Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Trying To Eat Healthy

So what's the food like in Cambodia? Some times I get this question and its quite interesting to figure out what to say. In the supermarkets we get lots of western products but the prices are a bit exhorbitant so one is always looking for the local comparative. I guess its the difference between buying a brand name product or its private label version. So for example, a box of cereal back home maybe about $3.00 to $5.00 in Canada but here you are looking at starting prices around US$6.00 to US$8.00 and higher. In fact any western type products are more expensive which makes sense since most of it is imported. If you have a craving for potato chips a bag of Fritos or Lays---yes you can get those here if you want to pay the price which is about US$4.00 upward. This is one way to curb any unhealthy junk food eating practices!

If you like vegetables, you can get a lot of Chinese or Asian vegetables here cheaply but one has to make sure you wash it quite thoroughly. When I first arrived one of my missionary friends got me a ceramic water filter/purifier. This way you can use water from the tap and as it goes through a ceramic filter, use you can use it to wash vegetables, rice and even drink it. I also use it to brush my teeth. Its quite handy to have and is a must for anyone living in Cambodia.
Rabbit Ceramic Water Filter/Purifer

Anyway with the weather being so hot in the high 90s with the humidity, I find I am eating less and drinking more as you need to stay hydrated even if you are sitting in an air condition room! Cambodia has a way of making you lose weight so its great as I don't need to go to a gym. I just walk and with it being so hot, my appetite has shrunk. Perhaps its a sign of getting old. I hear old people eat less! :-)

At any rate, in an effort to eat a bit more healthy I discovered that our local supermarket is selling brown rice and now that I have discovered how easy it is to use a rice cooker, I decided to try my hand at making some brown rice.  However, in cleaning the brown rice, I have noticed a lot of little black bugs ---perhaps they are ants or from that kind of insect family. It is a pain picking out these little creatures when you are cleaning the rice so I decided to just cook it as is after I had plucked a few out. I figured a little protein didn't hurt. One could suggest their black hue looks like black pepper in the rice:-). Actually there is a phrase among the missionary circles that says ''Lord where you lead me I will follow, what you give me to eat I will swallow.'' That's a great mindset when you are living in places like Cambodia. One must be open to experimenting with foods and insects:-). One of our NGO friends once said that ''you know you have lived in Cambodia when you eat food with ants still crawling around in it.'' I laughed because that is so true. Ants are our little pests as some how they have the innate ability to sniff out the food if its left on the counter. A few months ago, I experienced the truth of what that fellow NGO resident had said when I had bought a popular Vietnamese dish call Ban Xeo. Over here it is known as Ban Chao. It basically is an omelette that has beansprouts and meat in it and you wrap it in a lettuce leaf with mint leaves and dip it into a fish sauce. Its really quite tasty and on hot days its very light and healthy to eat. So one evening I left it briefly on the counter for an hour as I was not quite hungry, but within that time frame the ants had swarmed around the inside of the styrofoam container. I was not happy so I quickly dusted as many of them off that were visible to my naked eye and then I thought, I would teach them a lesson. I put the entire omelette into the microwave and nuked them!!! And yes, I ate the Ban Xeo and assumed that whatever little ants had gotten into the omelette would be just added protein. I'm still alive and no worse for eating this extra protein!

So the moral of this story is that eating healthy here is possible with a few little ants to go along as an a la carte appetizer! Now that I am coming up to my 8 months here, its time for my second round of de-worming medication. Probably quite timely given what I am consuming! Praise God for continuing to keep me healthy in the midst of my own creative cooking and eating!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Saving Face - Part 2:-)

Cross cultural communication can often be a lot of fun. These days I continue to learn new lessons on the phrase''saving face.'' Recently I wrote a blog about this and since then I have found myself in circumstances here whereby I have to speak the truth to a Khmer person but, I am  trying to figure out how to do it in a way that does not embarrass or humiliate them in any way. This is a whole new experience for me, despite being Asian, the nature of my education and my business profession and training was always about being direct and getting to the point. But here, I am learning a whole new level of communication which involves consulting missionaries and Khmer friends before I actually proceed with a conversation that needs to happen.

