Cambodian Hero Holiday “Break the Cycle” Tour.
Wednesday November 2nd, 2011
Poi Pet, Cambodia – Border town on the Cambodian/Thai border.
By Wesley Campbell – President, Be A Hero
This trip to Cambodia has been absolutely amazing.
Arriving November 26th, we landed in Phnom Penh where the Be A Hero team went to minister with Sophal and Deborah Ong. Sophal is a living legend having gone through the “killing fields” and still be one of few persons to remain alive after months in prison and death camps. Prior to the fall of Phnom Penh God raised up Sophal and his brothers in powerful ministry of preaching and miracles. Many, many Cambodian’s came to Christ in the first ever move of signs and wonders movement of Christianity in the nation of Cambodia.
After the fall of Phnom Penh, Sophal was taken to the ‘killing fields’ where he miraculously escaped death time after time. He endured months of torture in a time when most of the church he was part of was brutally tortured and put to death. After the liberation of Cambodia by the Vietnamese the Vietnamese again targeted him, because of his powerful preaching of the gospel. Sophal was put in prison for seven months but this time he was imprisoned under ground where he never saw the light of day for the entire duration. In the end he was delivered through another miraculous intervention.
Today Sophal and Deborah run one of the largest churches in Phnom Penh and they enjoy unprecedented favor with the highest-ranking Cambodian officials. The favor they have gained has come because of their tireless ministry to the widows, orphans, and refugees. The conference we held at their church was powerful and very impacting.
From there we traveled to Siem Reap – the famous area of the Ankor Wat temples of the 11th century. Some will remember this location as the site of the movie Tome Raider with Angelina Jolie. It was Siem Reap where the Break the Cycle 144-kilometer ride to Poi Pet was to commence. This event was the first of it’s kind in a developing nation, organized by David and Fiona Crawford of Be A Hero Australia. At 6:00 am we gathered the 50 plus cyclers at the entrance of the temple to start the marathon. At 7:40 am the marathon began.
In fear and interpretation I took to the pedals. By the first 20 k’s I felt so much more confident and sure that I could finish the whole ride. Rice paddy after rice paddy, village after the village – the setting was surreal. Pedaling at a steady 20 kilometers per hour rode on and on into the Cambodian countryside in the hot and humid weather – 35 degrees plus humidity. Drenched in sweat, it was only the wind in our faces that made it beautifully tolerable.
Stopping ever 20 k we began to find our rhythm. Eat, drink, pedal, rest – eat, drink, pedal, rest. A few riders suffered heat stroke and in a delirious state had to submit to being carried in the ambulance following the pack. For my part I loved the whole experience and somehow it felt so much easier than I anticipated. All along the road village after village lined the streets – cheering, splashing us with water, and encouraging us on.
Finally, as the sun was setting and dusk was falling we road came to the outer districts of Poi Pet. In the dark we road into a throng of people who had been waiting for hours. And yes, I completed the entire ride! What a thrill to ride into the ‘Safe Haven’ compound and be greeted by 50 children at risk who have all been rescued from a future of being trafficked in slavery and possibility sexual abuse. These children had laid palm branches across the entrance of their compound as a symbol of how Jesus entered Jerusalem.
The next day hundreds of children and officials marched from the Thai border crossing through the streets of Poi Pet to the ceremony grounds. At this large field full of tents and stage, we were greeted by 2500 people and many government officials of the land. The Interior Minister in charge of all the police and border guards of the country. The Sectary of State – a lady of great authority with a tremendous heart for the poor and oppressed women and children of Cambodia. Governors, Chief of Police, Army Generals, city mayors, magistrates and leaders of every strata of society. I have never seen a nation mobilized like this before. There in the heat and humidity the people sat for hours listening to speeches directed at stopping human trafficking and the exploitation of women and children at risk. Chomno and David Crawford spoke brilliantly and the government pledged to work together in future partnership.
At the end of the ceremonies we were able to present the 50 plus bikes to AIDs sufferers and hand out hundreds of sacks of rice and other benefits. Truly Cambodia is a nation in transformation.
Two days later we were privileged to open and dedicate the Hope Transformation Center – a five story facility dedicated to business, CHO offices, convention facilities, and church, all dedicated to the eradication of human trafficking and ending of children for sexual exploitation. The Hope Transformation Center was mostly purchased by HOPE for the Nations, Be A Hero, and X-Treme Prophetic (Patrica King) as well as few other organizations. Bought and renovated for $700,000 it has now increased in value to over $2 million dollars in just two years.
Again, a vast of array of civil and government dignitaries came to stand in solidarity again the evils of exploitation. At the dedication the Minister of the Interior, Chomno, Wesley Campbell and Ralph Bromley spoke. Government ministers, generals, army officials, local government and business leaders wept openly as Manna a young 10 year old told of her plight of being beaten, abused, and then being intercepted from being sold into slavery. In her case she had the beautiful privilege and then being adopted by Chomno and Kim the leader of CHO – Cambodian Hope Organization.
Of the six nations of the Mekong peoples – Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, and China – only Cambodia shows the will to eradicate human trafficking and become the example of how a to transform their nation. I believe Cambodia is poised to become the beachhead for social justice in South East Asia.
In closing I would like to thank everyone who supported all the riders and Be A Hero/HOPE for the Nations, as we have endeavored to do our part for suffering humanity. A big thank-you for those who have prayed, and those who continue to raise their voice on behalf of the children. Jesus is our leader, and his commandments are our battle cry. This is not an end . . . it is only a beginning. Consider coming on the next Hero Holiday in Cambodia as we ride to “Break the Cycle”. A special thanks to David and Fiona Crawford – Australian directors of Be A Hero for their superb job in organizing “Break the Cycle” and their leadership in this movement.
Blessings to you all,
Wesley Campbell – Poi Pet, Cambodia.
Cambodian Hero Holiday “Break the Cycle” Tour.