Friday, July 31, 2009

Last Day at Daughters

Ruth Elliot, Director of Daugthers Cambodia

Our last day of Daughters was filled with many different activities as we wrapped up our time there. The morning began with some of us spending time in the prayer room with Samnieng, the centre manager for Daughters and one of the girls who I will call Miya. One of my co-leaders Genie had asked if we could pray for Miya specifically as she had observed Miya's leadership skills earlier in the week and sensed that God was raising her up to be a strong prayer warrior that would have a positive influence with the other girls. Our prayer time with her was somewhat emotional as Miya shared that she wanted to use the gifts God had given her to bless others. It was a special moment watching her and Samnieng pray for each other in Khmer---two different women, from two very different social backgrounds. One who was once caught in the web of brothel life, the other a Christian counsellor ministering to girls in the sex trade. Yet both of them now joined together in a common bond, a love for Christ and a desire to live for Him and to bless others in His name. Only Christ can intertwine lives such as these and bring them to a place where their paths would intersect, where they can stand shoulder to shoulder as testimonies of Christ reconciling power to remove the barriers and break down the walls of discrimination.

Samnieng and The Roses we gave to the girls

During my time here, I have had the privilege of sharing a few words twice at Rahab's house church service. On Friday, I was given the privilege of speaking to the girls on God's heart for the oppressed. Preaching in this context is not easy as there are translation challenges and so it is important to speak simple words and trust that God will plant the seed in each person's heart. Such was the task before me as I spoke on God's heart for the oppressed starting first from Exodus 3:7-9 where the Israelites who had been enslaved by the Eqyptians for many years were crying out to the Lord after enduring years of abuse and mistreatment. My comments were based on four points:
1. Jesus see’s us in our pains and struggles. He sees all the things that are done to us, the circumstances and environments we are forced to live in. He sees the pain in our heart; He sees the physical suffering we are forced to endure. He sees our hopelessness and helplessness.
2. Jesus hears our cries when others are oppressing us and hurting us. He does not close His ears to our pain. He hears our cries for deliverance. He hears the words that have been spoken over us that have crushed our spirits and wounded our souls
3. Jesus is concerned about our suffering. He is a God who not only cares but loves us so much that He takes on our pains, our sufferings, our shame, our hurt.
4. God will rescue us from those who oppress and hurt us. He is not a God who stands far off and ignores our pleas for help. He is for us and will do everything in His power to set us free from the hands of our oppressors so that we can have a new life of hope in Him.
We gave each girl a silver necklace with a pearl pendant to remind them that God sees them as His precious jewel, a pearl of great price. I exhorted them that whenever they wear it or look at it, that the pearl was a reminder of how much God values them and loves them. We also gave each of them a rose as a symbol that they each carry in them God's beauty and as they begin to discover the new hope and new life in Him, they will be like a sweet smelling perfume, displaying His splendor.
Church service at Daughters
Each of our team members took turns giving a rose and the little box with the necklace to each girl at the service. Below, a picture of Char and Genie waiting to hand out the roses.

One of the recipients of the rose

One of the exciting things to see was the 8 girls who came directly from the brothels each day and were taking Melinda's hair styling class. For two weeks they were trained on different hairstyles with some of our team members volunteering to be their 'hair models' to test out their newly acquired skills. On the last day, Melinda gave them each a t-shirt and a kit with various haircutting tools. These girls are not yet Christians but have decided to start coming to Daughters regularly as a result of this workshop. Their haircutting training will be supplemented by a local Khmer hairdresser who will come to do some more teaching.

New hairstylist display their latest hairdos

After the service the girls went back to work briefly as our team setup for the celebration party which included a few dances choreographed by our team members Stephanie and Joy who had been working with about 10 girls over the past two weeks, teaching them line dancing and different worship dances. They enjoyed entertaining the 'crowd' with all their dance moves.At the end of the party we handed it out a little food packet with dessert, some more necklaces made by teachers from Prem's school and some hand made crowns that several people from my home church had made to give to the girls.

It is hard to describe now my feelings from these past two weeks. God has been so gracious in unifying our team and giving us wonderful opportunities to connect with these who are so special to His heart. I wish I could show the photos we took with the girls as I think pictures tell a thousand words that words themselves simply cannot do. However, we leave Daugthers with a sense that God is surely at work in that place. He is touching the least of these and restoring the ruins of shattered lives and offering hope to the hopeless. It is His holy ground in the midst of the squalor. It is indeed a place of refuge and a place of hope and long after we have gone, my prayer is that His love well continue to saturate the hearts of each of those girls at Daughters that through our team, the many other volunteers who have passed through these doors and the Daugthers staff who serve them tirelessly, that the girls will have seen and experience tangible example of His voice, His hands and His feet reaching out to them. Jesus may you continue to be the healing balm as you bind up the wounds of these your precious ones whom you have created in your image.


  1. I echo your prayer, Lisa. I just posted that old song "For Those Tears I Died" on my blog and asked people to pray that these young women would know that Jesus does indeed feel every teardrop, and that like that rose, they would know of their exquisite beauty and fragrance in Him.
    May God continue to protect and sustain the staff there and your team as you get ready wind down your trip.

  2. Lisa, it is the heart of the gospel that you spoke to the girls: Jesus sees. Jesus hears. Jesus cares. Jesus redeems. You spoke it afresh to me as I read it this Sunday morning in Canada. Thank God for the truth which is stronger than any lie. May God's truth be magnified in the hearts and minds of all who hear it.

    Blessings and love,
    Linda Ruth