I know I've been lamenting about the heat here but we seem to have suddenly moved into the rainy season and the temperatures have cooled down considerably as the rain has come and when it rains here, it rains intensely---there is no middle ground in this place. The raindrops come pelting down and it stings! The roads get flooded because of the poor drainage systems but so often the people here are thankful for the rain as the kids are out on the street playing soccer and others are just enjoying being soaked. One day I actually saw a guy washing his car when there was a torrential rainfall. I guess he had discovered the 'natural' car wash and was using the heavy downpour to clean his car. All this to say, I am thankful that God created the clouds and the rain as it has made the temperatures more bearable and I'm not dripping my own raindrops---He really has a purpose for everything!
There's a Sesame street song that says 'one of these things is not like the other things, one of these things just doesn't belong, can you tell which one it is.' This was what came to mind today as I went on my usual route on Highway #5 (which is really like a road) to Svay Pak. The scenery changes as one leaves the city and heads out to K11 otherwise known as Svay Pak which is 11 Kilometres outside of Phnom Penh. Each morning I usually have my Ipod on listening to music or a sermon as I take in all the sights, smells and constant sounds of horns from cars, buses, trucks, motorbikes and tuk tuks all letting each other know where they are on the road. At 8:45am the local markets are bristling with people, the street side 'cafes Cambodian style are lined with people eating their morning porridge or noodles and on this morning at the 9 kilometre mark a tuk tuk with three Asian 'chickens' with cameras drove ahead of mine. For some reason, my radar went up, its as if the Holy Spirit 'was prompting me that these 3 chickens were not part of the normal every day picture that I am used to seeing in this environment so I pulled out my camera in case I had any photo opportunities. Indeed they did not belong here and the question was where were they going. We 'happen' to trail them and as we made the corner to turn into Svay Pak, their tuk tuk had stopped at the entrance. I arrived at The Sanctuary received my customary hugs from the little ones but Bunthan and Pastor Chantha were not on the main floor so I stood waiting and sure enough, guess who would come walking down the main street for a morning stroll but these 3 Asian old 'chickens'. I managed to get a few snapshots of them and as I zoomed in I realized that they could be the age of my father as they came towards my direction. What are these old men doing in a place like Svay Pak at 9am in the morning. One of them came over to me and I said hello and he began inquiring of what was going on at The Sanctuary. I told him it was a 'school' and then proceeded to ask him what He was doing here. He said he was from Japan but didn't answer my question so I decided to ask again 'so what are you doing here'---his reply, 'I don't speak English' so I just responded --- 'but you just did, sounds to me like you were speaking English so what are you doing here?' He walked off to the end of the street with his two partners in crime.
Pastor Chantha and Bunthan came out and mentioned that these 3 are repeat 'chickens' who have been here before. These are the chickens who go door to door using their fingers to describe what they are looking for. Thankfully because of the favor that Chantha and his team have in this community, he is often informed of who is doing what and where. Three of our teenage boys who used to do drugs and pimp the little ones have been our key allies as they will often go and follow the chickens around and chat with them to gather info. God is certainly transforming a generation here that once was so morally bankrupt and as He is putting His heart in them, they are the ones who He is using to help protect the vulnerable in this community. They who used to bully and intimidate the young ones are now part of Lord's army in Svay Pak. They are His special soldiers who are keeping watch over the little sheep and they are discovering that they have an important role to play as they seek to live lives that are pleasing and honoring to the Lord they are encountering each day at The Sanctuary!