Face to Face

I heard about Ambeleka before we arrived at the center. She was a quiet, 19-or-so year old girl who did not talk to us the first week we were here. Then, out of the blue, she came to life. On Thursday, she told us some of her story. Greg, our contact, told us the rest before we came. I asked her if I could share it with you, she said yes.
Ambeleka’s mother and father got divorced when she was a young age. She was then put into an orphanage and grew up there. When she was older, she was kicked out of the orphanage. Many orphanages will kick out older kids because they do not have the money to care for them. When she left, she reconnected with her father and step-mother. She went to live with them. While she was with them, they locked her up in a bedroom and sold her to the neighborhood men. Ambeleka then became pregnant with Anna. Her family kicked her out because they did not want the responsibility of dealing with a child. Ambeleka then reconnected with her grandmother (I am not sure if it was her maternal or paternal) and her grandmother sold Anna  ( I think Anna was sold to a family, but I am not 100% sure) . Ambeleka then went and kidnapped Anna back. She was in Battambang at the time, and went to Siem Reap. She worked in Siem Reap for about eight months and decided to go to Phnom Penh to get a better job to support Anna. She look a taxi from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh, and the driver kicked her out along the way to a better paying customer. Another taxi driver then knew about this center, and brought Ambeleka here. She has lived here for 2-3 years, and is only my age. Two days later, I saw her walking and followed.
She was listening to music, and we sat on the swing. She began to cry. In that specific moment, I was seeing the direct result of a women being sex trafficked—something I had been learning about for years.
Right then and there, I yearned for her to know her father in heaven. My heart was broken, and we cried together. With the little English she knows, and tiny bit of Khmer I know, I tried to tell her how much God loves her. But how do you explain to someone who’s father has sold her that her father in heaven loves her and cares for her so much?
It is easy to need God in Cambodia. Hurt is apparent. Some women have scars, fresh burns while others, you can see it on their faces. In English class, we taught the girls how to say, “How are you?” and respond, “I am good, sad, happy, tired, etc…” And upon asking, “How are you?” to get the response, “I am sad,” is heart wrenching.  What God revealed to me this week is that while it is easy for me to need God in Cambodia; it is not so easy for me to need God back in comfortable Indiana/Illinois. I have seen things coming together, and more of an understanding of the past years events.
 I need God all the time.
This verse was shared at one of our devotions. It is what I hope for in these women’s lives, and I have seen it in my own.
“Take heart daughter, your faith has healed you.” Matthew 9:22

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