Last night was rough. A team member was really sick. Then my stomach finally caught up with the fact that everything about everything is different here. It decided to wake me up to remind me of it. Many times. In a not pleasant way. I’ve been living on the edge of an icky stomach for a few days and seem to have finally jumped into it full-fledged.
So I’m here in the air conditioned hotel, where the plumbing works well and the potty doesn’t require strong quads. (Did I tell you about the squatty potties? They are real. Squatty. Potties.) The team and the kids from Grace Place Cambodia are swimming all day about an hour away. My phone says it’s 93F today. The air conditioner in my room says it’s 18C.
We leave Battambang, Cambodia tomorrow around noon and will return to Siem Reap where I will get on my return flight to home, USA. I am so ready to see my family! I miss them so much!
I am not, however, ready to say goodbye to the beautiful people I have loved for years but have only just now begun to know. Each home has a few kids who’ve pulled off pieces of my heart as they’ve dragged me around, led me to a seat, hugged me till I almost fell over. And, in all honesty, I don’t know how we will say goodbye.
I also have no idea how I will even begin to process all of what God has let me take in, everything He’s shown me and taught me since I left home. I expected to write my way through it. I was wrong. Time and my body’s need for rest haven’t allowed for much of that.
Here are some of the preliminaries I hope to write through as God allows me to process them and filter them through the truths of His Word and His love.
- Buddhism pervades the culture here. There are shrines nearly every place we look. The other day as we played with the kids all day, chants from a Buddhist funeral surrounded us all day long. Literally all day and into the night. It struck me rather sharply how amazing it is to witness the freedom of children playing and laughing and tickling and running. Children who would likely be forced to worship a dead idol were it not for Jesus Christ and the story the Father has given them here in this safe place called Asia’s Hope. The story of mercy and grace and life.
- As soon as we finished lunch on Thursday, one of our team members got word that a very special friend had suddenly passed away. It was literally moments before the children joined us after their meal. (We were eating in separate rooms that day.) So when they saw the tears, they immediately ran to her and surrounded us. They stood there and grieved with us. They let her grieve. Some cried. Some just touched a shoulder of whomever they could reach. And all together we bore that burden of grief’s beginning with our sister in Christ. It was seriously one of the most poignant moments I have ever been a part of.
- God’s mercy keeps showing up in new ways. Time after time after time. And I just can’t seem to grasp it. Like the Ephesians, I need Paul’s prayer. “I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Eph. 3:18)
So keep your eyes peeled. I will visit these soon. I hope. Maybe you can help me process.
In the meantime, I’ll keep my eyes open for more of God’s gifts as our team finishes the work He gave us to do. (Even if it looks like a day inside with air conditioning rather than swimming with His kids.)