Time and time again, God always reveals His goodness through the experiences I go through on a daily basis. This afternoon, I had the pleasure to spend time with my sister and three of my sunday school students. These students live in a village right outside the gate of Life University. It’s pretty common to see them chilling around campus; if I’m lucky, I get to seem them more than twice a week. What breaks my heart is the fact that these beautiful children live in utter poverty. Their living conditions are quite horrible. It’s rare to seem them clean… or fed. I often see them travel around in groups of three or four, sometimes without even wearing proper footwear. And trust me, you do NOT want to be barefoot here… there are rocks, sharp broken objects, and who knows what littering the streets.
Usually every Sunday, we (the preschool Sunday school team) wash the hands and feet of the preschool aged village children that come to Sunday school. Sometimes, we give them a full shower if needed.
And every Sunday, I am humbled and incredibly thankful to be able to spend time with these precious ones. I am reminded weekly that we aren’t here to be glorified, but rather we are here to show the love of Christ to these children.
Today, I had the opportunity to spend quality time with three of our sunday school students. My sisters and I were watching a soccer game in the afternoon, and I saw my little students standing not too far from us. When I saw them, I immediately ran up to them and smothered them with kisses… (I probably scared them, oops). Upon taking a closer look at them, I could see dirt streaks across their entire body and their clothes. Their hair was nappy from a lack of washing. I couldn’t let them go in that state… so my sister Srey Non and I decided to give them a bath in my first grade classroom.
While giving them a bath, they were incredibly sweet and well behaved. They waited patiently to be soaped and scrubbed… I even saw one of the boys help wash his friend (my heart was about to explode). After seeing them so content, I felt this urge to take them out for dinner. We didn’t go too far outside of the campus. Their was a small outdoor Khmer restaurant less than half a mile outside of the gate.
The students were so cute!! When we got to the restaurant, they got on their tippy toes to see the kind of food they wanted to eat, and as soon as they chose what they wanted, they walked together to a table and sat patiently in their seats. I wanted to squish their adorable faces.
The entire time they ate their dinner, I couldn’t help but stare at them (creepy, right?). I thought, “If I as a person could love these three so much, how much more love does the Father have for these precious ones?”
My prayer is that these children would see Christ and come to know how much He loves them. I pray that God would use me in a way that would reveal His love for them… and I know that alone, I can not do anything, but through Him, all things are possible. Matthew 19:6 “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible”.
I’m so thankful for my friends, family, and community back at home who continually support me and encourage me to be active in pursing Christ. Thank you for continuing to support me and providing with me with mission offering that can be used towards people like these children. They went home so happy tonight… it is rare to see some of them genuinely smile, but tonight they went home with the biggest smile I’ve ever seen on their faces. Thank you, Jesus.
In my mind, time pauses. Life around me slowly comes to a stop; I’m left alone, absorbing the world around me. I take in a deep breathe, close my eyes, and reminisce on the memories I’ve made, the friends I’ve met, the experiences I’ve obtained. Four months is all that it took; in four months, I’ve fallen madly in love with Cambodia… The place I’ve come to cherish and call my home.
Upon stepping out of the airplane, the night we landed in Phnom Penh, I was abruptly greeted with a wave of thick humidity – a shock that I still remember. I remember feeling intense adrenaline pumping through my veins and my heart fluttering with excitement. I spent restless nights tossing and turning in bed thinking of entering a realm of new adventures. Four months later, the excitement has only grown stronger. Every day, I discover something new to love, to explore, or to simply cherish. Even on stress ridden days, God has given me peace and a renewed spirit to appreciate both the good and the bad. The memories I’ve created in these last few months couldn’t possibly be replaced or forgotten.
I’m not quite sure how to explain the feelings that I’m feeling. My heart is always yearning for a greater desire to love and to truly know God’s love. In the twenty years that I’ve lived, I’ve never truly started to understand the depth of His love for us until this year. Through the wonderful sisters and brothers I’ve met, the students of my 1b classroom, and the experiences of living in Cambodia, I have begun to grasp the idea of love and how to love (especially when I’m teaching). Countless amount of times, my patience has been tested. Every single day is a new challenge for me. Teaching is no easy business, and to all the accredited teachers in this world, I am truly humbled and in awe of what you all go through on a daily basis. To hold a responsibility of being a leader of a group of students 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, I find myself often reflecting on who I am and how I am as a teacher.
Am I being the best role model that I can be? What do the students see when they see me? What kind of character am I portraying to my students? Do they know that I love them? Can they see Jesus through how I am? I ask myself these questions every day. When I reflect on this past semester, I both cringe and smile. I’ve made my fair share of mistakes along this journey. If I had a life remote (if such thing existed), I would want to go back into the past, relive my mistakes, and correct them. But what I’ve done in the past is in the past and the best thing I can do now is take those experiences and become a stronger person.
I only have 6 months left before I leave Cambodia. Last year, 6 months seemed too long, but now I feel as if time is draining too quickly down the hourglass. The thought of leaving truly breaks my heart…. so I’m not going to waste the time that I have left here.
I’m excited to see what God has in store for these next 6 months, and I hope that I will be able to do what God has called me to do.. to the best of my ability.