Monday, March 25, 2013

Life with God is an adventure!

It's hard to believe that one week ago I was in Cambodia, preparing to teach at the "Wat", (sorry my Cambodian friends...not sure how to spell that!) The Wat is the park in Phnom Penh that sits at the base of an ancient shrine. The group from Hard Places Ministry go to this park daily and have "Kid's Club" - something you just have to see to believe.

These workers, I sometimes wonder if they aren't simply angels in disguise, play jump rope with the children, teach them about Jesus, color pictures with them, and share a healthy snack...all at the base of a Buddhist shrine. On the park benches that surround the open pavilion where the kids meet, you see young girls waiting for customers. Yes, that means what you think it means.

The first time we went to the Wat, I noticed those around us and prayed that somehow they would hear the gospel message we were sharing with the children. I have to admit, I fumbled the lesson that first day. I've never worked with an interpreter and definitely never worked with an interpreter while also dealing with jet-lag! Hopefully the message that God heals broken hearts still could be heard. (This is a picture of the team doing "heart" surgery.)

This time, I was hopeful that the lesson would make more sense. I worked on ways to teach skits and object lessons through an interpreter. I worked on slowing down how fast I talk - evidently I tend to talk really fast when I'm excited. We had to split our group in half so that we could teach in two areas, and I prayed that we'd somehow be able to make it all work. Fortunately, I was on this trip with some pretty amazing people and I knew they could pull off anything I threw at them. (That included my pastor with his "Blah, blah, blah" in a Transylvania accent as the devil.)

This time the lesson was to be about how the darkness cannot overcome the Light. We were going to teach the kids about praising God and speaking His Word no matter what the devil tries to tell you. Praise to God will send the devil running! I was excited but apprehensive about sharing this lesson. I knew the people with me would do great, I just didn't want to "mess it up."

When we got to the park, one of the "girls" who sits on the benches caught our eye to let us know there were kids already waiting on the other side of the street so that we could help them cross through all the traffic. I marveled that despite the darkness she faced daily, she was looking out for these little ones.

We began the lesson, and I looked up to see if that young girl was still within earshot, hopeful that she too was hearing the truth of God's Word. She was gone. Instead, as I looked out across the children, I saw another group coming toward us. About 10-12 police officers (honestly to me it looked like about 50!) were headed our way. They made their way to the gazebo and walked up the steps to where we were teaching. They stood behind the group of children, some of them leaning against the columns along the side. They looked like an entire army!

I'm not really sure WHAT went through my mind at that moment. I wondered were we about to be told we'd have to stop teaching. I even briefly wondered if I might be arrested or something. (Did I mention we'd spent the Friday before visiting the Killing Fields?) But then, I remember looking at the faces of the Khmer workers and since they seemed unfazed, I figured I was okay. 

I continued to try to teach the lesson, trying to push any worries out of my head. I tried to pretend it was just like any other teacher observation I had been through, but my mind was still racing! My poor interpreter had to deal with my southern drawl combined with fast talking brought on by nerves. She did an amazing job.

The lesson went on and as we taught, some of the police left the gazebo. Others stayed almost the entire time. It wasn't until later that I discovered these police were there to "sweep" the area for those who usually sit on those benches. They had come up simply to watch and listen, just like the children. 

I'm sure that to some this is a pretty anti-climactic ending to what sounded like it might be a very exciting story....but it was PLENTY exciting enough for me!

It all seems a bit like a dream now. One week ago today...I stood in a country that only a year ago I had never really even thought of, and here I was - sharing the Good News. I guess you just never know WHAT God has in store for you when you let down your guard and say "Yes" to His lead.

I am now back into my regular routine...but I hope I never forget what it was like to stand in that park, sharing the good news of Jesus to those who sat on the benches, the children who gathered at our feet, and the police who wandered up just to "see." 
Wow - life with God really is an adventure!

John 1:5

The Message (MSG)
3-5 Everything was created through him;
    nothing—not one thing!—
    came into being without him.
What came into existence was Life,
    and the Life was Light to live by.
The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness;
    the darkness couldn’t put it out.

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