Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Beautiful Sight

This morning I woke to an unexpected but beautiful sight. I heard a noise at the back of my apartment and peered out the window to discover a group of young people waiting to be baptized in a baptismal tank of a local church whose garden I see each  morning when I wake up from my room. I opened the door and heard them reciting a prayer in Khmer that Christ had cleansed their sins. They were now preparing to enter the waters of baptism.
There were about 50 to 60 young people, the majority young men who were getting baptized.Psalm 40: 2-5  says: He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth,  a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord  and put their trust in him. Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods. Many, Lord my God,  are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare.

God has lifted each of them out of their own pit, a pit of darkness, a pit of mud and He is now setting their feet on Him---The Rock of Ages---the One who will never leave them nor forsake them. The One who is putting a new song in their mouth---a song of love, a song of hope, a song of joy. Pray that as they have publicly declared that Christ is Lord and Savior of their life today that they will be committed to walk in His ways and His purposes, putting their trust in Him and not on themselves nor their education. Pray that they will turn away from the false gods around them---there are many in this land as they are in North America---money, power and sex to name a few. Instead, may their lives glorify and honor the Lord as they become a blessing to their communities reflecting His heart in all they do.

 Here in Cambodia over 50% of the population is under the age of 25. This new generation that God is raising up in Cambodia is more educated than their parents having now had the opportunity to go onto university and having access to greater technology ---the cell phone and the laptop unlike their parents who grew up during the Khmer Rouge era and whose lives were marked so often with pain and suffering.

Yet as I looked at these young people, it was a reminder again that there is a fresh new remnant that the Lord is drawing to Himself. During the Pol Pot era over 90% of the church was wiped out but scenes like these remind me afresh that Jesus has the last word in this land. His kingdom is eternal and no darkness, no genocide, no war, nothing---can thwart His purposes. He will raise up new people, a people of His choosing who will reflect His values, His heart and His ways.

Pray for these young people and many of them across this nation who are becoming followers of Christ. This generation of young Christian Khmer deal with many pressures. Family obligations like in many other Asian cultures can weigh them down as they are expected to provide for their siblings or older relatives, many times at the expense of their own dreams and aspirations. At times, this can cause them to make decisions based on financial concerns rather than seeking direction from God. They are pressured to trust in their own provision than looking to the Lord who said that He will supply all our needs according to His glorious riches. In a country where poverty is the prevailing visible reality, it is understandable why it can be difficult to trust God to meet their needs. It is not easy to navigate such challenges as they seek to honor their parents and live for Christ. May the Lord continually give them wisdom on how best to live a life that is worthy of the calling He has given to them.

This young generation is also one that is dealing with secondary trauma. They may come from families who have not really dwelt with their own post traumatic stress disorder from the Khmer Rouge Era. These hidden traumas have a way of manifesting themselves in fragile emotions that can be so easily released in times of pressure and stress. Feelings such as anger, fear, mistrust, discouragement and hopelessness can rise up to the surface.  May our Lord who created this new generation in Cambodia for such a time as this strengthen these young believers in their inner being. May He enable them to bon guard; standing firm in their faith; being courageous; being strong and doing everything in love. (1 Corinthians 16:13-14)

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