A case in point, we recently hired a driver for the Ratanak car as in the next month we will be quite busy with our accountant from Canada visiting various partners with our other newly hired Finance & Admin manager. But on top of that, we will begin to look for a place to rent for the RAP (Ratanak Achievement Program) community home and when we start our staff training it will likely be held in the community home. Our new driver who I shall call ''S'' has worked with a mission organization that I have connected with for a long time. He is a young man with a wife and 2 kids and who for several years was mentored, studied English and became a Christian through the missionaries at the other organization. I have known him for a few years myself so I'm grateful that he is joining us. However on one of his visits to our office, we discovered that he really has bad body odor. So what to do? Its hard enough in our own culture to tell some one that they have bad BO but here in Cambodia, people are not used to speaking directly to others on such personal matters. So when I find myself in a bind, I consult with those ''in the know''---I did a small survey asking missionaries who have lived here for years as well as my Khmer friends. It was interesting to hear their responses. One said, 'just tell him he needs to wear perfume, he'll get the hint. Another said, ''no be direct, tell him he needs to take a shower every day and use deodorant.'' Yet another said, ''when you go over his employment letter, highlight the section about professionalism, cleanliness and appearance as it would be more natural to bring it up in that context.'' Then another said, ''its better if a Khmer person tells him than you because you are the boss and it would be more embarrassing to him.'' Then another said ''well get a Khmer male person to tell him. Its less embarrassing'' . Still another said, ''why don't you buy a welcoming gift and put inside, body spray, deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste. He will surely get the hint from that! Now you can understand why things take so long to get done here as one has to navigate through many cultural hoops to ensure that we don't cause embarrassment and to be culturally sensitive!

So after taking into consideration all of this advice, Beth and Stephen went on a mini shopping spree to get the welcoming orientation gift for the driver and I recruited a Khmer female who is older than I am. There is a respect for older people in Cambodia and since our other male staff hire will not start to work for another 2 weeks, I looked for the next best alternative---an older Khmer lady! As she is working with us as a consultant at the moment, I got her to sit with him and go through the entire employment offer in Khmer which included proper clothing attire, cleanliness and hygiene. We then presented him a neatly packed bag of "hygiene goodies'' for his personal use. We will see if he really gets the hint and if this strategy works when he arrives on his first day in two weeks time. We are hoping it does, otherwise our staff accountant Faith from Canada is going to have some interesting times sitting in the car for those 2 hour drives to visit one of our partner projects! If all else fails, I guess we will have to resort to Plan B---be direct! Ode the joys of cross cultural communication!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Worshiping at our Church Partner

Today I had the opportunity once again to visit the Khmer church that we will be partnering with. When ever I go there I can feel the presence of God despite the fact that I may not fully understand all that is being spoken. Truly it is like deep speaking to deep ---God can minister to us beyond the verbal language and so often I come away feeling touched by His love. This morning I ''happen'' to be sitting behind a lady--she's actually one of the older people at church at 39 years old. It turns out that she works at Hagar and is involved directly with the intake assessment process of trafficking or rape victims. She began to tell me her own story of being a single mother and sitting next to her were her 3 boys---15yrs, 10 years and 5 years old. Her husband had died two months ago and her immediate family lives in the province so her older son--the 15year old takes care of the two younger sons when she is working. She is probably one of the few single mothers here who has a good job as she is able to send her sons to a local Christian school near the church. But all this had me thinking about single mothers in Cambodia. The ones I seem to encounter are usually destitute as per the story I shared a few weeks ago about the young mother who was brought to Svay Pak by one of the church members. Here in Cambodia, there are no social services like we have in the West. The social service here is the extended family and so it was so unusual to meet this woman at church who did not even have the support of her family. I wished I could have asked her more questions about her home situation but I am learning that one has to cultivate asking indirect questions and that takes time. Nonetheless, she was kind enough to give me her business card so I shared mind with her. I figured if nothing else, I can send her our Ratanak job postings and maybe she knows of friends that have the skill set that we are looking for. Like any where else, it is all about networking and I am always of the belief that God does not bring people into our paths by chance. There is always a reason even if it is a one off type encounter! I didn't realize the truth of this statement until today when I discovered that this particular staff person from Hagar was one who we at Ratanak recently mentioned in our February prayer bulletin. Ironically she happens to be good friends with the consultant who is helping us on the case management training. It is such a small world.

