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beautiful dreamers


IMG_5671You knew it the second you crossed the border. No disrespect, but it’s like a dream-ish time warp. It’s not the slow boil of a frog in water analogy. It’s hot grease verses pinky flesh, in an instant, kicking and screaming different. Hello Cambodia. So, this is how you roll?

We walked across the border from Thailand. The afternoon sun poached us up real nice (hundred plus with 95 percent humidity). Sweat was a full-body symphony. Order was out the window. Clean streets and evident prosperity were on the other side from where we came. This was very different. It required a different gear, another level of patience, and a different way of seeing things.

IMG_9751It was indeed a sensory overload moment that I’ll never forget, although I’d be remiss if I didn’t inject here that Cambodia is filled with the beautiful too. There are ugly things in just about every country on this planet. Trafficking, prostitution, and glue-sniffing kids are not just Asian issues. Cambodia does have its share of hurt, but to be fair, First World citizens are just better at hiding what’s not so beautiful. The poorer places aren’t as slick in what they’re able to hide. It’s much easier to exploit in the Third World, and desperation camps out on the back porch constantly. So, there is no reason for us to ever be haughty. Should we be concerned and willing to help? Always. Offended and put off? Never.

IMG_9947The team of guys I was with are regular visitors to the country. They smoothed out most of the transitional edges, but you still felt the culture. It’s like walking into a spider’s web. It’s all over you before you even see it. As we were indoctrinated about the people, we were also exposed to a simple philosophy of planting seed for future change. People in Cambodia don’t dream for change. It’s too painful. They survive. So instead of pushing a major religious agenda, this little band of brothers cultivates dreams for change. Oh yeah, it’s a Jesus thing that sits on the strong legs of compassion and the substance of Jesus’ love. But ultimately, their vision is for the most tender incubation of playing children. Science suggests that playing children are much more creative with their imaginations. This is the perfect environment for the natural and practical stimulation of creative change inside the minds and hearts of Cambodia’s most precious resource: CHILDREN.

IMG_9229Finding playgrounds in Cambodia is like looking for ice in the Gobi desert. It’s a non-existent thing. So, my friends Mark Roye and Mike Lynch (http://compassionacts.com) are doing their part to be agents of change. It was a privilege to witness their work.

I barely know which end of a hammer to grab, but I made a pretty good go-fer. In 31 years of ministry, I’ve never been a part of anything like this. It was beyond way kewl. Seven American gringos, one Canadian, one Australian, and four Cambodians built a quality playground. And strange as it may seem, the kids just knew what to do when the project was nearing completion. Like ducks to water, the IMG_9892waves of smiles, laughs and screams were instantaneous! It’s a costly roll of the dice, but Compassion Acts’ hope breeds the faith that the investment will produce great fruit. Their dream is that Cambodian children will dream. Not like we dream, but as we dream. We dream about me. Where do I go? What do I do? How do I succeed? What’s my next adventure? Cambodia needs children who dream way beyond our norms. The hope is that Cambodian children will dream about their country, its people, and its future change. Here’s to the simple planted seeds of future dreamers.  Cheers IMG_9899Cambodia! You indeed are filled with beautiful dreamers.

Thank you for all you do for us!  You helped make this happen.

Love you all!

MDP  xo

Here’s a time-lapse video that shows the process.  Enjoy!

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. May 31, 2016 at 7:51 am


    So awesome!!! Glad it was an impactful trip all around!!

    Love ya!



  2. ashley crocker
    May 31, 2016 at 8:17 am

    so awesome!

  3. Amy Davidson
    May 31, 2016 at 9:58 am

    So beautifully written. You were spot on. Thanks for coming and loving on my country and planting “dreamer” seeds!

    Love ya!

    • May 31, 2016 at 10:46 am

      Thanks honey. It was great to see you. I’m very proud of you. xo

  4. paul
    May 31, 2016 at 11:57 am

    Where do i sign up? So cool..

  5. Catherine
    May 31, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    I love this so much! After spending 3 months in that corner of the world it’s so good to see what God is doing through you guys! I don’t miss the heat but I sure do miss the people!! Thanks for sharing Pops! ❤️

    • June 1, 2016 at 6:13 am

      Thank you so much. Love you right back!

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