Tag Archives: Cambodia

God’s Beauty in a Dark World

God’s Beauty in a Dark World

By Pastor Teresa Tong    2013.09

            In early 2008, Missionary Janice Lo came to share her Cambodian ministry with the RHCCC staff. The message deeply touched our hearts. As she invited me to lead a short term mission team to her church, Phnom Penh Grace Christian Church (PPGCC), for hosting a children camp, the Holy Spirit prompted me that it would just be the beginning of a fruitful mission, ready to be developed. With God’s grace, in a short period, I have coordinated a team of 7 workers from the Children’s Ministry to launch our first mission trip to Cambodia. To prepare the team, we have researched on the culture and history of Cambodia. It opened our eyes to their tragic history and touched our hearts with their sufferings and needs. The sad story began more than 40 years ago …

Cambodia had been under the French control and her influence since the 19th century. In 1953, Cambodia gained the independence with Prince Sihanouk as its ruler. However, the prince was overturned by his general in 1970. With the support of the Khmer Rouge and its leader, Pol Pot, Prince Sihanoukville returned five years later to reclaim his power. The Cambodians rejoiced for his return, thinking that it was the end to the civil war but indeed, it was only the beginning of a terrible nightmare. The Khmer Rouge craved for a full control of the country, so they implemented a nation-wide cleansing, to remove any small sign of opposition. Since April 1975 when the Khmer Rouge marched into the capital city of Phnom Penh, within 3 years and 8 months, 1/3 of the Cambodian population (around 2.5 million out of 7 million people) were either killed irrationally in a brutal way, at the famous Killing Field or the genocide concentration camps, or else they were starved to death. It led to a long period of civil war. Eventually the UN stepped in to bring peace to the land in the 90’s. A military leader, Hun Sen rose up and has been in power for 28 years till now (2013). Under his dictatorship, Cambodia seems to restore its political stability and economic progress but many problems also spouted out, such as corruption, extreme poverty, idol-worshipping and worst of all – young sex trafficking with children as young as 5-6 years old serve as a prostitute to local and oversea pedophiles.

With a deeper understanding of its tragic past and the crying needs of children and youth of the present, we realize that only God’s love could save this nation from its nightmare and heal its wound. Ever since our first mission trip to Cambodia in 2008, we have developed a deep love for their children and youth, who are so pure at heart and eager to receive the Gospel message. All our team members have witnessed God’s guiding hands and repeated miracles. As I flipped through my mission journals for the past 5 years, it allows me to prepare a briefing for each year’s mission trip that reflects God’s beauty in a dark world.

STM Trip #1 (September, 2008)   

During our preparation for the STM trip and planning the PPGCC children overnight camp, we got acquaintance with two significant mission parties. It led to our repeated visitation to their ministries in our subsequent STM trips:

1.      Lisa, a dedicated Christian from Rexdale Alliance Church that led annual STM team to Cambodia for serving children, especially those young prostitutes in the country. Her mission is endorsed by a renounced Christian organization, Ratanak Foundation. Lisa gave a mission orientation session to our STM team.

2.      Matthew and Rita, a Canadian missionary couple that serves children in a poor village near Phnom Penh. Just before we left for our STM trip, they happened to visit Toronto, so they shared their ministry with our team.

As we started our trip, we faced many challenges, such ad, Typhoon #8 at Hong Kong Airport for transit flight to Phnom Penh, sickness of family and team members, heavy work load in office… But our Lord is the Almighty One, so the team arrived safely at PPGCC as scheduled. The weather was extremely hot in Cambodia. We could not stop sweating but our spirits were high. We led an overnight children camp at PPGCC with their youth as helpers. We also taught English/Mandarin in its affiliated Gospel Centre at Sihanoukville, which was a poor fishing port, 4-hour-drive from Phnom Penh. It was sad to see the poor living condition of children. Our van driver advised us to give out some individually-packed cookies from the windows of the car, in case we might get hurt but it was so sad to feed God’s beloved children like an animal in the Safari Zoo, so I boldly stepped out of the van to pass out the food. May God have mercy on these poor children.

Even though we could not communicate directly with the Cambodian children / youth and required interpreters, we were touched by these young people. Despite the tragic history of the Khmer Rouge Regime, the Cambodian children and youth were cheerful, friendly and pure at heart. Once a child asked our team member, “Are you Jesus?” Since they could not see or touch Jesus physically, when we shared God’s love and the Gospel with them, we were indeed Jesus’ representative on earth. They were very passionate in learning more about Jesus and loved to use their beautiful voices to sing praises to the Lord. When we extended the calling for accepting Christ, 38 little hands out of the group of 40 children shot up in the air. We were deeply touched by their faith.

