Here I lay in the Seoul airport (yes, lay, as they have lounging chairs!) reflecting on the past 24 hours. We left Phnom Penh late last night. Narun and Sophal and their children took us to the airport. Not more than 4 hours before that were we ending our last play time with the children and took up the task of saying goodbye. It may be hard to believe for some people, but after 2 weeks of intense connection and much much play, these children have become our family. I mean, we know intellectually, as a church community that we are family in the global sense. But, God's spirit has done a forging , a grafting if you will to make us a true family. I am a mommy to them. Teddy is a daddy to them. We have become family. A family that is not defined by skin tone, by blood, by language or culture, neither by genetic boundaries. but rather a family that is connected through God's fatherhood over us. It is the experience of the promise of the life to come. I am thankful and filled with deep, unbridled joy to have gone to the other side of the world and seen what life is worth.
As we left the home, we were all weeping. The children could hardly breathe as we wiped their eyes with our hands. I kept thinking, I have to hold it together or I will just fall onto the ground and weep bitterly. Seriously. I know it sounds dramatic, but it's true. Some of the little ones that really connected with me, wrapped their arms so tightly around me that we had to walk together as it was time for me to go. I'd look into their eyes and see the sadness that comes from loving deeply. These children have no reservations about loving you. it doesn't matter who you are, what you think about yourself or how well you can love them back. they know God loves you so they do too. they also know that you represent the reason they have been plucked out of the fire in their land. I witnessed what a child on the street lives like and it's real deal hard. these children have been spared of that because a small group of average people gathered together in a church and said we are going to make a difference. we said we'd stand up for the poor, the widow, and the children. those who are cast aside and are neglected in the world will become our most valued priority. And it is because of this that our children in Cambodia have a place to sleep in peace, have food to eat, and are being educated. It is because we are trying to follow what Jesus says about taking care of the poor and needy, that the beautiful girls in our home are not forced into prostitution by the age of 10 or 11 (yes, I saw many of nights such things). And the boys don't have to sell drugs to western tourists in order to have food to eat.
No, these children are full of hope. They have a future ahead of them and they are loved well. It truly is one of THE best things I have ever been apart of. And I told the children with all certainty that I will be back to see them. I couldn't help but think about all they have been through in their short lives. Maybe saying goodbye is a reminder of where they've been and what they've lost. I needed them to know that Central Vineyard is commiitted to them for life. That I am now committed to them. We as a family are committed to them.
So, as I reflect upon all that I've walked through in these past two weeks, I think upon my return to my life in the States. I am eager to hold my boys, to share with them all that we've seen and to ignite in them a passion for the work of serving the poor. When we lay down our own lives for the lives of others, we truly do gain the peace that surpasses all understanding. I pray my children will begin to bask in that truth in their own young lives.
We have lots of pictures, but we will wait until we are home to load them. I am so very thankful for the life I am given. We have so many friends and family that truly love us. Thank you.
!3 hour flight ahead of us. Teddy will be listening to the latest Phish concert and I will be zoning out on movies. things i will be happy to have when we get home: water from my sink, cooking again, cuddling up on cozy furniture, seeing friend's and family's faces, sleeping in my own bed, and planning for this next phase of our lives....oh and some other starch besides rice!!
Many Blessings to you.