Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Last Day

Its early Friday morning, July 10th, our last day in Cambodia. The last few days have been a whirl of activity. As the week has progressed I've become more anxious and saddened by the fact that we're going home today. I can't imagine leaving these precious children. I've come to love Cambodia and the people.

When I came I prayed that God would open my eyes to see Him at work here. And He has. There's no doubt that God has placed people here in strategic places to reach the people of Cambodia. He's brought people here from other countries, and raised up Cambodian young men and women to fight against the evil of sex trafficking. Although we're sad to leave, we're know that God's work will continue here.

The highlight of my trip was this past Wednesday. We were teaching the kids about our bodies. How God made our bodies and how they're a gift to us from Him. And when we take care of our bodies, we honor God. I also said that another way to honor our bodies is by doing kind things with them to other people, and not hurting other people with our bodies.

At the end I told them that I had something very important to say. That next to telling them about Jesus, this was the most important thing we would tell them. Then I went on to tell them that we knew that men came into this village and did things to hurt the bodies of the little girls, and the little boys. And that was wrong. We were not okay with that, and God was not okay with that. But I also told them that it wasn't their fault, they were not bad, they were not wrong. But what others did to them were wrong. I also said that when the boys take the girls to the men, that was wrong too.

Then I told them that if that had happened to them they could come and tell us and we would listen to them, love them and pray for them. We would not laugh at them, or be angry with them. We would love them. We would never hurt them. God would never hurt them. We were safe, we would help.

As I talked, and as Ponha translated, the children became very quiet. The smiles were gone, and serious looks came over their faces. I knew that they knew what I was talking about. For some it was the first time they heard that what was happening to them was wrong. I can still remember the looks on some of their faces. One little boy right in front, Poea, he looked at me with sadness, but also a longing hoping that what I said was true. Some of the girls looked away from me in shame. Some had tears in their eyes.

Although none came to talk to us that day, I know that what we shared got through. I could see it on their faces, in their eyes. It was the most fulfilling experience to let these children know that God loved them and would never hurt them, and that we were safe people for them. Although we're leaving, Pastor Shantey and his wife, and Rattanak and Alli who remain to work with the children and pastor the community, love those children and will continue to be a safe haven for them. And they will continue to teach them what is right and wrong and give them hope.

God is working and changing the hearts of the people, one by one. And as He does, more and more children will be saved from being sold. More parents will realize that selling their children is wrong and want to protect them.

Today we're putting on a carnival for the children and serving them lunch. They're very excited. But we're sad, because it will be the last thing we'll do with them. My prayer is that if God brings me back next year, I'll see these children again, and that none will be sold to brothels. And that the one brothel with the 60 girls locked down will be closed down. Even more that more people and more children will have given their lives to Jesus, and be changed.

That's my prayer...


  1. Dear Barb,
    How wonderful to hear how God answered your prayer and opened your eyes to His work. His work included YOU and brought you half way around the world to use your voice (in two languages) to bring awareness and healing. I have a feeling He will also inspire you to write about your time in Cambodia. It understandably must be difficult to leave the children who will always be close to your heart and in your prayers, but "your family" back home is excited to see you!
    Love, Deb

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  3. Barbara-

    My heart was full as I read your Cambodian posts. Thanks for sharing and going. I left my heart there six years ago.

    I'm writing this from Liberia, another country with a tragic past, hopeful future, and lovely people.

    Curt Iles

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