Today was my favorite day yet.
This morning we woke up early, grabbed breakfast and hailed a tuktuk to Prek Eng to meet the kids for Sunday morning church.
I have gone to church since birth and this service topped them all. Sunday morning brings all of the Prek Eng orphanages together for a church rich service so the place was wall to wall packed with children. The Prek Eng 2 kids found us right away and took us to our seats with their group. They sang several songs as a congregation, first in Khmer then in English. I knew all of the songs and was moved beyond words to stand with the kids and sing along. Let's just say that there were tears on my part. The beads of sweat rolling down my head masked the tears that came as we sang " I could sing of your love forever." Next, each of the orphanages had prepared a special song with dance motions to preform in front of the church. Caleb and Faith would have loved it. It was a good thing that it was so hot in there as more tears fell. I got it all on video so I'll be sure to share it with Caleb and Faith when I return. The kids had so much fun performing, smiling ear to ear, clapping and cheering for each other. The message was given by a visiting pastor from the Columbus area who just happen to be there at the same time. They support an orphan home in Battambang.
After church we walked as a group through the Prek Eng markets with the kids about a mile back to the orphan home. We were welcomed to stay for lunch prepared by Sopal and the kids. We had a wonderful time eating with the kids and once again, the food was incredible.
For the rest of the afternoon, we played Hillbilly golf, UNO, learned how to make bracelets, played Bocci, Hop Scotch, Phase 10, and just plain hung around for the day. They got the hammocks out and Pey, Rosa, Meta and a couple of the others, pulled me over to one of the hammocks and told me to lay down. They wanted to sing me to sleep because I needed a nap. One of the girls got a paper towel and dabbed the sweat off my head and while they tried to sing me to sleep, it didn't work. I didn't want to sleep; I was having too much fun. Instead, I took the opportunity to talk with them, asking them what they wanted to be when they grew up, where they were from, how old they where when they arrived at the home...we had some great discussions.
Around 4:00 we left to head back to the hotel for a shower. Jackie suggested that we all go out and get a massage before dinner. Around here you get 60 minutes for about $8, and they are really good. There is a local place called Seeing Hands that employs and trains the blind to give professional massages. John Rice and I were asked to share a room so some serious bonding occurred. They took us upstairs to a dark room with two mats in the middle of the floor. No sheets. Just "remove your clothing and lay down on a mat." Next they brought in two blind masseuses and led them to us. For those of you who plan to come in the future, I highly suggest the experience but when they ask you if you want it hard ("krang") say no. I opted for the krang and it was painful to say the least. It felt great afterwards but was torturous during. Twice I had to ask him to go a little lighter on me.
After that we hopped a tuktuk to a highly rated Vietnamese restaurant. Once again, amazing food.
The best part of the day was hanging out with the kids. I just can't get enough of them. While I had been told that this would be a highlight by so many friends who have made this trip, I couldn't begin to understand the fullness of this statement until I experienced it. There really are no words. I'm looking forward to spending the afternoon and evening with them. We're having a special meal and then throwing the kids an ice cream party; should be fun.