Pheara and Malin -- Two of Pastor Chantha's students
However, the highlight of my time was sitting at a table with my notes and a little girl called 'C' came up to talk to me. It was a perfect opportunity to use my 'survival Khmer' to ask her all the questions I had learned such as: what is your name, how old are you, do you have brothers and sisters, where do you live, do you like school, are you studying English and Khmer, what is your favorite colour---and so the questions went on and on and on and she was so cute smiling with each answer she gave me.
'C' is 9 years old and comes to the Svay Pak school in The Sanctuary where she is learning Khmer and is the oldest of 5 kids. If there is one motivation for me to learn this language it is the privilege and opportunity to talk to kids like 'little C'. Language is so much a part of one's culture and it is such a powerful way of connecting people. Little 'C' was so welcoming and warm, curious to see what I was reading as she stood at my side looking at my notes, a few seconds later, she sat down and was even more curious to hear me talk in her language and most of all talk to her. With each response to my questions, she gave me this beautiful smile so I had to ask her if I could take a photo of her. She willingly agreed.
It is times like this when I enjoy hanging out in Svay Pak. In Matthew 19:14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Indeed as I think of 'Little C' and many in this community who she represents, I could not help but wonder how many times they have been hindered in experiencing a childhood free from abuse, free from fear, free from shame and free from guilt. I hope I will have many more opportunities to meet with 'Little C' again when I visit Svay Pak and talk to her about what she is learning in school and the God whom she is encountering each day and week through the kids club and Sunday school. It is a gift to be in the presence of these little ones for in their simple actions, I see the tender love of Jesus, attentive to my verbal babbling and patient in responding to my endless questions.