Beautiful and Tragic

We had a wonderful week that had a day of great reflection and a feeling of great sadness. We have continued to identify contractors who can be partners with us as we begin our projects. We interviewed several again this week, and evaluated their scope of work and their ability. Wednesday-Saturday was the country’s annual ancestors holiday. They shut down just about everything in town, and leave for the provinces. The streets have been unusually quiet. Traffic is at a minimum. It is similar to our Christmas Holidays.

Beautiful Gardens at the National Museum
National Museum displaying artifacts dating back to the 12th century

Thursday, we drove out to what is called ‘The Killing Fields’. It is a memorial established outside of Phnom Penh where the many thousands of Khmer were taken during the Khmer Rouge years. The displays, the stories, and the very location seemed sad and somber. We have attached a few pictures. Much more about the holocaust of the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot can be found online. It seems that that experience has totally impacted the entire country for many years to come.

A memorial at the Killing Fields.
Looking closely, one can see part of the result of a a great tragedy. This memorial has four identical sides with the same number of shelves each holding the same quantity these items.
The memorial is on about a 10 acre parcel, the site where many were excavated after the fall of the Khmer Rouge.
Utter sadness
Some people have placed pieces of money in the area as a show of respect.
Our visit was heartbreaking and sad. Our love for the Cambodian people has deepened as we realize every family has a story to tell about a parent, a brother or sister, or aunt, uncle, or grandparent.

Sadly, there are stories like this in many countries around the world. Millions of people have been the victims of hatred, greed and power. Gladly, the message of the good news of Jesus Christ, brings hope and courage to shattered lives.

Today we again went to worship with members at a home in Sen Sok. A wonderful woman and young man welcomed us into their home, and a small group joined us as we blessed and partook of the Sacrament, sung hymns and prayed. The Holy Ghost is always very present in the hearts of the Cambodian Saints. The sister missionaries that we work there with are probably some of the best in the church. They are sweet and kind and have a peaceful way about them that invites the Spirit. We delight in the wonderful feeling when we meet and encourage the saints here.

Tomorrow we travel to Kampong Cham to start getting bids on 4 projects. We are working on 2 health centers and a level 2 hospital to bring clean water to their facilities. We are working with two primary schools to bring the water from their wells, to a water tower which will deliver pressurized water to their latrines, and hand wash stations. It will also make water more accessible for drinking. Many of the locals seem chronically dehydrated. Often it is due to lack of safe water. We received back our water tests on the well at a local hospital, we compared it to the test on the municipal water source, both tested clean and clear. It relieved our concerns of water that might cause dysentery.

Not our best picture, but in the background, one can see some of the many swimmers who come each morning to swim in the Mekong in the early morning.

Many many still drink the water from the Mekong or Tonle Sap rivers. Others regularly swim in the warm brown water. We fear for those people when we know that just upstream, all of the cities along the river are dumping their untreated sewers straight into the river. It is a mighty river, which flows through many cities from China, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

Our Security Guard at the Service Center was playing this wonderful instrument the bottom looks like a bowl, and at the bottom is a snake skin stretched tight to act as the speaker, as it amplifies the sound of the vibrating string that he is playing. The string appears to be a fishing line.

This coming Saturday is transfer day. Several missionaries are completing their assignment. Several are coming into the mission. They will experience MTC while at the mission home in Phenom Penh. We look forward to an exciting week! Much to do! Thank you all for your love and prayers and kind words! We have the best friends and family in the world. We are grateful to you! We love you! Our mission is the best thing!! God is great! We love Him!

More to come….!


Elder and Sister Stone