I've been itching to write this blog for some time but couldn't really do it as the timing was off. But its time to talk about Matchmaking :-). One of the blessings of living in Cambodia is the fact that there are many young people. In fact, over 50% of the population is under the age of 25. So as we think of the future generation, we have a wonderful opportunity and privilege to invest in their lives. And that investing, can come in various shapes and forms.
So last night I got a call from one of my younger sisters in Svay Pak. She is young to me but in Cambodian culture she is considered old at the ripe age of 25 years because she is not yet married. Many of the other students that are discipled by Pastor Chantha are much younger and so they are always teasing her about why she is not married and when will she get married. My little sister who I shall call 'Sohka' called to chat. Its been a couple weeks since I've been to Svay Pak and ironically she had been in my thoughts earlier that day for a variety of reasons and so it was a pleasant surprise to get a phone call from her. I didn't anticipate we would have a 3 hour phone chat but here in Cambodia, one has more time to develop relationships and so she called and wanted to get my advice about her future spouse. This is a conversation we have had before as her future spouse is not a believer but she is. Bunthan and others have had similar conversations with her warning her and expressing concern about her future husband. They have shared scripture from 1 Corinthians 7 about being unequally yoked.
But now the countdown is on as her future husband is coming to Cambodia next year to marry her and she is faced with a tension before her ---a deep longing to be married coupled with cultural and family pressure to be married on one side, and on the other side, confronted with the truth of God that this type of marriage is not right. So we talked and talked but then I asked her, are you open to meeting other people who are believers. You see for the past few months, she has heard me talk about my Loak Crew (language instructor) who is a young man the same age as her. He loves God as much as she does and hopes one day to become a pastor. Interestingly enough, she wants to marry a pastor! So of course, knowing all this info, I've been waiting over these past few months to try to match make them. Every time I would go to Svay Pak, I would tell her about his good qualities in front of Pastor Chantha and Bunthan. They would laugh and she would blush. Most recently, I told her that I had shown my loak crew a picture of her and he said how beautiful she was. So the stage was set! So last night as we were talking, she actually said that she was open to meeting up with my loak crew! Yeah!
As for my loak crew, for months as we have had our language classes, I would ask him what kind of wife or girlfriend he was looking for? What were the qualities he wanted in his spouse. Of course I couldn't resist planting little seeds in those conversations with him, letting him know that my younger sister in Svay pak had those qualities. We would then have a good laugh together but he has always said, he was open to meeting her. So today you can imagine when I shared the news with him that the date was being set. He had a big smile on his face!
You see Sokha asked if she could come and spend a couple days at my home so I am using that opportunity to chaperon them over a meal. It will be interesting and fun at the same time. They are two very special people to me but I have told them there is no pressure to meet but they both seem open to connecting. Matchmaking can be dangerous in one's own culture especially if it doesn't work, you could lose a friend. But here in Cambodia, I am hoping and praying that God would use this meeting to help Sokha know that there are young men out there who share similar values and similar visions as she does and she does not need to compromise her values for the sake of being married. More importantly, I pray that God would give her the courage to stand firm in her faith in Him, to not bow down to family pressure or cultural pressure or her own internal pressures but instead, trust that in His timing, He will bring the right man into her life. How easy it is for marriage to become an idol in this culture especially as one gets pass the 'apparent' marrying age. My little sister Sokha is discovering for herself that following the Lord involves giving Him control in all dimensions of her life and not just in some areas.
As you think of Sokha and the two days she will be spending at my home on December 11th and 12th, pray that God would use that time to bring conviction in her heart about her current relationship. Pray that the matchmaking lunch date would be an opportunity for both my young friends to encourage each other in their journey in Christ.