In preparation for this trip we have been studying what it means to be “ministering cross-culturally”. In doing so, it has been important to understand the history of Cambodia.
Where were you between 1970 and 1975?
My first child was born in 1968; my second in 1970. By 1975, my daughters were seven and five. I was practicing the art of motherhood, honing my “June Cleaver” skills. My beautiful girls were learning all about school and making friends. They were safe.
At the same time, on the other side of the world, the Khmer Rouge noose tightened around Phnom Penh; the US began airlifting food, medicine, and military equipment into the city. Finally, in early April, Khmer Rouge troops advanced on the city, the airlifts stopped, the US evacuated its embassy and the leadership of the Cambodia’s government fled.
“The soldiers set to their job right away, evacuating Phnom Penh, forcing all of its residents, at gunpoint, to leave behind everything they owned and march toward the countryside. Hospital patients still in their white gowns stumbled along carrying their IV bottles. Screaming children ran in desperate search for their parents.
Yet while the mass evacuation of 3 million people was stupefying, the foreign correspondents saw little bloodshed before they were deported. And that is about all the world knew of the new Khmer Rouge.” (Cambodia’s Curse, by Joel Brinkley)
The Cambodia of today suffers from little or no moral compass. Much of the population still suffers from post traumatic stress disorder. In one of the communities where we will be working, 90% of the girls in that country face abuse and/or sex trafficking before their 13th birthday. The average age of these girls is nine.
For the next few months, I plan to dedicate this blog to the journey ahead of me and the team. Many have asked why I’m going. I ask, “Why wouldn’t I?”