The church rented a house as their meeting place. Every evening as we returned to our hotel, we saw a few very young girls (around age 8-10) with heavy made-up and sexy dresses sat in front of the church’s neighbouring house. Later on, we learned that they were young prostitutes waiting for their “clients”. We could not imagine how such young girls would receive 8-10 men each night to earn a living. We felt deeply sad for them. As we visited the construction site where PPGCC was building its new church, all the youth and children from the camp prayed and sang hymns joyfully together. We know God still reign in this dark country and will liberate those young sex victims one day.

STM Trip #2 (September, 2009)   

The first STM team was deeply attracted by the children and youth in Cambodia so almost the whole team, plus two new members visited the country the following year. Since this was our second trip, we got to know the missionary, youth, children and their culture much better, the partnership among us was just great. The theme of the camp was “Be strong and Courageous” based on the story of Moses: how he received God’s calling and led the Israelites out of Egypt and crossed the Red Sea. The camp was held at the newly-built church of PPGCC. Our STM team led the Sunday worship and preaching. The Gospel Centre we visited in the previous year at Sihanoukville has also developed into a church. Praise the Lord! We visited a new Gospel centre named Noah’s Ark. We did an outreach to the village children there. We prayed that this site would also turn into a church soon, like the miracle we witnessed at Sihanoukville.

Realizing we could only visit Cambodia for a few weeks each year, it would be much more effective if we could train their youth to continue Children’s Ministry in our absence. Therefore, we have decided to include a two-day youth leadership training camp and invite them as our helpers in leading the children overnight camp. This strategy proved to be very effective. We witnessed the growth of these young people in Children’s Ministry throughout these few years. Praise the Lord! I challenged them in the debriefing meeting on the last night, “Are you willing to save your country with the Gospel? Are you willing to shine for Jesus?” They responded in tears positively. The missionary later told us that many of these youth got up every morning at 4:00 a.m. to pray at the front post outside the Sihanoukville church. They lifted up their country in earnest prayer.

We also visited missionary Matthew and Rita and outreached to children at their village. These villagers had a strong feeling against Christians but miracle happened – one day before we arrived, the son of the village chief fell from the tree and got hurt seriously. The STM team went to visit the injured young man at the hospital. Some of our team members were in the health care profession, so they could provide medical advices to the family. That gained their trust and friendship. We lay hands on the chief’s son and comforted the family. Since then, a bonding was built between the missionaries and the villagers. Praise the Lord!

We had the chance to visit the Rahab House which was a community centre converted from a brothel house in Syak Pak, a notorious area for young sex trafficking. We led 160 children in singing hymns and I shared the Gospel with them. They looked so innocent and pretty even though they were in ragged clothing. I could never imagine these children before my very eyes, as young as 5 or 6 years old, would go home and change into sexy dresses after the children program, so as to get ready for their “work” at night – be delivered to the pedophiles in the hotel and served as a young prostitute. While our American children were enjoying McDonald’s fries, with a 12-hour time difference, it is night time in Cambodia and these children are sexually abused and tortured by 3000 men each year. I could not hold my tears when I realized such a tragedy. May God protect and liberate these young victims. This further strengthened my determination to return to this country and witness how God’s work would penetrate into this dark world.

STM Trip #3 (November, 2011)

Since our first visit at Sihanoukville in 2008, the ministry grew extensively. So the children and youth leadership camp was held in this poor fishing village instead of the capital city of Phnom Penh. It was challenging because there were 200 children and 45 youth coming to the camp but we witnessed God’s miracle one after another.

We led a youth leadership camp and delivered 3 Children’s Ministry workshops: Creative Bible Teaching; Music Worship and Creative Ways to Share Gospel with Children. The youth were eager to get prepared as a teacher. At the end of the camp, I extended a calling for full time ministry. To my surprise, all 45 youth came forward in tears while singing the camp’s theme song “Hineni” – mold me, send me, I am here Lord …. They realized Cambodia is a dark country and the only hope for liberating it is education, the Gospel and God’s love. So they were willing to step forward regardless of the challenges and hardships they might face. Witnessing their courageous move, many of our STM team members were brought to tears. May God guard their hearts.

In our children camp. It was hard to imagine how 200 children, 45 youth, 20 STM team members / church staff could cramp in a small hall. It was hot and humid, many children got heat stroke and passed out. We have to put the first day of the children camp to a halt and prayed earnestly. Miraculously, on the second day of the children camp, God has provided us with a new place, much bigger and even with air conditioning. We count God’s blessing and sang praised in one spirit. Many children accepted Christ in the crusade meeting. The Cambodian youth played a significant part in the children camp to practice what they have just learned in the Leadership Camp. They loved the children and did a great job. In the graduation ceremony, we invited the parents to join us. Besides attracting them with their children’s performance, we also offered medical services by two of our team members. For most of these parents, it was their first time joining a church function. While the children were preparing for the music presentation, I shared the Gospel message through the story of Zacchaeus. Upon the calling, almost all the parents shot up their hands to accept Jesus. Praise the Lord!

