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!