At the last meeting my young friends were quite insistent that I cook for them so my creative idea today of what Canadian food to make was to simply order pizza and have ice cream. I did make a garden salad which was quite a hit but typically here in Cambodia, I am learning that Cambodians don't eat raw vegetables, so eating a salad with fresh lettuce is not typically in their books. However, 3 of the 4 guests tonight are used to being around westerners and having western food so for them tonight was a total treat.
One of the advantages of having such a meal is the pragmatic aspect as it involves little in the way of preparation and little in the way of clean up. As my young friends said to me 'I like the way you cook, you are very smart, you don't have much to clean.' Yep, that was my plan and I explained to them it allowed me more time to sit and talk to them. There is a method to my madness.
Channa and I waiting for the pizza takeout
Now tonight was not just about cooking Canadian but rather, I invited one of the teachers from the Newsong centre named Channa to join me. She is in her early twenties but a solid young Christian. She has gone to bible school and the daughter of a pastor but is always willing to help me. So today I took her up on her offer and invited her to join us because my other young friends --- Neth, Kunthea and Liya are not believers and I felt it was important to have a Khmer Christian with me who is close to the girls ages. Channa and I spent time praying for them before they arrived and she made them feel so at ease and most of all it was a blessing to have her pray in Khmer for our meal and then later as the girls were leaving she suggested we pray and bless them.
Neth, Kunthea, Channa and Liya (L to R)We want to reach out to these young women and to point them to Christ so these dinners are an opportunity to get to know them better and just spend time encouraging them. Tonight as I was talking to Liya she mentioned how she is scared some times of living alone because she gets bad dreams associated with her time when she was trafficked. It was an opportunity to share with her that when I get bad dreams, i call on the name of Jesus because He is God and He can subdue any evil spirit that wants to harass us. So I encouraged her that she could do the same and her response was 'yes I shall try that. I never thought of that before.' These are small seeds that are being planted but nonetheless, the Lord is the one who waters the seeds. He simply calls us to be faithful to the process and leave the outcome to Him.
As we prepare to set up our own transitional center one of the suggestions is to have strong young believers who can mentor and disciple the teenagers that we are helping to reintegrate into society. Tonight, I saw clearly the wisdom of having someone like Channa who is close to these girls ages and can be a bridge to minister to them and encourage them. Channa has other female friends who have graduated from bible school and has offered to connect me with them as we look for young Khmer Christians to serve along side us. So even in hosting these simple meals, God is using them as a way to teach us and prepare us for the ministry that He is leading us to establish.