It seems so long since the last blog post. We are back home now, having spent 36 hours traveling to get here. Already, the post mission process has begun. It is a combination of "I am so glad to be home!" and "Oh, how I miss those beautiful young faces and the love they so freely give away!" One of the last things we do before leaving is have each traveler put down there "high point". One of my high points is always taking the time to read each person's thoughts, often times put on paper while tears run down their cheeks. I hope you enjoy their high points as much as I do.
It is so hard to highlight just one moment because God moved in such a beautiful way each day we were there ministering to the kids and staff. I loved praying over the special needs children as well as playing with them and loving them up. To be able to be an ambassador of Christ's love was an incredible honor. Being a witness to the miracle of a decision for Christ was the most glorious experience ever.
Its difficult to choose one highlight experience when reflecting on our time at the safe house. My heart was taken by the children's longing in their eyes and their bright smiles and high fives a day or so into our visit. There was this beautiful time with one of the 14 year old girls on the last day. We had met eyes, and smiled quite a few times as she watched carefully. She always sat in the back and was having some upheaval with some peers. She let me sit with her. She did not seem to speak English but could understand some. She held my hand then let me hug her as she teared up a little. I prayed for her to know the love of Christ and His peace and Lordship and she just held me tight. When she walked through the gate to leave she hesitated and looked back and waved to me and softly said " I miss you". I later found out that she was one of the girls rescued and they were planning to train her to work at the school to keep her safe. She and many others are etched on my heart. I will be fervently praying. the leaders' commitment and servant hearts who direct the school are absolutely beautiful.
The morning session had come to an end and unbeknownst to me the teachers had a break before the afternoon session began. I remember looking up and 3 ukuleles had materialized. 3 of the staff had ukuleles and wanted to know how to do the chords of the songs we'd been playing! What a privilege to sit down with them and encourage them as we played. Together we made a joyful sound to the Lord! Who knew that in a tiny corner of Cambodia a ukulele band was stirring!
I think the thing that thrilled me the most on this trip was watching the safe house leader get so excited about the theory behind our training. Speak the kid's language: FUN! She had already set up a creative environment for the children and now, with the knowledge we left behind, her teachers had interactive ways to reach the kids both with school lessons and spiritual lessons that left them laughing and learning. That's not their usual teaching style! What a blessing to be able to leave behind things our volunteers have made that will enrich the Cambodian children's education. You there, back home, had a part in this trip thru your financial support, your time making things, and your prayers. God bless you all.
I think my favorite moment was when we first arrived. Being a newbie, first time missionary, I didn’t know what to expect. As soon as we walked through the gate the children came running over to us, folded their hands, bowed and greeted us with the most welcoming smiles. My heart skipped a beat!
I love how a way is always found to communicate. Even when understandable words are not available, there is a common language. I think it may be love. It doesn't take long for a message to be communicated. Especially the one that says "you can trust me." Our final day had been long and hot. Everyone was tired; staff, Fifty5five traveler, and children alike. At the end of the day, one young girl, about four years old, climbed up in my lap, gave me a hug, and fell asleep with her arms still around my neck. It was the perfect end to my day, and my trip.
Writing about my high point takes a lot of thought because I have to compare my high points daily. There were so many ... Yikes! One was, well, looking into beautiful brown eyed teachers up close and personal. Talking about my own walk with Jesus was fabulous. Talking about Jesus is always fun, but scary too. I know that's crazy, but answering questions about Jesus I want to be his hands and feet and show his light.
I sit in tears as I reflect on such a fruitful trip. The trip plan morphed and changed drastically. I can see God’s plan prevailed and not mine. If was interesting how he carried us through the training with little sleep but the day after it was complete we were drained. God is doing such a mighty work and I’m so blessed to have been part of it. I have faces that are forever etched on my heart and a community and staff to intercede for.