The team set off at 8:00am today for a trip across the Mekong River on a two-tier boat. The destination was an unassuming family operated silk farm -- the skills were passed down from generation to generation. We got a crash course on how to cultivate beautiful silk from silk worms and then how to weave it into a final product (like raw fabric, scarves, etc). It was amazing to witness such a specialized craft!

Our next stop was a team lunch at the Boddhi Tree Umma conveniently located across the street from the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum. We spent some quality time in fellowship with one another while partaking some delicious fusion Cambodian cuisine. Some of the team members tried the dragon fruit shake.

We proceeded to visit the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum and were directed by a guide who shared the authentic account of what occurred at this camp from 1975-1979. The Tuol Sleng Camp was created on orders of Pol Pot on April 17, 1975 and was officially referred to as S-21. It had been converted from its original use as,an elementary and high school. This camp was designed for the detention, interrogation, inhumane torture, and killing after receiving an "alleged" confession from the prisoners. These prisoners were labelled as traitors, CIA or KGB operatives of the communist party (but by most accounts untrue). Ironically, those that executed on orders to torture and kill these prisoners were of the uneducated class and the easiest targets for brain washing. In the four years that this camp operated, at least 20,000 prisoners came through its doors and only 7 survived (two of which we were able to meet at this museum).

It was impossible to comprehend the horrific atrocities executed by the Pol Pot regime. Some of us were traumatized by this visit. There were actual photos of the prisoners being tortured to death and the victims included men, high officials within the Pol Pot regime, families, women, a handful of foreigners, children and even babies. It was important for the team to visit this museum because it allowed us to understand the context of how the Cambodian society has evolved in recent years (in terms of moral code, poverty, etc.) and why poverty is still so pervasive today. Although this trip could've easily represented the darkest parts of the human spirit, we believe (or are trying to) it is also a testimony to the resilience of the human spirit -- the power of redemption, forgiveness and the hope for a better future.

We concluded the day with a wonderful team dinner at "Romdeng," a restaurant that mentors and trains Cambodian street youth. Some of our team members decided to embrace true Cambodian culture by ordering deep fried black tarantulas. It's exactly as you would imagine that it would look. Some said that it tasted like soft shell crab, but some of us find that a bit hard to believe. The atmosphere was lively, the food was delectable and we plan to go back sometime later next week. The team called it a night and will journey to the "Killing Fields" and attend church in Svay Pak tomorrow. Please pray for continued safe travels, team unity and meaningful outreach.