Thursday, October 13, 2011

Chapter 8: (Part 2) The second site

Day 1, Site 2
Mostly excerpted from my journal

This afternoon, I fell in love with the children here. We visited Samuel’s School, a Christian day school for children to attend when they are not in regular school (They have half days of school. Half of the kids go in the morning and half go in the afternoon).  We did two dramas, Joshua and the Battle of Jericho—very interactive and great fun and we did Zacheus again. Kristen taught them two songs which corresponded to the stories.

Our team and ministry partners then went to the upper room[1]. There, we discussed the ministry needs in Cambodia[2]. We took communion and prayed together in a circle. We then prayer walked through a slum site that was moved into an alley because their first two neighborhoods (slum/dump sites) were flooded. They were forced out of their homes twice this season due to the immense flooding.

The moment I walked into the alley, the children grabbed onto me. They would not let me go. They hugged my legs, squeezed me, and wanted to be held… all at the same time! They wanted hugs and kisses and to have their pictures taken. They wanted to know Jesus; I know it. They are children of light.

I fell in love with these children. Their eyes are so inviting. They just want love and attention. I have a desire to build a school here, another school, an orphanage perhaps. I want to educate the women and children, to teach them literacy and help them learn skills, and their value in Christ, to see The Kingdom expand. The harvest is so ripe and this place feels so right. There is so much work to be done and the people are so receptive. The soil is fertile.

I now understand “Matthew 18:2-4” in a new light.

“2And [Jesus] calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3 and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

I used to think that this just meant we needed to have blind faith like children, faith that they will be taken care of and will believe anything, but after this experience, I realize that it means so much more.

The people there, especially the women and children, are so humble that they will accept any gift offered to them. They will also ask if they see someone who looks like they have something to give. The spirit with which they do this is not like other spirits I have encountered, demanding and ungrateful spirits, but one of desperate hope. They are humble like children, naked and less ashamed than the rest of us. They know they are needy and in need of help. I understand now that this is how we all must be in order to have a relationship with the Father. That is why it is so hard for the rich to inherit the Kingdom. What have we really to ask for?

[1] Note that the upper room was literally the only room upstairs. I LOVE the biblical allusion.
[2] Cambodia is an OPEN field.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Chapter 8: (Part 2) Day 1 The first slum

Day 1
The first slum

As we drove up to the dumpsite— the dump that people build their homes upon so they could make use of the disposed of materials— the children were sitting under a tent in chairs, anxiously awaiting our arrival. When we got out of the van, I smiled. My eyes locked with a little girl of about eight years. She was wearing a blue dress uniform for school and kept smiling at me. She was beautiful.

We played games with the children using balls and hula-hoops. Mike did a fantastic job leading games. He really has a gift for children. Actually, he WAS a gift to the children- and us all.

Before we played, we handed out bread and water. They were all so grateful and humble. There was a little boy with burns on one side of his face, arm, and hand. The whole morning, he just wanted to be held. He had such a lively spirit. He loved having pictures taken of him and constantly wanted to look at the pictures on the camera. Each picture resulted in a joyous my-heart-skipped-a-beat bout of laughter from him.

After games, we told the children a bible story. I narrated the story of Zacheus and Jesus, and it was translated by Radu (sp?). Mike acted out the part of Zacheus in hilarious fashion, making very animated facial gestures and body motions while using a pole and a fence as the tree.

Then, it was time for prayer. Kristen, our leader, asked if we could walk around the village and pray God’s blessing on the homes and the families. The people were so receptive. The little girl, the first one I saw who locked eyes with me, with an amazing smile, grabbed me by the right hand and a little boy grabbed my left hand. They dragged me to their homes, giggling the whole way. Without words, they introduced me to their parents and excitedly pointed to where they slept with humble pride, mostly wooden floors. Their parents let me pray with them. In most cases, I held the hands of the adults as I prayed. One of Pastor Narin’s staff, a young Cambodian man, walked with me and loosely translated enough for me to have permission to pray with the adults. He was with us all morning and until our prayer walk at the end, I didn’t realize he was on our team. Treasures are often at first unseen.

One woman wanted me to pray for healing for her. She had been sick for a while with a temperature. I could see the desperate hope in her eyes as she reached her hands out to me from her window. I climbed the little wooden ladder and cupped her hands into mine and prayed for spiritual, emotional, and physical healing and provision. I prayed that she would receive the truth into her heart and mind and that evil darkness would flee from her whole household.

