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Friday, October 21, 2011

Klement Backpacking and Ministry 2012: Thailand, Cambodia

     by Regin Reyno

            St. Augustine, a theologian and philosopher once said, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” Travelling indeed imparts wisdom to the traveller. The experiences encountered along the way, the sights, the sounds, the emotions, all contribute to the traveller’s knowledge, which will enable him/her to become a better individual because of his/her travels. 

            That's what I love about travelling. It's the important lessons that you get along the way. It's your experiences, your newly explored sights, the discoveries that you make, that will transform you into a better individual.  

            Your once naive mind sheltered in a cocoon, but because of travelling, will have broader horizons. You'll have better idea of what the world is and your perception will widen. So wide that you realize that there are vast amount of things not taught in school. 

But there are many kinds of travellers. One is the tourists (traditional traveller) who go for the sights and the photos. These are the ones who book in travel agency for travel tours, where they have a guide which tells them where to go and what to do. They stay in hotels. They usually go for as what I have said, photos, touristy sites, and resorts. The problem with this kind of traveller is they don't really experience the place. So you go to other countries just to stay in a resort? Better go to a nearby resort in your place, right?  Some even watch TV in their hotel room for the whole day. (You don't have TV at home?) There's nothing wrong with this kind of travelling, but again, you lack experience of the place. That's the reason you travelled in the first place.
a backpacker
            The other kind of traveler is what they call the backpackers. These travelers travel with a backpack, hence the name, and on a budget. They are sometimes referred as budget travelers. These are independent travelers. They go to the place with a purpose. That is to experience the culture of the place. The main reason why they are on a budget is because they stay long in a particular place or country. Some even stay for months. They don’t just go for the photos and sites, but rather they experience the place, the culture, the food, the lifestyle. Some even learn the language. They hang-out with the locals, talk to the locals. They immerse themselves in the country that they visit. 

            It’s not a rare sight to see backpackers eating local food, talking to locals and exploring every inch of the city or country they visit. Since they’re on a budget, they stay at guesthouses, hostels, and dormitories. They choose the cheapest transportation available like 3rd class trains, buses, budget airlines, and motorcycles. Thus they can stay longer because of the cheaper expenses.

            I experienced both of these travel styles and I found out that backpacking is more meaningful. You learn more, you experience more, and because you are on a budget, you learn more ways of travelling and budgeting. You gain more friends along the way. And you are wiser to deal with unavoidable circumstances when travelling. It will enable you to visit more countries too as your expenses are low.

Next year, 2012, I and my friend, Ephraim, also a backpacker and outdoorsman planned to backpack to Southeast Asia. Our initial plan was to scale Mt. Kinabalo, the highest peak in Southeast Asia which is located in Kota Kinabalo, Malaysia. But the expenses for that trip are quite pricey so we’ve decided to start small and go to Cambodia first.
Angkor Wat
            In Cambodia lies a Hindu temple built during the year AD 1112. Angkor Wat, the largest religious structure in the world. It was declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage site and is one of the wonders of Asia. It is made of stones, bricks and sandstones, and decorated with rubies, (the rubies are now all gone) during the time when there were no advanced machineries yet. It is really amazing how those people built that temple with minimum tools. As one author have said, “The traveller’s glimpse of Angkor Wat, the ultimate of Khmer genius, is simply staggering and is matched only by a few select spots on earth such as Macchu Picchu or the Taj Mahal.” It is truly a fascinating site to visit. 

            We are inviting all Klement to join this backpacking trip as we will also minister to the Cambodians (Khmers) there.

            Cambodia is a poor country torn by war. It was blighted by three decades of war. As a result, many orphans are in that country even today. I and Jes were there last May and we witnessed many poor people and orphaned children. They are not rich and they don’t know Jesus. So what will be their hope? Adventism is barely thriving there. The country needs more missionaries to introduce Jesus.  So next year, we Klement 09, will go there and help the Adventists there strengthen more their faith, so that their light may shine more brightly and give hope to the people there.

            We will lead the Sabbath services there, offer songs, and teach the kids songs about Jesus. We will also visit one orphanage there (maybe you can adopt one like what Angelina Jolie did) and perhaps we can offer some material things, but importantly let them know that Jesus Christ is alive and is coming soon, our blessed hope. It’ll be a meaningful travel indeed.
            
           This is just the first of a series of Klement Backpacking and Ministry that will take place. Next will be Banaue and Sagada, Philippines, followed by Kathmandu, Nepal, in which Ephraim will practice his skills in high-altitude nursing. With love with joy we care.

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