Friday, February 28, 2014

To the Past and the Present: Getting Ready to Come Back

By A. Louis

Today was quite a day. I learned so much. Visiting the museum started off very interesting but it inevitably turned depressing. The way the tour guide explained the methods of torture of the Cambodians really got to me. They would even execute babies, bashing their heards against coconut trees. The Khmer Rouge reminded me very much of the Holocaust, someone with immense power who falsely uses it to hurt and endanger others. With great power comes great responsibility, some people fail to realize this. The killing fields was simply a reiteration of the museum. I did not take the headphones but I read all the signs I could, informing us of these ruthless people. I feel great remorse for these people because they do not deserve such cruelty, nobody does. I’m so glad to have been able to come to this country and live such a great experience.

By Aaron

Today we visited the Royal Palace. Since it was our last day our spirits were down and we didn’t pay attention much. Over the course of the trip, we really bonded and we really wanted to spend more time together. The Palace was still very interesting. The throne room’s floor was pure silver, The servants had to wear the colors of the week, like red on Sundays and orange on Monday and etc. The rest of the day was spent shopping. We stopped by a enormous mall. It was something unbelievable considering how underprivileged Cambodia is. It also shows how much America affect other parts of the world. We then stopped at a local market where found great deals and presents for our families. We arrived at our hotels and we packed and looked back at everything that happened. It was a sad yet glad time. We were glad that we accomplished what we came for, our mission, and glad that we’re returning home after a long and tiring trip. We felt sad that we were leaving the friendship and bonds that we have created, both at the village, and with one another. I am pretty excited to come back home after the trip, but I’m going to miss Cambodia. I’m very glad to have had this experience and I’m glad to have spent such a wonderful time with my new friends.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Reflections on the YAM Mission: What it all Meant

By Orena

Life is what you make it. And life is what you need to possess in order to brighten the day of others and that is exactly what this vibrant village is blessed with, Life! I did not grow up in America I grew up in a country with the similar culture, the similar hope, the similar joy, the similar sight, and similar faith. It never crossed my mind that others have to endure the things I had to or even more worse. I was practically a hopeful child, hoping that everyday would be better than the previous day. Visiting Cambodia was an eye opener. This experience will forever be in my heart and will forever be carried with lots of love and grace. This village ESP helped me realize that happiness comes from within and not from around. Building a foundation for the church was also the same as building a foundation for my life. I am now looking at things differently and I am more happy because I've learned to let my happiness exude from within. And the most important part was building the foundation together.

You are my family in the name of The Lord Jesus. This a special family because everyday I look forward to being here with the kids--playing, working, and singing! I have learned a lot from this family and I hope that you all have learned some things also. The bond we have built is one of God's marvelous work. God is a good and merciful God who deserves all the praise. What The Lord put together no man can tear apart. We were put together by the faith of our Lord and we will remain together through the blood of Jesus. Do not get discouraged, because you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. Live your life one day at a time. And live in Christ. And remember you're not alone for The Lord will never leave nor forsake you. Stay blessed and you are forever In my prayers because a family that prays together stays together.


By Zoey

Coming here to Cambodia was a once in a lifetime experience. The God of the universe willingly chose my path of life and Cambodia’s path of life to cross, to ultimately change not only yours but my life as well. In the Bible God made it very clear that when one person is happy he is happy as well, and  this is why we have all came here and shared this wonderful experience with all of you. When I first signed up for this trip I wasn’t quite sure what I was about to face. I didn’t know what the conditions were going to be and how this whole trip was going to work out in general. But my main reason as to why I signed up for this trip was because I wanted to explore the Methodist faith.

Compared to most churches, my church is really small and some of the things most of my fellow ambassadors participate in we do not, so that was a little scary. But not only did I want to explore my Methodist faith but my dream in life is explore different cultures. It’s so exciting to see the smiles and laughter coming from all of you because in America no one is as appreciative as you guys. To be able to see you guys acting this was really warms my heart.

When I first got here I was aware that I have officially arrived in Cambodia, however I felt that nothing has clicked or changed my life. I was having a hard time trying to find out what I was supposed to learn, and even how this trip was supposed to change my life. The constant battle of everyone else feeling accomplished by figuring out why they are here and the realization that America is too privileged kept my mind away from the bigger picture. Building the foundation for this church was like my foundation for this trip. When I laid my first brick I finally found out as to why I am here. This was it.

Jesus has shined through all of my troubles and finally showed me. God works in mysterious ways. I believe I was taught through all the laughs and smiles of the children, especially at the school. To be able to have this opportunity to have this reality check in my life has really changed me in many ways. Hope is the place that Jesus is bringing us in this experience. Our old lives and all of its baggage are passing away. We were made for something greater, and Jesus promises he won’t leave ever. If you have Jesus you are not hopeless.

