After long flights yesterday and a good night of rest, the St. John's Midland and St. John Ellisville teams began their adventure together this morning. Most of the group did some touring while others participated in a Pastor Gathering.
The touring focused on three places, the S-21 Prison, the Killing Fields and the Royal Palace. When the Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia in 1970, they conducted a genocide that killed any individuals they felt would resist their efforts to create a new government. The S-21 prison (prison cell shown below)housed prisoners that were detained and tortured to get confessions or more information to expose other who might resist. The Killing Fields was where the prisoners, and thousands of others were brutally murdered and buried in mass graves. Our tour guides had family members killed and she was spared but sent to work camps. A generation was lost, and the scars will remain for many years. But God is at work in this country and we will soon see a great example as we travel to Stronghold Cambodia tomorrow. The Royal Museum Complex was filled ornate buildings and expensive possessions of the royal family. But the focus on spirits and Buddhist practices as source of protection, peace and power reminded one of the Old Testament scriptures where God questioned how men could put their faith in idols of wood and stone. We know that Stronghold teaches people to put their trust in Christ. A light in a Cambodian nation that is 90% Buddhist. -Al Paulsen
What a great first day! Pastor Dion and I had the privilege to spend the entire day with a room full of Cambodian pastors, talking, praying, singing, and discussing pastoral theology. It was especially sweet for me to see the faces of several pastors I had met on my previous trip four years ago, and while both pastor Dion and I experienced the minor miracle (is there such a thing?) of the Spirit working in our jet-lagged minds, the Cambodian pastors helped us along in a discussion that was truly edifying for everyone involved. I am posting (hopefully) a few pictures of the pastors so that you can look at their faces and pray for them. God is good! -Pastor Kempin