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Location: Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

This blog is a record of events in the life of Joseph Taggart and his family since his spinal cord injury while body surfing in Guatemala in January 2006.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Update: Tim in Cambodia June 8-15

Now that we are home, we will try to catch up with our blog entries. The following is Tim's entry on his experience in Cambodia:

The Pioneer Spirit in Cambodia
My trip to Phnom Penh, Cambodia was to record the Khmer language version of the Church's film "Legacy", the pioneer story of the quest for Zion. Cambodia is a land filled with pioneers in the Gospel. The Church is experiencing some of the most rapid growth of anywhere in the World (nearly 25% per year). This is a land torn apart by war during much of the last half of the 20th century. the worst of it coming after the War in Vietnam ended. It wasn't until 1991 that peace came to Cambodia. With such a late start the people are struggling to catch up with the rest of the world economically and educationally. The country is still covered with millions of land mines, but in spite of all challenges is moving ahead steadily. The thousands of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are all pioneers here, and are seeking to establish Zion in their part of Asia.

The Church Office
The Church's Service Center in Cambodia is located in a very nice area of Phnom Phen. My week started on Monday morning as I joined the office staff for their devotional and short staff meeting (just like back home in the Church Office Building). Elder and Sister Calderwood are Missionaries here, his calling is as Service Center Manager. He is well loved by the staff and is a terrific leader. The office includes the Distribution Center for Cambodia and the office for the Phnom Penh Cambodia Mission. It was great to meet the staff and feel the pulse of the growing Church here.

Recording Legacy
Kim Sang is responsible for Church production and distribution in Cambodia and is our Audiovisual producer. He had begun preparations for "Legacy" weeks before my arrival, and had everything ready to begin the recording. Belinda Sok is the Translation Supervisor for the Khmer language and did the translation of the script. She also assigned herself to be the Language Coach for our production in the studio. The two of them were absolutely great to work with. Their dedication and commitment complements their God-given talents. We spent many hours together during this week and they were a joy to work with. The studio had excellent equipment and everything we planned was accomplished.
Because of a problem with voice talent scheduling we had a couple of free hours on Tuesday and Wednesday. Then worked the whole day Saturday. I left to fly back to Qingdao at midnight Saturday night. There was enough time to take a few photos and visit several places I hadn't seen when I first visited Cambodia in 2005.

Beautiful Phnom Penh
There are so many beautiful buildings in Cambodia. The Presidential Palace is amazing, with beautiful landscaping everywhere. My hotel is located on the the banks of the Tonle Sap river, and from my window (and balcony) I could look across at the Palace. The distinctive roof lines of palaces and temples all over the city are facinating and beautiful. The culture of Cambodia is visually stunning and omnipresent in the city.

People on the Move
The street below my Hotel window was facinating to observe. One morning about 6:15, I looked down and saw an elephant walking down the street. With all the motorcycles, bicycles and Tuk Tuks, it was an amazing parade of humanity. It is always amazing to see a family of five or six all on one motorcycle. Riding in the rain or shine, so many depend on their trusty moto to get around. I used a Tuk Tuk taki service a lot. (The Cambodia Version is much superior to the Indian/Sri Lankan version, more of a trailer to a regular motorcycle).

Cambodian Genocide
Kim Sang took me to visit both the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum as well as "The Killing Fields" of Choeung Ek. Both of these places were sobering to the maximum. Under the regime of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, the city of Phnom Penh was emptied and thousands were murdered, especially anyone with an education (or even who wore glasses). The Tuol Sleng prison was where prisoners were kept and tortured and then they were taken to Choeung Ek to be killed. Both areas are now preserved as places of rememberance. The Stupa at the killing fields is filled with a small portion of the human skulls found in the mass graves located there. The poisonous snake I discovered in a tree seemed to fit right in with the theme.

A Country on the Move
(Note the child on right eating a Grasshopper snack). Cambodia is now trying to overcome the massive loss of talent and education to move into the world economy. Mines are being cleared, people are moving forward and the Church is exploding. One can feel the hand of a loving Heavenly Father lifting up His children in this land. It will take a while, but the future is bright.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, wow, I can't believe the horrors of war and the mass killings and destruction. It is so edifying to see how the Lord has begun to lift the people out of darkness and into the light. What a refreshing sight it must be for them.


Jun 30, 2008, 5:34:00 AM  
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