Last week was an eye-opening one for the children of Father’s House! In the Western world, experiences like visiting historical monuments or going on field trips are often an integral part of one’s childhood education. But for the children in our care, brief mentions in dry textbooks were as close as they had ever gotten to their own rich and unique cultural heritage. That’s why we decided to take them to Siem Reap province to witness firsthand one of the wonders of the ancient world: Angkor Wat.
Cambodia was once known as “the Pearl of Asia”, a place of beauty where great architectural and artistic achievements were a prominent part of the cultural landscape. The 1970’s Khmer Rouge genocide, though purportedly a return to the agrarian glory of bygone days, in effect stripped Cambodia down to poverty and survivalism, a far cry from what it had once been. In out-of-the-way places lie preserved only remnants of what was once a thriving civilization.
Angkor Wat and the other ancient ruins in the surrounding region were all originally part of a bustling city where a system of aquifers enabled year-round crop cycles, impossible anywhere else in the region. Ceaseless building projects were meant to demonstrate the wealth and power of neo-Hindu “god-kings”. But as Christians, we see the incredible ingenuity of our Creator reflected in these stony structures and ancient art. Though the craftsman and laborers who built these places may not have known it, their creativity and problem-solving stands as a testament to the One in whose image they themselves were made.
Though the drive to Siem Reap was over 8 hours long, it was well worth it to see the amazement on the children’s faces as they walked through palaces and roads hewn from gigantic boulders and stood beside life-sized carvings of their ancestors (see more photos here). Exploring, climbing, and wandering through acres of ruins..... It was an experience that our Father’s House family will never forget!
-In His Steps