Abi and Gracie with children from the Orphanage.

This September my dad, sister and I were able to travel together to Cambodia. Though my dad has visited numerous times, for Gracie and I this was our first trip to beautiful Siem Reap. After years of (virtually) growing up alongside the kids at Pure Religion Ministries Orphanage (separated only by 9,000 miles), we finally got to meet face-to-face! From the moment we entered their doors, we were enveloped in love and joy exuded from each person as they welcomed us into their home. I am sure we do not fully know the gift God gave us by intersecting our lives with theirs. Due to a demanding travel schedule, we were only able to stay for a day. Below are some of the highlights of the visit, and I hope they will be an encouragement to you as you see and hear of God’s work in both the home and hearts.

Facility and Felowship

Upon arrival we were given the grand tour of the grounds and facilities. The children were very proud of their chickens, ducks, turkeys, gardens, and living quarters. They all work hard tending to the different tasks each day demands. The girls showed us their bedroom which consisted of rows of beds with bamboo mat mattresses and Bible verses covering the walls. Though there was a language barrier, we enjoyed sitting on those beds together — laughing, braiding hair, crafting bracelets, and sifting through iPhone pictures.

Some beds in the children’s bedroom.
Sreylakk (the first girl on the left in the group picture above) is one of the oldest girls at the orphanage – she took charge in showing Gracie and I around and integrating us with the rest of the children. It was a blessing to watch her as she constantly served those around her, watched over the younger children, and practiced hospitality. Pray for her as she ministers to the younger girls as they clearly look up to her as an example of how to live a life unto the Lord.

Dara and Savun sat down with us for a delicious lunch that had been prepared for our visit. My dad always said the food at the orphanage was his favorite in all of his Southeast Asia travels, and we quickly found out why. Over lunch we got to hear updates on the children and ministry from Dara. He is passionate about the work there and his joy is infectious. We were given the report that Pure Religion Ministries was awarded Best Orphanage in Cambodia, and Dara was able to present the gospel during his presentation at the ceremony. Pray for Dara and Savun as they minster to so many every day in faithfulness, love and truth.

Worship and Devotion

After lunch, the children performed worship songs in English including This is the Day, Bless the Lord Oh My Soul, and King of Kings. Cambodia is largely devoid of the gospel, full of many children following false gods and the traditions of their parents. Praise God for helping these few to know who the true God is. Pray for more children in Cambodia to come to this same knowledge.

Dad led a short devotion which Dara translated. The children heard the gospel message and were encouraged through scripture to Keep on loving each other, to honor and show gratitude to Dara, Savun and the helpers, and pursue Christ. We closed in prayer before leaving:

“God, Thank you that though we have sinned, you have provided salvation for us in Jesus Christ. God we thank you for all the donors that help support this orphanage. Will you please help the photos and the videos that have been taken to help encourage Your people. God we believe that you are the only and true God. Thank you for showing us the glory of Jesus. Oh Lord, we love Jesus. Please bless us for His sake. Amen.”