Strange that until I re-read the Blogs, I felt a little numb coming home. Not what I was expecting. Perhaps it was a coping mechanism, perhaps it was jet-lag, perhaps it was the blast of returning to ordinary life, (which will never quite be the same). But this morning, I too read the former blogs with tears, reliving the few days we shared with a people who are remarkably rising above terror, injustice, hopelessness, fear, torment, and shame.
We had the exceptional privilege of moving amid those who are living miracles. God has shown me once again that He still performs miracles in people's lives every day. And every so often, He gives us a hand in His supernatural workings. When this happens - when we get the honour of working alongside Him and partaking in what He is doing in the here and now - we are blessed, humbled and transformed. That our God, who is bigger than we can comprehend, allows us to help Him move mountains with our mustard seed faith is on its own miraculous! But to look into the faces of those lives who have known hopelessness, terror and tears, and now see joy, peace and hope, is indeed nothing short of a miracle.
Being home, I feel unsettled. Perhaps it is the shift. I have met and interacted with people whose situations I never truly had to think deeply about, let alone come up close and personal with, and it has rendered me changed. But the trouble is, I don't yet fit into the new found space of it. It would be difficult to be the same, nor do I want to be after what we were fortunate enough to look upon. Even as I write, my heart aches for the children and young women who have had to endure something as degrading and filthy as they have. And even though that is painful to learn about (yet nothing compared to how horrific for one to actually endure), I see it as a privilege to, in a small way, join them in their suffering. So maybe it is not only fitting for my soul to be unsettled even now, but right.
Being in Sway Pak made me think of Jesus, who walked on this earth coming face to face with all the heartache of humanity. It made me understand a bit of how He must have felt, and how deeply His heart would break for these people...people just like those we met in Cambodia. And when you consider how He loved so perfectly - and how imperfectly I love - again I see the wonder of how He allows us to take part in bringing His Kingdom to earth.
Before I left for Cambodia, I had this sense that in Sway Pak I would be close to something dear to the heart of God. He has told us, "Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world." I didn't have to go halfway around the world to visit "orphans and widows in distress", but I am so thankful I did.
He has not forgotten Sway Pak or those living there. I marvel at what has occurred in such a short time in this place. You see His redeeming work in the lives but also in the buildings. It is just like God to take a brothel - a place being used to repeatedly destroy lives - and transform it into a place where little children, teens, all the way through to the elderly, now sing praises to Him! In this place, those who love Him are the hands and feet of Jesus, ministering to the sick by giving them care and medicine, teaching their children the love of Jesus, and encouraging them how to live in Christ on Sunday at church. And, it is only God who can take the ashes and ruin of these lives and form beauty, strength and dignity. This we saw in the young people who help at the church, the little ones who we played with in the school yard at Hagar, and the young ladies who served us at Bloom (cupcake/coffee shop), at Daughters and Hagar Restaurant.
It is God's brilliant irony. God having the last say. God showing He hears the cries. God's Son - the Savior - saving. The Redeemer redeeming...one heart and life at a time. And we, having been in this place, see with eyes of faith and wait in expectation, for greater things than we can think to ask for or imagine!
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. James 1:27