Phnom Penh 2

21 11 2009

Friday 20th November 2009

We were naïve enough to think that the advertised “KTV” in the hotel blurb was just a misspelt acronym for Cable TV. On our way out with our bags packed we stopped the lift at the floor below ours for a look. We found our room had been directly above the ceiling of a disco that we are sure would have rivalled this one for speaker power and effects:

Sweat Shop at back of Russian Market

Ah, you live and learn 🙂 I’m sure Basil would love those speaker specs for St Johns! Anyway it may have done us a good turn in that we found a large apartment for an even cheaper price and after one heavenly night’s sleep we can vouch for the fact is has NO KTV!

Maree seems to have caught the tummy bug I had in Siem Reap and spent today indoors while I went off with a small team from the Anglican Church on a prison ministry visit. We spent a couple of hours in the prison (A fairly new model prison built with Australian aid) joining with other members of ‘Prison Fellowship Cambodia’ praying with inmates, teaching Bible classes and distributing dietary supplements to many prisoners who are especially needy or are in one of the fellowship’s many rehabilitation projects. PFC is an exciting ministry that is a non-denominational, Non-Government Organisation and a member of Prison Fellowship International. Some of you will be old enough to remember PFI was started by Charles Colson who became a Christian when he went to prison over the infamous Watergate Affair.

See the boy in the front row? Children as young as 9 are inthe youth section.

Last week 34 new Christians were baptised in the prison. Inmates are only baptised after a confession of faith, considerable preparation, and a report of behavioural change from prison officials. There was no doubt in my mind that there was genuine faith among those I spoke to and others I observed. One of the pastors told me of another high security prison in an isolated region near the border with Vietnam where amongst 1300 inmates, 1040 have now been baptised!

I was asked to pray for a couple of groups of prisoners and through a translator each man and woman expressed particular needs they would like prayer for. It was quite moving to hear their concerns not only for health issues, fears and loneliness, but also for their families and loved ones.

View from appartment hallway window

Our new apartment is right behind the central market so we have had a chance to more thoroughly explore the market culture. We suspect for most of the ‘store’ holders the social aspects are almost as important a actually selling stuff. By observation it is hard to imagine that the majority of the ‘hole-in-the-wall’ shops could sell enough even to cover the capital investment of their stock. I bought a perfectly good shirt today for $2.50 and a coffee plunger for $3.00. We cannot get our heads around the number of markets the extraordinary quantity of stuff for sale and the cheap prices. In a country where poverty is in your face, who buys it all? Well we seem to have been doing our bit I suppose – we’re starting to worry about excess baggage! 🙂




One response

21 11 2009

Certainly a different view of life on the “other side of the fence”.. encouraging to know so many are turning christians… the thing I noted too, was how clean the prisoners looked.

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