Only The Beginning…

I honestly don’t know how to begin with this blog.  This past week was our last week with the women, and it has been one of the most bittersweet weeks of my entire life.  Bitter, because the bonds I’ve formed with these women are indescribable and leaving them tomorrow will be one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.   Yet this week has been so sweet, as I’ve literally had one of the most amazing weeks of my life.  Coming here to the Women’s New Development Center, I’ve witnessed and been a part of living life to the fullest that only Jesus can give.  Most of the women here do not know Jesus before coming here, so as they enter into the center through the gold and green gates, it’s like they are literally stepping out of death and into life.  It’s one of the most beautiful pictures imaginable.
This place is bursting forth with life – from the butterflies, the yellow and coral colored flowers, the coconut trees, and of course, the women.  From unimaginable and broken pasts, these women blow me away every day with the amount of joy and life that beams out of them as proof of how Jesus has transformed their lives.  There are moments that I’ll cherish forever, moments that fill me with more joy than I can describe where these women are so full of life – like when we’re washing dishes together while simultaneously singing and dancing; when I’m teaching them English, and they get it; when they’re teaching me Khmer, and I get it; when we’re dancing like kids in the rain; when we’re tickling each other; when they’re trying to run after doing the Dizzy Bat in a relay race; when we’re worshipping and praying together all at once; and when we’re teaching and encouraging one another from Scripture.  This is part of the “sweet” in bittersweet that I’m talking about.
And then there is a whole other level of “sweet.”  Last night something so beautifully indescribable happened that it could only be from God.  I will try and paint you a picture the best I can.  We washed their feet just as Jesus did his disciples’ showing them the full extent of His love for them.  While one of my teammates washed one of the women’s feet, I stood behind her holding her tightly praying to God with a fervor and passion for my beloved sister in Christ as she sobbed in my arms.  Then we switched as I bent down to wash another one of the women’s feet, displaying the extent of my love for her in Christ more real than I ever have.  As I was doing this, I realized something.  When you want to show the extent of your love to someone, one of the most meaningful ways of doing that is through expressing oneself through words.  Here, we can’t do that due to the language barrier.  But through washing their feet, there were no words needed.  We understood one another more than we ever have in that moment.  But that was only the beginning.
After we finished washing all of their feet, they wanted to wash ours.  From this point forward, please bear with me as I try to convey one of the most – there’s honestly not a word for it – moments of my life.  As I sat down in the chair, my feet began to be washed by one of the women who I have come closest to.  She held my feet, sobbing, while at the same time another one of the women’s arms wrapped around me as she started praying for me in Khmer.  I’m sitting there, dumbfounded and overwhelmed as I burst into tears.  I can’t stop thinking about the devastating and unfair pasts these women have had, yet they are washing my feet.  My feet! 
Although I’m denying it, we say goodbye tomorrow.  It’s times like this when I realize how crucial hope is in life.  Without the hope of everlasting life that our precious Lord and Savior died for us to have, I would never see these women again. But thanks be to God who has given us life and saved us all!  Thanks be to God for the unbreakable friendships He’s given me with the women!  And thanks be to God who will reunite us one day in heaven where we will sing and dance again all for the glory of God, and where we’ll be able to have our first actual conversation, probably talking about our beloved Father.  Does it get any better?!   We are sisters in Christ forever, and because of Jesus and His great love, this is only the beginning of our beautiful friendship.  
These three words I hang onto: Faith. Hope. and Love.

Performing our dance to "Call Me Maybe" for the Talent Show 🙂

Washing dishes!!

For our last English class we gave them a graduation ceremony 🙂

Thank you to everyone who took the time to read any or all of my blogs while I’ve been in Cambodia.  Thank you to everyone who supported me, both prayerfully and financially.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.


“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” – John 10:10 

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