Archives for posts with tag: Cambodia

Southeast Asia 2013

Saving some and losing some.

Can you save a child’s life in three years? I mean one who was abandoned by his family and now roams the streets like a ghost, walking past people who couldn’t care less what tomorrow means to a child who was already as good as gone?

The answer is absolutely yes. Not just one, but 22. Sambo, who lives in Poi Pet, Cambodia, has done it. He and his wife have three girls of their own, but when the call came asking whether they could help, they didn’t even have to look at each other to know what they had to do.

Post 4a

Three of the children they rescued were so young they would probably be dead in a matter of weeks. One three year old girl is HIV positive and they knew it before they got her. One baby boy was abandoned by his parents and they named him “Moses.” The stories are endless.

The six oldest ones are now teenagers and all of them are excellent students. They are outstanding leaders in their classes. They have learned to play instruments and they now lead worship in church. They represent the future hopes of an entire nation.

Sambo and his wife Pha are a rare breed. They chose to live for others at great peril to themselves. They love children so much they have a very difficult time saying no when organizations come calling with the story of yet another child on the verge of extinction.

And make no mistake about it: every time people like Sambo are forced to say “no” to a potential rescue, it is like sentencing a little one to a life of degradation, starvation and in many cases extinction. Just in the last couple of weeks, he had to say “no” to 10. The pangs of one’s conscience rise to high heaven. This stuff keeps you awake at night.

But Sambo cannot take any more children right now. His house is full. Three of his own and 22 others he and his wife have rescued. We stopped by their house earlier today and I took a snapshot of a family brought together by love. Of 22 children, only 10 are sponsored now.

Post 4b

Please pray for Sambo and his wife, Pha.  I expect Grace Church will be hearing more about this couple in the months to come.

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade (reporting from Cambodia)

Southeast Asia 2013

It was not on the official program. One of those things to do, “if time allows.” No, can’t say it was on the agenda, but there hasn’t been a time yet when I was in Phnom Penh and didn’t make an effort to get there– a brief visit to the Kien Kleang Orphanage, where it all began for me. The year was 1999 and it was here that I held my first HIV/AIDS patient, a little boy who was 3 but looked like he could be only a few weeks old. He had that look of anguish in his face, the kind only those who experience severe pain can express. But it was too late for him. He was already beyond recoverable.

I found out that there were others like him in the home – waiting for their turn to die.

I got out of the property, went inside the van, and wept bitterly. “Why? God, why?” I kept asking myself… And that day I made a promise to God that if He opened the doors, I would do anything to help rescue at risk children. And a decade later I met Faa and the dream is now a reality in the form of G.R.O.W. (

Post 3a

We only had a brief visit today and I felt bad I walked there empty-handed. But the smiles and hugs were worth it all, from my friends who have suffered so much in this world but keep on smiling.

In the pictures here is a girl with Down’s Syndrome. Se was only 13 when I met her in 1999. But she has never forgotten me. And her hugs are so special. The other little gal I only met a couple of years ago. She and her sister are deaf and mute, but their smiles are much ore than words. Note to self: come back only if I have time to play for a while. And never again empty-handed!

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade (reporting from Cambodia)


Southeast Asia 2013

I was not planning to go to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum or the Killing Fields today. These are things in the category of “do only once and try to forget.” But I went because it was our first day here and I wanted to spend it with the team.

Post 2c

There are no words to describe the emotions we feel when we are face to face with so much evidence of evil committed by men against men in our lifetime. If there was ever a place where evil took up residence with gusto, that would be the killing fields of Cambodia. Close to two million perished there, from physical abuse, forced labor and malnutrition. That was how long it took for someone to realize that this utopian, agrarian-based, total equalitarian society could not survive the rigors of historical realities.

Visiting Tuol Sleng brought back memories of the first time I was there. To look at this serene place of learning — a high school turned into a house of torture and degradation — reminded me that on their own people cannot escape their propensity to do evil.

Post 2d

And how can you escape asking the question of “why”. I asked two young ladies from England, “So why do you think this happened here?” They told me no one knows and we should avoid asking the “why” question. I replied, “But if we don’t know why, does that mean that it could happen again?”

One said it is happening already; the other said she thought they were all psychopaths. “But that’s the easy answer, isn’t it?” They didn’t think so, and we were called to go our separate ways.

Walking down the path toward the last building, I met one of the few survivors of Tuol Sleng, whose wife was killed right in front of him. He also had many of his relatives killed. He was autographing his book, which I bought. This man, who was 86, asked me twice if I wanted to take a “photo” with him. I did. And he extended one of his fingers to touch my arm. I had chills running up my arms.

Post 2b

This man learned forgiveness somehow and extended it to the people who killed his family. What is more, he now shows a level of understanding about his brutal handlers. He is not sure he would have acted any different under the circumstances. Really?

I’m left wondering: are we all potential psychopaths? And how can you go on living, unless forgiveness enters the picture. I will never forget this man’s shy smile and the affection he showed a total stranger, even for only a few seconds.

I salute the courage of those who have been hurt the most when they chose to forgive the most.

Post 2e

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade (reporting from Cambodia)

Southeast Asia 2013

One of the highlights of these trips is to sit under the feet of people like Pastor Savorn and his wife, Sony. They are working to rescue children here in Cambodia. To date they have rescued over 300 children who now live in 14 different homes in Phnom Penh and Battambang.

Sony gave her life to Jesus and had to make a hard choice: either stay with this Jesus or be forced to leave the home of her uncle who was her sole supporter. Well, needless to say, she chose Jesus and had to pay the consequences in hardship and rejection. But through it all, she never thought she made the wrong decision because God has blessed her. Now she and her husband work full time rescuing children for God.

Savorn was 9 years old when the Khmer Rouge took power by force. He and thousands of other children were brainwashed against their parents. One time, he reported them for stashing and eating some rice in secret, he almost got them killed.

Savorn worked the fields during the day and returned home at night to sleep with his family. Food was always in severe shortage and they were all too skinny. With time, Savorn would lose many of his relatives and friends, but today he recognizes that it was the hardships he endured that finally brought him to Christ.

Savorn and Sony

Savorn is a humble man. We would never know he is involved with a ministry that is doing so much to bring light into the darkness that for too long has gripped this country. The children in these homes give me high hope for a Cambodia that will care for the needs of the least of these.

And I’m left praying. “God, please give me a humble spirit to receive from you blessings and challenges and not think that I should somehow be immune from hardships. Grant me faithfulness to walk joyfully with you to the very end.”

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade (reporting from Cambodia)