Last month I visited Cambodia to do some photography work for World Relief. I'm still processing how amazing that trip was, how personally challenging and life changing it was.
Here's another post sharing some of the images from our time there.
One of the most amazing sights we saw during our time in Cambodia were the elaborate Buddhist Temples. Imagine driving along on dirt roads, large fields of rice surrounding you, you come to a small village of huts and wooden homes on stilts and right in the center of it all you find a brightly colored mecca of gold, flowering vegetation and small boys dressed in bright orange cloth on the back of mopeds. The gates to enter rise high above the surrounding buildings and are decorated with animals and symbols.
The Temple is considered the holy ground of the village. It is the community center for village leaders to meet, a religious site for holiday celebrations and a retreat for men who have "given themselves" to the faith for a season.
Once you enter the Temple grounds, it's hard to miss the rows of stupas. These decorated burial tombs are often covered in statues of the gods they've chosen to honor. Some of them are incredibly old--I was left wondering how long ago they were built and who put them there.
Although children were playing all around, there were beautiful flowers and the sun was cheery and bright, there was a creepy darkness to this place. A lostness. I spent a lot of time in prayer shooting these images. It's hard to explain how it felt.
I could not get enough of the monks. I was told, during our visit, that many boys are "threatened" by their parents to be sent away to become monks when their behavior is bad. It was hilarious sitting among them, waiting for their wary looks to fade into bright smiles.
They live on the grounds. Their homes are the most basic, shack-style huts. They wear one pair of shoes and one large piece of cloth. They have shaved heads and eyebrows. They worship and learn throughout the day. I caught them during their break, eating sugar snacks from a food bike that had entered the temple area, just for them.
One of our goals for the media work we do is to have a very short turn around time. We are almost done with our video and photography work, just 1 month after the trip. Please pray as we deliver these items that they will have tremendous impact in spreading the good news about what World Relief is doing in Cambodia.