I remember well my first visit to Cambodia. It was June of 2006, and I was within months of beginning my senior year at West Coast Baptist College. When the plane touched down at the Pochentong International Airport of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, I had not the faintest idea what to expect from this strange, distant land. After getting my visa and gathering my luggage, I walked out the doors of the airport and I breathed my first breath of Cambodian air. Within moments, I had the feeling that I was in a completely different world. It was anything but home.
Last week, I had to bring Linda to Bangkok, Thailand to see an OBGYN specialist. We originally thought it was going to be a quick, two-day trip, so we left Ellie and Judson with the Benefields. But after consulting with the specialist in Bangkok, it became clear that our two-day trip was going to be a two-month trip.
After only a day and a half in Bangkok, I began missing home- Phnom Penh- very badly. I couldn't communicate with anyone, not even the taxi drivers. I didn't have any Thai Gospel tracts. I didn't know my way around the metropolis of Bangkok. The time came for me to leave Linda at the hospital and return to Phnom Penh to get the children. When the plane finally touched down at Pochentong International Airport in Phnom Penh, I immediately thought, "I'm home." I got a taxi, and on the way to our house I talked with the driver the entire time. It was so wonderful to be able to communicate with people again!
How strange it is to think that five years ago, Cambodia seemed like a completely different world to me; but today it is home, the place where I feel comfortable, the place that I love. And as I write this article from a small apartment just a few blocks away from Sumitivej Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand, I am homesick...for Cambodia.