Joshua - God Rescues!
The husband of one of my Cambodian team members from 2008 is here visiting for 3 days. Steve took a side trip from his business trip and so today he tagged along with me as we went to the hospital to meet with Pastor Chantha and Bunthan and were there to visit one of the church member's who is a prostitute from Svay Pak. She had just given birth to a little baby boy yesterday and had called Pastor Chantha and told him that she didn't want the baby and was going to sell him. But Chantha advised her not to do so or the police could send her to jail. So this morning we decided to go see this little newborn. He is so cute with his little hands raised up as if he was ready to fight. He had no name and Pastor Chantha asked if I could give him a name. The first one that came into my mind was Joshua. The name means 'God Rescues' or 'God is salvation' and I couldn't help but think that this little boy, unwanted by his mother will never be abandoned by His heavenly Father as he will be reminded each day by his own name that God has rescued him. God has saved him. God has been his refuge from day 1 of his birth. We prayed over Joshua asking the Lord to give him the same boldness and courage like Joshua in the bible, that he would take the promise land that God was giving to him in his generation, that he would walk in His ways and would experience the blessing of the Lord where ever he went and whatever he did.
Joshua and his mother
His mother had a previous baby who is being looked after by his grandmother but with this second child, the grandmother has told her daughter not to bring this child home. Joshua's mother works at a karoke bar/brothel and has advised Pastor Chantha she doesn't want to work there any more but has no options as she has no skills nor education. She needs to make a living and the clientele at the karoke bar provides her with a steady income. This is a common story of many women who feel trapped in the brothels. They face what seems to be a hopeless future with no way out of a lifestyle that continually dehumanizes them. However, praise God that there are programs here in Cambodia that Joshua's mum can go to. I advised Pastor Chantha that perhaps we could connect her to Ratanak's Transitional Life Skills program run by our partner Daughter's Cambodia. After all, Daughters seeks to empower women such as Joshua's mother who want a way out of the sex trade by giving them the vocational skills their need and providing job opportunities that will enable them to support themselves through dignified work. We plan to make arrangements for her to connect with our partners from Daughter's when she is out of the hospital on Monday. Pray that the Lord will use this open door to give new hope and a new life to Joshua's mother.
As for little Joshua, both Bunthan and Pastor Chantha asked if I wanted to adopt Joshua---I have to admit he's very cute but unfortunately that is not possible at this time. They themselves are tempted to adopt him even though Bunthan is expecting their second child in 6 months time. Chantha then asked 'do you think Brian (the founder of Ratanak) would want a third Cambodian son?' Brian---are you interested? :-) Nonetheless, I suggested to them that my dear friend Marie Ens who runs Place of Rescue orphanage would be a perfect place for Joshua to go to so we've made some arrangements for the staff at Place of Rescue to visit Joshua's mother on Monday to sign the appropriate documentation that will give the orphanage custody of baby Joshua.
It is times like this when I appreciate the different connections and programs that God has allowed the Ratanak Foundation to be affiliated with. The Lord has blessed us with friends and partners who care and love the unwanted, the marginalized, the abandoned and the forgotten in this country. Whether its Don & Bridget Brewster who oversee the Newsong centre, Pastor Chantha & Bunthan who serve in Svay Pak, whether its people like Marie Ens who run Place of Rescue for many years and represented Ratanak at the opening ceremonies of The Sanctuary in Svay Pak and has served here in Cambodia since 1961 or Ruth Elliot who manages Daughters Cambodia or Helen Sworn of Chab Dai, each of these friends have taken on the role of being the salt and light in this place, being God's hands, voice and feet to the poor and oppressed. They are truly seeking justice for the disenfranchised, encouraging the widow, providing for the orphan, offering hope to the hopeless prostitute, reaching out to those enslaved in trafficking as they pour out His love, grace, mercy and compassion on those who have been shunned by society.
Thank you Jesus for our friends and partners who love and serve those that are crushed in spirit. Thank you Lord that you arms are not too short to save and rescue the vulnerable, the hopeless and the broken. Thank you that you have a plan and purpose for both Joshua and his mum and that that plan is to prosper them and give them a hope and a future as they seek you. May you this day, pour your Spirit into their hearts that they will indeed seek you and find you as you open new doors of hope into their lives. In Jesus mighty name! Amen!