Field of dreams in Cambodia


“Men shall not live on dreams alone, but without dreams men shall not live.” No one famous ever said that, since I just made that up now. In June of 2008 I stood on top of a mound of dirt with a friend who had a dream to build orphan homes on that very spot in Cambodia. He was only a dreamer then, but he was not the only one. We prayed for a miracle on that corner of God’s earth.

After I came home, I resolved to jump into that dream with abandonment. I shared an initial plan with our church board to build an orphan home on that spot, completely funded by our church. This was summer time and we had just approved a new budget. There was no money in it for an orphan home. Oh yes, that was also the calm before the storm — the Autumn of 2008, when the financial world faced a near meltdown.

The naysayers came out of the woodwork: “The cost is prohibitive.” Yes, between construction and start-up costs,  it was upwards of $60,000. “There are liabilities involved.” Yes, there are always risks involved in this kind of work. “How are we going to find all the sponsors?” 40 children, at the tune of $120 per month. Surely a tall order but not as tall as some had originally imagined. “How’s this going to affect our overall budget?” Well, we didn’t know unless we tried it, but there are enough statements about blessing the fatherless in the Bible, I kept saying. And I don’t believe God is in the business of punishing those who do what He says we must do.

One key leader in the church, who was also an important member of the finance committee, raised objections. He was not being a pest, just a consummate bean counter. And I lost count of the times I came home, after a frustrating day trying to answer more questions, and I told my wife, “I quit!”. But as  my head hit the pillow, I would think of the faces of the children and they gave me the energy to face another bean-counting day.

After several months of countless meetings, numerous e-mails, fact sheets, international phone calls, and much aggravation, Mr. Bean counter himself delivered the final surprise. At the meeting where I presented my final proposal, he was the first to speak. He said he felt “passionate” about the project. “Passionate”? I never even knew that word was in his vocabulary! He told the committee he was convinced we had to do it. From then it was smooth sail — the committee approved the project, the board signed on, the pastor went to the congregation and the money poured in…

Today we have two homes, one in Cambodia and one in Thailand, and the field that once stood empty is a lively place now, where 6 homes have been built and hundreds of kids run around doing what children were meant to be doing — being happy. Hopefully there will be dreamers from that harvest field and the work will go on.

Tomorrow I will tell you about 30 minutes that changed my life — how I met a young lady from Thailand named Faa.

Ivanildo C. Trindade