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Not Forgotten

Our group started doing street ministry this week, and in the saddest scenes I could have ever imagined, God revealed to me a part of his heart I had not known up to this point….

We broke off into small groups one day to hand out toothbrushes to people on the streets. Our translator took my group into the slums of the city. I honestly had no idea that this part of the city even existed. To me, a "rich" American, nearly the entire city looked like slums…. but where we went on this day is where the outcasts of the city and their families live, which naturally is far worse and dirtier than the city itself. That was where God met me in a new way for the first time.

We were there interacting with the adults and children (which seemed to emerge from the woodwork), listening to the adults tell their stories that they were so desperate to share. Many of them had lived through Cambodia's Khmer Rouge in the 1970's and had experienced unspeakable horror during the genocide from which the country is still recovering to this day. After being there, listening to them, playing with the kids, and handing out toothbrushes, it was time to leave to get back in time for our next English class. During our goodbyes, God began to show me something. My team was waving to the children and giving them high fives and all the kids flocked to my teammates…. except for one little girl. She stood off to the side, sad looking and observant, making no effort to run up to us and touch us. I noticed her and watched her for a second. She saw me look at her, so I went up to her and knelt in front of her and waved. As soon as I put my hand up to wave, she interlocked her fingers with mine and smiled the most beautiful smile I have ever seen. She held my hand for a long time, and then it was time for me to go.

As I walked away, my heart was heavy, having seen what I had just seen and now being responsible for the experience; having held a girl's hand only to let it go, knowing I will probably never see her again when all I want to do is to take her away with me. Why had she stood alone? Why didn't she smile at us? Why did she not gravitate to our team like the rest of the children? Now I had left her alone once again after she had let down her guard and held my hand and smiled. How do I live with that? God spoke to me in that moment; he spoke clearly through my questions— "Courtney, I chose you to notice my daughter."

My heart was overwhelmed. He chose me. He handpicked me to see a forgotten little girl in her aloneness. He decided to use me to bring a smile to her face and to tell her without words that she is not forgotten. He chose me.

There were several other instances throughout the week where the Holy Spirit reaffirmed that lesson in me, and I am humbled yet again. For reasons I cannot possibly explain, even to myself, I rejoice in what I have experienced. I am thankful for the sadness and brokenness I have seen. I can't tell you why, but God has given me supernatural joy in these moments. Hopelessness has no hold on me. HE CHOSE ME.

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