we dream of cambodia

Some of you have asked for the scoop on this Cambodia Trip of which I speak (a lot). So how about I give y’all the lowdown/rundown/getdown as it stands at the moment? And small disclaimer. This weekend has been jam-packed with birthday parties and church plant meetings and getting together with friends and Bezzerwizzer and Just Dance 2 Marathons and need I go on? So I am ty-ERD. And possibly not thinking clearly.

I do not typically let this kind of minor detail stop me.

Gabe and I went to Cambodia for 10 days in July with 5 other people from our church. Our church sponsors an orphanage over there through Asia’s Hope, an awesome missions organization based here in Ohio that has rescued so many precious children in Cambodia and Thailand. Click here to browse through past Cambodia posts..

We got to see and do a lot in the week we were there. We met some amazing people who are helping women leave prostitution and some amazing people who are rescuing children from sex trafficking. We got to see some of these beautiful, precious kiddos (the ages of our own girlies) who are coming to Kids’ Club in the afternoon and then being sold at night. My heart aches for these children, and I’m so thankful that some are being offered the hope of Christ (and the hope of being rescued from these horrors) for the very first time.

And we spent a big chunk of our time playing with, getting to know, laughing with, hugging, carrying, loving on, and falling madly in love with the 20 kiddos at our orphanage (ranging in age from 5-16). And through our photos and videos (which I keep meaning to share with you) and all our many stories, our girls have fallen in love with these kiddos too. And since then, they’ve exchanged letters and precious trinkets and photos with these kids, and we pray for them every single night. EDIT: Click here to see brand-new pics and video of the kiddos with the letters we just sent with Jen this week.

My dream is to go back. And this time as a family.

However.

Our last trip cost $2500 (me) + $2500 (Gabe) = $5000 (not to mention our passports/travel immunizations/other necessities). Thanks to the amazing, fabulous generosity of our friends (some of YOU!) and family, we raised every last bit of it ONLINE. No support letters, no stamps, nothing. All online. All you. All God. All right!!

Here’s what makes this time different:

1. We’re leaving our wonderful church to help plant a new one. Our old church would probably still let us take a trip to Cambodia with them, but…

2. Taking small(ish) kiddos on the trip is unprecedented. Not sure how fair that would be to the rest of the team.

3. We don’t feel right asking people to give $2500 x 5. Especially since they already gave $2500 x 2 less than a year ago. Besides…

4. We’d like our girls to know what it means to work hard for something, to make big sacrifices, to earn money dollar by dollar. Although we totally embrace the idea of people giving toward others going on mission trips, we want them to realize just how much each dollar means.

5. They’re getting it. Believe me. We’ve been saving since July (making things, selling things, putting 50-100% of all my speaking stuff/book sales in the Fund, and they’ve put in some of their own money as well) and we’re at $1566. Not too shabby, huh. (Several sweet, generous people have also given gifts that we have not turned down, including waaaay overpaying on S-C-R-A-B-B-L-E magnets.)

6. We pray every day that God will provide if he wants this trip to happen. And we’re praying for wisdom and discernment. If we get to a certain amount, we may ask anyone who feels led to chip in and help us get the rest of the way.

7. We’re also praying that God will make it clear how/when we should go. With our old church, with Asia’s Hope, with another person or two, by ourselves. We don’t know.

I just can’t really put words to the burning desire in my heart to go back to that country, to hug those kids, to introduce them to our own, to love on the people of Cambodia, to share their stories with the rest of the world, to bring the hope of Christ to a hurting nation.

We would love your prayers.

And if you have any ideas for fundraisers, please let us know. Like, I said, I’d love to get a book deal. In the meantime, I’ll sell my possessions and Scrabble tiles. If you have something you make and want to donate one, I’d love to sell it here on the blog and generate some interest in your goods.

If you want to buy some S-C-R-A-B-B-L-E magnets, they’re 25 cents each (+$2 shipping) and you can e-mail me here with your order (or questions). The girls are going to be selling some bead creations they made, and we’re going to make some Cambodian note cards too.

Let me know if you have any questions about our Cambodia Fund/Trip/Dreams. I love to talk Cambodia! See you tomorrow for Your Secret Name Read-Along Week 2! I have a BIG prize to give away!!

Happy Monday!

19 thoughts on “we dream of cambodia

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  7. ellen

    I’m glad I finally checked this out — Thanks for the explanation- Lots of things jumping out at me: 1. We have dear friends who have taken little kids (theirs) on mission trips since they were 3 or 4 – and have done tough trips like Romania where no one spoke much English — So it can be done and God will bless it if He’s calling you to that – sure sounds like He’s put that in your heart. I will definately keep you all in my prayers – what a great undertaking — My daughter and I will be traveling to Haiti in March so I understand raising funds and believing God. I know He will provide everything you need for you next trip. Thanks for sharing with us and giving us the oportunity to bless you.

      1. Jaclyn K

        thanks. we just started to partner with hearts in action in guatemala. I was so impressed with jen’s website. It would be awesome to see our kiddos in Guatemala. thanks

  8. erin

    Hi Marla! What a wonderful cause and I love reading your words and feeling your passion in your voice. I pray that you’re able to raise every penny (and then more!) for your trip. I think it’s clear that God has put it on your heart to go back to Cambodia and I know that God puts things on people’s hearts with His purpose in mind. I’ll be praying for you. And, if you’d like, once my book releases (SOON! March 1st!) I’ll donate a few copies for you to sell on here. Obviously not big bucks, but every dollar counts, right?

  9. Rhonda

    I’ll be keeping you and this awesome adventure in my prayers. In February 2010 the youth minister from our church went on a trip to the Navajo reservation in New Mexico/Arizone to “scout” a mission trip for our church. When he returned with the video showing those precious Indian children, I had a burning desire to go on the trip and take my children. The trip was planned for October, on our county’s fall break, so Ricky could go without missing any school. As the time for the trip got closer, I really got nervous about taking 5 and 9 year-old boys on a bus trip across the country. I worried that they may “bother” others on the trip or detract from some of the mission work or take up room on the bus that adults may want. We were going with people from another church who we didn’t even know and I didn’t know how they would feel about kids on the trip. Ours were the youngest going. I was encouraged by others that it would be fine so we went as planned – and am I ever thankful that we did. The bus ride ended up taking about 33 hours and those boys were angelic the whole way – there and back. I could really tell that our church family was keeping us in their prayers. The trip gave us blessings to treasure forever. Rather than hindering the work that I was able to do, Sammy was able to participate in a first grade class with the Indian children and Ricky had a Navajo reading buddy. So I was blessed by loving and working with the children and also by seeing my children working along side and loving them as well. I know your trip is a much larger undertaking than ours but I just wanted to let you know that taking our children on a mission trip was an incredible blessing for all of us.

    I pray that everything falls into place for your entire family to experience the blessing of ministering together.

  10. Elizabeth

    I know you love Cambodia, and I am dreaming with you of the day you all get to go as a family. I hope it’s soon! And I will do anything I can to help make it happen. I can’t wait to see who and what God uses to get you all there.

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