from boy crazy to love sick.

Before all my friends back home start to freak out– don’t worry, I won’t be changing my facebook relationship status anytime soon.  AIM doesn’t even allow romantic relationships to form on these trips—and even apart from that I’m on an all-girls team, so it would seem quite impossible for the title of this blog to be accurate.  But you see there are these boys (yes, boys—plural) who have absolutely stolen my heart.  Words cannot describe how much I adore these fellows.  Their mischievous grins, non-embarrassed involvement, and countless games of thumb-war have completely captured me.  I am in love.  And I am heart-broken.

We were originally told the young men here at the center were all orphans.  There are seven boys ranging in age from three to sixteen.  Just recently we have been finding out that several of them actually do have various family members who either stop by occasionally, or they go to visit on the weekends.  It is such a good thing that these kids have family connections and I rejoiced when I found out.  But I was not at all anticipating what happened yesterday.  Our night ended as usual—with many smiles, hugs, and giggles being passed around from person to person.  I hugged each of the boys goodnight and said “kngm solang nak” (“I love you”).  They reciprocated the statement with wide smiles and teasing eyes.  Then we all scampered off to bed—the echoes of their silly and excited voices carrying all the way to my room.   

This morning I woke up and three of the boys were gone. 

I asked around and got various confusing broken-English answers until finally I was told that the boys had to go “home”.  They were returned to their parents—the very ones who had thrown them out on the street five years ago.  But now, because the boys are healthy and able-bodied, their parents want to use them for labor.  

Gone.  Just like that. 

Three weeks of loving on, playing with, bonding, and building relationships.  And then I wake up and three of my best buddies have disappeared.  Suddenly our 5 second embrace and exchange of “I love you” from last night no longer seems sufficient.  I want to find them—chase down the moto carrying my precious friends and bring them back.  This is not how it was supposed to end.  We still have hundreds of more thumb-wars to play.  There are so many more guitar chords to teach them.  We have not had nearly enough dances in the rain or whistling matches to see who can reach the highest pitch.  I still don’t know which fruits are okay to eat directly off the trees.  I haven’t learned how to play that crazy game where you bounce the mango off of each other’s stomachs. 

 I have so many more hugs and “kngm solang nak”s left in my heart to give you.  But you are gone. 

My heart hurts.  There are still so many precious people here I get to build relationships with and minister to.  But the way that my dear buddies were taken away so suddenly combined with the reality that their “home lives” are miserable and their parents only want them because of the fact that they can work brings me so much grief.  In Cambodia, legally if the parents want the children to stay with them, there is no other choice or option.  I pray for the best.  But I hate not knowing.  What awaits them at home?

Please pray persistently for these boys with me.  Their names are Bqsa (we call him Pizza), Sut, and Pia.  From the first moment I met these dear kids they were a burden on my heart and consistently in my thoughts.  Now that they are gone it is even more so.  I don’t even know how I can have so much love for ones I have only spent three weeks with.  And while I hate the pain that my heart feels, I rejoice in the way that Christ is filling me with HIS love for others.  And the thing about God’s love is that it’s not just a passive feeling of sympathy.  It is proactive.  It is effective.  It is a mighty, healing, restorative wind that blows through.  It tears down walls of suffering, fear, and negligence and puts in their place the never changing LOVE of our Savior—our Sustainer, Father, and Friend.  Praise the Lord for this truth!

Thank you for taking the time to read this.  And thank you even more for partnering with me in lifting up these precious boys.  If God is for us, who can be against us?

I can’t believe it’s already been a month.

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