Can it be?! Sna Songkream?!

Yesterday feels very much like a dream.

Our excitement grew as we passed familiar streets. Before we knew it, we were at Sna Songkream! This home is very close to the hearts of last years Anthem class. Last year we spent 5 days building a fence here and grew really close to the kids. I don't think any of us could have anticipated what it would be like to return to this home.

We spent the afternoon as what felt like a family reunion. Many kids from the village came to see what all the excitement about. The team worked together to clean, cut, and style the kids hair. They loved it! It was awesome to see the joy the students had while serving them in such a simple way. 

There was much rejoicing as we prayed together and said our goodbye's.

Today we depart from Siem Reap and head south to Phnom Penh. The 8 hour bus ride ahead will be great time for the team to process all of the incredible moments we've shared this past week.

X's & O's.

Yesterday morning we attended church at Our Kcheay and prepared our hearts to say goodbye. Before we left we spent time giving prophetic words to the kids and encouraging them to never stop following Jesus. We all agreed that this group of kids will be essential in bringing change to the nation of Cambodia. I know that none of us will ever be the same because of the way these kids have loved us this past week.
This part of the trip is never easy; the deep relationships you develop within 5 short days, with people who don't even speak the same language as you, is only made possible within the Kingdom of God. 

After we left Our Kcheay, we headed north to the Otdar Mean Chey Province. This province is home to Chuuk, a very special church home filled with some of the most gifted kids around. This is one of the three homes that Living Water sponsors. We spent the afternoon playing volleyball, kicking around the soccer ball, coloring pictures, and the girls even broke out the nail polish. 

We are now in Siem Reap for the next two days! So excited for the week ahead!

There is power in the name of Jesus!

It's Sunday morning here in Battambang and we are headed to church at Our Kcheay.
Today we'll have a time of prayer with the kids, and say our goodbye's.

Yesterday had to of been one of the most powerful days of the trip so far. We began the day with worship as usual, but Pastor Dhana was obedient in sharing a word that led to breakthrough for many of the people on the trip. Chains were broken in Jesus name! 

We also took the kids to the market yesterday! There really is nothing quite like this experience. All of the kids were so excited to be hand in hand with us as we got to buy them essentials, like a backpack, shirts for school, or new flip-flops. We also had the opportunity to purchase some things for the home as a whole, like new chairs, a water pump, and other necessities.

Dr. Lina and his team paid us another visit and gave the kids vaccinations! This is a game-changer for the rest of their lives! Some of their expressions were priceless.

This evening we travel north to Chuuk. Stay tuned!

A hedge of protection.

Well, it's official, Our Kcheay has a fence! 

Over the past four days the team has put in long grueling hours mixing cement, carrying buckets, and hanging the chain link fence. It is so satisfying knowing that as a unified group, we completed this project. The fence not only serves as boundary lines for this home, but also as a hedge of protection for the children. 

And to celebrate, we had a spontaneous dance party!

Tomorrow we are finishing the last of the painting, and also taking a trip to the market with the kids. We are all beyond excited for what's to come!

Blood, sweat, and tears.

What another incredible day here in Battambang!

Everyone is feeling the physical toll that comes from working long hours in the sun, however that didn't hinder us from accomplishing the task at hand. All of our cement posts are poured and we have a large majority of the paint completed. Tomorrow we should have the fence completely finished and the outside of the home totally painted!

We also had a very special visit from Dr. Lina, who took a six hour trip from Phnom Penh to Battambang to draw the kids blood, and will be back on Saturday to give vaccinations. This is a huge blessing for this home! 

There's no better way to end the day than to play a fun game of "monkey in the middle". It's these moments that matter the most.

With only three days left at Our Kcheay, it's really settling in that our time here is nearing the end. These people have become family to all of us.

Yellow.

The team finished another work day at Our Kcheay, and it's incredible how much has been accomplished so far. Almost all of our cement posts are poured, and the house is looking great with it's fresh coat of yellow. 

It's been inspiring to see the students push through the heat and make it happen- all in the name of love. Today I was reminded of Mark 10:45 that says, "For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many". This is exactly what has happened over these past two days. We came to serve, and to give our lives away to these children. But there's such a beautiful exchange that happens between us, and the people that live here. They want to serve US, just as much as we do them. This is the love of Jesus on display. 
There's no way we could have gotten this far in the fence or painting without the help of these children. 

