I’m Not Afraid To Watch You Change Me

This past Monday at Transform Asia, we had a big celebration! A bunch of churches around the Battambang area came to our center and enjoyed games, fellowship, worship, drama skits (performed by “The Foreigners”—that’s how we were referred to all day) confusing but good conversation, and food!  Admittedly, most of the time we didn’t understand what was going on due to our lack of Khmer speaking skills.  But regardless, it was a phenomenal day!  There is such beauty in people from different denominations, groups, and nationalities, all in one room fellowshipping with one another, laughing together and just enjoying each other’s company.  As I reflect on that day, I really am in awe of the power of God—that even though I am on the opposite side of this world—I am still singing and praying with people I can’t even communicate fully with and who have had such different lives from me.  But still, we have this understanding of each other—that we are both wholly forgiven and deeply loved by the same God.  So we rejoice together and it’s amazingly sweet.
We also began teaching English and part of this time with the girls is devoted to studying the Bible.  They’re such quick learners as far as the English goes—I keep running out of material by the end of class!  But they are eager to learn and we just keep practicing.  In one of our classes I asked the girls to write down what they want to know about God’s word to us and what they would like to study in the Bible.  They had some GREAT questions and we dug right in!
My team and I have been blessed with an awesome friendship in our translator, Seang (pronounced See-in).  He brings so much joy to our day and sheds a lot of wisdom on not only essential information about Cambodia and the people that live here, but also spiritual wisdom on matters of justice and our identity in Christ.  His presence is so precious and I think God placed him with us to make our time here more effective and powerful, because the barrier of language can be discouraging and can slow down our momentum.  But everyday, I learn a little more Khmer and its amazing how much we can understand without having to speak a word. 
A lot of this week I feel like I have been in contemplation—just thinking through my purpose here and being slightly confused actually.  Right now I feel like God is propelling me forward into something.  I don’t entirely know what that looks like yet.  Teaching English and building relationships with the women at the center and the children who have been abandoned by their families has been so sweet—there is no denying it.  I have been able to hear their stories and share pieces of my own and I know that there is so much more work to be done here.  But I feel a pull towards even more.  So I have been spending time thinking and asking God to affirm my purpose here and to take me beyond what I thought was possible.  I know my time in Cambodia is limited—so I pleaded with God this week to accomplish all that He ever imagined through me and through my team.  I know that there are matters of injustice, oppression, abuse, and suffering that God is going to abolish through us.  So here I am—please send me.  I’m not afraid to watch you change me and turn my life and the lives around me inside out.
There is a lot that comes to life in Battambang when the sun goes down—maybe good things but probably a lot of dark things too.  I am drawn to those dark places—to just be.  I have no idea what I’m supposed to do once I’m there, but I think God has a purpose.  I know that I can confidently go, because God is already there—and I am not afraid because He already has the victory over the abuse of power, over slavery and bondage, over guilt and shame, and over all forms of injustice that exist here.  I’m trying to be obedient to what He is asking of me and for right now, it’s bringing the Holy Spirit wherever there is darkness in this city.  God is breaking chains left and right here and He has more that He is going to accomplish through us—He created us for such a time as this.  So I am praying for peace and discernment for where to go and when to go—and boldness to claim with the Holy Spirit what is hidden in the darkness. 
“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.  See, darkness covers the earth and think darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you.  Nations will come to your light and kings to the brightness of your dawn.  Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the arm.  Then you will look and be radiant, your hear will throb and swell with joy…I will make you the everlasting pride and the joy of all generations…Then you will know that I, the Lord, and your Savior, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob…I will make peace your governor and righteousness your ruler.  No longer will violence be heard in your land, nor ruin or destruction within your borders, but you will call your walls Salvation and your gates Praise.  The sun will no more be your light by day, now will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.  Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end.  Then will all your people be righteous.”            –Isaiah 60:1-21

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