"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." ~ 2 Timothy 1:7
Fear. It is something that runs wild in Cambodia. Fear of shame. Fear of man. Fear of evil spirits.
This week in Cambodia is Pchum Ben, or Ancestors Day.
Pchum Ben is a Cambodian holiday during which the gates of hell are thought to open and the spirits are released. People travel to the pagodas to offer food and clothes to the Buddhist monks on behalf of their deceased ancestors. The thought is that by offering food to the monks it will vicariously feed their ancestors. There is great fear during this time that people will be haunted by evil spirits, but if they feed the evil spirits, they will be too busy eating (or something) to bother people. Other practices involve scattering rice in open fields and throwing sticky rice balls onto walls for the spirits. Many people travel to the provinces around the country to visit their hometowns and the pagodas there. They are incredibly fearful of the spirits of their relatives coming back to haunt them or kill them.
The darkness here makes me more and more aware of my great need for God and my incredible thankfulness for His love and power. "But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world." ~ 1 John 4:4
My heart's desire is for the people of Cambodia to realize the futility of the sacrifices they make and to turn their hearts to the One True God who delivers them from fear and infuses them with power and love. May they know that once they taste the Bread of Life that they will never hunger again--no need for throwing sticky rice balls at the gates of hell.
Please join me in prayer.