Saturday, January 24, 2015

Cambodia - One Girl at a Time

Deuteronomy 27:19 (NLT) Cursed is anyone who denies justice to foreigners, orphans, or widows.  And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’

How was your trip?  Well….   How much time do you have?

It’s not a simple answer.

The one word answer is discouraging.  The problem of trafficking and rape in Cambodia is immense and the situation doesn’t seem to be improving.  The government is corrupt and seems to be impeding progress.  Some NGOs have pulled out.  Pornography is rampant and violently imitated.  The rich flaunt their wealth with luxury SUVs but don’t aid the poor.  The situation feels grim, dark, evil, and impenetrable.

But one word doesn’t account for all the good being done.

The aftercare for survivors and rape victims is amazing.  Girls are being loved and rehabilitated.  The caring housemothers, counselors and teachers at the residential programs provide hope for a future.  Even the office administrators, accountants and cooks all have a heart for these girls.

Programs like Adelphe promote economic development in the rural villages so families can earn enough to stay together.  This reduces the vulnerability of girls leaving home in search of work.  Adelphe also advocates for the education of every child and access to clean water.

Social enterprises provide good paying jobs and training for Cambodian youth.  Jars of Clay, our favorite restaurant, was started 15 years ago by ex-pats to employ survivors of trafficking.  It is now owned and operated by a group of those women.  We had lunch or dinner there almost every day, but we frequented many such eateries serving Mexican, pizza, and coffee.  Many cafés and shops sell items hand made by at-risk women and survivors.  The owners of our guest house, Green Pastures Inn, gives 40% of profit back to Christian NGOs supporting at-risk women and children.

There is reason to be hopeful.

I am reminded over and over of the Starfish Story.  Sexual exploitation feels like an insurmountable evil.  But each missionary is shining a light into the darkness.  Each girl rescued, healed and given a future is a success.  The battle over evil continues one girl at a time.

Donna and I are planning an evening of sharing in early February.  You are all invited!  We’ll share photos and stories as well as offer for sale beautiful products handmade by the girls.


  1. Wish I could be there for your presentation in February. I have been enlightened by your posts and agree that God works, one young lady, one young man at a time. Future generations are changed. God gives us hope. Thank you for sharing.

    1. I'm glad you've been following my posts! Having been an overseas missionary yourself, you can certainly identify with the emotions and faith of these incredible workers.

  2. Cathy your passion for this unspeakable situation comes from our Lord. Can you partner with a larger organization to affect change in a larger way? I would love to see your passion gain wings. Your pal, Paula

    1. Thanks for the encouragement Paula. WL is small and I have a friendship with the founder, but World Hope is much larger and doing excellent work. Right now my role is to raise awareness. I watched the first segment of A Path Appears on PBS which is about trafficking in the US. Very interesting as the root and shape of the problem here is a bit different. There's an aftercare center locally called My Life, My Choice that Amilia's Light is considering partnering with. Perhaps something will come of that. You've been prophetic in my life before, so perhaps your suggestion is from God....