We visited Matthew and Rita, the missionary couple. They were encouraged by our caring love and prayer support. We repeated the outreach children program at their village and the response was great. A few team members also went to visit Rahab House at Svay Pak to witness how God’s glory penetrated into this dark corner of Cambodia, at which young children were sexually abused. It was amazing to step into its new building, named Sanctuary. It was originally constructed as a resort for the pedophiles to enjoy sex services from young children but International Justice Mission and Ratanak purchased the place and turned it into a Christian community centre, for offering technical/ language classes, medical services, children club. Isn’t it ironic, but I say …. it is God’s miracle!

This year we also had the chance visiting Grace Haven Orphanage at Lashio. It has been supported by ACEM since 20 years ago. It was now developed into 13 children centres. We led the evening children program for 200 orphans in the centre and also divided the team to preach and lead Sunday worship at their various Gospel centres. It has been very fruitful and eye-opening. Thank God for giving us the chance to serve the poor and needy.

STM Trip #4 (November, 2012)

This year we host the youth leadership and children camp at Sihanoukville again. There were more than 200 children and 80 youth came to us. It was quite overwhelming but we knew it was not by might nor by power but by the Spirit of God. We trust that as we did our best, God would do the rest. This year we delivered some other Children’s Ministry workshops to the youth, such as, Large Group Communication Skill; Balloon Twisting in Sharing Gospel; Puppetry; Sharing Gospel message. We prepared them to run the drama session, music worship and crafts. So during the children camp, more than half of the time, it was conducted in their Khmer language. We could not understand a word but we were so very joyful because it indicated that more and more of these youth are ready to take up the Children’s Ministry independently in our absence. I could not understand how these young people within a few days, could learn more than ten songs and related body actions that were not in their native language. It must be the Holy Spirit that was teaching them. Every time we shouted “When we are lonely”, they would respond in one voice loud and clear, “God is with us”!! We were touched by their cheerful smile and courageous spirit.

At the graduation ceremony, we invited their parents to join us for lunch. Before the ceremony began, I shared the Gospel with the parents through the Bible story of the bleeding woman. Some of the mothers were brought to tears. It must be the Spirit that spoke to their hearts directly. Many parents accepted Christ, including a waitress who was serving lunch in the restaurant. It was so encouraging to our team for witnessing God’s miraculous work. As the children and youth presented the Bible story “Daniel in the Lion’s Den” through drama, puppetry and songs, all participants enjoyed the presentation and were deeply touched by the Bible message.

As usual, we visited Matthew and Rita and held outreach program to the village children. We have also visited Daughters Bakery which was run by rescued young prostitutes under the Ratanak Foundation. Thank God for saving these young victims from the evil ones. We visited the Killing Field Memorial, at which thousands of Cambodians were killed brutally by the Khmer Rouge. We were sad to witness the tragic site. It was hard to imagine how cruel mankind could be. We surely need God!

After visiting Cambodia, Myanmar’s Grace Haven invited us to return to conduct Children’s Ministry training workshops to their seminary students and leaders from various Gospel centres of the mountain. With similar strategy as Cambodia, we trained the youth in the workshops and invited them to assist us in the evening children program, so that they could practice what they had learned. We repeated the same training and children program at Pyin Oo Lwin Student Centre. It is always joyful to pass the baton on to the next generation so that they could continue to run this spiritual race on earth!

STM Trip #5 (November, 2013)

We are returning to Cambodia to host the youth leadership and children camp for the 5th year. Since we have taught them over 40 hymns in the past few years, we have decided to have a review on all these songs. We plan to present as many songs from this review list as possible through a musical presentation on the story of Queen Esther. It is going to be a big production with props, costumes, and drama, mixed with 20+ songs. Prayerfully, both children and youth could learn from this story, on how to follow God’s plan and pursue that dream in the Lord. This is going to be the theme of this year’s camp: “God’s Plan in Us, Go For the Dream!” We have prepared a few training workshops for the youth leaders: Creative Ways for Bible Verse Memorization; Learning to Pray;

PPGCC has opened an international Christian school at Phnom Penh. The camps will be hosted at the capital city so that we could invite families of the school students to our graduation ceremony. Hopefully it will build a bonding with the parents, as well as promote the school to its neighbouring families. The Gospel centre “Noah’s Ark” that we have been visiting in the past years have started a school for the poor village children. Within a year, it has an attendance of over 200 children. Praise the Lord! We will also continue visiting and supporting the ministry of Matthew and Rita as well as Ratanak Foundation. May God use our team as a channel of blessing to many more.

