Road trips are common in the life of a trial lawyer. But there was nothing common about this one.
My first venture beyond the capital city area took me through rice paddies and rubber plantations. We encountered fishing villages and rural markets. We saw many communities of modest huts. We drove by brick kilns and garment factories. We saw transport trucks filled with dozens of people standing shoulder to shoulder – workers being herded about at the end of a hard day. We saw floating communities on the Mekong River. We made a stop to see a sight I never imagined – freshwater Irrawaddy Dolphins in the Mekong River. This was the world beyond. The great unknown. The Kingdom of Wonder.
I had the indescribable honor and privilege of interviewing clients who are courageous survivors of human trafficking -- precious children of God who have been exploited, cheated, abused, and robbed of their freedom and dignity. As we learned their stories, we promised that we would do our best to help them. We looked into their eyes and saw the pain of what they had endured. But we also saw hope. And we serve a God who can deliver that hope. May it come, and come soon.
Hope and great happiness came to our household from the world beyond in the form of our first visit from family. Thais’ parents, Kay and Everard, arrived on Thursday. We have loved this time of sharing our life here with those close to us and seeing it anew through their eyes, as they experience the sights and smells of Phnom Penh for the first time. In addition to the joys of favorite treats from home (hooray!), they brought us the love and support that continues to carry us through this year away. The very tangible awareness that we are not alone. Although you are far away, you are here with us. We cannot thank you enough – for your prayers and support, and for your words of encouragement.
Later this week we will take our first family trip. The kids have two weeks off from school -- a belated and elongated Spring Break. The occasion is Khmer New Year, which will be celebrated on a weekend that many of you know simply as Easter. We will be spending that time in Siem Reap, which is home to the magnificent temples that are Cambodia’s most famous attractions. Look for pictures and reports soon. We look forward to sharing this experience together, and sharing it with you.
In the meantime, may God bless you all. Happy Easter (រីករាយថ្ងៃបុណ្យអេស្ទ័រ), and Happy Khmer New Year (សួស្ដីឆ្នាំថ្មីខ្មែរ)!