There are many images that will forever be burned into my memory from Cambodia, but I think the ones I love best are those of the workers loving on the kids. I think, for just a moment, I got to see a glimpse of Jesus.
The staff of the Hard Places truly are an amazing group of people. Most are young, some with families of their own, but all shining with the love of Christ in a very tangible form.
When I went to Cambodia, I went knowing that we would work with the kids. I had no ideas of grandeur - no thoughts that we'd come in and show them "how it was done." I went only thinking I'd take some of my best "object" lessons and my own favorites to share...and hopefully we'd bring some joy and laughter with us to help lighten the load. But I didn't really expect to learn so very much from them.
I've worked with kids for over 25 years in one form or another, but these young workers taught me so much. Mainly, they taught me how to let down my guard and simply love. I watched as they lovingly clipped fingernails of the children who came to the kid's meeting in the park. They diapered those who came up wearing nothing but their birthday suit. They cradled those same children in their arms and softly sang to them as they first fussed, then fell asleep in the safety of the workers arms. They lay them down on a makeshift bed instead of simply putting them down onto the hard concrete they were probably used to sleeping on.
These workers meet to plan lessons to reach these little ones. They get down on the floor with them and talk and play. They help them laugh and sing. They help build creativity and hope. They help them learn how to work together to problem solve in creative lessons involving an egg, some straws, and some tape! Then after a full day of working with these little ones, they go on home visits and check on parents and siblings. They know each of these children, not just by name, but who they really are. They aren't just "workers" - they are pastors of the youngest in the flock.
There is much I will remember from Cambodia, but it won't be of the landmarks or the tourist attractions. It will be that I saw Jesus, surrounded by children. I saw Him in each one of these amazing young people who give their lives for those who some consider to be "the least of these."
Thank you my friends for teaching me so much.
The Voice (VOICE)
Jesus: 14 Let the little children come to Me; do not get in their way. For the kingdom of heaven belongs to children like these.