We soon led 2 trips into the village with supplies and a medical-dental team. In those days we naively thought it quite quaint that an armed police escort had to follow us around. Later we found out that the area was frequented by bandits, and in fact one bandit group had narrowly missed us, though they had specifically intended to intercept us. God's hand of protection had been over us!
The 'Fishing Village' is a village with no real name. The nearest recognizable village was one called Boeung Ria. The village was a semi-nomadic village that lived on the edge of the Ton Le Sap tidal flood plains. Two or three times a year, as the water levels rose and fell, and as the water edge moved, the village will dismantle and move according to the availability of dry land. Their huts are made of wood and palm leaves, but secured with string rather than nails. There are about 60-70 families in that cluster, but the cluster breaks up as they relocate to dry ground.
After our initial visits, the local pastor, particularly Pastor Kea, had continued to follow up with the villagers. Families began to be converted and gradually the character and mood of the village community also began to change.
The village we visited was recognizable, but only in form. The poverty was still there. And so were the portable huts which reminded us of the booths the Hebrews had occupied when they moved through the desert after fleeing Egypt. But the people were not so despondent, so lost. There was a refreshing sense of hope and purposefulness.
Pastor Kea's brother-in-law, a young man named Kimsour, functioned as a pastoral assistant and had been regularly ministering to the villagers. Every Sunday afternoon, he held a small worship sevice in the home of one of the parishioners. He told me there were 8 Christian families there now. And though many had not formally accepted Christ, they were very open and often attended their meetings.
It was a wonderful time. And it made me reflect on how wonderful it was, that there in the middle of nowhere, in a village that had no name, we were able to pray and fellowship with families who shared our same God. Just reminded me of the wonder of being in God's family.