Regretfully, there is a political turmoil in Cambodia after its recent election. We need your earnest prayer support. Since the tragic history of Khmer Rouge Regime, Cambodia has been under Hun Sen, a dictator government for the past 28 years. In July 2013, there was a nation-wide election. The opposition party claimed its victory but the ruling government insisted that they were the ultimate winner. The opposition party threatened to host a massive protest against an unfair election and requested an open investigation (involving UN) on the election result. The situation in Cambodia is currently very tense. If a protest breaks out, it is likely to turn into blood-shed violence. It is sad to witness this poor country goes through another potential tragedy and genocide within such a short period of history. Not only do we need to pray for discernment in making the decision of “Go” or “No-Go” in case the situation turns to be unsafe for the team, we also ask for your prayer support for this country, especially for its missionaries and the youth that have such a patriotism for building and evangelizing their country.

We also plan to conduct Children’s Ministry workshops and host children program at Grace Haven (Lashio at Myanmar), leading youth fellowship at Yangon University and running children program at two orphanage of Yangon. May the Lord keep the door of Myanmar and Cambodia open for receiving the Gospel. May God’s beauty continue to shine in this dark world.

 

一生最美的祝福

在今次的短宣旅程中,神讓我們看到兩幅美麗而又充滿著祝福的圖畫。第一幅是從這羣貧窮國家的孩子身上所看到的真善美。柬埔寨在七十年代經歷赤柬,全國三份之一的人口,即二百多萬人,在三年零八個月中被自己的同胞殘殺,所以三十歲以上的柬人,若不是親眼目睹親人被殺,便是曾殺人的赤柬軍人,因此這羣成人普遍都是心裏藏着苦毒、羞愧或恐懼,對人和福音都存著懷疑,由於他們都沒有父母,當作了父母後,也不懂得愛自己的孩子。遇到家庭環境不好,便用十元八塊美金把孩子賣到妓寨,少如五、六歲的孩子每晚要接八至十個嫖客,一年便被三千多個客人性虐待,令人心痛,但神是公義的,柬埔寨的年青人與孩子,熱情、開朗、真誠、樂於助人,與他們的父母剛好相反。在出發前我已提醒一班短宣隊員,當他們認識了這羣孩子後,便會被吸引深愛他們,隊員卻半信半疑,可是回來後,他們都好像停不了嘴巴,整天把這羣孩子掛在嘴邊,一邊談及孩子,一邊激動得為他們感恩而流淚,從他們身上我們確實看見神的美善。

柬埔寨的年青人雖然沒有領受到父母的愛,可是不知從何而來,裏面卻有著一股熱切的愛心,很懂得愛護和照顧其他比他們小的孩子,視如自己的孩子般。由於他們太窮,從沒有吃過冰琪琳,我們便買來作為營會的茶點。有一個小孩因為從未吃過冰琪琳,竟然不知如何入手,那年青組長卻耐心地一匙一匙的餵她,但當餵完後,這年青人的雪糕早已化成奶昔,這對於北美洲的孩子,問題可能不大,下次再吃吧!可是對一個從未嚐過,也不知何時再有機會吃冰琪琳的孩子來說,這便是愛心的犧牲,這種愛的動力是他們心中有神的愛。如經上說,我們愛因為神先愛我們,這幅圖畫美麗嗎?認識主耶穌便是我們一生最美的祝福。柬埔寨年青人愛國的心,讓我們也自歎不如。每次他們唱「為柬埔寨祈禱」這詩歌時,雖然我們不明白其柬文歌詞,但看到他們一邊舉起雙手,一邊激動得淚流滿面唱著詩歌,我們短宣隊也不禁動容。在這黑暗國家中,這羣年青人深知自己是國家明日的盼望,他們不是依靠勢力,只因心中有神,神就是他們的力量,他們的祝福,這不又是一幅很美的圖畫嗎?

將鏡頭移到緬甸,這國家仍在軍政府的極權統治下,但奇妙的是,當地的孩子又純樸又快樂。在恩慈之家,我們不單常聽到查牧師和張茂蘭師母那喜樂的笑聲,到處我們也看見這些孤兒笑容滿臉,像一個大家庭般,又溫暖又有生氣。一個晚上我們在小閣樓聚會,領著三百個孩子和年青人,突然停電,在這郊野地方,到處漆黑一片,伸手不見五指,我們成人也不禁叫了出來,可是這些孩子一邊拖着手,一邊繼續唱「一生最美的祝福」和「向高山舉目」。這是我人生中聽過最美麗的詩班,孩子們一唱一和,如天使般的歌聲,正如歌詞所說:「在無數的黑夜裏,讓我真實的見到祢

