Index Pleroma Home Responses from 2014 Short Term Mission
By Eileen O'Neall, Elizabeth Chan, Jane Li, Katie Lam, Tryphena Hu
Getting to know the Battambang village missionary was a powerful gift from the Lord. Her name is Priscilla and God is using her in mighty ways. While our team could come alongside her for a week, leading a VBS camp for the students attending the school Priscilla founded, we also listened to the school's origin and vision.
Through difficult circumstances, Priscilla found herself living in the house of one of her friends in this remote village on the west side of Cambodia. While there, Priscilla discovered a drastic need for good education. The government schools of the village offer poor education to the village children. In fact, without good education, these children become high-risk for trafficking. Through God's provision, Priscilla was able to establish this school and hire Cambodian teachers with university degrees. The children now receive a much better education and are exposed to the gospel. While families are Buddhist, they are open to enrolling their children in the Christian school because they see the excellence in education. They are also open to hearing the gospel and building a lasting relationship with Priscilla, a bold and outspoken follower of Jesus.
Although Priscilla's health is poor, she continues to press forward in this work for the Kingdom of God. I can't help but respond with such inspiration and encouragement. God is reaching people from the remotest places with His love through obedient children such as Priscilla. I am committing to pray for her continually, and I hope that I'll get a chance to see her again. Visiting Priscilla and witnessing God's incredible love has been such a privilege and gift.
I was very touched by how God can heal deep wounds. Even in little children, I could see this from their words "teacher, Jesus loves me", and "teacher, I love you" (words said to me), besides little gestures like a simple greeting or a nice and long hug... and the way they sang and prayed! Really heavenly!
I remember Chantea getting a little frustrated with some other girls that were talking because she wanted so bad to listen to the bible story. I also remember seeing Champa closing her eyes when it was time for prayer, showing her understanding in what we were saying and teaching, and finally Sohkorng praying out loud herself while the teacher was praying after the bible story. I could really see the sincerity of these children, which touched me so much. It made me think about how much I need to learn to come to Jesus with that kind of heart, a child like heart.
God Leads - I’ve never thought of going to a short-term mission trip at this stage of my life. My kids are 6 and 3. About a year ago, I was touched by Pastor Dora and Lily Lee’s sharing of Cambodia. I thought about STM, but only when my girl is old enough so we could go together. However, God initiated my husband to ask me to go. My husband felt God has equipped us with so many blessings and skills, and we should be willing to respond to serve Him. He thought it would be a nice response to God’s love if I can teach the girls at Pleroma Home arts and craft. If those skills could make a living for the girls it’d be very meaningful.
God heals – If I didn’t know the girl’s background, I would have never thought they were emotionally and physically abused. I only saw a group of happy girls while I was with them. I was so touched by God’s healing hands to the girls.
God broadened my horizon - I came to experience face to face how God always had his plan. God even used my tough relationship with my mother at childhood so that I could connect with the girls with my own testimony regarding the domestic abuse issue and social issue of treating females as inferior. Though I don’t feel I had contributed much in this trip, I felt so privileged, humbled and grateful for this journey.
I found out about this Cambodia short-term mission trip around September 2013, when I attended a seminar presented by Debbie. I found out that many young girls, some even my age, are victims of sexual trafficking in Cambodia. They were born the same way I was, but their situations are drastically different from mine. I felt blessed that God placed me here in America, but I also wanted to experience a little bit of what those girls go through everyday in their lives.
At first, I wasn’t sure if I could go. After all, I’m only fourteen years old. My mom encouraged me to sign up to learn more about the Pleroma Home and what their mission is. Eventually, I decided to join the mission team that would go there in 2014. However, I didn’t want to be the only youth that went, because I wanted to share the experience with people my age. I emailed several of my friends, asking them if they would want to go to Cambodia as well. A few of them considered it, asked their parents, and prayed for the right decision. After a few weeks, two of my friends knew that God was calling them to go. Tammy and Tryphena joined the team.
We had meetings, and started making preparations months before the trip. I knew that Cambodia was a much poorer country than the United States, and that it was also fragile due to the Khmer Rouge’s “Killing Fields.” But what I experienced was nothing like any other vacation I’ve ever had.
Many things that the kids did amazed me. One of my most favorite moments was when we were serving the kids lunch. It was hot and they were definitely hungry, but they waited for everyone to be served before eating. Another memory was on the last day, when several of the girls suddenly left and were gone for about ten minutes. They returned with giant bundles of fluffy white flowers, and distributed them to Tammy, Tryphena, Eileen and me. What little they could give, they wholehearted and willingly gave. That is a lesson I learned. I have a comfortable life in America, and I can get almost whatever I want, yet sometimes I’m selfish and don’t want to share. These kids have close to nothing, and some of them sometimes don’t even have enough to eat yet their hearts are so pure.
For me this mission was a huge stretch from the comfort of my home. This was the first time I had traveled alone to a foreign country. For me, I only got a small taste of what sacrifice is, giving up the comfort of our home, missing a few days of school, risking health. But what it always comes back to is Jesus’ love. God loved us so much that he was willing to give up everything to suffer and even die for us. We, sinners are so unworthy of God’s love. Let me say that again: Jesus, someone who had everything, someone who was exalted in heaven, was willing to give it all up for us.
However God was with me and protected me throughout the journey and I am especially thankful to him for keeping me healthy. Throughout the trip I was incredibly blessed to be able to meet and work with some truly incredible people, including Eileen, Priscilla, Uncle Thomas, and Auntie Yi-ying. It is so inspiring to see God was so present in these people’s lives.
It was amazing to see the love the Cambodians have for God, to see their wholehearted worship and their longing for God. They truly focused on the greatness of God. And I know that the Lord will bless them and will reward them. These people have so little, yet they have such an enormous love for God. It makes me wonder if I know what it means to be solely focused on God: we have so many distraction in our lives, and often times we come to church for reasons other than God. I think about the things we put our focus and our time in, and ask myself how much it matters in the end? To me, the people I met in Cambodia inspire me!
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