And I'm really glad for it because, lately the days have seemed kinda long and a bit hard and they just don't fit comfortably yet....
This morning I met my 5 students who I teach for two full days each week at New Life Fellowship (my home church here in Cambodia) and we piled into a tuktuk and drove an hour outside of the city to our first field trip! During the past 3 months we have been studying together about communities, Shalom, God's throne being built on a foundation of justice and righteousness and how the choices we each make have an effect on His heart.
As we step into this new year will continue studying about His character, especially as it relates to the oppressed and victimized, but we will also begin to learn from various organizations that are already working to bring His Kingdom realities to fruition here in Cambodia. My goal is that each month we will have visits from Khmer staff who work at varying organizations focusing on issues such as caring for orphans, education improvement, anti-human/labor trafficking, refugee assistance, disability advocacy and whatever else I can find connections to. Then we will go to visit each site and see for ourselves what it is like to be in the middle of these things on a daily basis!
So, back to today... We went to Place of Rescue which is indeed a safe haven for orphans, people who are infected with HIV (and their families) as well as elderly widows. I had visited before and was excited for this to be our first field trip! One of the great things that is done at Place of Rescue is that a visiting group can be no larger than seven people which I think is beneficial for both the people who call the place home and the visitors.
As soon as we were finished with introductions we were being led to homes of some of the adults who have HIV. I began to pray for God to touch the hearts of my students and for them to step out in courage as we began this first of many experiences. Before I even knew it, they were being asked to pray for a woman whose husband left her after he gave her HIV and got her pregnant. She now lives in safety and her two year old son also lives at Place of Rescue. I watched as two of my students got right in the middle of things and prayed with compassion and love.
As we walked to the next place I gently reminded them all that our words really do have power when we are praying so there is no need to be shy about it because we are bringing life and joy through Jesus in us.
The next house was a preschool classroom full of sweet 3, 4 and 5 year olds who belonged to the adults who have HIV! To my complete delight all five of my students immediately got down on the floor and began playing and talking with these persons ones! The room was full of laughing, hand games, hugs and praying!
It was so much FUN to watch my five throughout the morning as different ones' eyes lit up and came to life during different moments and interactions. I was so intent on finding the moments for each of them and then walking with them one on one to the next place so I could whisper to them about how I had just seen Jesus being displayed through them.
As we rode back to the city the conversation in the tuktuk was truly confirmation for me about why I am doing this... They asked questions about things they had seen. Questions like:
-why don't the staff wear uniforms? To which I replied, "Let's think about this, they said they want a family atmosphere so why do you think they might not have uniforms?"
-Why were there no physically challenged people there? To which I replied, "Good question, tell me what you think about the situation concerning physically challenged people in Cambodia..."
-The woman who started Place of Rescue (an 80+ year old ANOINTED Canadian) really hears from God, how can I know if I'm hearing from God? To which I replied, "Great question! Let's talk about that for a minute....do you think God was with us during that visit? Why?"
They were thinking about it, really thinking about it! They are being allowed access to something they haven't seen before and they are being told they can, they must make a difference. They are beginning to understand what it really means that we can do nothing on our but must partner with what Jesus is doing around us....
I love my job. Thank you to each of you who make it financially possible for me to be here and to those of you who faithfully pray for me! Can't wait to tell you more stories...!