第二幅美麗的圖畫,是從飛機倉拍下緬甸田間的照片,一塊一塊不同顏色的田,有紅、有黃、有綠,拼在一起,成為一塊美麗的禾田,這次短宣隊就是神將一班不同背境、年紀、性格的信徒放在一起,拼出一幅美麗天國的圖畫。今次短宣隊十三人,從五個不同的教會組成,年齡由廿歲到七十多歲,有些是急性子,有些卻慢條斯理;有些在臺上又唱又跳,有些卻在臺下默默耕耘。正如以弗所書4:11-12所說:「使師.為」。大部份隊員本來都互不認識,但經過十次的培訓,在短宣的過程中,我們就像一家人般,只有笑聲,只有祈禱和感動的眼淚,從沒有一句的爭吵,有病時大家互相照顧、互相關懷。短宣隊回加團聚時,大家見面便不禁互相擁抱起來,像失散的家人重逢一般,宣教士對我們的嘉許都是「這短宣隊又玩得又做得,為宣教工場帶來神的愛與祝福」,這正如以弗所4:16說「便」。猶如那些禾田般,神把我們這班不配的人,雖各有不同,但只要同心聽從神的教導,各按各職,彼此相助,便能叫神的聖工被建立起來,我們又能在愛中被造就,這是多麼美麗的一幅圖畫啊!

今次緬甸短宣隊的組合,有柬埔寨自由機構的宣教士和他們兩位土生青年傳道,加上華傳的牧師,與我們華基的隊員,去到福音自傳會PARTNERS所支持的恩慈之家,真是江湖四海,齊集一方,不同的機構雖在宣教的重點或模式上稍有差異,通常鮮有机會在同一個短宣事工配搭,但在這個多星期裏,我們合作和相處得好像一家人般溫馨喜樂,同心興旺福音,拼成一幅美麗的禾田。這兩位柬埔寨青年傳道本身都是在教會長大的孤兒,不在意的安排下,他們在恩慈之家分享,不料有意想不到的效果,他們的見証比任何一位大佈道家更有爆炸力,當他們分享自己少時的悽慘經歷,但神和教會如何的拯救和幫助他們,他們一邊分享一邊流淚,臺下三百個孤兒,小如五、六歲的,也聽得目不轉睛,較年長的孩子比較懂事,為着相同的經歷,他們竟也感動得流下淚來,講的在哭,聽的也在哭,這兩個不同國家的孤兒,卻能在主裏互相勉勵、互相支持,當這年青的柬埔寨傳道,挑戰緬甸的孩子說,「我們的國家同樣的貧困,我們這羣孤兒經歷同樣的難處,但我們同樣有一位愛我們的天父,我們領恩,便要知恩,更要報恩,你們願意奉獻給神,成為你們國家未來的盼望嗎?」臺下的孩子同聲地說願意,兩個不同國家的孩子,四個不同的機構,五個不同的教會,加上前線的短宣隊與一羣後防信徒的禱告與支持,正如經上v4-6所記、一、一 這就好像那不同顏色的禾田,卻能拼出一幅美麗的圖畫 (一生最美的祝福)

 湯邱佩華

2013-02-01

現代的神蹟──柬埔寨

去年11月,五間華基教會共14位兄姊,一起踏出柬埔寨短宣之旅。有幾位隊員更連續三年用自己的假期,出錢出力服侍柬埔寨的兒童和青少年。隊員無論在背境、年紀、性格和恩賜上各有差異,彼此不相識,卻在宣教戰場上互助互愛,成為一隊團結的精兵,這可算是一個神蹟……讚美主!

快開始青年領袖訓練營時,宣教士跑來告訴我,當地已停電三小時。柬埔寨沒有電力供應是家常閒事,但是短宣隊所有器材、電腦、投射器、音響都要靠電力運作。我們焦急如焚,宣教士提議大家同心祈禱,懇求神出手相助。就在擠擁的小禮堂,十多位隊員及45位參加營會的青年齊聲禱告。一瞬間整個會堂都震動,我們彷似領會新約使徒被聖靈充滿的經歷。青少年用柬文唱出聖詩「為柬埔寨禱告」時,燈光和電器突然恢復運作。天父確是聽禱告的神,這又是一個神蹟……讚美主!

在青年營結束前,我呼召年青人全時間委身事奉神。在北美的培靈會,如果有10-20%會眾回應,已是比率很高。可是我眼前這45位青少年一面唱著”Hi-ne-ni”,一面帶淚全走上前!我心想莫非自己呼召的訊息有點含糊?或者青少年不明白獻身事奉?因此我請所有年青人回到座位,消楚解釋全時間事奉的意義和將會碰到的挑戰。當眾人再次唱起「燒我差我,我在這裡…無怨無悔Hi-ne-ni!」他們淚流滿面,一手按著心窩,一手舉起回應神的呼召,全部45位年青人再次走到臺前,在神在人面前作出委身承諾。我們為著這些青年的堅毅決定興奮快樂,神蹟就顯在我們眼前……讚美主!

