Friday, March 22, 2013

Not forgotten...

Cambodia is still so much in my mind as I try to re-enter my daily routines. Were we really only there for 6 days? It seems like we packed so much into each moment and yet it also seems like we were there for only a couple of days. So how did this place on the other side of the world capture my heart so readily?

Yesterday I wrote about our first home visit while in the country. Today, will be about the second visit while we were there. 

On the second day, after a full day of working with children, the staff went on home visits again. This time we went to see a family that lived right next to the center. Again, we entered into a dark alleyway and up dark stairs. These were a little lighter, or was it that my eyes were finally adjusting to walking in darkness? At any rate, we made our way to the "home" of one of the boys from the center. 

In this small room - smaller than my kitchen even - sat the boy's mom and her new born daughter. Of course, she sat on the floor - everyone sits on the floor. Our interpreter, my team mate, and I all joined them on there. It was such a small the room there was also another woman, who I never did figure out the relation to the family, the grandmother, and 4 other babies. The father walked in and out of the home - sometimes to the balcony that was about as big as a small table. Before we left, assorted others entered and left the home. The son popped in and out during our visit as well. Did I mention it was crowded?

For about half an hour, we visited with this precious family, and of course I played with all the babies that ranged from the new born to about 2 years old. Each had such sweet smiles and they seemed fascinated by this strange white lady in their home. One in particular could not take his little eyes off my team mate's beard! Pretty sure they'd never seen a beard that big.

We learned, through the interpreter, that dad had lost his job and hadn't been able to find something else. Mom, who normally painted finger nails on the street to make money, had of course been unable to work since having the baby; so they had moved in with grandmother for a while. Grandmother kept little ones to help pay bills. Mother was very worried because they could not afford to send their son to school. I looked up at this young boy's face and thought of my own students. He wanted to go to school...loved learning, yet they could not afford the 50 cents a day it would cost. They also couldn't afford to get him to and from school each day. (Oh, how we take what we have for granted!)

Everything in me wanted to run back to my hotel and pull out the cash to send this boy to school, but I realized enough that I needed to talk to the center and make that happen the best way possible...not just throw money at the problem.

The time came for us to leave and we made our way back down the dark stairwell, which didn't seem as dark as it had before. I just kept thinking that this woman and her family was so much like my own. This woman was worried for her son and how they would provide for his education. Never did she say a word about her own needs...sitting on that hard floor cradling her new born daughter. Her only thoughts seemed to be for her children. My heart also went out to her husband. I have seen how hard it is when, through no fault of his own, your husband finds himself out of work...desperately wanting to provide for his family and yet finding every door closed. 

Our visit came to an end and we prayed for this home and this family. Once we hit the streets, I talked to our interpreter and asked about a million questions. I know money will help, and I encourage ALL my friends to support the center and the work they do, but there was something more that I learned. 

Our interpreter explained to me why it was so important that we made the visit to the home.

I noticed that at each visit, they had asked us to tell how long it had taken us to get to Cambodia...well, over 24 hours. To tell where we had come from. I thought this was just idle conversation until he told me that it was important to these people that we had come. Please forgive me if I get some of the details wrong, but in essence, these people feel like cave people. They are sometimes referred to in such a way, and to be honest, going into these tiny homes was a bit like going into a deep dark cave. They are looked down upon and feel forgotten. By sharing how far we'd come to see them, it was a sort of reminder that they were not forgotten. They are important to God. 

Oh my....that fact hit me so hard. In this city of what seems like millions, in the dark little corner packed together like sardines, God sees them. Each one. He hears the cry of their hearts. He wants to send His He allowed us to be his servants to send the message - you are not forgotten.

Not forgotten. It still rings in my heart and soul. Amidst the noise and the chaos, He still hears you...sees you...loves you. Right where you are, wherever you are not forgotten.

For more information about this wonderful work in Cambodia, go to

Isaiah 49:13-16 (MSG)

 Heavens, raise the roof! Earth, wake the dead!
    Mountains, send up cheers!
God has comforted his people.
    He has tenderly nursed his beaten-up, beaten-down people.
 But Zion said, “I don’t get it. God has left me.
    My Master has forgotten I even exist.”
 “Can a mother forget the infant at her breast,
    walk away from the baby she bore?
But even if mothers forget,
    I’d never forget you—never.
Look, I’ve written your names on the backs of my hands.

No comments: