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Spoiled Americans

My team arrived to the location of our first ministry sight in Battambang, Cambodia last week, and we began our work with the girls of TransformAsia on Monday. This past week has been a week of introductions and building a relational foundation with the girls we will be teaching. Next week, we are all set to begin English classes and Bible studies every morning and afternoon, Monday through Friday. We will also be teaching Bible studies on Sundays.
            Since we arrived in Cambodia nearly 2 weeks ago, I have come to realize several things about the American culture in comparison to the Cambodian culture. One of the first observations I made upon our arrival is that people tend to stare at us everywhere we go. Many of the children have never seen anyone with white skin, and most of them want to speak to us in the limited English they may know. Every morning when we leave for the day, on the way to our ministry sight, we have beautiful little kids running up to us shouting, “Hello!” and “Good morning!” They are automatically drawn to us simply because we are American, and they want to honor us and practice their English, which is a very coveted language here.
            When we arrive to the TransformAsia campus each day the girls are all excited to see us now that most of them have gotten somewhat past the awkward shyness of the first few days. Some of them want to hold our hands, others want to hug us, and some even tell us, “I love you” in broken English. There are 2 neighborhood brothers that make their way to the campus everyday just to play with us and receive love that they probably don’t get at home. Mong and Lee are their names. They don’t speak English, but I believe Mong is 7, and Lee is a year or 2 younger than Mong. They are the most hyperactive boys I have ever met, and our first day with them I wasn’t quite sure how to deal with them crawling all over me and touching my skin with their dirty hands and feet. Now, only several days later, they have calmed down a bit (though they are still bottomless wells of playfulness), and Mong just comes to sit on my lap and hug me. Only for a minute or so— like I said, he’s a very active boy, but you can literally feel his desire for love. I have to admit he’s growing on me.
Despite the language barrier, God is opening doors and allowing us to pour into the lives of the people of Cambodia just by showing love and having the heart of a servant. We as a group have already cleaned “challenging” bathrooms, pushed a truck out of a foot of mud, walked all over the city handing out fliers. These are things you wouldn’t expect to see from “rich Americans” in Cambodia. We have so much compared to these people, and yet we take most of that for granted in America. They look up to us and would do anything to show us honor, but we are here to serve them. I am believing that the servant’s heart of Jesus in every single one of us spoiled American women on this team is truly going to restore Life into everyone we have the privilege to serve over the next 3 months, and I want to thank each one of you for your prayers and support in this mission.

 

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