兒童營的高潮就是最後一天的畢業禮。我們邀請家長參加慶典,藉此將福音外展到西港的村民。畢業禮前,有一個簡單的福音主日崇拜。為了令村民有親切感,我用一位柬埔寨信徒的親身經歷作見證,這位信徒是Reaksa,在七十年代赤柬蹂躪、三分一國民(二百多萬人)被殘殺時,親眼目睹父母兄姊共13人被殺或活埋的慘況。Reaksa輾轉逃難到加拿大,後來信主成為基督徒,但是怨恨和復仇的陰影仍深藏心底,經常從噩夢中驚醒!那時我眼前一班家長與村民都凶神惡煞地瞪著我,連在旁短宣隊員也看得心驚膽顫;心想這些村民也許都曾經歷赤柬時代,他們若不是目睹親人被殺,便是曾屠殺無辜百姓的赤柬軍人,我說的故事正挑起他們內心的傷痕,正掙扎應否轉話題,聖靈卻給我膽量繼續說下去。

Reaksa決定回鄉逐一尋索屠殺他家人的村民,這些人都嚇破膽,心想他是要報仇雪恨。可是當Reaksa和他們見面時,卻送上一條溫暖的頸巾和一本柬文《聖經》,告訴他們自己已得著救恩,願意將基督赦罪的愛和福音的大能告訴對方。我望著那些凶巴巴的村民,鼓勵無論是殺人或是受害者,都可以來到耶穌跟前,得著被赦免的恩典和出人意外的平安。頓時眼前每個凶相都變成慈祥歡欣的笑容,所有村民都舉手願意接受基督為救主。最近宣教士告訴我,當日信主的家長,不單繼續參加教會,還邀請其他村民和親友同來。在短短半年間,聚會人數增加三倍,有人接受浸禮。你不能不同意這就是一個神蹟……讚美主!

柬埔寨是戀童癖者的天堂,雛妓小如五、六歲孩童平均每晚要接客8至10人,受著各式各樣的性虐待。基督徒團體Ratanak Foundation在當地警方協助下,把臭名遠播的Svay Pak紅燈區的黃毒掃走後,將本來用作嫖客渡假酒店的建築物,改為一所基督教的社區中心。這次短宣旅程能探訪這事工,看到村民擁到中心領取醫療服務,接受技能訓練、聖經教導、兒童事工,誰也想不到一所妓寨竟能被神的大能翻過來,成為神的燈臺,在紅燈區中為主發光。看著神奇妙的神蹟,我們能不俯伏下拜嗎?……讚美主!

當我繼續翻閱短宣日誌時,曾目睹的神蹟奇事,不斷在腦海湧現。我們以前風聞有神蹟,在柬埔寨之旅,卻遇上神、親身經歷祂的慈愛與大能。你可否願意像這些短宣隊員般踏出溫暖窩,走到柬埔寨這黑暗角落,體驗一個又一個神蹟呢?

 湯邱佩華

2012-09-06

 

柬埔寨 -兒童的呼聲(二)

相隔一年後,當再踏足柬埔寨,這經濟及屬靈皆貧脊的國家,除了那熟識的酷熱天氣,心裡也湧出一片暖流。重遇曾同工的宣教士和教導過的孩子和年青人,仿如見到舊知己一般,無論在事工的配搭或在肢體的關顧上,都更能事半功倍。感謝神,讓短宣隊大部分隊員都對柬埔寨有極重的負擔,甘心將自己的精力、時間與金錢擺上,當作活祭。一年後再結隊重臨這禾場,為要跟進這些孩子與年青人的屬靈成長,把神的榮耀透進這黑暗的國家。在兒童營的檢討分享會中,我挑戰一班年青的「小導師」,是否願意委身培育下一代的孩子,教導他們走在神的道中,成為柬埔寨「明日的曙光」。年青人都流淚了,逐一承諾「我願意」。在我們離去後幾星期,宣教士來信告訴我們,這些「小導師」每天破曉時份,便集合在教會門前早禱,而且心裡愈來愈火熱,祈禱所需時間愈更逼切和長。早上四時便起床參加早禱會,頌聲不住,連宣教士也心痛了,卻又為他們的誠心與恆切不斷感恩。當我們問柬埔寨這個又貧困、邪靈又充濫、雛妓問題又極嚴重的國家,真還有希望嗎?有!看著這群熱誠又飢渴慕義的年青下一代,我們再次肯定,在人不能,在主凡事都能。

