Jeff’s Cambodia 2016 Reflection

Having been to Cambodia the year before I was wondering if I would be experiencing a similar trip this year, but I found it to turn out to be an even better trip. This trip has taught me the importance of short term mission teams to the long term missionaries and taught me more about the country and its culture. It was a great time to meet up with old friends and form new friendships.

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Our team in the village

I still remember the orientation from last year where we were taught that we need to be in the right mindset to truly be a blessing to the long term missionaries and the body of Christ in Cambodia. This year we were able to hear more from the missionaries and it really taught me that even little things can be a blessing to them. Living long term in a foreign country can make anyone be homesick and something as simple as speaking English can raise the spirits of the missionaries there. The trip also showed us that even though we are on the other side of the world there are brothers and sisters in Christ whom we can mutually learn from and help each other grow in our walk with God.

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Our team with Luke Smith, our missionary host in the village
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Our team with Jillisa Young, our missionary host in the city

The US presidential election is coming up and Cambodia is also speculating about what might happen during their election for prime minister in 2018 I had more of a desire to learn more about the political situation of this country and how it affects the people there. Hearing what happened the during the last election in Cambodia and how everyone was on high alert, and also how the team of missionaries there have decided no short term mission team will be hosted during 2018 was eye opening in how dangerous it can be. A second visit to Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum with the new audio tour was much more informative about the cruelty of the Khmer Rouge. All of this made me desire to do more research and to better understand the history and culture of Cambodia.

A repeat visit also is a great time to catch up with friends from last year. It was nice to see familiar faces and not need to spend more time getting to know a person especially when the trip is short. It is a great thing to build a lasting relationship with not just the missionaries there but with also our Cambodian brothers and sisters so that we can know and understand each other better. That will allow us to be a blessing to each other. Forming new friendships through this trip is also a great experience to see how God is working through these people in Cambodia, how life is like in that country, and also know the struggles that people face. A great reminder that was mentioned during the trip was to not put missionaries up on a pedestal; they are just people with struggles like us.

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Reuniting with Jimmy, a college student we met last year

This second trip to Cambodia was an even better trip than the last year. It is such a blessing to be given the opportunity to visit again and I truly wish that this can be a regular visit for our church. This trip also taught me to trust in God more and not worry if our team is too small or if we can really be of use on this trip. This trip has really showed me the importance of short term teams. It is hard work planning the whole trip months in advance and then it is hard work for the missionaries to host visiting teams, but the missionaries do get a boost in spirit and it is a great encouragement for them. This is a trip that I would recommend to anyone especially someone who has not done such a trip; it can be eye opening and life changing.

Thank you so much for your support and prayers!

— Jeff Maung

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Helping with crafts during our VBS in the city
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Walking in the village
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Using my IT background to teach a little about computers
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