Today was such an amazing day. We have been starting our days out each morning at 5:45 a.m., and today was no different. After breakfast we headed to Busra for a day of worship and fellowship. And what a trip it was! The village wasn’t too far from our hotel, but because the roads are mostly rock- and dirt-laden, the travel took approximately 1-1/2 hours, as we mostly maintained speeds of 15 – 30 mph. The ride was bumpy, but the countryside yielded much to take in along the way. Driving over very tiny makeshift bridges was exciting, but the real thrill came when we had to cross a river despite the fact its bridge had washed out. We were all in agreement with Heidi’s observation that a washed-out bridge and crossing a river would be enough to keep us from attending church for the day. But not here. No bridge, no worries. While in Cambodia, do as the Cambodians do. So with baited breath, we drove through the river and reached the other side safely. Just shortly before reaching Busra we saw something we would have never imagined. There is literally a reason for the penned words to the song “Baby Monkey Riding on a Pig, Baby Monkey.” Good to know!
The worship service was so awesome. Though the words were not understood by us, the unity amongst the Body of Christ made up the difference. Not only did they have a full band, they blessed us with a production as children in varying age groups sang special songs for us. Joe then translated Tim’s message, and we trust the Lord will use it in producing a harvest within that community. Following the service, Pastor Houenh Troery welcomed us into his home, and he and his family served us a bountiful lunch (which included fresh bananas from his generational family farm) and began to unpack for us some history about his life.
Additionally, Pastor Houenh lived through Pol Pot’s reign of terror. Every Saturday he and a few other Christians
would head to the mountains to pray, for many Christians were being killed. (From where we stood, the mountains looked to be anywhere from a 2 to 4 hour walk one way.) One day they were being chased by the Khmer Rouge, and they stopped and prayed for deliverance. Suddenly, a significant storm came through and gave them coverage. Shortly after that they escaped to Vietnam, which is where they found shelter and safety until the consummation of the regime’s end.
As we entered the village we saw homes and a community not unlike the many others we’ve seen while we’ve been here. But what’s shocking to note is that it’s only been within the last 30 years that Pastor Houenh’s village has joined the rest of civilization in understanding the importance of wearing clothes and having adequate housing rather than primitive huts. Another interesting note is that the missionary that rode with us to Busra, as well as her husband, are the only two people in the whole of Cambodia that can preach in the Bunong language, because most pastors speak Kmae — though the Bible has just recently been translated into Bunong, and a huge dedication is planned in May so the Bunong can read the Word in their own language.
Following lunch, the women were invited to the church for a time of encouragement and worship. I think some of the men felt left out and wanted to participate, so they came along with the ladies and got to enjoy the special time. Kay is so animated and gifted in drawing people in and being passionate about her love for Christ and for His Body! We got to sing children’s songs and taught those in attendance all the hand motions to the songs. Then we handed out the wordless bracelets and shared the gospel with them all. Finally, to end the session Pastor Houenh asked his congregation to close with prayer, at which time they all lifted their voices in one accord and began praying — individual and corporate prayer all in one. The sound was beautiful, and only our God is able to hear each prayer and answer according to His will.
After sharing about how prayer has helped them, Pastor Houenh has asked for prayer regarding the following:
- They are not able to cut trees, so they have nowhere to go as their community grows; the government will put them in jail.
- Pray for the people of Busra. They used to be able to live from the land, but now the government takes it so they can’t.
- Pray that the government has mercy on them when they have to go cut trees.
One Treasure Family, these are our brothers and sisters in Christ. Won’t you join us in committing to earnestly go before the Father and lift up the beloved Bunong people?