Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | September 22, 2011

The Rains Are Here

Poipet, Cambodia

Muddy road in Poipet, Cambodia.

It’s the rainy season in Cambodia and, having recently arrived here from drought-stricken Texas, I don’t mind it at all. All it took was the first few drops of rain to wash away my rain amnesia. Instantly I remembered the familiar feeling and even the smell that often accompanies rain. It was wonderful. I am cured and can’t wait to get back home to remind my family and friends about rain and to show them pictures of rain and to encourage them to not lose hope. Rain will come again to refresh and revive everything that has withered in the Texas heat.

This morning we loaded our gear into our vehicles and spent the entire day driving from Phnom Penh to Poipet, the new boom town along the border between Cambodia and Thailand. My friend Steve Hyde introduced me to this once-backwater town that has been inundated by wave after wave of poor people who have moved here looking for work. Poipet is becoming the new front door between Thailand and Cambodia. Developers from throughout the region are here, hoping to get even richer on the backs of the poor. Every day, as many as 40,000 poor people from the slums that quickly sprouted in Poipet cross the border into Thailand looking for work as day-laborers.

The children of Poipet’s day-laborers are especially vulnerable. Because the surge in population overwhelmed the already fragile and underdeveloped infrastructure of the area, there are no schools or provision for the care of these children. So, these kids are left alone all day. Toddlers caring for infants is a familiar sight as you walk through the slums. Many of these children are kidnapped and trafficked across the border to work at construction sites or brothels. Drug traffickers use the very youngest and least likely to be suspected to transport drugs across the border. Poipet is a dangerous place for children. That’s why my friend Steve Hyde is here and that’s why we have formed a strategic alliance with Steve to address what is happening here.

For the next few days we will conduct a Vacation Bible School for the kids in Steve’s Imparting Smiles orphanage and for the kids in the surrounding area. Steve’s kids are the most fortunate in Poipet because they are cared for by a loving staff, including teachers. However, very few of the kids in the area attend school simply because there are too many kids and too few schools. Steve is also working to address the needs here by improving and repairing local schools. Through our partnership with Steve and because of the generosity of a Kingsland family, Steve was able to purchase 7.5 acres of land. This campus will be known as The Hope Center and will be the location of a pregnancy help center and women’s clinic that is currently under construction and to be followed by a feeding center and facilities to care for the kids in the slums.

Steve’s work here and our partnership with him is like a refreshing rain in this place that is spiritually and morally drought-stricken. Little by little things are changing here — one child and one home at a time. Steve has a God-sized vision for Poipet that goes beyond addressing symptoms to confronting the systems that have created those symptoms. I’m glad that we have formed a strategic alliance with Steve to help make a difference at this end of the earth. The rains are here and they will not stop until everything has been made new.


Responses

  1. Dear Brother Omar: I have noticed your last few blogs have been even “more wordy” than usual. This is not at all a criticism but you know what they say about the company that you keep. With that in mind, I though you might need some more manly communication:
    -Tony Romo has a fractured rid and puncture lung but he still plans to play this coming weekend.
    -Houston Texans are looking to go 3-0 this weekend.
    -Texas Rangers’ magic number is “3” and they will win division.
    -Lowes is having a sale on ladders and electric drills this coming weekend.

    Omar, you and your fantastic team, remain in our daily prayers. God bless.
    Jeff Work

    • Thanks, Jeff. Having a great time with the gals. They’re doing a fantastic job leading VBS.

  2. I type like a man too. Jeff

  3. Enjoy the rain! If you run into my sponsored child, Ramorn Trii, give him a hug for Jim and me!!

    Beth Francis

    • Will do, Beth. I will look for Ramorn and give him a hug for you and Jim. 🙂

  4. Thanks for the update–praying for u girls as u love on thousand kids–I’m so glad y’all r there–hugs–K

    • Great first day of VBS, Kristin. Thanks for your prayers.

  5. I had such a sense of dread knowing the team was visiting S-21 and the Killing Fields site…remembering the faces and stories and the tree. God is so good to take us from death to life….just as your day unfolded – to end at the training center and bakery. He does refresh our souls. I’m so glad you are all there. Love to everyone.
    m

    • Thanks, Mary. Will give your regards to the team. They were real troopers as they led our first day of VBS under tents in the rain.

  6. Hi Omar,
    It is good to hear from you and all about what God is doing in and through each of you. I have been praying for you daily and the people you are reaching. Tell Kay that WAM was awesome this week at Kingsland. God is preparing Kingsland’s children to follow in your footsteps. We miss you but we are excited about the transformations that God is doing there.

    Blessings,
    Tonya VanScoyoc

    • Thanks, Tonya. Kay is having a blast teaching music to the kids here. She is doing a fantastic job. I will pass along your greetings. Thanks for your prayers.


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