Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | November 8, 2013

A Haven of Hope

En route to Poipet, Cambodia

We live in relative safety in our suburban neighborhoods where we have access to reliable police protection, good medical care, convenient grocery stores, beautiful parks, and many other amenities. We are indeed the beneficiaries of our geography. For many in our world, however, geography really is a matter of life and death because they live in dangerous places.

This afternoon our Kingsland team will begin the long journey to Poipet, Cambodia — one of the most dangerous places in the world for women and children. This once sleepy little border town is the new gateway between Thailand and Cambodia. The area between the Cambodia and Thai border crossings has become a gambling mecca that looks like the Las Vegas strip. It is a magnet for drug dealers and human traffickers.

In recent years, more than 100,000 poor people have moved to Poipet in search of work. Almost 40,000 of these cross the border into Thailand every day in search of day labor or any job to support their families. These moms and dads leave their children unattended in the slums thus making these kids vulnerable to abuse and to being kidnapped and sold to work in brothels or at construction sites.

In September of last year, we conducted a Vacation Bible School at the Imparting Smiles Orphanage in Poipet. We included special lessons on how to be on guard against human traffickers. When we asked the kids to tell us their fears, they shared about living with the fear that someone would take them away from their homes and do bad things to them.

The fear of being taken by a stranger is very real for the children who live in Poipet because they have heard stories of what has happened to other kids who disappeared and never returned home. They know that bad people in this area try to lure kids away from their homes. Poipet is unquestionably one of the most dangerous places in the world for kids.

Hope Center Logo
Our missions ministry is engaged in a special project in Poipet with our partner Steve Hyde, Founder of Asia for Jesus. We are working together to construct a campus called The Hope Center, located near the epicenter of human trafficking in Poipet. The first phase of this project is a facility that will house a pregnancy help center, offer medical, optical and dental care, provide crisis counseling, and serve as a safe house for those in danger.

Hope Contruction

The Hope Center under construction. | December 2012

In just a few hours, I will begin the long journey to Poipet along with three of our Kingsland women (Kara Potts, Leslie Joyce, Mary Quin) who have all served the children of Cambodia on previous trips. Our task for the next week will be to fully furnish the facility in preparation for the dedication ceremony and grand opening in December. We are thrilled that this first phase of The Hope Center campus will soon begin to serve the people of Poipet and western Cambodia.

Please follow our adventure and keep our team in your prayers. I will post updates from Poipet to keep you informed about all that we are doing at The Hope Center — a safe haven and a place of healing and hope for some of the most vulnerable people in the world.


  1. So sad to miss. Kiss my little girl and take care of my peeps!

    • We will miss having you with us. I will be sure to hug sweet little Palai for you.

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