除了舉行兒童營和青年領袖訓練營,短宣隊還到了鄉間探訪一對宣教士夫婦,和他們的兒童事工。正擔心招待我們會為他們帶來不便,他們卻拖著我們的手說:「你們的關懷與禱告,正是我們這群前線戰士的『強心劑』。」原來一個衷心的問候,甚至一些簡單的事工配搭,都能成為神所用的使者,去祝福一班又孤單又疲乏的屬靈勇士。

今次我們有機會深入「虎穴」,去採訪柬埔寨一個黑點-雛妓極嚴重的Svay Pak地區。Ratanak一個基督教的團體,在政府掃黃行動後,將一間妓寨轉成一所社區中心,為居民提供醫療服務,每天二至四時,又會舉行兒童聖經班。我們看著百多個衣衫襤褸,但卻輪廓精緻、天真可愛的孩子,帶著他們頌唱聖詩,心裡暗想,怪不得主耶穌最疼愛小孩,不論他們富或貧、強或弱……可是萬想不到,這些5到10歲的孩子,在四時散會後,便要回家被「扯皮條」注射輕奮劑,把她們裝扮得濃妝艷抹、花枝招展,擺出一副妖媚的姿態,準備天黑過後,便被送到城中的酒店,被平均8至10名變態的孌童僻者,一個接一個的性虐待和凌辱。小如5、6歲的幼童,一年接客過三千,直至半夜兩、三時,才被接回妓寨,被注射鎮靜劑,堆在地上像廉價貨品般,可是……她們10歲還不到啊,這樣邪惡的事怎能發生呢?當我們北美洲的人,白天還在上班、上學,當星期日早上在環境優美的教會中崇拜,當我們看作珍寶的孩子在吃麥當勞薯條時,在地球另一邊,正是半夜,這班可憐的雛妓,卻過著非外人所能道的皮肉生涯,我們會問神在那裡呢?神有否看顧這黑暗的角落呢?我們去探訪Svay Pak這群孩子的同一日,Ratanak機構竟買下了社區中心旁邊的一幢大樓,這原是用作高級嫖妓渡假酒店的,掃黃後被丢空了,竟被改建成妓寨區裡的教會與基教中心。感謝神,祂的大能與出人意表的計劃,是世人無法預料和測度的,但這更能堅定我們的信念-神的公義和榮光要透進世界每一個黑暗的角落,包括柬埔寨!今年十一月,短宣隊將會第三次回到這國家,你願意與我們同行,去經歷神的大能和培育這群飢渴慕義的下一代嗎?

 湯邱佩華

2011-04-10

柬埔寨 – 受壓孩子的呼聲

對我來說,柬埔寨是一個陌生的國家,記憶只是年少時電視新聞上連串戰亂與殘殺的報告。奇妙地當我禱告求神賜一個短宣工場,以服侍貧困孩童的時候,柬埔寨便明顯地在我眼前。

蒙神帶領與保守,不單叫我這不配的僕人在短宣中有所領會與學習,豐足而回,更令我心中燃著火把,將眼所見、耳所聞與不同團契的兄姊、同工分享,為要喚醒眾人將神的榮光傳到柬埔寨這黑暗的國度。

柬埔寨過去三十多年一直經歷赤柬的蹂躪,內戰頻繁,單從1975年4月發動的赤化行動中,全國三份一人口(即二百多萬人)在短短三年零八個月間,或被酷刑殘殺、或因虐疾饑餓身亡。短宣隊員在金邊的戰爭罪惡博物館看到一張張在行刑前神情絕望的面孔,一堆堆全家人被殘殺的照片,我們看後能不動容嗎?不禁會問:「神啊,祢的公義在何處呢?」因此,三十歲以上的柬人普遍都曾親眼目睹家人被殺的場面,令他們產生對人、對前途都不抱信任的態度,甚至輕視子女為童役或逆境中的資產。在這佛教相沿多年的國家,基督教難以打入剛硬的人心,敬拜邪靈與巫術比比皆是,令人不禁為這黑暗的國家而輕嘆。

孩子備受摧殘凌辱

多年戰火、內亂,帶來國家極度的貧窮,加上社會民生錯謬的結構,引致另一個極嚴重的問題──柬埔寨成為孌童僻的天堂。我們遇上的柬童都是眼睛又大又圓,輪廓精緻,加上天真爛漫的笑容和體型纖細,正是尋歡者的鍾愛;而且價錢廉宜,據聞美金十元便可換取一個孩子整個晚上的性服務。父母在家境困難時,會以美金兩元將孩子賣到妓寨,這些孩子有些只有五、六歲,很多雛妓還未達到可受孕年紀(即五至十歲)。他們每天都被心理變態的成人,特別是外地的尋歡者,用盡五花八門的性虐待所摧殘與凌辱,身心靈受創至體無完膚。

