Thanks be to God!
We are safely back in Cambodia, with one day remaining in our third 14 day quarantine in 5 months. Let’s just say that we don’t recommend movement between countries during a pandemic! While the summer had many encouragements, it was disappointing for us to miss out on connecting with supporters and churches.
The Lord gave us grace through a host of logistics to return to Phnom Penh. First, we were able to obtain new visas through a church/business connection. Second, the Cambodian government has rightly instituted a rigorous screening and entry process (the national case count is under 300, with no reported Covid-19 deaths, and they are committed to preserving that). Here’s the short version: proof of insurance, cash deposit, pre-flight Covid tests, medical certificates, round two of testing in the airport on arrival, hotel quarantine while awaiting results, and round three of testing prior to the end of at-home quarantine. We’re so thankful for all those who helped us through both sides of the process, from writing testing orders to dropping groceries at the door of our sublet.
Five days ago, just when we were about to get bored (ok, not really), the government announced that churches are allowed to reopen. We arrived just in time! After 6 months of online worship, this is welcome news, but it comes with a long list of mandated restrictions, including limiting attendance to adults only. There’s much to negotiate, but we thank God for open doors to begin worshipping together and rejoice in the figuring out new ways to connect the CCOP church family.
Despite its low case numbers, Cambodia has been deeply affected by Covid-19, with the near shutdown of tourism and a dramatic decrease in garment factory work. Our friends and church members who work in anti-trafficking tell us that they are seeing pronounced spikes in trafficking, particularly of children, due to increased economic hardship in impoverished families. Lord, have mercy.