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Cambodia – Day 2

July.29.2009

Well, we had a whirlwind of a day. We traveled all around Phnom Penh seeing the different tourist attractions pertaining to Cambodian culture.

First we went to the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. This was the place during the Pol Pot regime where people were taken to be “educated”, or that’s what they were told. In reality, they were taken there, blindfolded and bludgeoned to death. The bodies were thrown into mass graves. The field we visited is just one of hundreds around the country.

Next we went to the Tuol Sleng Museum also know as S-21 (security prison 21). This was the largest center of detention and torture during the Pol Pot regime. Between 1975 and 1978 more than 17,000 people held at S-21 were taken to the killing fields. Each prisoner who came into Tuol Sleng was photographed before and sometimes after being tortured. These pictures were displayed in the museum as well as the torture instruments, prison cells, and artwork portraying things done by the Khmer Rouge soldiers during that time. Overall, this was such a depressing experience. What a horrible display of the sin nature.

Then we had lunch at a local Khmer (this is what Cambodian people are called) restaurant with delicious food and a nice break from the sun and heat. Afterwards we went through the National Museum of Cambodia which was built from 1917-1920. It holds the world’s finest collection of Khmer sculpture. There is pottery, artifacts, statues of Buddha, Vishnu, Shiva, previous kings, etc. The earliest artifacts are dated to the 4th century.

The Royal Palace was next. We walked through various buildings including the place where the King receives dignitaries and the Silver Pagoda where the floor is laid with tiles made of solid silver. There is a giant statue of Buddha made of pure gold and diamonds, weighing 90 kg with over 2,000 diamonds inlayed into it. The saddest part to me of the whole day was to see people come in and bow over and over again to this statue of buddah. I don’t know all of the ins and outs of buddhism, but I know that it’s a lie and that Jesus Christ has truth for them. That is why we are here, we believe that God wants to free people in Cambodia from the power of sin and death. We would love to be apart of that work if this is where God leads us in the future. Would you pray with us about that? Seeing it first hand and being here amongst the people raises in my mind lots of questions, apprehensions, and fears. I know, though, that our God is above all of that and he is “mighty to save”. So, I will continue to stand in awe of Him and follow Him where He leads.

Lastly, we went to Wat Phnom which, to be honest the meaning got lost in the excitement of seeing one of the last legs of the Amazing Race!! A section was blocked off and our Cambodian friend who was showing us around the city asked what was going on. Through some investigation we found out that the contestants from the Amazing Race were to meet the host at the top of the mountain of Wat Phnom. We went up and got a look at the host and the first team that arrived. On our way out we saw the next 2 teams arrive and were able to get some pictures and video. Of all the days and places, eh? It was crazy and random!

After about 8 hours of sightseeing we came home sunburned and tired and spent the evening relaxing and talking with the missionary we are staying with. It’s been a good day, and I think we have managed to avoid most of the jet-lag! We’ll update more when possible.

~Jess

http://web.me.com/youngsplace/YoungsPlace/Blog/Entries/2009/7/25_Cambodia_-_Day_2.html

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