Travels and thoughts in Cambodia
Life here is really slow and it's wonderful. Sometimes it makes me think that this is the way life is supposed to be lived. Just expanding Jesus' kingdom and loving the people around us. The people who support this children's center are wonderful and they allow for that to happen. I hope they know how much their gifts are appreciated and what they are providing. The kids don't have to work nearly as hard to eat or get water here and they appreciate what they've been given. They are truly thankful at every meal for what's been provided to them and they are so diligent and responsible with their time and resources. How many things do we do every day that are pointless and have no eternal impact? When everything that's fruitless in life is done away with and all that exists is living for Jesus, it's amazing what happens and what you look forward to. We pray and read scripture multiple times per day - and even though I can't understand the language - I absolutely love it. I am also convicted in that I should be doing at least that in my own life, and I'm thankful I get to witness these kids' faith.
I want to do great and big things, but I've learned that God doesn't function within our time frame. God does not view time as a crutch and I need to be more patient. I need to fill my entire life with Him and that needs to be first. The love that these kids have for Jesus and for each other is astounding. They are so full of passion for Christ and they love Him with their whole being and hold nothing back. And God is rewarding them greatly - He is using them in a vivid and powerful way, it's awesome to see. Yesterday a 15 year old and an 18 year old taught a whole town about Noah's ark and a verse out of Proverbs. They were singing and dancing with the kids, it almost brought tears to my eyes. The kids were laughing and enjoyed it so much. They also got to color a picture with crayons and take it home, it was really great to see those two kids lead.
It's so neat to see what the Pastor and leaders are equipping these kids to do and I know they are going to go far in this life. I pray that these kids grow up to become strong leaders and mighty warriors. That they spread the Gospel far and they never forget what they learned here no matter what happens. That they bring His name glory and continue His work. Each kid is equipped to teach the Bible, lead worship, pray for their peers and family, and are also given chores so that they learn valuable life skills. They take turns cleaning, cooking the food, repairing the well, washing clothes, and other chores. The older ones instruct the younger ones in school, teaching, and also help in running the center.
There have been a lot of new experiences here, that's for sure. I got to take a dirt bike out to some far off village and it was crazy to see how these people lived and what they did to survive. The government here is very corrupt and at any point they can just kick people off their land and sell it to some Chinese or Korean businessman. That had happened to this family so they moved to a new part of the "little jungle" and had to clear acres upon acres of land just so that they could grow one rice crop a year to survive. The government here is supposedly a democracy, but if you don't vote for the Peoples Party of Cambodia, your town isn't given any help from the government.
On a lighter note, the pastor has had us try so many weird things as well. Fried locusts, boiled half grown baby ducks (still in the egg), different leaves, plants, and berries... All of which made me want to puke on the spot. But it would have been rude not to eat them, so I had to eat everything he gave me and pretend that I liked it! Yikes. The kids here love their games - chess, checkers, basketball, soccer, volleyball, domino's... everywhere one of these games are happening if you want to join in. Today was extra interesting because we couldn't use the water in the "showers" because we had run out of water, so I showered outside next to a well while only wearing a sarong. Awesome. I also washed all my clothes by hand today, that was somewhat fun :p
Today was also somewhat hard. Witchcraft is used frequently in Cambodia and one of the girls parents had gone to one and made sacrifices to demons. This made the girl vulnerable to attack and has suffered many attacks from demons since. There was an attack last night and she was screaming and yelling - it sounded like she was being tortured. It woke most people up and it took a couple hours last night and also a lot of prayer this morning to help the girl get rid of it and also not feel guilty. This doesn't exist in the US and it's interesting to be part of a community that's used to it as a normal experience.
There is so much love, hope, and laughter here, however, and these kids have joy written all over their faces. I am so blessed to be here and to photograph them, nothing could be more fulfilling and I'm thankful for the opportunity.