(This is Emily writing under Melynda’s name.)
Hello from Cambodia! This past week has required flexibility but has also had its blessings. We were able to start working with several different ministries when we got back from our trip around the lake, and that was definitely a a blessing. Because of the nature of the ministries and the women they work with, we are not allowed to share many specifics of what we are doing. This is required to help maintain the privacy of the women.
On Thursday we got the unique opportunity to go explore and visit some of the ministries here in Phnom Penh that we are not working with but that are also doing incredible work. So in the morning on Thursday we all went and worked at the ministries we were assigned to, and then we set off on our little adventure to explore Phnom Penh. The first place we visited was a ministry that is very similar to one of the ministries we are working with. The ministry is called Daughters of Cambodia, and focuses its work on helping young women and men who want to get out of human trafficking. Daughters operates by running several businesses, one of which is the Sugar ‘N Spice Cafe, and is the particular business we visited. The cafe is staffed entirely by women who are at risk for or who have been trafficked. Daughters helps these women by providing them with medical treatment, counseling, life skills training, as well as a sustainable job so that they can earn income in a way other than trafficking. It was so interesting to see this ministry, and the food was delicious too! 🙂
Another ministry we got to visit was Three Corner Coffee Roaster. This ministry is a Christian social enterprise whose goal is to not only improve the Cambodian coffee industry, but also to help improve the lives of other Cambodians. This business works specifically with the Cambodian farmers who grow the coffee beans for them by providing honest business practices and making sure that they are not taken advantage of. While there, we got to tour the whole facility and see the whole process of how the coffee beans are roasted and how much work goes into producing a bag of coffee.
Going to see these different ministries was a really cool experience and helped show me that ministry van be done through a variety of different things, like running a cafe or a coffee roastery. Ministry is not confined to a single idea or process, and I am definitely getting a taste of that here in Cambodia. One of the ministries we are working with has a gift shop and nail salon, and another is a pizza restaurant. These ministries are definitely much different than I expected them to be, but I a good way. Being in Cambodia has really opened my eyes and shown me that there are so many different ways of doing ministry, and that there are many skills that we think would typically only be used in the secular world that can actually be very effective in a certain type of ministry. I have learned a lot of things on this trip and hope to learn many more before we leave!