Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Restored hope

“Beautiful are those whose brokenness gives birth to transformation and wisdom.” 
John Mark Green

Packing for Cambodia was no small feat, the truth is that I was nervous about it.  The farthest I ever have gone before was Central America, but  I felt a tender nudging "trust me" I have something for you there.  

Cambodia was beautiful, dry and dusty.  Smoke filled the air as patches of land were burned traditionally for purification and planting as it was customary for generations. I found the people of Cambodia warm and friendly and rich in tradition.  I am so inspired by the local World Vision staff and their undeniable fierce faith. They felt like family immediately. 
Snacks for our journey 
  Bananas and fruit are staples here in Cambodia and they are good too.  Bananas are served regularly.  My favorite food was a bamboo stalk with sticky rice, coconut milk, banana leaves and black beans.  The style houses in the countryside were lovely;  they reminded me of tree houses made of one room buildings on stilts.   We were able to see one inside, where a lady said "excuse my mess", I smiled and said "It's a whole lot neater than my home".

On the very first day I heard one of the most amazing stories I ever heard.   This topic would be a theme that I would hear throughout our stay.  I kept hearing  "healing and transformation"  from the first story and it trickled down to the very smallest of speakers, the children.   A grandmother's legacy, a lost boy, a child who is broken, a listening ear, resilience in advocacy, neighbors sharing their land for the greater good of the community and restored hope.  

I was deeply moved by the traumatized look on a few of the children's faces. 

It's hard to explain,  kind of a far away longing look, 
I will never forget. 

Photo credit Jonathan Gomez  
A thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance.

"We are #chosen by God and have chosen to love him through the lives of precious children. Like a stunning flower in the midst of dark skies, our Creator has chosen each one of us".
Chaundra M Tangi

Photo credit Jonathan Gomez  
This photo and moment was one of my favorites. The World Vision Operation Director of this area trimming the nails of a little boy of parents that are dealing with domestic violence and alcohol abuse. He cares so much and told me a word that he has for the people here “transformation”. This is such a dedicated staff here in Cambodia, they have a really big heart for these children here. I loved hearing his heart for this work and I feel like transformation is coming from the seeds that were planted here. These kids here are so worth it! What they face just to learn and dream. The resilience of the grandmother’s stepping in to raise their grandchildren is beyond amazing and is mentioned many times by the staff here.
Unity and trust 

TEAM CAMBODIA. We are a group people who have come from different places and walks of life. Together we have a sage, a servant leader, a portal, a fierce one, a warrior, a healer, a defender, a peacemaker, a nurturer and a joyful one. We are many parts but 1 Body with the purpose to serve. This trip is over but we will always have Cambodia.
Jonathan Gomez

School is so much more than learning, sometimes it's a safe place to be away from abuse. 
"We had the sacred privilege of being present and listening. These strong and beautiful girls invited us into their lives and shared how lack of clean water impacts not only their present health and activities, but also severely limits the opportunity to live into their God given potential and dream for their future.  

A WV-Cambodia staff member summed it up perfectly this afternoon when she said, "They hear [the love of Jesus] with their eyes."  We truly witnessed Love lived out through multiple expressions of word, sign, and deed.

Sponsorship is transforming lives, bridging hope and opportunity to communities, and serving as a very real expression of who the Church is called to be. 
You can be a part of the story God is writing around the world".
Traci Espeseth

"Our team thanked the mothers for allowing us to come visit them, and encouraged them to keep up the good work. "From a mother to mother", I said, "you all are doing a great job!!!"
Photo credit Heather Maher
"As we wrap up our Cambodia trip we’ve been able to see the transformation that World Vision has made in the communities. The difference is night and day. The areas where the work has not begun are full of despair and poverty. The areas where the work is underway are full of joy and hope and we got a front row seat of the the stark realities. Thank you World Vision for broadening my world view and showing me the vision".
Photo credit 
Jonathan Gomez  
Photo credit Jonathan Gomez 

"Don't give up on your dreams, 
if you stay in school, study and learn, 
you can achieve your dreams". 
Jo Carlson 

Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.”
Bob Pierce

Still processing, most likely it will come out in a painting.

"I loved this precious baby! Met her at a Mommy & me nutrition class in Cambodia! World Vision was helping teach the community how to feed and keep their little ones growing healthy and strong".
Jen Parks

Some children did not know their lives would change because World Vision was bringing sponsorship to their village.
All things new!
In this reading camp it was bright and colorful, 
a huge contrast from the first places we visited.  

Father, I pray that your hand would be on this World Vision staff and your spirit would pour onto this land.  Search every nook and cranny for the lost and find the most vulnerable and heal every last child and heart.  I pray that the grandmother's resilience be rewarded with renewal in strength.  I pray that you would equip this staff for your work, protect them and their families.  Place them in your will for the coming wave of transformation and healing that will come to Cambodia's beautiful people.  
Do what only you can do!  All things are possible with God!
May this light spark  today!

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Cor 3:18
Sponsor a child from Cambodia 🤍

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.
1 Cor 1:10