Before the sermon started, all the little kids were called up to the front. This happens here every Sunday and the pastor prays over them as the congregation stretches out their hands towards them. My eyes caught a few little kids with their hands open eagerly wanting to receive the prayer. It was a precious sight of how the Lord is nurturing this next generation at this church, treasuring them and teaching them about prayer as well as teaching the adults, that children are a gift from Him. Jesus did say, ''welcome the little children'' and it is evident that this church takes this command seriously.

Anyway as the service progressed we had a guest speaker from the U.S organization Teen Challenge. He was exhorting this young congregation to move beyond their comfort zones and to be willing to go to the provinces or areas of Cambodia that were not as exciting as the city in order that more people could hear the gospel. He challenged us about ministering to the marginalized and in particular teens who were drug addicts. His rationale for doing this stemmed from a recent conversation he had where a particular staff person of an NGO here quit his job because he refused to to move to a rural area to minister to drug addicts. Here in Cambodia, many young people are drawn to the city because of the excitement and the opportunities here. Many are hungry for a good education because like other college age peers around the world, the focus is on money and getting the best job and while nothing is inherently wrong with this, it is very easy to focus so much on ourselves that we are not willing to sacrifice for Christ. At the end of his message, he gave an altar call asking those in the congregation if they were open to God's leading and if they were open to going to hard places and doing work that was not glamorous, work that is uncomfortable, work that does not involve the big city but work that ultimately is building God's kingdom. I was so moved in seeing half the church move forward to receive prayer. Then the speaker asked, "if any of you are doing God's will right now, I want you to come behind these young people and lay your hands on them and join us we pray for them. The remaining rest of the congregation moved forward.
The Entire congregation up front

I am struck at how the Spirit of God moves so swiftly and so easily in this congregation. There is an openness and a hunger here that I see every time I visit and it is so refreshing. Even as the young people sing, you can tell that they are genuinely worshiping the Lord with all their heart and soul and mind. It is a total immersion experience where I am encountering authentic worship and my own spirit is ministered to as I am led to sing along and raise my hands to worship even if I don't fully understand the words! I couldn't help but think again of the young women who will be part of our home and who will have the opportunity to worship in this place. It is our prayer and our desire to see them encounter the Living God in such a deep and personal way that they too will be caught up in His purposes and they will want to follow Him wholeheartedly and with a willing spirit. I encourage you to begin to pray for them, that as they encounter this community of believers, they will not only feel accepted, they will not only feel that they belong, but more than that they will feel the love of God pouring down over their souls ministering to them, touching them, healing them and freeing them from their past so that they can go forward knowing that they are truly His beloved, the ones whom He delights in!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Healing Environment

This morning in one of the local papers I read a headline ''Victims Live in Fear, While Abuser Lives Free.'' This article was referring to a well known foreign pedophile who was released without serving his full term and whose whereabouts while unknown at the moment, have created an ongoing fear in his victims as they are concerned that he is back in the same community where they live.  One victim mentioned that she gets headaches thinking about the freedom this man has received and another commented that when she heard about his release her heart dropped. This man had abused 15 underaged girls and as one mother of a victim said '' its not fair that he was in prison for only 4 years'.''

As I reflect on these comments, I can't help but think of the deep damage that sex trafficking does to the soul of these young women. They are imprisoned on so many levels---by their fears, by their pain and by the trauma they have experienced to name a few. One article I was reading this morning said: The basis of understanding the impact of trafficking on children is the recognition of the personhood of children, and the effect of trafficking on their sense of selfhood and on their own affirmative sexuality. Trafficking gives the child feelings of “dislocation, deprivation and the absence of nurturance and trust” that is normally provided by the family. The sexualization process that is a result of sexual exploitation has particular effects on the child, affecting her/his sense of selfhood, distorting her/his sense of affirmative sexuality, and giving the child a feeling of loss of control over her/his life. The trafficking situation also disturbs the child’s confidence in relationships and affiliations, bringing about a sense of alienation and suspicion of others. The natural life processes of child – the simple acts of sleeping, waking, eating and playing – are distorted in the brothel situation.

