Saturday, September 7, 2013

Celebrating a graduation!

One of the greatest privileges we have is seeing how God restores hope and value  in the lives of young women who have experience sexual exploitation. Last  night was such a night as we had the opportunity to witness the graduation of one of the young women at the RAP home For the past three months she has been training at one of our partner organizations training center learning skills in hospitality.  She successfully passed all the requirements and so it was with great joy to celebrate with her and the other graduates on this special night.  She was able to invite 8 guests and so she took the opportunity of inviting her fellow room mates at the RAP home as well as some of our staff.
RAP staff joining the graduation ceremonies
There are not many places here that provide employment opportunities for the young women we serve but we are grateful to our partner organizations who are seeking to make a difference in this area. Their training centers are more than employment centers but they too seek to provide holistic care and empowerment to survivors of trafficking by providing them not only meaningful employment to earn a sustainable living, but they seek to care for the ''whole person'' providing medical care, counseling support and spiritual support.
The founders of the cafe Ruth and Murray have assembled an amazing team that operate a cafe and training center here in Phnom Penh.

Ashley, Grace, Ruth & Murray
So last night as part of the graduation ceremonies, we had a time of worship with a team from the ICA (International Christian Assembly) church here in Phnom Penh.

Then it was time for the graduates to receive their internationally recognized certificates. Each young women wore a graduation gown and received not only words of encouragement from the management of the training cafe but they each received a silver bracelet, a photo album with a collection of photos of the activities they were trained in and of course the graduation certificate.
our RAP Young woman receiving her graduation awards
It was a great time of honoring these young women for their achievements and other graduates who now work at this training center came forward to sing  a Khmer Christian song in honor of their accomplishments.  Of course what would a graduation party be if we could not celebrate with some ''to die for'' cupcakes'' made by the young women who work at this training center.
Cupcake Heaven!
Tonight as I stood watching all the graduates of this program sing, I couldn't help but think of what they have experienced and now here they are on a new journey, singing a new song -- a song of hope! They are a picture to me of what redemption looks like. God can take the most broken lives and as He restores, binds up the wounds and heals, a life is free to sing, to dream, to hope and to live a life of dignity and value.

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