I am beyond excited for the days to come as we finish the projects we've started, but also to see more of the Father's heart towards the people at Our Kcheay. 

A beautiful day at Our Kcheay.

We arrived to Battambang early this afternoon and headed straight to the home that we will be at for the next 5 days. This home is called Our Kcheay. During the duration of our stay here, we hope to finish a fence that a previous team began, and also give the home some color with a fresh paint job.

The second we arrived, before we lifted up a single shovel or paint brush, the team spent some time in worship. This moment was very special; the Holy Spirit ministered to our hearts as we lifted up the name of Jesus, and it was the perfect start to our stay here.

After we ate lunch, the work began- It was incredible to see the Anthem students work together as a unified team. I believe all of the hard work and time spent together this year was brought to full fruition as they worked non-stop in the pouring down rain. 

Now, after a full day of traveling and work, it's time to get some rest for the week ahead. 

We can't wait to spend more time with the sweet spirited people of Our Kcheay. 

We've got to stop in Pursat!

The team left Phnom Penh early this morning, and we headed north!
As I have mentioned, our destination is the Battambang Province, where we will spend a majority of our trip building a fence and helping with other projects. However, to get there we have to pass through Pursat, a province that is home to Prek Bey, a church-orphan home that Living Water sponsors.

So after a 6 hour bus ride from Phnom Penh to Pursat, we paid a visit to some very special people. 
 

It wasn't before long that we became inseparable. 

There was non-stop fun with the children at Prek Bey. There might have even been a spontaneous dance party...

We spent our last minutes praying, embracing one another, and saying our goodbye's. 

My hope is that these photos would be able to tell the story better than any words ever could. But also, that they would be used to show God's heart for Cambodia and its people.

Tomorrow we leave for Battambang and it's time to get to work!
Stay tuned.

This is just the beginning...

It is now 9:28PM, here in Phnom Penh, and the team is just now headed to bed.

We started the day with a lovely breakfast at Hotel Cara; which has become a starting point for most Living Water trips to Cambodia. Once we were all fueled up, the team got on the bus and headed to the FCOP Training Center for church. Upon arrival, we were greeted with hugs from many of the children there. With our hand in theirs, we found our seats, and service began.

There's nothing quite like experiencing a full-blown Cambodian church service- including powerful worship, spirit-filled preaching, and a special performance by the children, all in Khmer! However, most of us were beautifully distracted by the little one's sitting next to us.

After church, the real fun began! Piggyback rides, patty cake, and just being kids; that is what it's all about. It really is incredible how quickly you can fall in love with these children. 

We said our goodbye's, and headed to get lunch...and also made an obligatory stop at Brown Coffee.

Our afternoon was spent touring the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. What is now a museum, once served as a high school and then a prison during the Khmer Rouge. The tour, although very emotionally taxing, gives great perspective to the tragedy this country faced during the late 1970's. We had the opportunity of meeting one of the few survivors from the Khmer Rouge Prison S-21, Bou Meng (seen in the photo below). 

After touring the museum, we spent the rest of our evening at Pastor Tim and Dhana's home where we enjoyed pizza and quality time. A few of us couldn't resist playing soccer with some of the neighborhood kids, who put us to shame in a game of 3 on 3. 

Tomorrow we leave Phnom Penh and head north to Battambang! 

 

Phnom Penh, here we come!

The day is here! Anthem is headed to Cambodia!

We arrived at the church this morning, and there was a palpable excitement as we stepped on campus. Our theme for this year has been 'Dare Mighty Things', directly derived from the famous Theodore Roosevelt quote, but also from the story of Jotham in 2 Chronicles 27. These shirts are more than just a token phrase for us. It's our anthem as we cross borders into Cambodia. In the month's leading up to this trip, there has been an overwhelming sense of expectancy that God was going to do something BIG on this trip. We are believing for the miraculous! 

We are just about to board our 12 hour flight to Seoul, South Korea and from there, a 5 hour flight to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. 

Stay tuned!