And so as we are in the process of setting up our community home and a healing environment for the young women who will be part of our program, there are so many factors to consider because restoring dignity, restoring value, restoring freedom, restoring identity, restoring hope and ultimately restoring life is complex. One of the key areas we are focusing on is case management.  Case management is an essential tool to address the individual needs of each girl, to provide efficiency and order in the caregiving process, to monitor the progress of the girl and to clarify and harmonize the roles of all persons involved in the girl's recovery. For each survivor enters the home with a unique history, individual problems and needs, and a unique potential for recovery and reintegration. After all, their pain is personal and not everyone in recovery will progress at the same rate. Recovery is not a race so each girl must be given the freedom to travel this pathway at her own speed. Our role is to facilitate their journey of healing, from a place of darkness to a place of light, from a place of hopeless, to a place of hope and from a place of brokenness, to a place of wholeness. Yet what encourages me despite the challenge is the reminder from Psalm 139:13-16 ---13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 

God has created us all and knows exactly how we are shaped and formed. He knows the individual healing plan for each of these young women that will enter our home. He knows exactly the specific pain and the specific trauma and the specific fears that they deal with day in and day out and because He knows that, He knows exactly how to repair the broken gates and walls within their soul. He knows  how to restore and when to restore and what it will take to restore each of them because His desire, His plan is to see them fulfill their God given destiny. Christ our Great Physician, has a unique healing plan for each of these young women because He is the one that has uniquely created each of them.

 And so as you continue to pray for us, pray for the Lord to give us wisdom as we develop this case management process. We have been blessed with a wonderful consultant who is walking us through this journey and who will provide the necessary training that our staff will need and the unique opportunities tailored to the unique dreams and aspirations of each young women who resides in our home . Our desire is to ultimately equip these young women in such a way that they will discover His dream, His purposes and His plan for their lives so that they can achieve their God given potential and in so doing live a life that is truly meaningful and one that enables them to become a blessing to the communities that they will reside in.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Travelling Gear

Yesterday as one of my friends was preparing to head back to her work in Kampong Speu which is about 1 1/2 hours a way from Phnom Penh, she was putting on her ''gear'' so I couldn't help but take a few photos. I admire her adventure and pioneering spirit as she is typical of many of the missionaries who work in this country. They make huge adjustments and sacrifices.

Anne is a nurse by training and was interning at Place of Rescue for over the past two years. She is now in the process of training a Khmer nurse to take over her role at Rescue as she moves on to a new posting at the Living Fountain orphanage that is funded by her church. I've known Anne for years as she is part of my ''Korean'' friends that I hang out with back in Toronto. It has been a privilege of seeing how God has worked in her heart for missions and for the opportunities over the years to share our journeys to this country that has captured our hearts.

So like many workers here who serve in the rural areas, Anne uses a motorcycle to travel around the city and to the province. So as she set out on her journey home, she had her long sleeve jacket on---and no its not because its cold here. In fact its over 90 degrees but to avoid being burnt, you see many motorcycle drivers wearing long sleeve jackets. She also had a bandana scarf around her neck to ensure that would not get burnt, a face mask to avoid inhaling the dust and pollution and of course gloves....yep, gloves to also avoid you hands from being burnt. Just looking at her all decked off in her 'gear' made me feel hot!

She had bought some groceries from Lucky Supermarket---there are about 3 supermarkets in Phnom Penh that foreigners typically shop at and so Anne had gone to get her food supplies. However, given she is transporting them in her duffle bag back to her home at the orphanage, you have to be careful how much to buy and you cannot buy any cold or perishable items. This is what I call creative shopping. I think the Lord knows why I live in the city. I'm not cut out for that kind of ''camping'' activity :-). Finally, she has a knapsack which was had her weekend clothing gear as she stayed over night at my place.

Many international workers who come with mission agencies ride motorcycles. One gal has already fallen off hers three times and injured herself. Anne has fallen off her bike once which apparently is normal at the beginning as you get used to driving here. To me, driving a motorcycle here is still far more dangerous than a car as with all the big SUVs and trucks on the road, the motorcyclists don't have much rights. Nonetheless, for my friend Anne, she has always wanted to ride a motorcycle and so in a strange way, the Lord has made her dream come through. Thankfully my dream was always to use a car here and am so glad that Ratanak has a company car that I can use for our meetings,  for with the weather as hot as it is these days, driving around town in air condition is not as tiring as those who are sitting in tuk tuks or motorcycles.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Saving Face

There is a term called ''saving face'' that is often heard in Asian cultures. It is ''not making another person feel ashamed, embarrassed, humiliated or even insulted. Recently one of my language instructors gave me an article about this topic. It has come in handy as I live here and being Asian from North America, it is interesting how 'saving face' is the same in Canada as it is here.  The article I was reading said this:

