It is a common sight in Phnom Penh. Young boys, some as young as seven or eight years of age, walking casually through the streets holding a clear plastic bag filled with a light yellow colored liquid. Every few seconds they lift the bag to their mouths and inhale the fumes from the bag. That yellow liquid is glue, and the damage it does to these boys is devastating. It is just a cheap way for these children to escape their chaotic, tragic lives.
Another common sight in Phnom Penh can be seen almost directly across the street from my house. In fact, I can look out our bedroom window and see it. It's only about 30 yards away. It is a brothel. Every day, there is at least one prostitute sitting outside, waiting for "customers." Bro. Benefield told me there was a big raid on a brothel on our street just a few months before we got here. I guess the raid didn't do enough to deter this wretched business from reopening. Three days ago, while I was studying in my kitchen with my Khmer teacher (Hawn, a 24 year old man in the church), I was told that a lady had come to the church looking for help. Since I live about, oh, 20 feet or so from the church, I went downstairs with my Khmer teacher to see what the lady needed. We opened to the door to the church, set up a chair for each of us, and sat down to find out why this lady had come. When I asked her what she needed, she didn't respond with anything more that a disturbed, broken look on her face that gave me the impression that she could start crying at any moment. When I asked her again what she needed, she answered just louder than a whisper, "I am a prostitute on this street." I could tell right away from her accent that she was Vietnamese, which made communicating with her even more difficult. I responded, "Okay, now how can I help you?" She acted like she was too ashamed to answer.
Neither my language teacher nor I figured out why she had come. I suspect she was on drugs, because she was acting extremely strange. I told her that she was welcome to come to our services, and she said that she would return. I hope that she will. And when she comes, I pray that she will sense the love of Christ from the life of each Christian at Good News Baptist Church.