Friday, September 01, 2006

Glimpses of Poipet

We returned today after spending 2 nights in Poipet. The journey there took us 5 hours by road and when I mean 'road' I do not mean 'paved road' but rather a red clay path that was filled with many pot holes. It was probably the most bumpiest ride I have ever had in my life but I'm glad that we went there. We had a wonderful time with Khmer missionaries...an amazing husband and wife team who have already planted 4 churches and who are focused on discipling the young members of their churches to be leaders. Both husband and wife survived the killing fields and the Pol Pot period and it was so inspiring to hear of how the Lord protected them even before they came to know Him. There is much that I would love to write about them but I will save that for a time when I am better able to process all that I heard from them. Suffice to say, they are truly God's special agents in this town. We did a lot of prayer ministry here and I have to say all that I heard about Poipet being the armpit of Cambodia is true. This town gives new meaning to the word 'darkness'...there is a whole new dimension of darkness here and it is perhaps no more evident than in the 'no man's land' section---this is the area that is neither Thai nor Cambodian...but it is a strip of land that houses several white washed casinos and one infamos brothel that caters to pedophiles. Driving through this area at night I couldn't help but think how the devil is able to deceive us .....these fancy 'white buildings' with all their glitter and gold that highlights their external beauty would entice anyone, yet within the walls of these buildings, the darkness reigns. The Khmers work in these casinos but the owners are all Thai or foreigners. What is more weird is that neither the U.S dollar nor the Cambodian Riel is acceptable currency this zone. Only the Thai Bath can be used. Earlier this morning two of us took the opportunity to walk into the 'no man's land' area ....we were trying to find the 'bridge' where girls are trafficked across. We were only able to get to a certain point and decided it was best to just prayer walk that area. This 'no man's land' is almost a transit point as many goods are being transported back and forth across the border. Poipet is expected to become a special economic zone because of its proximity to the Thai border and I can see why. Yet for now, its quite dingy and brings a whole new meaning to the word 'poverty'. One of our evenings we drove around some of the side streets and right next to houses or shops, we saw brothels in red neon lights with the girls just sitting outside. This seems so contrary to Cambodian culture as there is no shyness or apparent embarassment about being seen in the open. What amazes me about this is 'sex for sale' is just like another commodity here. It's no different than selling households goods or food as its so in your face in this part of Cambodia.


As I left Poipet this morning I couldn't help but think this is the devil's play ground--for now. The missionaries we met have endured much spiritual warfare and the believers there have experienced persecution that we in the west have no concept of understanding. It is doesn't take much to get discouraged living there but I am convinced with all this warfare, that a day is coming when there will be an explosion of God's light in this place that will penetrate the darkness. The workers in this part of Cambodia more than any where else indeed need much prayer yet I am inspired by their determination to push forward, persevere and stay focus despite the surmounting obstacles that are ever before them.

2 comments:

Dorothy said...

Lisa,
Thank you for sharing your blog with me. I have passed it on to Heather and will send it to Vanda & Grace who have been inquiring about you. This gives us some real time insight into the great work you and your group are doing. I admire your courage and wish you all a safe journey.

Hamster said...

Continually praying for you Lisa. It is great to hear about the trip, the people you are meeting, the insights the Lord is giving you, etc. in real time.

Remember that in Christ alone we may find and give hope, even amidst the darkest corners of the earth.