We need to start seeing ourselves as missionaries and ambassadors of Christ in everything. And here’s the awesome part, all of this stuff we created doesn’t just go up in smoke as soon as we leave. It will be a part of the fully restored and redeemed city of God. Gods working to build this church and looking to make this town; all he asks is if we want in.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Day 8: Last Day on the Construction Site

February 21

By Imani

Today was the last day of the construction fork. It was bittersweet because we were a part of building a foundation which is amazing, but we want to continue to work. We feel amazing that we were able to do God’s work and have fun doing it. I have really changed as a person. I appreciate this mission trip so much. It has shown me that I need to appreciate my life more. There are people here that don’t have what I have and are so happy. There’s no reason at all that I should be mad. I am grateful that I was a part of something so great. The kids have a piece of my heart that cannot be taken away from them. I would love to visit them again someday.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Day 7: Hammers, fish and loving hearts

February 20th, 2014


It was a Ford model type of day; appropriately used unlike how it’s used in the American educational system. We must have hammered 1,000 nails to join 100’s of stakes to 10 foot boards. I’ve had multiple experiences hammering nails beforehand, including sideways and upside-down hammering, but it still took me a few minutes to get back in the groove of things. I started off with a small hammer, but then relieved a fellow YAM of the big sledge hammer which made me super happy. It was hard to use at first because of its weight, but then I got used to it and developed a technique. 

Nails and nails later we stopped and took a break for lunch. The superintendent’s wife cooked perfectly fried white fish and to top it off there was this really good sauce. It was like a mixture between duck sauce and hot sauce: sweet and spicy. Reverend Joseph must have seen me wolf down my food; he kept offering me more and more fish. I didn’t reject. 

Siobhan, Kimi, and I helped finish up the last bits of nailing after lunch and then I wandered over to where the rest of the group was hanging out with the kids. I stood to the side, sorting school supplies, and smiling at the joyful faces shared by everyone in the crowd. And then suddenly a couple of the girls came over and grabbed me by the arms, gesturing that they wanted to take a picture with me. I walked into the crowd with them and they ran to find Hailey, the camera woman, and then ran back to me and embraced me with their arms. Once I was engulfed by the crowd, more and more girls ran over to me to grab tightly with warms hugs and big smiles, ecstatically waiting for the flash of a camera. 

I’ll have to admit, I hadn’t hung out with them as much as the other youth previously. My main focus was to work until I was really sore. But our newfound Cambodian friends still embraced me with the same excitement and giddy laughter as the other youth. I always say that I’m not good with kids and that I prefer not to hang out with them. Hanging out with kids is like pretzels for me. I try to convince myself that I’m not very fond of them, but once I start I fall in love. And I really felt this today when we played a game where you make a circle and hit this feather toy back and forth, trying to keep it off the ground.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Day 6 - Laying the Foundation of a Church

February 19, 2014.

By Kaba

Today the YAMs went to the village to help lay the Foundation for the church. My brothers and sisters in Christ (the villagers) especially the females, impressed m with their outstanding strength and wit. I enjoyed myself today because even though it was hard work, the work had a purpose for something better. I am very excited to go back tomorrow and finish what I started. This trip so far has opened my eyes to what I really have and how fortunate I really am and also blessed.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Day 4 & 5: Silk Factory, Floating Island and Finally - the Village

Monday February 17, 2014

By Travis

Today was an amazing experience. Every time I wake up knowing I’m actually here doing the work of God in Cambodia I feel blessed. I see all the poverty and it helps me better appreciate all that I have living in New York. I love it here and this is already been a life changing experience. We got to visit the silk factory and learn about how silk was made and its different uses. We also saw women laboring to make silk blankets and it was an example of the culture. We also visited a floating island where we say family’s living on floating houses with no plumbing or electricity and were surrounded by filthy water. Seeing the level of poverty helped me appreciate everything I had more than ever and touched my heart.

Tuesday February 18, 2014

By Hailey

Today had to be one of the best days of the trip so far. We got to finally meet the Village and learn things about the place that people back home had no idea existed. During the opening ceremony we sang a song (that I can’t remember the name of) that we all knew. And what was cool about that was that you could hear the different languages missing and become one. Just knowing and having these commonalities with the Villagers is really amazing. Another thing that was really cool about meeting the oldest Woman in the Village, everyone calls her Grandma which means that she has developed
such a relationship with everyone to earn that title. But my absolute favorite part of the day had to be the children. Oh my God were they so much fun. Yes they were sacred at first but who wouldn’t be. Live having
strange foreign people coming to my town to meet/study us would scare me (just a little). Then once the kids who are ages 5 months – 20years (so “youth’) started to warm to the fact that we are good people, good things started to happen. Like playing such as quack-didddly-oscho, red light green light 1-2-3, and their version of Simon says, we became more of a group. But the best game had to be “capture the bacon,” a game where there are two teams and every person gets a number. Then when your number is called you try to capture the bacon. That is the game where we really became one and not just the YAMS but all of us. The most amazing thing though is that women have freedom. Like there are woman that do not like what big companies are doing. So they are leaving work to fight for what they think is right. I just think it is amazing that this women have the freedom and courage to do it.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Day Two and Three: Settling in and a Visit to Angkor Wat Temple

Saturday February 15, 2014 Day Two

By Orena

Arriving to Cambodia, the feeling was remarkable. Know that I am in a whole different continent made me realize that anything is possible. When I got on the but I was literary overjoyed. The air was wonderful. The sight was unique. Upon to the hotel I learned new names (this was incredible) My Saturday was filled with anticipation. God is Good.

Sunday February 16, 2014 Day Three

By Jason

Waking up early this morning after a day of travel was difficult to say the least. Though after everyone was very excited to see the temples. Angkor Thom was the first we were going to see but the two smaller buses that we needed so we enter were not there. So we went to see Angkor Wat first which was absolutely incredible and stunning as was the other temples. After getting back from the temples everyone went in the pool and some participated in a baptism that was being done. Today was a special and we have God to thank for that. May His blessings follow the rest of our days in Cambodia.

Photos from Angkor Wat visit below (more at link to right):