Ruth Larwill, an ‘ordinary’ mum from Brisbane, shares the journey of how she came to be Director of Bloom Training & Cafe.
“Basically I was a yuppie Westerner. I'd gone to university, got a degree, worked at a travel company as a trainer and consultant, got married, travelled the world with my husband and had 2 beautiful boys.”
Linked to this moment was the fact that in Ruth’s first week in Cambodia she had been introduced to a girl named Tia who had been rescued in a raid by IJM. This is her story:
After her rescue by IJM “she was taken to a shelter in Phnom Penh where she received medical care, counselling, and was told that God loved her, and that there was special purpose and plan for her life.”
That was 4 years ago and today Tia is a master cake decorator and trainer at Bloom.
In January 2009 Ruth and her family relocated to Phnom Penh and together with a great team of people established the Bloom Training Centre.
Bloom is now the number one Cake Emporium in Phnom Penh. The skill level of the girls is extraordinary and they are highly sought after, “selling cakes to the ‘who’s who’ of Cambodia – Kings, Princesses, Prime Ministers, Pop Stars, Socialites and government officials.”
One of their most exciting days was when Gary Haugen (IJM) came to visit Bloom. “This was such an honour! One of the girls that had been rescued by IJM presented Gary with a sugar figurine of himself, complete with glasses & spikey hair!”
“Gary also brought along some of the guys who work in the field doing the undercover/rescue work in Cambodia. We told the girls this group was from IJM and the girls knew better than anyone the risks and dangers that these men had faced. We showed the guys through our photo gallery and there were happy tears as the guys recognised girls they had rescued who were now standing next to 5 tier cakes with beaming smiles.”
Most recently, 7 new students started the 5th Hospitality Class at Bloom. Ruth explained to them what Bloom was about and told them, “God was angry at what had happened to them, and that He would make sure they had a chance to heal and get to know the deep and true love of Jesus. One girl in particular whose story of torture, rape and abuse is horrific just started to softly weep.”
Ruth shares “It’s moments like these that make me want to cry with how big and awesome and beautiful it is to know the author and creator of life.”