A rooftop sunset from a friend's house.
Reflecting on the last month I feel there is so much I could write about. I feel each day I am learning more and more about this wonderful country and its fascinating ways, its problems, its people and the amazing plans God has for it. I am learning so much about myself and the importance of being so close and in-tune with Jesus. Whenever I take my eyes of Him I get this sensation of drowning. Drowning in all the many difficulties, horrific realities and heartbreaking stories which we often feel so powerless to help with. Drowning in my own sense of inadequacy for what God is asking us to do and the bigness of all the problems, especially that children face here.
I have also learnt that I need to be daily filled by His love. Without it I feel I am pouring out and running on empty. I am learning the difficulties in loving people the way God loves us. That when people let us down, lie to us, exploit us, reject us , continually don’t turn up to meet us that we still desperately pursue them with true love. That we love them in the way God loves us, allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and open to constant rejection, that we are always there no matter what and that we never give up.
What Phnom, a famous landmark in Phnom Penh
It’s only from a heavenly perspective that things make sense here. I am learning to trust God more and to not carry the burdens which were never mine to carry. I know He is in control, but sometimes I allow myself to forget that.
I’m really realising how evil poverty is. That it holds people in bondage, giving them no options or making them do things they hate doing. I think of all the girls we meet in the bars, all the parents who live on the streets with young children, the many 100’s of children who just beg on the streets until the late hours of night, who don’t go to school or who have any hope for future financial stability. So many people are taking advantage of these people by offering them a way out and sadly this is usually a disaster. We have heard of so many people on the riverfront, where we work offering to buy people’s children or offering them “ a job” in Siem Riep or Thailand . A child who we are good friends with has apparently “moved to Siem Riep” after an offer like this. We are extremely worried about her.
Photo from hardplaces-community.org
I feel so blessed to be working with and learning so much from the Hard-Places Community. I love to watch how they offer hope to people who are so desperate. It’s a privilege to watch how building relationships with children and their families is so crucial. To reveal the Father's love to them and to reveal to them they do have a hope, a great future and that they don’t need to just submit to a poverty mindset. Through this so many amazing things are happening. Children are opening up about the terrible things going on in their lives. Its only through love and trust that this will happen ; and its only when we learn what’s going on that we can try do something to stop it for that particular child. It’s a low and slow process, which requires patience and strength. I am in awe of all the staff who work there and teaching us so much about what love looks like to these kids who are often so broken. I find it fascinating that its often the boys who are in the worst situations who often come to the medical clinic with various minor/ fabricated problems. They are crying out for attention and love even from a doctor or nurse. I feel it’s probably one of our most important roles in the clinic; to always be there to love.
Picture from iriscambodia.wordpress.com
A few weeks ago I was reminded of how people can be so stigmatised by society. My dear friend Annie and I were out celebrating her birthday. We went to a restaurant I go to all the time , but this time is was so different. She does work in one of the girly bars on the riverfront and she was wearing slightly inappropriate clothing, but the way she was treated in the restaurant was absolutely disgusting. This was her birthday, an important day for her where she should have felt special. But she was made to feel like a lesser human being, no one brought her a menu, any water, the waiting staff ignored her and even lied to her. I was so upset! I felt so angry that they would do this. But I realised she wasn’t, in fact she is used to this , this is her life.
I suppose this does happen in England too but its much more subtle. I then started go wonder what her life must be like and that of course she doesn’t feel empowered or perhaps even able to leave the bars, as people treat her like dirt. That’s when I realised that even if we can’t offer these women much right now, we love them , we can call the greatness out of them, the greatness that God hand-crafted and designed to the finest detail. I have noticed the same stigmatisation to the street kids, the poor and the beggars.
The only way I can survive in such a heart-breaking world is by continually reminding myself that Jesus has a plan for every child we meet, every girl we meet, every family we meet, every sleezy man we come across. It’s not about us planning any thing, but about us being aligned to His plans. That He can redeem even the very worst circumstance. We are started to see that unfolding and it’s exciting!
A weekly slot at Phnom Penh House of Prayer interceding for an end to trafficking and child abuse in Cambodia.
For instance last week God showed us a beautiful story of redemption. We met 28 year old man with a mangled leg from a terrible motorbike accident he had a month and a half before and he is in constant pain, after the accident he lost his job and because of this his wife and child left him and he had no other family left alive to support him. He had no choice but to live on the streets and beg. Steve and Joel met him whilst on the riverfront. He told the boys how he often just wants to "go up into a tree and put rope around himself". Well God revealed His love to this man through the boys and he accepted Jesus! He said his heart felt excited! The boys got to pray for him and prophesy over him, they also got in touch with a Christian healing home, which is a place where he can live, be supported and loved on while his leg gets healed and he is currently learning that he is so precious and does have a hope and a future. Praise God that he has such great plans for this man and that he is having a huge party in heaven right now for this dearly loved son!
Thank you so much for all your prayers and support for us all. We couldn’t do it without you. Some days we really feel under spiritual attack, but it’s with your help that we are using this attack to actually refine us and develop us instead of letting it affect out work. God is so incredibly good and so incredibly powerful ; I really feel He is going to start revealing more of his power here in Cambodia so please be praying for that. Please be praying for the children and women here who are being so exploited, being abused and being neglected. That God will be revealing us how we can best help them and how we can best reveal His love to them. Please Pray that God would be making our strategies even more clear, that we would know how to break their chains that hold them. Please pray for Hard-Places Community as they continue to change many people’s lives and bring light to the darkness and also pray for us and our team.
~Lots of Love Mollie and Steve~