Then the ones who pleased the Lord will ask, "When did we give you something to eat or drink? When did we welcome you as a stranger or give you clothes to wear or visit you while you were sick or in jail?"
The King will answer, "Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me." .......Matthew 25

Friday, December 14, 2007


Baray in Kampong Thom is about 2 hours by car head north out of Phnom Penh. Another 3 hours on the road and you'll be in Siem Reap. East of the Tonle Sap, it is arguably one of the most scenic spots outside of the city. When the climate is kind, the fields are lush with padi and palm trees. Esther Ding, a missionary with the Cambodia Methodist Services and our long time collaborator, runs a farmstay there. At other times, the place is alternately devastated by floods and drought.

In the late 70's and early 80's the entire region was dominated by the Khmer Rouge. This reputation has been difficult to shake off even to this date and many of the villages in this vicinity have remained pretty isolated.

Our involvement with Baray goes back 7-8 years when we first got involved with missions work in Cambodia. Initially our intent was to help out with the street kids in Phnom Penh, but eventually we were increasingly drawn to the work in Baray. Over the years we organized medical/dental teams, flood relief and rice distributions efforts.

It wasn't difficult to come to love these warm and gentle people.

Increasingly our involvement in Baray brought us deeper and deeper into rural Cambodia. Some of the villages we did medical work in were so isolated and poor, that we despaired for them. The depth and breadth of their social and spiritual needs were overwhelming. We recognized however, that if they were ever going to break out of the poverty cycle, the children needed to go to school and get educated. But the schools were few and far from many of the villages. While older children could make the daily commute to school and back, younger children found it difficult and unsafe. Often they just gave up on school. Then by the time they become old enough to be able to make it to the nearest school, they would have given up the idea of ever going to school.

Hence the idea of planting schools in some of these very isolated villages.

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