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Our Cambodia Mission Team: Melissa Baz, Adam Heath, Roni McCurdy, David Mateskalla, Morgan Gallatin, Chris Kelley, Heather Eschbach and Brian Webb (Not pictured: Mike Smith).

Pick up a printed list of our kids & team members on the ​Orange Connect Table or view here.

ENJOY PHOTOS FROM THE TEAM

Cambodia Mission Trip, July 11 -22, 2017

OUR BLOG:

I Love the Culture in Cambodia

Posted on: August 3, 2017 10:41 am

As I reflect on our time spent in Cambodia, I consider the mixture of hardship and blessings the people here experience. We all know the old sayings, “money can’t buy happiness,” and “the best things in life are free.” It was so inspirational for me to witness people who have nothing to not only live life with a positive attitude, without complaining and to share what little they do have with myself and others.

I love the culture in Cambodia. Life in the streets is vibrant. The people are real. They are connected.

Here in the U.S., we tend to isolate ourselves. Even when driving on a busy highway surrounded by cars, we are still alone. Those other cars (to some of us) are just things in the way, not other people like us trying to live life. Driving in Cambodia is organized chaos at best, but the attitude is that we are all in this together, and as a result, it works!

I knew that Buddhists were the majority in Cambodia, but I was still surprised to learn that the country is only 3% Christian.The missionaries living there have their work cut out for them, and I am amazed and humbled by their courage and determination.

I feel so blessed to have been a part of this mission trip. It was a privilege to be among the people living in Prek Eng and Chbar Mon. It was truly life changing and will not be forgotten.

~ David Mateskella

The Ripple Effect

Posted on: July 27, 2017 4:45 pm

I have been trying to process my trip long before we left Cambodia.  How does one find the right words to share with others, words that express the depth and whirlwind of emotions experienced and shared?  God’s hand was and is touching, molding, pushing, healing and leading lives on the opposite side of the world all at the same time.  The amazing part is He brings these lives to cross paths to do even more for His Glory.  Sometimes it is with your own unmet neighbors from home, sometimes it may be across the world. The fact that we are able to travel across the world and to places we have never been and still feel like family is only a thing of Christ! 

I was amazed when we first stopped at Prek Eng 3 of Asia’s Hope, our Children’s home.   This amazement grew each day we spent time with them, along with a deep, deep respect for Pisey and Savong, the house parents.  We traveled to love on and encourage each of them.  However, I truly feel it was the other way around….we experienced 28 hours each way of travel time so WE could be loved on and encouraged!  From day one, we were embraced with such intense loving hugs and smiles as though we had returned home from a long trip.  To the family, it was just that….their Vista family was returning.  Having never met them myself, the experience was quite humbling.  As our days with them continued, I found myself stepping back and realizing such respect for Pisey and Savong.  We get so exhausted and gray haired bringing up our own children, though we love them dearly and would do anything for them.  Pisey and Savong had parented 21 children, teaching them the love of Christ, teaching them they are worth the time and love, teachings about life, discipline, the value of education, manners, respect, personal care, values and SO much more. This is love! Their hearts amaze me and it shows in the lives of the children, how deeply the love and the incredible joy. TRULY God’s grace and mercy is in action daily!

Our new family with New Life in Chbar Mon, wow!  Talk about a battlefield and a deeply loving community.  The best way I can describe the heart Pastor Sary Chea and his wife Sophea have for the Chbar Mon community is truly having the love of Christ. It is incredibly deep and bold.  They draw the youth in by offering English and music classes. Smart! These kids love their music. By doing so, they hear of Jesus.  In a country that is led by fear and constant concern as to what ‘type of spirit’ they are contending with, to accept Christ is incredible freedom.  The passion and joy these kids and the church have is contagious when you are with them.  I am going to limit myself in sharing more now because this is an area that truly hit my heart and I am still trying to process.  God has placed Chbar Mon heavily in my prayers.

