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Update: A Family's Struggle

by Jeff Cook

A few weeks ago I shared about a family in a village just north of Phnom Penh where children are little more than commodities to be peddled to the next foreigner with some dollars in his pocket.  This place is receiving increased attention (ABC recently ran a special on what is taking place in the village that you can watch here: http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/video/sex-trade-cambodian-children-10164798), yet the problem persists.  As I mentioned in the last post, an older man and woman there were facing some difficult circumstances having been run over by a car for refusing to allow their niece to become just another good in the local trade.  This incident left them severely handicapped without medical care, without an income and without any means by which to care for their niece and protect her from the same terrible forces that inflicted such great physical harm.

With the generous backing of a few individuals who learned about this family's plight, I am very happy to report that there is now a light at the end of this dark tunnel.  Monday marks the beginning of the 15-year-old niece's third week in school, ever.  For only $15 a month she has begun taking English classes at a school near her village and loves it.  When I was in the village the weekend before last, she was very excited about her new school and proudly displayed her notebook full of English vocabulary.  The pastor mentioned that when she has had difficulty with homework she has been coming to the church for assistance.  I am so thankful for the church there and all the assistance being provided and love being reflected out into the community.

As for the aunt and uncle's physical ailments, miraculously I was referred to a well-qualified Khmer physical therapist who was willing to accompany me to the village and evaluate the couple.  She confirmed that the uncle needs to start physical therapy immediately if he ever wants to regain full use of his legs.  The aunt also needs physical therapy, but her recovery has progressed much more steadily than her spouse's.  Unfortunately, the two need to be transported into Phnom Penh for the therapy three times a week, which has created some logistical difficulties.  With these hurdles now overcome, they should begin receiving treatments this week!

The road to recovery will not be easy, but now they can begin to look forward to working and supporting themselves.  And, more importantly, they will be living examples of the support and love shown to those who stand up for what is right.  Thank you for all your support in reading these posts and praying for this family!