Monday, December 26, 2011

A Fun Christmas Day!

Yesterday on Christmas day, the temperature was nice and cool at 24 degrees celsius. In the morning I had the wonderful opportunity and privilege to visit my two little friends in the brothel district as I had gotten them both some sporty outfits. Their grandmother is now back in the village and they are staying with her instead of their parents who are living about 1 km away. SN and C's grandmother is a believer and yesterday morning, the two girls were able to attend Sunday school for the first time since their return to the village. It was a great joy to hang out with them and I felt a bit overwhelmed with them clinging to not the most touchy feel person but it was just fun to be with them as they sat next to me in their grand mother's home and where ever we went they just wanted to hold hands.

Visiting SN and C's home

Anyway, we went with Pastor Chantha's disciple Siny to the local convenience store to buy some ice cream for them.  To hear them giggling at the back of the car was a real treat as they sat eating their ice cream cones. I don't think they had ever had an opportunity to be driven in a car so it was quite a novelty. Some thing as simple as this, seem to give them such pleasure. But then again, this is how normal kids should react.  They asked if I would go and visit their parents which I was happy to do but when we got to their parents home, no one was there. Apparently the mother had gone to the market and their father had gone to work but we are not exactly sure what work he is doing.

Its too bad really as I was hoping to pray over the parents. I have had a sense that now that they are in the brothel area they are being hemmed in by God and so the need to pray for their salvation is more in the fore front of my mind. After all, this is the ultimate desire for this community to be transformed from the inside out. Unless the hearts of the people are transformed, they will continue to see their children as product and not made in the image of God.

When we were driving back from the parents home, one of the girls remarked that she was glad that she did not see her mother. I couldn't help but wonder if is because they are fearful of their mother. I would not be surprised as its typically the mothers who force their children to be sold. Yet, in talking to Pastor Chantha about this, he said that even though the girls know their parents do bad things, they still want to protect them. Again, we see the inherent stronghold of family honor and obligation that is so endemic within these families. This is something that we will be constantly dealing with as we seek to help in the reintegration process of the older girls. It is one of the most difficult challenges to navigate because family obligation taken to the extreme, distorts the sense of right and wrong when it comes to moral values.

Anne, Lois, Natalie and Judy
Later that afternoon I went for a late lunch at the home of one of my missionary friends Lois. We had a small gathering with all the Christmas trimmings of turkey, stuffing, mash potatoes, salad, cranberry sauce and home made whole wheat honey rolls. I think I just added a few more pounds from all that eating.  I met up again with Judy who used to live as a missionary kid here in Cambodia. Her parents were one of the first C&MA (Christian & Missionary Alliance) missionaries way back in the early 1930s. She is now working with an NGO here who ministers to boys who are being sexually abused. Natalie is a short termer and a prayer warrior type from Texas who is hoping to move here on a more permanent basis. She is currently working with Lois at Daughters Cambodia, one of our Ratanak partners and my friend Anne is now finishing off her term at Place of Rescue and will be moving to Kampong Speu to oversee the medical needs at her church's new orphanage.

All in all, it was a fun filled and relaxing day, hanging out with both my spiritual children and good friends as we celebrated the birth of our Lord. Whether in Cambodia or in another country, the joy and hope that Christ's birth represents never changes. It is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Jesus is the Hope of the nations, He is our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. May each of us this Christmas season and in the new year have the ongoing privilege of experiencing all these attributes of His character as He continues to direct our steps. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!

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