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Cambodia Part I

June 12, 2009

In this last year in Thailand I had the privilege of visiting my friend Matt and his orphanage in Siem Reap, Cambodia.  Matt is actually my connection to Thailand, and he and I had an interesting meeting experience.  We actually first met on Facebook in a theology group where he, one other guy, and myself valiantly battled 800 Calvinists!  It was intense! 🙂  In any case, as we were greatly outnumbered, we banded together and began to talk frequently on Facebook.  It was him that I one day asked, “Hey man, how do I get to Thailand?”  Within four months–I was there.  🙂

Matt took over an orphanage in Cambodia last year through an organization called PCL.  He has twenty-five or so kids who have been rescued from utter poverty–most were scavengers on the streets of the local village in the area.  These kids have been redeemed!  It was my two visits here that has shown me more about Christ’s redemption and rescue than anything else.  They know that they’ve been rescued and are utterly grateful to God for it.  These kids are incredible!!

The pictures that I will post over the next couple (or three) posts will speak for themsevles, but I want to share with any who come across this blog, the incredible experience of visiting an orphanage in Cambodia, loving these beautiful children, and the most beautiful picture of God’s redemption that I can think of.  Hope you enjoy!

Cambodia 2008 041This is the orphanage in the village.  Cambodia is an incredibly poor country–the average monthly salary is between $50 and $80 dollars.  The cost of living is low, but not to the point where most people don’t live in utter poverty.

Cambodia 2008 044Another view.

Cambodia 2008 048These are three of the four girls that I would adopt if at all possible!  They absolutely melt your heart.  Absolutely!  This is before Matt’s daily English lesson…

Cambodia 2008 049He’s a dedicated teacher.

Cambodia 2008 062

This group of pictures is actually from my Christmas trip over there.  I went at Christmas and in April right before I came home.  During Christmas time the kids get to do a lot of fun stuff, like this pool party.

Cambodia 2008 075A couple of the workers at the orphanage with their children.

Cambodia 2008 088She’s s a little shy, but quite the cutie.

Cambodia 2008 109Here is the  local boat house community.  This was the area of the the heaviest poverty.  Oddly enough, millions of dollars of tourism comes to Cambodia through tourists visiting this very area, but because of the corruption of the Cambodian government, these people see very little of that money–after all, if things improved here, it wouldn’t be nearly as exciting for tourists now would it.  PCL has a school boat and a medical boat for this community to reach some of their needs.

Cambodia 2008 124These were the students of the river boat.

Cambodia 2008 144Getting ready for their performance at the local church for Christmas.

Cambodia 2008 154They played the bells to a couple of Christmas songs.

Cambodia 2008 169Last one…this is a picture of the local village children coming to the orphanage for food on Thursday lunch (right Matt?).  These kids have families, but they definitely need all the help they can get, and so the orphanage uses a portion of its funds to feed them.  Powerful eh?


6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 15, 2009 10:45

    Jon, thanks for sharing these pics. I’m grateful for your description for each picture as well. I wish I could go there one day. There’re mixed emotions as I looked through the photos. I’m glad, rejoicing and relieved for the help brought to these little children and their families. But I’m a bit sad, and scared for the people, community and country as there’re many western influences streaming in (both positive and negative). You’re right about the country not getting improved bc it wouldn’t be interesting and attracting tourists. I feel like the people both locals and tourists are being taken advantage of by the government…and this cycle won’t end. I don’t understand. I haven’t been there myself so I can only say from what my heart feels. Maybe it’s not what I think after all. 🙂

  2. jonathangroover permalink*
    June 16, 2009 9:07

    Hey Mink,

    There’s joy to be found there. It’s just like anywhere else in the world–there is a war going on and we live (at least right now) in “enemy-occupied” territory as C.S. Lewis says. But the church is there and the orphanage is a testimony of God’s kingdom being manifested and expanded. You’re a part of that as well in Chiang Mai.

  3. Matt Bohlman permalink
    June 19, 2009 3:13

    Hey!! I see you put up some more good stuff. I enjoyed looking at where I live through your eyes and words 🙂 I’m so glad you captured my commanding presence in that pic…I always say intimidation is the gateway of learning 🙂 Good stuff.

  4. Matt Bohlman permalink
    June 19, 2009 3:15

    And yes…your information was correct about Thursday feeding…we also do it on Sunday morning…we had about 120 last week.

  5. Emmeline permalink
    November 25, 2010 1:57

    Hello. This is an awesome article! I’m from Australia and work for a ministry organization. I’ve been trying to find some Christian orphanages to visit with a group in Feb next year. We would love to offer ongoing support to a range of Christian orphanages in Siem Reap. This one sounds ideal. Do you think you’d be able to email me and let me know if your friend Matt would be interested in having us visit and also to recommend some others in Siem Reap? It would be greatly appreciate it!

    • jonathangroover permalink*
      November 26, 2010 9:25


      I would be happy to pass on your information to Matt and have him contact you. I’m sure he (and the organization he works for) would be grateful for a visit! His orphanage is truly amazing.


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