A Day on a Cambodia Mission Trip
“To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.” 2 Corinthians 9:22
We'd usually wake up to the sound of heavy rain, which would stop by the time we got ready and trekked up to the 6th floor of the vision center for devotions or chapel. Every morning, we would split up into our chapel teams, one for each school (primary, secondary, HS, and International School). Each team would lead morning chapel times for the students which usually consisted of a short message sometimes accompanied by a skit and some praise. We needed to prepare all the tech and materials at the vision center, carrying it 6 floors down and 4 floors up to the chapel area of the Khmer school. After each chapel time, we would then have to bring everything back to the vision center, up and down those same floors. Then, we would debrief and discuss anything that went well, didn't go well, and what could be improved for next time. I was always thankful for these debriefs because we got a lot of valuable feedback, and the next time was always a little better as a result.
Afterwards, my team would do devotions from the Bible and share. Sometimes, we would go to Kim's cafe on the 3rd floor of the vision center and enjoy some cool beverages. Then, we would have a little bit of time before lunch to prepare for class time. For classes, we were given free reign to teach anything, as long as it was in English. We tried to model our class time as supplementary material for chapel, so we could get them thinking about some of the Christian topics we introduced during chapel time. It was really challenging to come up with material that would be thought-provoking and engaging, and we struggled a lot as a group to have cohesive planning times. Sometimes we would brainstorm for an hour, constantly changing the plan until finally we ended up right where we started. We learned a lot of valuable lessons about how to work as a team as well as how to present the Gospel in a way that's relatable to our audience.
We'd usually have lunch with the students in their cafeteria. Lunch was a precious time to learn more about the students and hopefully, have some spiritual conversations. I felt really connected to the students during these times because rather than in a chapel or classroom setting, we got to see and hear from them face-to-face.
After lunch, we would prep some more and then teach the classes. On some days, instead of class, we would go to a village and put on a small children’s program. When we saw the state of the villages, we were all struck with a sense of burden for the children there, as well as our fellow brothers and sisters who are laboring faithfully in the village churches. It was a time of losing ourselves as we danced shamelessly despite the heat and tried to love these children in any way we could. It was during these times that I saw how simple and valuable the Gospel really is. We came all the way here for the sole purpose of bringing this good news to these kids, and despite the difficulties in communication, I could tell that they really valued that time.
At night, we would have dinner together as a team in the vision center. The food was always so delicious and we all laughed at the fact that we ate better in Cambodia than we did in the states.
Then after dinner, we would have some team time. Often it would start with "entertainment", which consisted of people showcasing random talents. Even though it was kind of silly, these fun times lifted our spirits and lowered barriers. Then, we would share the highs and lows from the day: good conversations, chapel messages, notable quotes from people. We would always end with singing and prayer. I really treasured these team times because it was an opportunity to see the bigger picture of what God was doing and we could all rejoice in God's faithfulness together. All of our victories and setbacks were ones we shared as a team, and we gained a lot of precious wisdom and instruction from leaders during these times.
After team time, we would do more prep for the next day’s chapel! We pooled together all of the snacks we got from care packages so we could share the abundance of care we received from the church. We munched on these while discussing lesson plans, doing dry runs, and practicing for praise. Tim and Lydia would have to convince us to retire for the day, often earlier than we wanted to!
If I had to use one word to describe the trip I would use "growing". I learned so much about God and I was challenged to get out of myself. The whole team really experienced our key verse: 2 Corinthians 9:22 come to life, as we stretched ourselves to become all things to all people. People who never did praise sang, and people who had never given messages before spoke in front of large crowds. We all learned to dance and share our testimonies. We shared the joy of 3 salvations, praise the Lord!! And we all learned that truly, our strength is small, but God is so faithful. He is working and He will always be working. Pray for Cambodia!