Many of you now know that Phil and I have moved to be part of church planting in Siem Reap in Cambodia, 8,388 miles from our life in Hereford (7,927 if you walk rather than drive!) but you may not all know why.
We moved to Hereford to be part of the Freedom movement nearly a year and a half ago, because we felt called to come to a new place of challenge and growth in our Christian lives. And what a challenge it's been. It's been an exciting, challenging, difficult, exciting, fulfilling year. We've been through a couple of house moves, adapted to being further away from family, and been challenged to step up our walks, so that we're not just alive, but grabbing hold of every opportunity that God has for us to live through. This year we've been through some really tough stuff as a couple, and also in our wider family - but God's brought us through so that we're now stronger as a couple, in a place we know we can do anything and go anywhere He calls us, because He'll be with us, and provide us with all we need to stay there.
So just at the point where we're settled in Hereford, and asking God what the next move is for us, we were asked if we'd like to be a part of the team moving to Cambodia to be part of the Freedom Church plant out there. The 'if' questions we had, soon changed to 'when', and before we knew it, we had the applications filled in, had taken an interview and were on the team. A willingness to be, go, and serve as God calls us to landed us this amazing opportunity.
And after we said yes, then came the excitement and the passion. The pieces began to fall into place, as we realised that so many of the things on our hearts had prepared us for moving to this nation, including a growing heart on my part (Beth) to work with girls who have been trafficked into the sex industry. Although many think of prostitution as a life choice, so many women and girls in Cambodia simply don't have an option. Some are tricked into it with promises of work in the big cities, some are sold into it by the people they love, their parents, their wider family, or even by their spouse. And once in a brothel, there's no escape. If they do get out, there's no chance of return to their families as they are seen as shamed and soiled. It's an incredibly hard reality, but one that we cannot ignore. God has called us to be salt and light. If we are light, then we're brightest when we take that light into the darkest places. If you can, please watch this video to understand some more of the stories of the girls, individuals, like you, like me, like your sister, like your daughter.
Please always include the word 'Trafficking' in any youtube searches, and be careful of the links you choose - there are some 'suggested' videos that I would be very wary of. I don't want any of you reading/viewing something unintentionally which is actually feeding into this industry rather than fighting against it.
As this post is long overdue (it's been lurking in my drafts for ages!) I'll sign off this blog and get writing another!