The Future of Poipet, Cambodia

The Past

Here is Lonely Planet‘s description of Poipet:

Long the armpit of Cambodia, notorious for its squalor, scams and sleaze, Poipet (pronounced poi-peh in Khmer) has recently applied some deodorant, at least in the casino zone adjacent to the Poipet–Aranya Prathet border crossing with Thailand. Based mainly on the custom of Thais, whose own country bans gambling, eight casino resorts with names like Tropicana and Grand Diamond City are helping turn the town into the Las Vegas of Cambodia, though outside the casino zone it’s still a trash-strewn strip mall sprinkled with dodgy massage parlours. In a sign that Poipet is starting to attract Khmers, it has begun hosting outdoor concerts of Khmer pop music.

Poipet offers a lively, chaotic welcome to Cambodia, the Khmers’ gentle side little in evidence, but don’t worry – the rest of the country does not carry on like this.

(Source: “Introducing Poipet” Lonely Planet Article)

Poipet~before main street was paved.

The Future

“Can anything good come out of Poipet?”

Well, when the gospel of Jesus Christ enters into a desolate place life will spring forth…

“If you take away the yoke from your midst,
The pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
If you extend your soul to the hungry
And satisfy the afflicted soul,
Then your light shall dawn in the darkness,
And your darkness shall be as the noonday.
The LORD will guide you continually,
And satisfy your soul in drought,
And strengthen your bones;
You shall be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
Those from among you
Shall build the old waste places;
You shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach,
The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In…”
(Isaiah 58:9b-12, NKJV)

Some cute girls from the Poipet slum.

The future is bright for Poipet. As the churches grow, and the gospel goes forth, this “armpit” city is being transformed.

Poipet, like all of Cambodia, has experienced hardship and suffering like most nations never have. They have seen evil and darkness in ways that most people can’t even imagine (for example read Srai Sim’s Story). When people see darkness on this scale, they are able to see the light much easier than those living in the twilight.

We are excited to see what God will do next in this “crazy” border town!

(Click here to see some more photos of Poipet)

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