August 8, 2019
I landed into Cambodia on May 9th, 2019 ready to start my summer internship working with PCL. My team and I got off the plane, breathed in the humid Cambodian air for the first time, and headed for the heart of Siem Reap to eat lunch at Common Grounds. On paper, my responsibilities this summer included teaching English at the learning center, leading devotions, and building relationships with the Khmer. However, I did not truly understand all that I signed up for until I arrived in country. Throughout my time I have gotten the privilege of seeing and participating in of all the different facets of ministry PCL participates in, and I have learned so much about ministry from the workers here.
From my first lunch in May to my last breakfast at the end of July, Common Grounds has been such a breath of fresh air to me. The way that the workers serve customers, prepare food, and offer a space for people to feel comfortable has been a much needed safe place to me throughout the summer. Every time I walk in, I feel confident I am about to eat delicious food, but more importantly I am giving to a restaurant that gives back 100% of their profit to the community. When you walk into the lobby of the restaurant you will see products from ministries and organizations all over Siem Reap that are giving back to those in need. Throughout the summer I have gotten to know the current and former staff of Common Grounds well. The job that they work has given them more than just money in their pocket, but a place to propel them further in their life. For a lot of them, it has opened doors for them to get on their feet financially so they could get their education or begin working for PCL full time.
Common Grounds is one of the oldest cafes of its kind in downtown Siem Reap. Since its opening over a decade ago dozens of coffee shops and restaurants have opened up to compete for the attention from the influx of tourists coming to see Angkor Wat. Despite the increase of competition, Common Grounds has stayed afloat as a steady and consistent cafe that feeds the community physically and spiritually. One of the most amazing aspects to me was that many missionaries from all different organizations in Siem Reap gather there for food and fellowship regularly. When you walk in, you will see missionaries taking a minute to rest and refuel in the comforting space that Common Grounds offers. I fully believe in the ministry of PCL and see so much fruit from every facet that it pours out into the community. Getting to serve this ministry this summer was a privilege in so many ways and I miss it every day. If you are thinking about a ministry to be a part of in any way, I highly recommend this one.
By Sarah Hayes