我們短宣隊事奉的教會旁,正好有一間妓寨。每晚十時多當我們回程到酒店時,都看到三五成群,打扮得花枝招展的雛妓,坐在閘前招客,濃粧艷抹的背後,仍隱約看到絲絲童真,年齡大概都是八、九歲到十多歲。兒童少年宿營送別會後,孩童回程到鄉間時,在閘前手舞足蹈、興奮地高唱營中學到的聖詩,整條小巷都充滿神恩妙韻,偶爾望到隔鄰妓寨天台上兩名幼童,他們臉上絕望和羡慕的眼神,正看著自由高唱著聖詩的孩子。我永遠不能忘記她們沮喪與被困的眼神,為她們悲哀的遭遇不禁淌下同情之淚,默默求神憐憫保守她們。

孩子有靈魂

我是兒童事工傳道,對孩子有一份特別的感情與憐恤,看到孩子被虐待或遇上困境,心裡尤其難過。有一次我們經過一個極貧困的地區,司機說我們可分發一些食品給貧童,但囑咐為著人身安全,要留在車上從窗口派發食物,這令我聯想起在野生動物園餵食物給動物的情境;但是他們是有血有肉、有靈魂的孩子啊!耶穌教導我們若非像孩子,斷不能進天國,我們豈可把神看為寶貴的子孩當作野獸般看待?我大膽地走到車外派發食物,饑餓的孩子一湧而上,不消幾分鐘便把食物搶光。看著孩童的臉,我心裡極其難過,他們是無辜的一群,生長在這貧窮的城巿,我懇切求神將祂的榮光透進這黑暗的國家,他們被戰亂、苦毒、貧困、雛妓、邪靈圍困,他們有希望嗎?「有!在人不能,在主凡事都能!」

我們遇到的孩子與年青人,都是一群心靈純潔、饑渴慕義的小羊,雖然他們只懂柬語,在短短三數天的營會,竟學曉差不多十首英、國語聖詩。在畢業典禮中,他們興奮地又唱又跳,活像一群美麗的天使在主座前獻詩,他們又留心聆聽每一個《聖經》故事。在呼召信主時,40個孩子中,竟有38隻小手舉起來,我心裡再次肯定他們在主裡一定有希望!

讓孩子到我這裡來

在一次簡單的勞作活動中,我們短短五分鐘便可完成的星棒,他們卻花上半個小時;原來他們很少有機會用這些精緻的材料做勞作,他們花盡心機,慢慢完成。相比起北美洲的小孩,他們更懂得珍惜擁有的東西,最難能可貴的是,他們知道真情的寶貴。大部份孩子因為家貧,從未嘗過西餅糕點,因此在畢業禮後,我們放上一些美味的蛋糕作為慶祝,孩子們都珍而重之。其中一位小女孩接過蛋糕後,竟拿著小叉,切小小一片蛋糕往每位短宣隊員口中送去,一下子便全分給我們了。這女孩心事細微,看著我們分派蛋糕,惟恐我們沒份,所以當她捧著心儀的西餅,便先想到老師,她純潔無私的心,不就給我們成人一個好榜樣嗎?難怪主耶穌說:「若不像小孩,便不能進天國。」最後一天,大家依依不捨地話別,有個孩子跑到一位男隊員前問他:「你是耶穌嗎?」我們聽到不禁失聲大笑,但是細心一想,若能將愛與福音傳遞給這些孩子,對他們來說,我們不就是耶穌的化身嗎?

今日的機會

柬埔寨雖然內政不穩定,現在福音的門正打開,但可能又隨時會被關上,基督徒應趁著白日多作主工,先知以賽亞曾說:「主耶和華的靈在我身上,因為耶和華用膏膏我,叫我傳好訊息給謙卑的人,差遣我醫好傷心的人,報告被擄的得釋放,被囚的出監牢,報告耶和華的恩年,和我們神報仇的日子,安慰一切悲哀的人。」(賽61:1-2)

 湯邱佩華

2009-04-06

短宣隊回程後,神又賜給我們在不同教會組別分享這黑暗國家的需要,神的靈打動弟兄姐妹的心,不要只停留在感動上,乃是要實際作出行動,不論在恆切禱告上,在金錢、物質和人力上,都要付之實行。

看著恩典堂宣教士盧潔香傳道一張背影的照片,我知道莊稼已經熟了,作工人獨自前行的孤單。我們在這加拿大樂土的基督徒,可否願意踏前一步,無論短宣或長宣,將神的榮美照在這黑暗的角落嗎?

「耶和華已指示你何為善,他向你所要的是甚麼呢,只要你行公義好憐憫,存謙卑的心與你的神同行。」(彌6:8)

(作者為城北堂傳道,將於91530再次帶領短宣隊前往柬埔寨,舉行兒童、青少年營,並有兒童事工訓練。)