PRAISE THE LORD !!! Left by my plane in Saigon to Manila, I am
BACK TO PHNOM PENH
(A Testimony of Adventure and Faith, and About God's Love, Protection and Provision While I Am In Foreign Lands )
by Dr. Norbert L. Mercado,BAJ,BABC,MNSA,DD,DSM,PhD
I knew I was in trouble as I looked at my Cebu Pacific return ticket to Manila.
It was November 28,2010, 7:30 A.M. in Saigon. And I have just arrived from Vientianne, Laos by bus, passing through the province of Quang Tri and the ancient city of Hue in North Vietnam.
And from Hue, my new Filipino friend, Popoy Las Pinas, a mettalurgist in a mining firm in Laos whom I met in Vientianne, and I, had a brief stop over in Danang, South Vietnam. The famous Cam Ranh Bay is in Danang, the Subic-Clark Field of the American forces during the Vietnam War.
Popoy brought me later by taxi from the bus station to the train station in Danang.
Ï'll have a brief stay in Danang with Filipino friends,"he said.
I took a train in Danang at 1:30 PM, Saturday. The train arrived in Saigon at 6:30 A.M.
From the train station, I took a motorcycle ride to Pham Ngu Lao, where hotels are catering to tourists.
It was in my hotel room, as I looked at my Cebu Pacific return ticket to Manila, when I realized I was in trouble - my plane has left me!!!
THE PLANE LEFT AT 1:00 A.M., SUNDAY,NOV.28,2010
My trip was at 1:00 A.M., Sunday, Nov. 28,2010. I was supposed to arrive in Manila at 4:30 AM, Sunday, Nov. 28,2010.
But in my mind when I was in Bangkok, Thailand, after attending the International Conference on Oriental Studies at Chulalongkorn University, I thought that my trip to Manila was on a Sunday EVENING, and I should be at the airport in the EARLY evening of Sunday , for my trip at 1:00 A.M.
I was mixed up in my thoughts, probably due to the conference schedules.
And so, while in Bangkok ,as I prepared for my overnight train to Vientianne,Laos, I calculated that there was enough time for a little shopping in the morning of Sunday in Saigon .
But as I l looked again at my ticket, I realized that my shopping time was gone, for my plane has left me for Manila !!! (He-he-he).
"Öh, noooo! I am in trouble!" I said to myself inside my hotel room.
My first reaction was to talk to the Lord. And I knelt and prayed to our Heavenly Father, asking Him for help, and thanking Him for the situation, and for assuring me that He would take care of my needs. For after paying my hotel room, I only had US$43 left !!!
I went down to the hotel lobby where there was a travel agency, and requested one of their staff if indeed my suspicion was right.
She called the Cebu Pacific office, and talked to one of their staff in the Vietnamese.
After a while, she told me, "Sir, your plane has left..."
BACK TO PHNOM PENH
"What will I do now, Lord?" I asked the Lord God.
I refused to panic. Panic is the antithesis of faith.
"Go back to Phnom Penh," was the Lord's soft reply.
And so, I bought a bus ticket back to Phnom Penh. from Phnom Penh. The bus left Saigon at 1:30 PM, and it arrived in Phnom Penh at past 9:00 P.M.
I thought of going to the place of my new friend Mr. Norman Gonzales, who was my seatmate in the Cebu Pacific plane from Manila to Saigon last November 15,2010. He is the Vice President of the Grand Royal Casino near Sihanoukville.
I gave him copies of my novels with my dedication, and he appreciated these gifts well, telling me, "This is the first time in my life that I met a Filipino novelist . I will treasure your books for a lifetime."
I thought of telling Norman what happened to me.
But the Lord has another plan for this new situation I am in.
AT THE VIETNAM-CAMBODIA BORDER
It was about an hour ride by bus from Saigon to the Vietnam-Cambodia border.
The trip from Saigon to Phnom Penh was more or less 8 hours.
When we were already in the Cambodian side, I heard a voice calling my name.
"Sir, do you remember me?" asked a bearded young man.
I knew at once that he is a Filipino. He was in another bus, but he was also going back to Phnom Penh from Saigon.
"Ï am from Ebenezer Bible College. I am Popoy Sanchez, "he said. He recognized me, and knew my name.
I met Popoy for the first time in Ebenezer Bible College in Zamboanga City sometime in the mid 1990s when he was a student there.
