Sunday, August 26, 2012

Remember To Give Thanks

Everyday I write in my ''thank you'' journal something that I need to thank the Lord for; it is an intentional way of reminding myself of His faithfulness, His provision, His blessing as I journey with Him here in Cambodia. But that's a more personal way of thanking God and yet so often we forget to thank others who have helped us in our journeys.

It is easy in the midst of busy schedules to take for granted the work others have done to assist us on a variety of fronts. Representing Ratanak International here is a wonderful privilege as we have been blessed to work with many different partners on the ground over the years. So this past week, we decided to pay a personal visit to one of our partners --- Chab Dai. Our intention was to thank them personally for their support over this past year, to bring some goodies for them to share among the staff and to pray a blessing over their work.
Helen Sworn (2nd from left) with some of her staff
Helen Sworn, Chab Dai's Founding Director first came to Cambodia 12 years ago with her family. When I first met Helen in 2006, she was operating out of a small one room office with one other staff. Today, 6 years later, Chab Dai has grown in Cambodia (with approximately 30 staff) and is also operating in Canada and the U.S. God gave Helen a vision to form a coalition of Christian NGOs who would collaborate together here in Cambodia to end sexual abuse and trafficking in Cambodia. This is no easy feat to bring many organizations with different philosophies and strategies together under one umbrella especially here in Cambodia when NGOs are more apt to operate in their own little silos and do their own thing. But the mere fact that there are over 50 Christian NGOs who are now part of  the Chab Dai coalition is a testament to what is possible when God brings His people together for His purposes! Nothing is impossible with Him!
Yeng Ros - Chab Dai's Country Director (Cambodia)
While Ratanak has funded a prevention program run by Chab Dai since 2006, this past year we have been the recipient of blessing from Chab Dai staff who have helped us in a variety of areas---setting up bank accounts, processing our visas, walking us through the MOU process, going to government meetings with us,  giving us different policies relating to staffing issues and financial matters. They have modeled what they have preached---collaboration and partnership---and so our visit this past week to the Chab Dai office was a visit to thank Helen and her country director Yeng as well as their staff for the many ways they have partnered with us to facilitate the set up of our Operations here in Cambodia. Yeng in particular has at many times been an ongoing consultant for us, providing us with timely information and feedback and making himself available whenever we needed help. He is the epitome of one who models servant leadership with joy despite his heavy workload.  We are grateful to God for all those within Chab Dai who have supported us through their expertise.

But less I am remiss in acknowledging our other partners, one of the blessings of having different partners is the opportunity to receive support on various levels. No one partner can necessarily provide us with all the information we need for they each focus in different areas. So, we have had the opportunity to draw on a wealth of knowledge and experience and learn from them as we develop our own project. A case in point,  we are thankful for our partners at AIM who have been a wonderful support  providing us with many policies and procedures that we are using as an initial framework and guideline as we develop our own policies and documents for the RAP home. This has saved us considerable time if we were to re-invent these from scratch. As well our other partners such as Hagar and Daughters were able to provide us with salary information and job descriptions as part of our initial process of evaluating what is reasonable salary levels for staff working to assist trafficking survivors. We have taken some of our RAP staff to visit our partners aftercare shelters so that they could see how different organizations decorate their counselling rooms. We have discussed staff schedules and gotten input on all sorts of matters relating to setting up a community home.

In all of this, I am reminded of Psalm 133 How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony! For harmony is as precious as the anointing oil that was poured over Aaron’s head,  that ran down his beard and onto the border of his robe. Harmony is as refreshing as the dew from Mount Hermon that falls on the mountains of Zion.And there the Lord has pronounced his blessing, even life everlasting. Indeed where there is unity in the body of Christ, God pronounces a blessing! Pray that the Lord will continue to unite all the NGOs who work to restore broken lives in this land. Pray that as we each work together that we will be a reflection of the words in John 17:20-23 --- I pray that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.  I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one   I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 

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