Typically, Asians prefer to talk about important matters indirectly. Directness is considered rude. Telling a pleasant lie is not regarded as bad as telling a truth that hurts a person and makes him unhappy. When an Asian says ''yes', he might mean ''yes'' or ''perhaps'' or even ''no.'" When someone asks for something, he will seldom receive ''no'' for an answer. However, the tone of the voice with which a person agrees to a request will give a clue to whether the person means what he says. In order to avoid making someone feel bad or unhappy, an Asian would say ''yes" with his mouth and ''no'' with his face and actions. In order to make a person save face, displeasure and threats are also shown indirectly. So for example, in Cambodian culture, a Cambodian boss will not openly scold or criticize an unsatisfactory worker. When he is sacked, the worker will not be told the real reason for it. The boss will perhaps tell the worker that an unemployed relative has arrived and that he has to offer the work to him. Sometimes, a boss who is not satisfied with a worker will drop hints that he is not pleased. The worker will take the hint and resign from the job. he will probably tell his boss that a close relative has suddenly become ill. He will say that he is very sorry to leave this job suddenly since he has to go and look after his sick relative. Of course, no one really believes these pretences. However, saving face is very important. 

When I read this article, I laughed because I have known this to be true in certain circles where people hint at the truth without coming right out and telling people directly. My language instructor shared how common it is for people to resign from jobs here for these very reasons listed above. Indeed over here, just because a Khmer person says ''yes'' doesn't mean it is a ''yes.'' In fact, according to my Khmer friends, Cambodian will always say ''yes'' to a ''borathay'' (foreigner) because they do not want to offend them. However, those who know me, know that even though I have Asian blood, I grew up with a North American mindset and I have no problems being direct. So now as I am living in Cambodia, I am learning how to communicate in new ways to discern what people really mean as body language becomes a key way to assess what is really going on. Indeed understanding the cultural milieu is a gateway to understanding how to communicate in non-verbal ways.

Recently, I had to deal with a situation in which this principal of saving face had to be applied. It has been a good learning exercise on how to integrate my faith in Christ without causing someone to lose face. This situation had to do with my cleaner Lily. One day last week I noticed that one of our four teacups in the office were missing. I knew we had four and we were trying to figure out what happened to the fourth one. I concluded that perhaps either Lily had taken it or broken it without telling me so now the question was how to confront her about this without embarrassing her. So I turned to my Loak Crew (language instructor) Chheut and asked him what I should do. One thing you learn when you are living here is never to make assumptions about the culture but be willing to ask questions of Khmer friends so they can help you navigate through sensitive situations. He suggested that I let her know that one of the cups were missing and then ask her if she had seen it. This way I would not be accusing her but rather soliciting her opinion. So I followed his advice. I smiled---another must always smile and speak gently, never raising your voice as that person would lose face and at the same time you would lose his respect for you. At any rate, Lily quickly confessed in a somewhat sheepish way that she had broken it and said for the past few days she had been shopping in the local market to see if she could find a replacement cup but she couldn't. It was the perfect opportunity for me to extend grace to her. I simply said'in Khmer, ''its okay, don't worry, I broke a glass too. But if next time, you break a glass, just let me know as we can always buy it back. You don't need to buy it for us. Just let us know if it is broken.'' You should have seen the expression on her face. She was so relieved and thankful. In reflecting on this with my Loak Crew, we both discussed that it was an opportunity to demonstrate to her that we all make mistakes but you do not need to be fearful or scared to tell the truth. It was also an opportunity to illustrate God's grace and love and to encourage her that speaking the truth is important and is always the right thing to do.

In Cambodian culture and in particular in this type of work where people are maids, they are scared of how their boss will respond so it is easy to want to hide or cover up the mistake because they are worried that perhaps they will lose their job if they speak the truth. In such a situation, we have an opportunity to use this not only as a teaching moment, but to reflect our Christian values of love, grace and forgiveness. So today when I saw Lily, I was so humbled. She had brought me a kilo of mangoes because she knows I like mangoes. My loak crew and  I think she did this to show her appreciation for the way I had responded to her over the broken tea cup. That one kilo of mangoes cost her US$1.25 and for a person who makes $4.00 for 4 hours of work to clean the Ratanak office apartment that is alot of money for her to spend. I wanted to pay her back ---another Asian habit ---we have a hard time receiving things----but I realize that I had to accept the gift, to refuse would be to insult her and to deprive her of the blessing that she wanted to give to me and ultimately the blessing that God would give to her through this generous and sacrificial act. How humbling it was to do so because she has so little and yet gave so much.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

I Am Free

This week has been so crazy busy that there has been no time to blog. We have been in meetings with different people as we sort out all the administrative policies and procedures and sort through training info. Its all good and necessary stuff as we want to be building and establishing a solid foundation and taking our time to do the appropriate homework and research. But more than that, I am so mindful these days of not rushing for the sake of man made deadlines which can often cause us to build on ''sand'' and as a result, the foundation is weak.

