to see what exactly it was that God was preparing me for that I would need such strength for. I now know exactly what it was. Cambodia.

Our first day here we walked through the halls of a school turned into torture center that was set in the center of their biggest city. Less than 40 years ago hundreds of thousands of people were taken for questioning and ultimately death by their government affiliation. Anyone with an education, glasses, mixed nationality, disability, and government affiliation… the list seems endless and encompassed the majority of a generation who were slaughtered. We sit in our warm American homes with apathy under one arm and selfishness under the other unaware or simply unconcerned with the world around us watching trashy television and spending 15 dollars on a single meal. If you want to see blood and devastation put down your video game controller, turn off the horror film and travel to a third world country. Visit a place like this one.

I would have liked to consider myself well aware of the world and heartbroken for the pain within it but it became disturbingly real as I stood in the room where numerous people were tortured to death. My feet resting on blood stained tiles. Staring at a sign reading "you will not cry during torture or you will receive penalty of electrocution through your ears" and looking at playground equipment turned into a torture device suddenly brought a new depth to the dropping of my stomach. I walked through the halls looking at documented photos of how babies were killed in those exact rooms and asked Jesus how long? How long till you come back for us? I just want it to end.

These questions have remained on my mind while exploring Cambodia so far and continually being met with a feeling of awe and astonishment at how an entire country can almost freeze in its cultural and industrial expansion. The genocide we learned about was less than 40 years ago and is incredibly recognizable. Walking down the streets you rarely see people above the age of mid 30’s. An entire generation wiped out and a new fear associated with education has become the face of what you see when glancing at Cambodia as a whole. This image of a broken nation is daunting in a passing glance but when you look closer you see the beauty of the situation.

In the midst of this there is a hunger…a hunger for truth, for meaning, for clarity, for restoration and security. But the most apparent of all is their hunger for love. They truly are searching for Jesus without even knowing it. Their hands are open to the heavens waiting for truth to fall… God has been preparing us for this season of bringing new life. The girls we are getting to know are so eager to listen to the words pouring from our mouths. They are ready for more and it is one of the most incredible things to see someone who literally has never heard the name Jesus before look at you with a puzzled look and then suddenly it clicks. Through a messy mixture of hand gestures and elementary words they see him. Restoration is beautiful and it is real.

Our first week was an adventure of walking through beyond questionable water to get to work, eating unidentifiable objects, and a new appreciation for air conditioning. We have started to join together as sisters and are focusing on living out what God wanted community to look like for us here on earth. His faithfulness and beauty abound in the faces of the unreached. If you are searching for answers go find them in these places.

"I am not asking you to take them out of this world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. Just as you sent me into this world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth. I am not praying only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message."

-Jesus
John17:15-20.

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