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Today was our first Sunday spent in Phnom Penh. After saying farewell to our comfortable Green Pastures Inn and the friendly staff, we arrived at the New Life Church. New Life Church was so welcoming, I could already feel Jesus’ presence as we made our way into the church while Hillsongs were being played in the background. Compared to our service here in Vancouver, their service are two hours long with an extended worship time. I personally really enjoyed it, because I always find our praise and worship not long enough.

Repeatedly we sang “God is with us. God is for us. Lift Him higher. Lift Him high, lift Him high.” With all our hearts we sang and praised Jesus. It doesn’t matter that I’m thousands of miles away in Cambodia, listening to worship songs sang in Khmer, I sensed that God is slowly opening my heart and eyes to the broken city and people around us. The entire church was filled with Brothers and Sisters to the point where people had to stand at the back. It was a very interesting experience to listen to a Caucasian pastor preaching in full Khmer and one ear listening to the English translating audio.

During the afternoon was our English Camp Team’s orientation with David Ens. Just parking at the front of TNT (where we will be teaching English), a small group of young boys were playing soccer. I was so eager to join the boys, and it’s not just me but I can sense our team was filled with excitement and joy to meet the kids. On top of that, Vanessa informed us that we’re the only English teachers at the camp!

In the midst of David’s orientation a huge tropical rain hovered us for a good half hour. All I could see and hear was the rain. The smell of sewage and wetness in the air was pungent and how I missed the smell of Vancouver rain. We all looked outside from the top floor of the church, and the entire street was flooded! Cambodians casually stroll through the flooded roads with their pants rolled up. Motorcycles, Tuk-Tuks, and cyclers just keep riding forward to get to their destination. Like a tourist, I’m busy snapping photos and videos of the Cambodians making their way through the flood.

For dinner, David Ens had taken us for a special treat. A burger joint called Lucky Burger! It was great to eat comfort food again, besides Cambodian food, one last time before starting our English Camp tomorrow which meals will be cooked by locals. I can’t wait to try!

Today was a glimpse of what English Camp will look like. I am so pumped to get started! I look forward to meeting and building relationships with the kids and youths here at TNT. Pray that our team will lead and build strong relationships through Jesus’ love. The challenge awaits and I am so blessed to be here in Cambodia.

Mandy Chow