One of the key elements for us is seeking partners who we can work with. As many of you may already know we have found a wonderful Khmer church to partner with as we seek to provide a community for the young women who will be part of our center. Asian culture is built so much around community and part of the restorative journey of girls who have been trafficked is discovering a sense of belonging. We believe that being part of a church community is a key component towards their healing, for in such loving communities they can begin to discover that they are made in God's image. They can discover that  He is the one that confers dignity and value on them. He is the one that plants a new song of hope in their heart. He is the one that can plant new dreams in their hearts. He is the one that has the last word over their life. But as well, we are trusting that they will discover new friends and the family of God who truly care and love them and seek to encourage them to become all who Christ has destined them to be.

So today I went to visit the local Khmer church that will be coming along side us and these young women. This is something that I hope to do on a weekly basis as it allows me to learn more of the "Christian Khmer'' language and at the same time build relationships with those who serve in this church. One of the songs they were singing is called ''I am free.'' As I listened to it being sound in Khmer, the chorus said: I am free to run, I am free to dance, I am free to live.'' My mind wondered to the young women who will be part of our center. I pictured them singing this song and proclaiming their freedom, free indeed to sing, free to dance, free to laugh, free to play, free to go to school, free to study, free to work, free to dream, free to hope! As I watched the young people in the church dance and jump up and down to this song, I smiled and couldn't help but think ''yes Lord, this is what we long to see our young women sing, this is what we long for these young women to experience.''

Freedom in Christ is what it is all about for it is He who frees us from our past, it is He who frees us to pursue the future. It is He who defines us, not our past, not our brokenness, not our pains, not our sufferings. Christ defines us. He determines our future and when we discover that we were created on purpose by Him, for a purpose, we can truly begin to live in freedom regardless of what others have spoken over our lives or what we have done or what has been done to us. When we discover our identity in Christ and when we begin to believe in who Christ says we are and not what others have said about us,  true freedom comes. For we are no longer fearful of what others think about us, we are no longer driven to prove ourselves based on performance. Rather we we live in the truth that Christ Jesus loves us no matter what. We are totally accepted by Him. This is what we are praying and hoping for the young women who come to live at our center.

The other day I had a glimpse of this when I was asking Pastor Chantha and Bunthan about "Theary'' (not her real name). You may recall me writing about her being found in September by one of the Svay Pak church members. She had lived in Thailand and had been badly abused by her aunt and others. Today, 'Theary'' is a whole new person in Christ. She loves to worship the Lord but it seems she has also become quite a prayer warrior. Bunthan recently commented ''you should hear Theary pray she is incredible.'' I am struck by the words from scripture which remind me that those who know they are forgiven much, love much. Theary is a living example of  how the power of Christ can heal and transform a life. She is so in love with Christ now and so full of life because she has tasted and experienced His love in such a deep way that it has healed her heart and given her new hope and a freedom that she never experienced before! She is discovering that true freedom comes from knowing the One who has loved her with an everlasting love and has created her for a purpose.

Theary is living out the words of a song by Matt Redman called 'We Could Change The World'' which says:"

Could we live like Your grace is stronger than all our faults and failures?
Could we live like Your love is deeper than our hearts can fathom?
Could we live like Your Name is higher than every other power?
Could we live like Your ways are wiser than our understanding?
Yes, our God is all He says He is,
We stand in Your love, in Your power, and all You say we are.
Jesus in Your Name we can change the world!

Theary is standing on these truths and is a living example that God's grace is stronger, God's love is deeper, God's name is Higher, God's power is greater than all our sorrows, our traumas, our pains, our past. It is these truths that we trust those who come to our center will experience and in so doing experience deep and lasting Freedom in Christ through His grace, His love and His power!