This experience has opened my eyes to my need in letting go, stepping outside of my comfort zone, to stop focusing on my inadequacies and letting God be God. It is so easy to let day to day life take over and put too many expectations on equipping myself for every purpose. I do not want to lose what has been experienced, nor do I want to just hold on to it. How do I make it grow?  My prayer is to love in the real sense of the word, and not just in comfortable terms.  It is with painful realization at times that I accept that God has always been ready to equip me, yet I take my own path.  I need His mercy, grace, forgiveness and equipping daily!

When I try to sum up the trip I am drawn to “the ripple effect” and generational change.  Cambodia has such a dark and painful history with incredible spiritual warfare.  Though not limited to Vista, but using as an example….. Vista’s investment into PrekEng 3 and Chbar Mon is that of a stone tossed into a lake.  The ripples continue to grow and spread.  This is what is happening, especially with the youth. Changing the lives of the youth brings on generational change. Powerful!  Though Cambodia is currently only 3% Christian, I am excited to see the changes in 10 and 20 years. Truly transformative!

On a lighter note…. I have come to greatly appreciate my washer versus having my clothes stone or board washed, and appreciate seeing the bones on the top of my feet rather than the swelling and 4 ankles on each foot

Love Boldly

Posted on: July 24, 2017 12:21 pm

Cambodia has been a whirlwind of moments filled with big emotions and new relationships.  God-filled spaces that we were blessed to walk in, to lean in and engage. When I think of what this trip has meant and how it has impacted me, I keep coming back to these words – reach out in faith and love boldly.  I have seen that in action this week, powerful, beautiful and heart-wrenching. I am so thankful that God has given these examples to me, allowing me to step away from my daily life and immerse myself fully here. It has fed my soul and inspired me to pray for a heart to love differently, more openly, pushing away personal insecurity and walls for the sake of knowing another deeply. I have seen children and adults alike in Cambodia model that this week – embracing new faces and friends, providing comfort and encouragement to each other across languages, ages, and cultures.

There are two clear examples that I pray stay in my heart forever. The love and passion of the youth of Cambodia – modeled by our children at Prek Eng 3 and our new family at Chbar Mon (New Life Fellowship).  We were blessed to be able to worship and play with these beautiful children at both sites, and were in awe of their boldness. They love deeply. You are met with a warm embrace and a smile almost immediately and treated as family.  Warm hugs and the words of “May God Bless You” ring in my ears.  Holding hands with people I just met. Placing hands on shoulders and praying together.  Singing and worshiping our God together.  The beauty in these moments is amazing. Serving as a reminder of His love and our calling to love each other as He loved us. John 13: 34-35.

The second example that sticks out in my mind is that of walking along a dirt road in Chbar Mon and stopping by a woman’s house. She was the first adult Christian woman in the village and the oldest member of that New Life Church plant.  We found her in a tree, picking fruit, which she offered to us. We sat down and were translated a story of faith pushing past fear.  She asked for prayer for her home, the ground it was built on, and her neighbors which practiced witchcraft. I saw a group of people gather in a circle, hold hands, and pray over her and her property. I saw intention, boldness and love gather round between people who had just met.  When we were finished, some tears fell and we exchanged hugs. There was praise and hope in her front yard that day, prayer to a God that always pushes out darkness.  Upon leaving, we saw some of the NLF youth that we had met the day prior running down the road in their school uniforms. They had heard we were back in town and had run through the village to meet us. Their fierce pursuit of relationship brings me to my knees. I pray that I can grow to love like that – fiercely, boldly, and with purpose.

I can’t even put into words what God showed me this week. I do know that He placed me here purposely for a few lessons and clear examples of His gracious and merciful love.  Among the bustling and darkness that is present in certain elements of Cambodia, I saw His light there. I saw the bold movement of people stepping out faithfully to embrace His love and share His hope. I witnessed gratitude and love that I sometimes miss seeing at home. I am hopeful for the future of christianity in Cambodia, and thankful to embrace these people as family, all of us children of the one true King.

~Heather Eschbach