I tried to pass some people by because it was time to meet at the van; I told myself that one of my teammates probably already prayed for them, but the Hoy Spirit just wouldn’t let me go-- And I’m so glad He didn’t! I smiled at my personal translator friend, said “just one more!” and enthusiastically ran back to the women I had passed by. He spoke to them and gave the “No problem” thumbs up. Then, the most obscure thing occurred. An older woman with whom I had already prayed, walked up to me and the ladies I was praying with and knelt down before us on the ground. I layed my hands on her as I finished praying. I had the most peculiar feeling about her. Either she already knew Jesus or she wanted to know Him. So I had my translator friend ask her if she knew Jesus. He told me that she was a Christian! How amazing. She wanted to pray for the people with me. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to be one of only a handful of believers around. I motioned to her that she needed to pray for everyone when we are gone and she nodded in agreement.

Her embrace was so peaceful once I finally better understood her perspective. She had smiled the whole time. She couldn’t tell us she was a believer because of the language barrier. At last, I recognized the unique light in her eyes.

Cambodia Part III- Coming Soon

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Chapter 8: (Part 1) We're Going to Cambodia, See ya! See ya!

Part I. “We’re going to Cambodia, See ya! See ya!”

“We’re going to Cambodia… See ya! See ya!” Sang Ian, a full grown man with a wife and children, incorporating full hand and leg motions with his song as we waited for our taxi to head to the Hong Kong Airport. It was a welcome and humorous moment after the devil launched his first obvious attack on my spirit… I had decided to go to the bathroom while my team waited for everyone to gather, and upon returning to the meeting site a few minutes later, I found myself alone. Our team was supposed to meet after fellowship outside of the meeting hall and during the three minutes I was away, they had already gone on to the second meeting place, a home in an unknown location, unknown to me anyway. Being completely new to the hemisphere, and in a pre-prayered spiritual and emotional condition, my blood started to boil a bit and I felt like the trip was already starting to weigh me down with resentment. I was so angry I wanted to cry.

Shortly thereafter, following a series of uninteresting events, we reconnected and I had to let it go, as others did not appear to see it as I did. I recognized it for the spiritual attack that it was, prayed through it, and moved on.

The two-hour flight from Hong Kong to Vietnam was a blast. Christina and I bonded considerably as we sat next to each other. Her husband Michael was hilarious. He kept us laughing the entire time. I haven’t laughed so hard since I was home with my sister and mom. In fact, they are the only people I can usually laugh with until it hurts and I’m breathless.

We stayed in a nice hotel in Vietnam. Considering the shady looking neighborhood, it was a very nice hotel. The next day, while we waited for our taxis to take us to the bus station to head to Cambodia, we decided to take a tour throughout the city.  We each climbed onto a small carriage that was connected to a bicycle. We were pushed by the bicycle, sort of. I’ll post pictures. We were taken all throughout the city and it was an experience like none other. They took us to a memorial for the Vietnam War.

I never knew much about the Vietnam War besides the resulting PTSD and prostitution among some American soldiers and some Vietnamese women.

At first, I thought the Air Craft left behind by the United States was cool, that is until I stepped behind a wall into the prison remnants. I immediately saw a tiger cage made of twisted barbed wire, approximately 14 inches tall, 16 inches deep, and 36 inches long. It was a cage that the American Soldiers kept the Vietnamese prisoners in. They could only hunch over. There was not even enough room for them to sit upright. My flesh and bones ached for their flesh and bones.

Then, I saw a prison room. It was a small, dirty, room with a small peep-hole for soldiers on the outside to look through. When I looked in, I screamed and jumped back. There was a life-like replica of a prisoner sitting up on the bed. There was writing all over the walls. I wish I had been able to understand it.

I spent the rest of my time there reading the plaque on the wall that described the many torture techniques that the American Soldiers used on the Vietnamese. My heart broke. I know there is more to war than meets the eye. I also believe that there is a time for war, but there is never an excuse to torment people, ever.

When we got back from the tour, we all agreed that the trip was totally worth it even though the tour guides tried to double the price and rip us off… they tried to tell us that the price they quoted at first was only the price to get us there, not to bring us back too!... ::sigh:: the life of a foreigner.

Part II: Cambodia--Coming Soon