He told me that I gave him a copy of one of my novels then.
He is a teacher in English to Cambodian students. But he is a Christian missionary as well.
Later, I told Popoy that I was left by my plane. I have to go back to PhnomPenh, and then, to the place of Norman Gonzales near Sihanoukville.
Popoy offered me his flat(condo) in Phnom Penh.
" I will look for you at the "Russian Market " even late at night when we arrive in Phnom Penh," he said.
And he did. He was with another Filipino tentmaker missionary in Phnom Penh when I arrived at the Russian Market late in the evening.
I am now staying in his place.
FOURTH TIME IN PHNOM PENH
I have always thought of establishing my network in Cambodia, for my heart is with the Cambodian people.
In 1975, when Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge started the Cambodian genocide, I wrote two short stories about the nightmare : AS LONG AS THE FLOWERS SHALL BLOOM and CAMBODIA'S CHILDREN OF SORROW.
From 1975 onward, I have always thought of establishing a network with local believers, and to the Cambodian people.
But my three travels in Cambodia resulted in no contact to the missionaries here, who could help me in my mission.
This fourth time is different.
What I failed to do in my first three trips here, first with my wife June,then with my provincemate Romy , then during the "Water Festival" last week when more than 300 people died in the night stampede, is being fulfilled now.
And all because the Lord God allowed me to be left behind by my plane to Manila.
"My thoughts are not your thoughts, and My ways are not your ways. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My thoughts higher than your thoughts, and my ways higher than your ways, "says the Lord .
Popoy will introduce me this afternoon, and tonight, to the Filipino "tentmakers" here in Phnom Penh.
In fact, this afternoon, he will bring me to the village where he is teaching English to Cambodian students.
He will also introduce me to Cambodian Christians.
"Ï wish to promote my internet television programs to the missionaries and to the locals here,"I told Popoy.
The Lord has given me 20 channels - which include eight music channels, including two GOSPEL MUSIC CHANNELS, and six Christian-LOVE SONGS Music Channels.
The rest of the Christian channels, you must see . E-mail me, and I will give you the list of my 20 channels.
All of these channels can be viewed with clarity and stereo sound (if the speakers are good) anywhere in the four continents of the world where there is an internet connection.
I watched the channels in Mui Ne and Saigon, South Vietnam; in Phnom Penh and Poi Pet, Cambodia; and in the Thammassat University main library in Bangkok, Thailand. CLEAR VIDEOS AND GOOD MUSIC.
I did not see any internet cafe in Vientianne, Laos.
These are the channels which I want to promote here in Kampuchea.
"Two million people, our of seven million Cambodians were mercilessly murdered by Cambodian communists!"I told Popoy while we were conversing late last night. "That's why my heart is with the Cambodian people.
Popoy corrected me. "NO. THREE MILLION , OUT OF SEVEN MILLION CAMBODIANS, DIED DURING THE RULE OF POL POT!"
Now is my God-given time to minister to the Cambodian people by using the 20 TV GLOBAL Channels which the Lord has given me this year. BY FAITH, I will promote these channels through my network to the whole of Cambodia.
And so, now, I have the reason to sing here in Cambodia. And I'm singing in my heart:
"Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!
Let the earth hear His voice!"
Another adventure in faith has happened to me in my travels in foreign lands - Saigon, Mui Ne, in South Vietnam; Phnom Penh, Poi Pet in Cambodia: Bangkok, Vientianne, Nong Kham in Thailand; Vientianne in Laos; Quang Tri, Hue, Danang, on our way to Saigon, South Vietnam.
And today, I am BACK TO PHNOM PENH AND SINGING !
I made a loop in this travel. And I am singing and praising the Lord !
NOTE : When you are in a foreign land, and your plane has left you, don't panic !
Ask the Lord what is His purpose for allowing you to be in that new, seemingly unfortunate situation. He will reveal to you His purpose. - NLM
In an internet cafe near the Russian Market
Phnom Phenh, Kampuchea
I dedicate this story to my missionary sister and friend in Bolivia, Latin America - Doreen Nelson, and to her family. Doreen, when will you invite me to Bolivia ?
And to all of you, of course, especially to my sweetheart and wife Architect JuneMorales-Mercado, who has initially worried about my experience.
SWEETHEART, praise the Lord !