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Cambodia & its killing fields resurrected

Karen and I are at an airport lounge in Seoul and headed to Cambodia today to debrief our World Race team.  Feeling scuzzy after 24 hours en route so far.  Catch this itinerary to get there: Atlanta – JFK JFK – Seoul, SK Seoul – Bangkok Bangkok – Phnom Pennh Phnom Pennh – Sih…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
Karen and I are at an airport lounge in Seoul and headed to Cambodia today to debrief our World Race team.  Feeling scuzzy after 24 hours en route so far.  Catch this itinerary to get there:
Atlanta – JFK
JFK – Seoul, SK
Seoul – Bangkok
Bangkok – Phnom Pennh
Phnom Pennh – Sihanoukville !!
me, international travel is not glamorous. When you miss planes, lose
baggage, and lose sleep, it can test (to put it theologically) your
sense of sanctification. The reason we do this is because we believe in and love the team we’re going to see.  They are being challenged in a hundred different ways through their experiences. In particular, their sense of entitlement, of identity, their worldview, their understanding of the kingdom, their individualism, and their materialism are all up for grabs.
Cambodia is as good a place as any to do this. A more scarred nation would be hard to find.  In 1980, not quite graduated from Wheaton College, I traveled to a
Cambodian refugee camp. It was a coming of age experience (one I recount here).  For three
months, I wrestled to show love in a tangible way to the survivors of that
horror. I watched them escape Pol Pot’s executioners and stagger across the border into our camp. It was a searing experience.

But our story goes back even further, to 1968 when my father served as a doctor in
Nam and my mom, sister, and I gave our lives to Christ. My dad was in charge of all the
blood flowing into our wounded troops during that terrible year. And blood is an apt metaphor, because he
never quite got the country of Viet Nam out of his

My dad saw a
country caught up in a civil war and turned inside out. Blood dripped through IV’s into troops by the
thousands of gallons. Like many, when he
returned to the States, it was hard for him to talk about it, much less even
dream about redeeming the experience.

But for a number of years now, my dad and mom have been making an annual
trek to Viet
Nam to work with our former enemies to build a
system that promotes healing through a better blood supply.

All of which
brings us to today and the completion of this cycle of redemption. It’s a good day in Cambodia and a good day in the Barnes family. More from Cambodia tomorrow…

Comments (5)

  • St. Mark of the Cross

    What a wonderful expression of God’s redemptive power! Let us “see” the “Cambodia Killing Fields” in the many lives of people around us. Not to downplay, or minimize the real Killing Fields, but to acknowledge that it happens everyday in the lives of those around me spiritually and emotionally. Thanks,dear brother of Christ…St. Mark of the Cross

  • Praying for you guys for safe travel and a wonderful debrief with the kids!!! Give them our love.
    Kathy and Michael

  • Seth,
    My husband and I saw The Killing Fields 25 years ago when our son Daniel was just two. We never dreamed that he would be part of the healing process 25 years later. Thank you for helping make this possible. Earl and Peggy

  • Wow, thank God you both made it there safely. I wanted to comment on “redeeming the experience”. I’ve probably heard this before, but, for some reason this morning, the phrase hit close to home. I began to ask myself, ‘what does this mean in my day to day walk with Christ?

    I remember during the civil war in Liberia I could not understand how God would be glorified admist all the brutal killings and other atrocities. At one point, we touch with my grandmother, who refused to leave the country before things got really bad. When she finally returned to the States, she told us how God use His power to protect her and everyone with her; those that she could not leave behind. She also shared accounts of man’s inhumanity to man that gave me nightmares. But, through it all, she continue to tell us how God showed up everytime they needed Him.

    As I prayed, I was led to Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” The Holy Spirit helps us to “redeem every experience”, regardless of how horrible and unthinkable, by reminding us of this beautiful promise from our Father. God will “work all things together for good and according to his purpose” for our lives.

    What a wonderful word you’ve given us this morning, Brother Seth. Thank you and may God protect you and our family in Cambodia and bring you all safely back to us for His glory.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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