Leaving Battambang, heading to Siem Reap

Last night, the team from The Chapel (Akron, OH) endured a round of tearful goodbyes with the kids and staff of Battambang 6, the home they sponsor in Cambodia's second largest city. These last few days have been filled with the best of times. We've shared meals, stories, games and gifts. 

It's been such an encouragement to spend time with Pastor Tim Armstrong and his team — they represented their church well, pouring every ounce of energy into embodying the love and support of their entire congregation. By the time we hit dinner after leaving the campus, everyone was drained. 

Unfortunately Gary, one of the team members, has remained sick throughout most of the trip. He's had a few moments of joyful interactions with the kids, but has spent much of the time recuperating in bed. Please join me in praying that God ministers to him in a very special way and shows him a deeper purpose for this ordeal.

This morning we drove from Battambang to Siem Reap, the home of Angkor Wat, one of the most significant architectural and cultural sites on the planet. Tomorrow morning, I'll serve as an enthusiastic but underqualified tour guide to the Ta Prohm and Bayon sites and to the big daddy: Angkor Wat itself. This will be my seventh trip to Angkor, but my first in about five years. I have to admit I'm kind of excited.

For those of us who travel to Cambodia for humanitarian rather than tourist purposes, it's tempting to think of Angkor Wat as a waste of time. But this place embodies the hope and pride of the Cambodian people whose greatest achievements lie 900 years in the past, and whose future remains uncertain. To miss out on this marvel of human ingenuity risks misunderstanding the psyche of the Cambodian people. If past excursions are any indication, we're going to come back exhausted and a little sunburned. But I'm hoping to have a few hundred pictures — at least three or four of which should be really nice.

I'll leave on Saturday morning and return to Battambang to attend church on Sunday and celebrate the first day of classes at our new secondary school on Monday. On Tuesday, I'll head back to Phnom Penh to meet up with the team from Vineyard Columbus, led by my colleague Asia's Hope project manager Addison Smith and visiting the home they sponsor, Prek Eng 6. The Chapel team leaves for America on Saturday night. Please pray for safety in the air and on the road. And pray for rest and recuperation for everyone attempting to integrate back into everyday life.

Lots more pictures soon!

John McCollumComment